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Ask Katherine: My Daughter Is Spoiled


It pains me to write this, but our daughter is spoiled. She completely melts down when we say no—screaming, crying, and even getting physical. 

We need to start saying no to her. But these tantrums feel impossible to overcome. 

What should we do? 


Nervous It’s Too Late

Hey there, Nervous It’s Too Late! 

This situation is challenging, but I promise you it’s fixable. 
First of all, humans are programmed to respond to crying babies and children, so try not to beat yourself up too much for doing whatever you can to calm your daughter down when she starts to escalate.

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That said, a healthy parenting relationship means holding firm when you say “no,” and your daughter needs to accept that reality. There may be some unpleasant days or weeks in your future, but if you stay strong, your efforts will pay off. 

Here’s what I recommend: Check in with yourself about each thing you’re responding to. Is your answer really a hard no? Saying no with ambivalence is probably one of the reasons it’s easier to go back and change your mind when your daughter reacts so emotionally.

If you feel strongly about your no response, even once she reacts negatively to it, you need to hold firm. Remember that maintaining your position doesn’t mean you aren’t a supportive parent. 

Try and defuse your daughter’s emotional response by keeping a level head. Assure her that you understand your “no” is difficult for her to hear, and you get that it’s disappointing. Then, explain why you’re saying no. Because it’s not healthy for her to stay up too late, eat too much sugar, watch too much TV, etc. 

Let your daughter know that raising children right is about looking out for them, and sometimes that means saying no to the things they want.

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Will this conversation go over well? At first, probably not. But you’ll both survive, and you’ll build a better, shared understanding of one another in the long run.

Still, it’s important to listen to kids when they’re melting down. What need isn’t being met? It’s okay to change your no to a yes for a valid reason. If your daughter feels bad about herself, and having a little ice cream and extra TV with you would help her feel special, you won’t undo your hard work by budging every now and then. 

And if ice cream and TV aren’t the solutions you’re willing to provide, there’s probably a compromise to be found through parent-child communication that can meet everyone’s needs.

Finally, and I can’t stress this point enough: there’s no such thing as a “spoiled” kid. 

There are unproductive behavioral patterns that cause distressing behaviors. Both you and your daughter have a role to play in breaking those patterns and forging new ones. I highly encourage you to check out my TEDx talk on this topic. Shifting your mindset about your daughter is vital to building a stronger relationship with her (and ending these tantrums)!

I wish you all the best on this journey! I believe in both you and your daughter!

Love and Blessings,


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