How To Unspoiled Your Child – Is It Possible

Have you ever felt that you are spoiling your child? Do you feel your child refuses to listen because they have been spoilt? All parents think of this at some point in their parenting journey. Is it possible to unspoil a child? Yes, it’s possible.

According to parenting expert and coach, Amy McCready, a child is spoilt due to :

  • Overindulgence(providing everything a child demands)
  • Overly pampered(pleasing the child)
  • Not letting them take responsibility(not letting them do what they are capable of doing)

Here are a few tricks to unspoil a child:

Make Routines The Boss

According to Amy, routines help in unspoiling a child. She advises that parents should create a when/then routine. When the vegetables are eaten then the dessert will be served. She further advises let routines be the boss rather than moms and dads.

Family Rules

Family rules help a child understand what is expected of them. They will know what they should and what they shouldn’t do in advance. Write a rule about something your child doesn’t listen about. Example of a family rule:

Bedtime at 8 pm.

Inform your child clearly about this. Display it where they can see it. You have told your child in advance what you expect from them. Of course, the child is going to fight back but be consistent. Do not change the family rule even once. Because following up on this rule at 8 p.m. is equally important. It is going to be hard initially but this is one way a parent can unspoil their child.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be faced by parents too. If parents see other parents overindulging their children, they feel compelled and pressurised to give the same thing to their children. It has happened to me. For example, when my daughter was a teenager, she demanded a phone from us because quite a few of her classmates already had a phone. At first, I felt compelled to give one. Her dad and I discussed this issue alone and we realized that she has no use for a phone. It would only increase her screen time and reduce her playtime with her brother. It would encourage her to rely on a device for her entertainment instead of playing innovative pretend play games! In our minds, we could see her texting non – stop and ignoring all of us at home. That’s when we decided that our daughter didn’t need a phone.

Sometimes it is difficult not to give in to this pressure but you have got to keep yourself strong and make sure you do the right thing for your child.

Bribes Are Not The Right Way

Bribes make matters worse. Every time a parent bribes a child, they spoil their child. Bribes are considered as a quick fix solution for some parents. The reality is that bribes don’t fix anything. It seems like a good idea at that time but it backfires spectacularly later on. Some parents might also feel that if they bribe their children they won’t have to spend time with them. The most precious thing a child will ever need is their parent’s time. No gift can replace a parent’s attention. Even if it is done once, the parent is setting a precedent. If a parent gives a bribe to their child who is misbehaving, the child will feel that if every time they misbehave, my mom / dad will give me something. So to get a gift, your child will misbehave every time they want something from the parent. Bribes create a negative effect on children.

Being a parent myself, I know it is tough at times, juggling different things especially when your child is misbehaving or demanding something unreasonable. But is better to deal with it right the first time rather than bribing them in the first instance and then trying to rectify this ‘mistake’ in the next instance.

Saying No

Parents cannot and should not give in to every demand of the child. Parents have to say no when the child’s demand is unreasonable or inconvenient to the parent. For example, a child might demand an expensive present for their birthday. Parents have to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Can I/we afford this?
  • Does my child need this?
  • Is my child interested in this toy or they want it because their best friend has it?
  • Will this gift spoil my child or raise their expectations?

Weigh all these questions carefully. If a parent has to say no, stand firm and certain in your decision. Otherwise, children might pick up that their parent is uncertain or they might feel that they can still ‘persuade’ their parents to say yes.

Once the parent has decided to say ‘no’ they shouldn’t feel guilty about it. After all, every parent wants to do what’s best for their child. I feel guilty at times too but then I tell myself this positive affirmation in my head, ‘I am doing the best for my child’ and instantly, I feel better.

By saying no, a child also learns how to deal with disappointments. When a child grows up, they are going to face disappointments in their life. By saying no, a parent will be teaching their child to deal with disappointments. Everything will not go the way the child wants it to happen. This is a great way to unspoil a child who is always used to having things go their way.


One of the ways to unspoil a child is by making them feel grateful for what they have got. In these modern times, when everything is available with a ‘click’ of a button, it is hard for children to feel grateful. If children are grateful, they will learn to value what they have got and feel content. They will stop demanding. They will also learn that happiness does not come from materialistic things. Happiness comes from family and friends.

Not Giving Into Meltdowns And Tantrums

As pointed out earlier, the child is going to fight back when a parent tries to unspoil the child. This will be the real test for parents. They might have meltdowns and tantrums. Screaming, shouting, sulking etc. It is very important that at this point the parents stay firm and do not give in. Otherwise, it will be harder the next time you do this (unspooling) with your child.


I have shared how encouragement benefits children and how it improves the parent – child relationship. Encouragement means providing positive attention to your child. Positive attention is a key requirement to unspoiling a child. A child will feel that if I continue doing this (something good) then my mom / dad will give me attention.

In a way, encouragement is the opposite of a bribe.

Good luck!