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10 signs that your toddler is spoiled

Don’t confuse spoiling with loving. Make sure there are occasions when your young child does not get her own way.


Dr Richard C. Woolfson

magyoungparents@sph.com.sg

Like most parents, you probably want to give your little one as much as you can. But you run the risk of spoiling her – something you should try to avoid because nobody likes a brat.

Yet spoiling is hard to define. It’s not simply buying her more and more or letting her have everything she wants; every toddler manages to get what she wants from her parents sometimes.

It’s also not simply allowing her to do as she pleases; all children should be allowed to make their own decisions at times.

And it’s definitely not loving your child too much; you can never do that.

Spoiling is less about how much you give your child (whether presents, attention or freedom) and more about the way these are given and the reasons why.

One tot might have so many toys that she can’t close her bedroom cupboard and yet not be spoiled because she doesn’t always get what she asks for, while another can be spoiled because her parents allow her to do as she pleases all the time.

Look out for these 10 signs that your toddler might be spoiled:

1. You always give her whatever she asks for.

2. She has a tantrum when she doesn’t get what she wants until you give in.

3. She doesn’t say “please” or “thank you” when given a new item.

4. She only thinks of herself and not about the needs of others.

5. When she doesn’t immediately get what she wants, her temper flares quickly.

6. If you say “no” to her, she behaves rudely towards you.

7. Getting new toys doesn’t seem to make her happy any more.

8. She doesn’t do what you tell her, even when your request is reasonable.

9. Other children don’t like playing with her because she won’t take turns or share.

10. People tell you she behaves as though she’s the mum.

Few parents deliberately set out to spoil their child. It usually creeps up without them noticing, until one day, a good friend or close relative is courageous enough to point it out.

Comments like “You let her get far too much for her own good” or – even worse – “Your child is a spoiled brat and it’s time you taught her how to behave properly” are bound to make you think again.

Next page: How to unspoil your spoiled child

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