How to Deal With a Spoiled Brat

Three Parts:Resolving Conflicts and IssuesDiscipling the Person and Setting BoundariesPreventing Bad Behavior

Many, if not all of us, have had contact with a spoiled brat before. But how do you deal with a person who is nasty and selfish and who always tries to get their way? It’s important to know how to deal with a spoiled brat to maintain your sanity and avoid unpleasant and unnecessary confrontations. You can take steps to avoid conflicts and issues from occurring, especially if you know you are dealing with a spoiled brat. You can also learn how to resolve any conflicts and issues effectively.

Part 1
Resolving Conflicts and Issues

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    Stay in control of your emotions during a conflict. To effectively resolve an issue with a spoiled brat, you first need to take a deep breath and get control of your emotions. You may start to get angry or annoyed at this point, but it is key that you try to act like the reasonable, calm one in the situation. Doing this will allow you to effectively work through the conflict with the spoiled brat and not let your temper get in the way.[1]
    • Don’t take anything the spoiled brat says personally. Often, in the heat of the moment, hurtful things can be said. Your spoiled child may scream and yell “no” at you or a spoiled friend may publicly call you out and say hurtful things to you. Remember that the spoiled person is acting in a rage and out of her own self-interest. You end up being the punching bag she uses to try to get her way and what she is saying has nothing to do with you as a person.
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    Take a timeout if the conflict gets out of hand. If you feel you need time to get control of your emotions, do not be afraid to step away and take a timeout. A timeout can be really useful if you are feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated with the spoiled person.[2]
    • You may tell the person you are not emotionally ready to discuss the conflict and that you need some time to yourself. Or, you may instruct a spoiled child to stay in her room for ten to fifteen minutes while you take some time to process the conflict. Giving yourself time to check your emotions will allow you to deal better with the conflict.
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    Punish the person in private. Avoid using shame or embarrassment as a discipline tactic, as this could only lead to more conflicts and issues in the future. Instead, try to set up a private meeting with the person to discuss her behavior or take your child into a private setting to talk her about the issue. This will allow you to have a one on one conversation with the person and teach her the consequences of her actions.[3]
    • For example, maybe the spoiled person talks to your partner rudely and calls them inappropriate names. You may then pull the person aside and explain that by doing that, she hurt your partner’s feelings and disrespected both you and your partner. You may then ask her to apologize for her behavior. Having a private discussion will allow you to let the person know that she did something wrong and resolve it together.
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    Present several solutions to an issue or problem. You should try to present several options or ways to compromise when you address the conflict with the person. You should use specific suggestions and ways you can both work out the issue. But this does not mean you should negotiate or apologize to the person, as she is responsible for her own spoiled actions. Instead, you should offer several solutions to keep the conversation open and fair.[4]
    • For example, maybe your spoiled child decides not to eat her dinner. You may then present several solutions, such as having her eat at least five bites of her food or having her go to bed hungry. Chances are, she may take the first option as she may not like going to bed on an empty stomach.

Part 2
Discipling the Person and Setting Boundaries

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    Establish clear rules and boundaries right away. One way to avoid conflicts and issues when you are dealing with a spoiled brat is to make sure you have clear rules and boundaries in place. The spoiled brat should be aware of the rules and boundaries so she knows when she is overstepping them. This could be a simple rule, like always saying please and thank you after receiving something from someone, or always saying excuse when you sneeze. You should teach the spoiled brat that she must follow rules and boundaries laid out by you, as this will help you establish limitations around her behavior.[5][6]
    • You may establish table manner rules early on, such as saying “please” and “thank you”, no elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth closed, and excusing yourself from the table. Enforcing these manners can help the spoiled brat to remain calm and collected at the table.
    • You may have other rules for going out in public, like holding hands in a crowded area so she does not run off or ensuring she comes to you when her name is called. You may also teach her that there are consequences if she acts like a spoiled brat in public, as this could dissuade her from acting out.
    • If you are dealing with a spoiled adult, you should also be direct about your boundaries and limitations. You may let the person know you are not available to take her calls or messages every hour of the day and that you strive to maintain clear boundaries in your life. Being clear and direct can help to prevent issues in the future.
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    Stick to a daily routine or schedule. You should have a set schedule of events and activities planned for your child so she knows what to expect and is not confused or thrown off. A change in her routine could lead to a temper tantrum and cause her to act out.[7]
    • You should try to follow the same daily routine for your child, such as waking her up at the same time every day and planning recreational activities on the same days of the week. You may also want to let her know in advance that there will be a change in her routine so she is not surprised or freaked out by it. She may be triggered by the change, regardless, but at least you can say you warned her before it occurs.
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    Acknowledge and reward good behavior. It can be easy to ignore moments when your child is playing quietly on her own or getting along with her siblings in public and only focus on the moments when she is acting out. But you should go out of your way to acknowledge and reward any good behavior your “spoiled brat” displays.[8]
    • You may reward her with kind words, taking a moment to say to her, “I appreciate how you are playing well with your sisters”, or “You’re doing a great job staying quiet and calm”. You may also reward her by treating her to a special outing or a fun activity you can both do together.
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    Encourage good communication. Instruct your child to use “I” statements to express her emotions and feelings so she can communicate clearly with you and others. Have her practice “I” statements with you and encourage to use “I” statements with she interacts with other adults and kids.[9]
    • If your child is not speaking yet, you can have her learn baby sign language to express herself. You may teach her to use a certain action to express what she wants, such as hunger, attention, or sleep.
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    Do not be afraid to say “no” when necessary. Though you should pick your battles with a spoiled brat and avoid responding every time she freaks out, you should also be willing to say “no”. You may try other tactics to distract her or get her focused on something else, but to no avail. If this is the case, you may need to be strict and tell her “no”. Do this firmly and clearly. Then, take away the item she is fighting you over or remove her from the space so she can cry it out in private.[10]

Part 3
Preventing Bad Behavior

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    Acknowledge any triggers for bad behavior. To make it less likely that your child will act like a spoiled brat, you should try to recognize any triggers she may have that can lead to bad behavior. Your child may be triggered by being around other children who act spoiled and disrespectful, or by being left alone in an unfamiliar space.[11]
    • Some triggers may be physical, such as hunger, where your child is over-tired and underfed. Your child may also have a medical condition, such as allergies, that can lead to grumpiness and a temper tantrum.
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    Try to plan for these triggers so you can avoid them. Make sure your child gets enough sleep, and has snacks throughout the day so she is not hungry. You should also avoid areas or spaces that may trigger your child’s medical condition, as this could lead to a conflict or issue.[12]
    • You may also have your child observe and comment on her own behavior so she can learn how to resolve her own issues. This could encourage her to be more willing to address her own bad behaviors and get over being spoiled.
    • For example, you may point out that your child tends to come home from school after a bad day and take out her anger on her little brother. Ask your child, “What can you do instead of pick a fight with your brother?” Your child may then come up with her own solutions to the issue, such as “Maybe I can spend some time alone in my room drawing and listening to music.”
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    Avoid being overly protective. Spoiled brats need to learn that their behavior has consequences. Being overly protective prevents them from growing and maturing. Everyone needs to learn how to handle difficult situations and take responsibility. Especially spoiled brats.[13]
    • Don’t rescue the person from every uncomfortable situation.
    • Allow the person to occasionally make mistakes.
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    Let the person earn her rewards. You can help teach a person patience and gratitude by allowing her to work towards specific goals and rewards by herself. You don’t have to offer encouragement or a reward for everything a person does. Getting the person everything she requests will only spoil the person.[14]
    • Only reward good behavior and don’t agree to every request your child makes.

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Categories: Behavioral Issues | Parenting