Think back to your childhood.
Were you showered with gifts and rarely heard the word “no”?
There’s a fine line between the occasional treat and growing up with a sense of entitlement.
In fact, many pampered children become adults who struggle with responsibility and personal relationships.
If you have these 7 personality traits, you were probably spoiled as a child.
Thankfully, it’s never too late to do a little growing.
1) You’re self-absorbed
Being spoiled as a child doesn’t automatically turn someone into a self-absorbed adult, but it can contribute to the development of self-absorbed behaviors.
As an only child, my mother was highly concerned that I would turn into a brat just because I didn’t have any siblings to… humble me, I guess?
She grew up with a sister and felt like that taught her how to share and care for others.
We weren’t well-off, but I never had to share parental attention with anyone else.
However, I didn’t grow up to be self-absorbed. I grew up to be introspective.
Spending most of my time around other adults, which was rather dull, I learned how to enjoy my own company and reflect on how I interacted with the world.
I also loved to read, which allowed me to understand other perspectives.
I was lucky, as being self-absorbed comes with limitations. Self-absorbed individuals may:
- Exhibit narcissistic tendencies
- Have little empathy for those around
- Not reciprocate acts of kindness
- Not recognize how their actions affect others
- Focus too much on their needs, making it difficult to maintain relationships
When a child receives excessive care and attention, they believe that they’re the center of the universe.
As an adult, this makes them struggle with the fact that things won’t always go their way.
Which brings me to my next point.
2) You don’t do well with failure
Spoiled children generally don’t have a lot of opportunities to develop resilience and coping skills during their upbringing.
Their parents shield them from disappointments, so they think that everything comes easy.
When something doesn’t, or they fail, they have a hard time bouncing back.
While Rory didn’t grow up with money, she was constantly praised and over-protected by everyone around.
Her mother, her grandparents, even the other people in town.
When an authority figure questioned her talent, she immediately got discouraged, to the point where she convinced her boyfriend to steal a boat and momentarily abandoned her chosen life path.
It’s an obvious overreaction. One she likely wouldn’t have exhibited had her life been less sheltered up to that point.
3) You’re picky
Spoiled children believe they always get what they want.
This mentality can lead to pickiness later in life because they expect everything to meet their specific standards.
Additionally, they tend to have a low tolerance for discomfort. They haven’t been required to adapt to tough situations, so enduring isn’t their strong suit.
A few signs that you’re (too) picky:
- You insist on your choice of restaurant or activity even when your friends have other preferences
- You have difficulty compromising in relationships
- You spend a lot of time figuring out what to have for dinner or what to wear
- You frequently complain about minor inconveniences
- You reject romantic suitors who don’t meet your criteria without bothering to get to know them
Being picky isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows that you know what you want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
However, it’s also a sign that you were probably spoiled as a child, and it can become problematic.
Especially when it’s coupled with the personality trait below.
4) You’re entitled
Spoiled children can grow up into adults who believe they deserve special privileges just for existing.
If you have a sense of superiority and are used to making demands without considering the circumstances or feelings of others, there’s a good chance you were a pampered child.
When you don’t have to work for things from an early age, you begin to believe you’re owed stuff you haven’t earned.
Throughout childhood, I was assigned chores like cleaning my room or helping with dinner to get an allowance.
I also had to get a summer job in high school to afford to go on a vacation with my friends.
Moreover, my parents had no qualms about letting me experience the consequences of my actions – whether that meant facing disciplinary action for smoking on school grounds or working extra hard to repair a bad grade.
All this felt unfair at the time but taught me that the world doesn’t owe you anything.
Looking back, it was one of the most valuable lessons I could have learned.
5) You like to be in control
As spoiled children are generally shielded from discomfort or disappointments, they can easily become controlling as adults.
Being in control enables them to avoid situations that make them feel challenged.
Similarly, parents of spoiled children may fail to set consistent boundaries.
This can make the child seek control later in life to compensate for the early absence of structure.
The need for control can also manifest as perfectionism, which prevents you from taking risks or putting yourself out there.
Does all of this ring a bell?
6) You can’t be independent
Growing up, spoiled individuals may have relied heavily on their parents or caregivers to meet their needs and make decisions for them.
This dependency can persist into adulthood, so it’s overwhelming for them to be on their own.
For instance, adults who were spoiled during their young years might be over-reliant on their family or friends:
- They turn to their family for financial support well into adulthood
- They can’t make decisions without asking for advice
- They have trouble performing basic household chores
- They procrastinate or fail to meet work obligations
- They turn to others for help with problem-solving, even for minor issues
This inability to be independent leads to low self-esteem, so they might find themselves regularly craving external validation.
If this sounds familiar, I have good news.
You’re not powerless, and you can change your circumstances with practice and discipline.
Start by setting goals for yourself and make a plan to achieve them.
The more risks you take and skills you accumulate, the more independent you’ll become.
7) You’re not grateful for what you have
If you take people, experiences, and material things for granted, you were probably spoiled as a child.
Maybe you haven’t been taught the importance of expressing gratitude for the things you have.
Or, perhaps your family focused too much on material possessions, which overshadowed your appreciation for the non-material aspects of life.
Whichever the case, it’s never too late to practice gratitude.
Once you do, your life satisfaction will get a significant boost.
Childhood experiences shape our adult behavior.
(If you’ve been to at least one therapy session, you know that’s true.)
Being coddled during your formative years probably did a number on you – and it might even currently hold you back from reaching your true potential.
On the bright side, you’re not stuck with any personality traits forever.
The first step towards self-growth is admitting you have a problem.
As long as you learn how to embrace responsibility and chase independence, you’ll have a more balanced and healthy approach to life.