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7 Money Tips for Parents to Avoid Spoiling the Kids



Younger generations, from millennials to Gen Z, are often thought of as entitled. You don’t have to try hard to find people who think that parents are a little too willing to “spoil” their kids.

That may not be true in most cases. But a survey revealed that 57 percent of parents admitted to bribing their kids into better behavior. Also, 59 percent of those surveyed claimed their kids are more spoiled than they were as kids.

Below are seven ways to stop spoiling your kids and start teaching them about the value of money instead.

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1. Learn to say “no” and stick with it

You want to give your kids everything, including the things you didn’t have growing up. However, embracing a limitless approach to getting “stuff” only contributes to a sense of entitlement. Always saying “yes” gives kids the impression they will always get what they want.

Instead, recognize that there are situations when saying “no” is the better option. For example, if they haven’t met your stated expectations in terms of chores and grades, then tangible rewards aren’t appropriate. Certainly, if your financial goals and results can’t accommodate your kids’ desires, then you need to tell them no and explain why.

Don’t let them guilt you into caving, either. Your kids might be mad at you for a little while, but they will get over it.

2. Show kids how to give as well as receive

When you focus on giving kids everything they want, they are only in touch with what “getting” feels like, and become unfamiliar with the positive sensation of giving. While both feel good, it’s giving that often creates a more satisfying feeling over time.

To help your kids see beyond themselves, involve them in activities where they learn the power of giving. Have your kids help pick out and wrap gifts for others, for example. They might even be able to contribute their own money.

Encourage them to participate in community service activities where they learn the value of giving time and energy. It can also remind them about how much they have in terms of physical things compared to those in need they meet while volunteering. Suddenly, that third pair of Air Jordans doesn’t mean so much when they meet a child whose only shoes have holes.

3. Give them your attention and affection

Buying stuff never replaces your kids’ innate need for your attention and affection. In the rush of a hectic lifestyle, it’s easy to buy those tech gadgets and toys to fill your kids’ time, so you can focus on what you need to get done.

Instead, make your family the priority. Spend more time enjoying your kids and giving them the priceless gift of personal time. Plan activities as a family, teach them something new and go to all the events they’re involved in. In the process, you may also gain that elusive balance you’ve been chasing.

4. Make them work for what they want

Think about the effect of walking into a store and immediately buying something has on you. It’s a good feeling. Now, reflect on returning to a store each week and gazing at that item you’ve been saving up for over the course of weeks or months. It creates more excitement and satisfaction when you come into the store with all that saved money and can finally take that item home.

You can do the same for your kids by making them work for what they want rather than buying it as soon as they ask. Give them chores or another way to make money, such as a role in your business. Or encourage them to work around the neighborhood, doing age-appropriate jobs like mowing lawns or taking pets for a walk.

Your kids will realize you are not a free source of money for whatever they happen to want. Instead, they’ll learn the value of working towards earning those things themselves.

5. Teach financial responsibility and be an example

Children learn by example, and that example is often the parent. If you buy everything you want for yourself with no limits on spending, then your kids will see that as normal behavior and do the same.

Alternatively, if you show them how and why you save money, how you decide what to buy, and when and where credit can be beneficial, then your kids may be more inclined to be financially responsible in the future.

As kids, they may not be interested in the idea of saving money. The younger you are, the more difficult it is to think about the long-term consequences of your actions. However, as a parent, you can begin teaching them simple lessons about why you decide to buy or not buy an item or how to save by taking them to the bank to save part of their allowance as you also make a deposit.

6. Allow kids to be independent instead of doing it for them

Don’t be a helicopter parent! Hovering around your kids so much that they have no space to do things for themselves does them a real disservice.

When you swoop in to take care of everything for them because you don’t want them to fail, they grow up thinking someone will always be there to do it for them. In the process, they miss out on learning important life skills.

Give them the space to handle things on their own. Any mistakes become learning lessons. The independence they gain will also help them later on to be more of a contributor at work and in life.

7. Focus on how “teamwork makes the dream work”

Sure, your kids are the center of your universe. If you only focus on that, then your kids will think they rule the roost and dictate what you do.

In reality, your family is a team. All the individuals within that team have roles and responsibilities. To emphasize how your family operates through teamwork, create a task board with everyone’s names. Talk about how each other’s actions impact everyone else.

Start Now

It’s never too late to turn your kids’ spoiled behavior around. Start making these positive changes now. While it may take time to change, you can undo what’s been done and shape independent and financially responsible young adults.

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