As a parent, you want to give your kids everything their heart's desire to make them happy, but parents who give too much, too often can spoil their children. Spoiling your children can be harmful to them, both socially and developmentally. Since children who are spoiled often do not have to learn to solve their own problems, they can lack the life skills necessary to successfully negotiate the demands of adulthood.
Children who are spoiled can become overly dependent on their parents, which can cause them to have trouble making themselves happy as adults. Researchers Connie Dawson and David J. Bredehoft cite a study showing that college-aged young adults who were spoiled as children tended to believe that being alone makes a person unhappy, and that the source of their happiness is other people, rather than themselves.
When children are spoiled, they often don't have to learn responsible behaviors. According to "Baton Rouge Parents Magazine," children who were spoiled are unable to understand the concept of boundaries as adults and can develop problems such as spending, gambling, overeating and drinking. These children are sometimes unmotivated and can be described as lazy or angry. Lacking in emotional maturity and having poor problem-solving skills, these adults might flounder and become unhappy with their lives.
Disrespect and Defiance
Disrespect and defiance are characteristic of spoiled children, who are likely to whine, beg, ignore or manipulate to get their way. Often, spoiled children are so overindulged they do not get to express themselves in ways other than through their negative behaviors. Rebellion can become a natural response in these children, who are overindulged and overprotected.
Poor Relationship Skills
Because they have not learned that relationships involve both give and take, children who are spoiled can have trouble making and keeping meaningful friendships. Bruce J. McIntosh, M.D., writing in the journal "Pediatrics," indicates that spoiled children can be insensitive to the needs of others, are prone to temper tantrums and have trouble deferring gratification. Because other children might not want to be around someone with these characteristics, spoiled children might become unhappy loners, who do not even like being by themselves.
- American Counseling Association: The Unwanted and Unintended Long-Term Results of Overindulging Children; Connie Dawson, et al.
- Baton Rouge Parents Magazine: Overindulgent Parents, Underfunctioning Kids; Sugandha Jain; March 2007
- Huffington Post: The Negative Effects of Spoiling Children; April 2009