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Have you ever wondered how to unspoil a child? I know that this can be hard because you don’t even realize that it is happening and then BAM… you hear the disrespect in your child’s voice and realize that you need to STOP doing that for your child!

pin for how to unspoil a child

With this post in mind, I asked this question to the parents in my local moms’ group and their answers were fantastic!  I know that this can be quite a challenge for many parents, so I hope that this gives you just the boost of confidence and knowledge that you need to know how to unspoil a child!

Remember that while spoiling your child CAN happen by giving them too much without any appreciation, it can also just be that your child is not respectful of others or of things. Hopefully, we can change that and raise our kids to be responsible, respectful adults.

First off, give yourself a pat on the back for taking this step!

This is the hardest part… admitting that your child is spoiled or disrespectful.

We don’t intend to have spoiled kids – it’s just the day & age that lends itself so easily to that, you know? According to a recent study, “A vast majority of parents — 94 percent, according to a recent survey — judge their children to be spoiled.” says Dr. Bromfield.

There are great deals on cool things that we know they will love. We love to see them smile so we give them things that will make them happy, not even realizing that we are turning them into ungrateful people – people that expect it. That’s ok – because today is the day that we start the UNSPOILING!

10 Tips to Teach You How to Unspoil a Child

  1. Be consistent.
    This is the key to success, in my opinion.  I saw this when I was a teacher, I see it as a play therapist and I see it as a mom.   Consistency is the key.  Every time that they ___, they get ___.  (ex: every time that they talk back to you, they get put into time out.)
  2. Use the “When–>>Then” method.
    When you ____ then you ____.   (When you have done your chores, then you can play on your iPod. )
  3. Set expectations.
    Give your child a run-down of the day, if possible.  Let them know what to expect.
    “We will be going to the store today.  You will not be buying anything.  If you ask for something while we are there, I will be taking away electronics for the remainder of the day.  I will have to do this because I am telling you RIGHT NOW that we are going to the store for groceries and nothing else.  Do you understand?”   You are simply telling them ahead of time and asking them to respect what you say.
  4. Stop buying unnecessary things for your child.
    Your child might ask you for things or you might buy un-needed things because they are:
    – cute
    – on-sale  (this is what usually gets me!) 
    – fun
    – educational.
    However… your child does not need them. While it is nice to buy them things and you feel like you are helping, you need to take a step back and ask yourself if you are teaching them that they can have whatever they want before you buy it, or ask yourself if they really do need it.  (Plus, when you aren’t constantly buying them things, they will appreciate it more when you do.) Remember – you can say NO to things. In an article in the New Yorker, I read that “[French Parents] view learning to cope with ‘no’ as a crucial step in a child’s evolution. It forces them to understand that there are other people in the world, with needs as powerful as their own.” ~ Druckerman
  5. Does your child take care of their things?  Do they respect their things?
    Does your child think that you will replace broken toys right away? Do they just throw it into a toy box? Or are they carefully playing with it and storing their toys properly? If you took all of their toys away, would they cry because you did it, or would they cry because they actually missed their toys (in other words- would it just be the thought of having no toys that bother them, or do they really miss their toys?  I have found that most kids don’t even miss the toys being gone!)
  6. Teach them to buy things for themselves.
    The value of hard work should never be overlooked. If your child wants something, tell them how much it costs and let them work hard to make that money. How wonderful they will feel when they can accomplish that on their own! They are so proud!
  7. Have your child keep a list of things that he wants and how much it costs.
    If your child wants a new scooter, he has a few options:
    1- Ask for it for his birthday
    2- Put it on his Christmas list and hope that he gets it.
    3- Save up his own money to buy it (you could even match his money. If he puts $5 into his piggy bank, you add $5, too.)pin for how to unspoil my child
  8. Teach your child to give.
    A while back, I heard that you should get rid of one thing for every new thing that comes into the home. If your child gets a new toy, have them donate one to someone else (not a broken one or  less-valuable one, but one that someone else will love.)
  9. Try cutting back on what you have.
    First – you don’t need it all. Second – your child will be excited when he/she goes somewhere (church nursery or gym nursery or to a friend’s house) where there are new toys. You don’t need it at your house, too. Less is more. Your child may become overwhelmed with too many toys, just like we become overwhelmed with too much stuff.
  10. TIME matters more.
    Spend more time doing things with your child. You don’t need to “buy” things for them. Just spend time with them. You can grab my free calendar & my FREE e-mail series on spending one-on-one time with your child:
    pin for a month of one on one timeIf they act entitled or ungrateful, talk to them.  Sit them down and explain it to them. THEN follow through with a consequence.Do not ever use empty threats. I learned once that I would never use a huge threat like “If you keep acting this way, we aren’t going to Disney this summer!” because I would never follow through with that. Use the KISS method- Keep It Simple, Silly. (No TV for today. No snacks today. No playing with your friends today. You get two extra chores today, etc.)

It is really about you. Your child is mimicking what you have taught them. Be a great example.

Bonus Tip for How to Unspoil a Child

This system below has worked WONDERS for getting our kids to help out (without any nagging or yelling). 

If you want to start chores with your kids, but do not want to have to deal with a chore chart, try these Chore Cards. We have them & they are easy and they are “normal” chores, like sweep the floors, dust, clean up the living room, etc… It makes it easy to say “Ok everyone – go grab 2 chore cards and then you are done and you can go play.”

I even use them for screen time- we save up the minutes (write it on a sheet of paper) then when the kids want to play on their iPad or watch a show, they have to use the minutes that they’ve saved.

You can find them here.

pin for chores for screentime cards

Good luck! You’ve got this one in the bag!

Looking for more parenting tips? Check out these articles.

Just click the picture to go to the post!
link to The scary truth about what's hurting our kids

link to Put an end to whining

link to stop yelling & the kids will start to LISTEN

link to why our kids are in bed at 7pm

link to article - stop doing that for your kids


link to why children are lonelier, more entitled and less patient than generations before them...

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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1 Comment

  1. Hello
    I think parents have great role in spoiling their kids. First, Parent should know their weakness point which a child can attack to get his or her desired thing done. We as a parent should not show our weakness to our kids.