It Takes More Than Money To Spoil A Child

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Personally, I have to say that Veruca Salt is my favorite spoiled brat. I can still see her tearing through the Oompa Loompas and demanding a golden goose. It was quaint really, when you compare her to spoiled children of today. Can you imagine little Veruca with an iPhone and a babyccino? That whole “bad egg” nonsense would’ve been nothing.

Today, there are plenty of examples of spoiled children. Some blame helicopter parents who want to take care of everything for their children and never force them to do any work. Others say that commercialism and advertising has led to kids who are more interested in consumption than ever before. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to argue that spoiled kids are everywhere.

Yes, they’re everywhere, but according to new research, they’re more concentrated in some cities than in other’s. decided to rank the cities where children are the most spoiled. Let’s all take a second to guess where brattiness is the most prevalent, according to the study.

Was there anyone alive who didn’t assume New York City? If so, you were wrong. Other major metropolitan areas like Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles filled in the top 10.

Where were kids the least likely to be spoiled? Let’s all act shocked that the Midwest dominated that list with cities like Milwaukee, Columbus and my own Indianapolis, joined by cities like Phoenix, Washington D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina.

So I live with marginally less spoiled kids. I should be happy, right? Well it isn’t that simple, because I think there’s reason to believe that these lists are more than a little flawed. The criteria for finding out which city had the most obnoxiously bratty little ones wasn’t based on a couple days at local parks or restaurants. It had nothing to do with actual behavior. The list was created by looking at the amount of money spent by families at stores that sell children’s toys, clothes and other services for little ones.

Apparently, being spoiled, which I’ve always thought of as an attitude issue, is all about the money spent on kids. This assumes that every child who wears expensive clothes is spoiled and kids who don’t receive expensive toys aren’t. This list doesn’t consider the cost-of-living in the given areas. It doesn’t look at the percentage of the disposable income that’s spent for toys and entertainment for the little ones. It says that if you spend a lot of money on your children, they’re spoiled.

That’s a pretty crappy assumption to make. And it completely misses the root of the problem when it comes to spoiling kids. It’s not about the money, it’s about the parent’s ability to say “No.” Sometimes the issues have nothing to do with how  much money is spent. I’ve seen plenty of kids who are given candy continuously throughout the day because the parents can’t say “No,” when their kids ask. They don’t want to have a fight, so they acquiesce over and over again. Candy’s not that expensive. And yet it’s still spoiling the child.

One of the most respectful and well-behaved teenagers I know just got a very nice car from her parents. She isn’t even 16 yet. She’s 15 and they bought the car for her to learn on. My rough estimate would say that her parents spent about $10,000 on their little girl’s first car. Is she spoiled? Not in the least. She babysits all the time, saving ahead so that she’ll have spending money in college. She’s responsible and a good student. I’m sure her parents have spent plenty of money on her over the years. I don’t think any of it has spoiled her.

Personally, I spent $250 on a Barbie mansion this past Christmas. My daughter had been begging for the gift for months. I hung that prize over her head for weeks of good behavior. It was all she wanted for the holidays. And I paid what I think is a ridiculous price for a toy that my daughter loves with all her adorable little heart. I don’t think that spoiled her.

Counting the dollars that we spend on our children is a terrible way of measuring their attitude and appreciation for all that they have. And calling kids “spoiled” based solely on the money spent on them is unfair. It takes a whole lot more than money to spoil a child. It takes a lack of discipline and respect. We shouldn’t assume that the things go hand-in-hand.