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When I asked Brian and Emma for brainstorming ideas for Partners in Fire, Emma said I should write a post about how a kid can prevent himself from being a spoiled brat. What a fascinating idea from an eight-year old! She’s not even spoiled, so I’m super curious as to why she thought of the subject. Some of her friends are probably spoiled.
But unfortunately, I don’t think I can tell a child how to not be spoiled (mainly because I doubt any children read this blog). But also, I think it’s incumbent upon parents to not spoil their children. I’m definitely not going to write a post about how parents can prevent their kids from being spoiled though. I’m not even a parent, so it would be pretty ballsy of me to give parenting advice, don’t you think? And the cat is obviously spoiled, so I clearly have no idea how to not spoil living things in my care.
Are you a Spoiled Brat?
But there is one group that I actually can offer advice to on how to not be a spoiled brat – and that’s you – adults who read this blog! I’m sure that most of you aren’t actually spoiled, I mean if you were, I doubt you’d be reading a finance blog! But this isn’t just about being spoiled. It’s about changing the behaviors could lead to being a spoiled brat. A lot of us have those behaviors (I know I do!), and sometimes it’s difficult to step back and admit that we were acting bratty. Let’s be real, we can all act like spoiled brats sometimes!
What is a Spoiled Brat?
Everyone’s definition of what a spoiled brat is differs. But for the purpose of this, let’s just say that a spoiled brat is someone who expects to have their way all the time and acts out if they don’t get it. Acting out can be anything from general pouting and grumpiness to full on rage and temper tantrums.
I’m sure every single one of us has acted like a spoiled brat at some point in our lives! I know I have. Poor Brian – I got all pouty and grumpy because he wouldn’t watch Buffy with me for the ten thousandth time in a row. I refused to compromise and watch something that he wanted to watch, and got even more upset when he wanted to play a game. How dare he have fun?
How to Stop Being a Spoiled Brat
Now here is the hard part. It’s not always easy to see when we are being bratty and unreasonable. But hopefully these tips will help you figure it out (and apologize to your partner if you were being bratty – Sorry Brian!).
Wants vs Needs
I think that the very first step that you need to take to stop yourself from being a spoiled brat is to recognize the difference between your wants and your needs. Sometimes we get upset because we think we need something, but in reality, we just want it really badly. And we are amazing at justifying to ourselves why it’s a need rather than a want!
I justified blowing my No Spend March on post it notes like a pro! I really needed those Post-it’s to stay organized, and Emma needed them to explore her creativity. FAIL! Neither of us needed them – it’s not like they are a bag of hot fries or anything (yes, hot fries are a need!). But I justified myself by saying it was for the blog and convinced myself I needed them to feel better about the purchase.
We can easily spoil ourselves by giving into these mental gymnastics. If we convince ourselves that all our wants are actually needs, of course we will be upset if we don’t get what we want. Recognizing the difference is important.
Have a Bit of Discipline
It takes a lot of willpower to want something but say “you know what, I know I don’t need this right now”. I know first-hand – every night I really want to eat a bag of hot fries for dinner, but I know that isn’t the answer. So instead, I make something from the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle. It’s more work, but it’s just as satisfying and probably won’t destroy my insides.
I have excellent willpower when it comes to everything that isn’t food. Unfortunately, my boyfriend does not have the same level discipline. We all know he sucks with money, and when he sees something he wants, he just buys it. He’s kind of spoiled that way – he has not thought of waiting or thinking about whether he really needs it. Nope, he wants it so he gets it (especially new video games, those things have turned into the bane of my existence!).
If you don’t want to be a spoiled brat, you do have to develop some discipline. You need to recognize that you won’t be able to get everything that you want, and be ok with it.
Go with the Flow
Being spoiled doesn’t only apply to finance or material possessions though. Tons of people act like spoiled brats when things don’t go their way. I’ve seen people freak out on airline employees because the weather caused a flight delay. I’m sorry they can’t control the weather?
I know that sometimes people have bad days, and stress makes us act like crazy people, but sometimes you just have to go with it. Life doesn’t always go the way we planned. Heck, even a short trip to the grocery store doesn’t always go as planned! Anything can happen at any time, and if you are willing to readjust and go with the flow, you are less likely to be a spoiled brat.
Learn How to Compromise
My way or the high way, right? Wrong! That mindset is a one-way ticket to spoiled brat-hood, and nobody wants to live there with all the bridezillas. When Brian and I got into a fight because I wanted to watch Buffy and he wanted to do literally anything else, we compromised and watched Buffy.
But seriously, we do compromise all the time. Every relationship takes compromise, whether it be a romantic, friendly, work, or family relationship. Its never good to be thought of as the person who has to have their way all the time. So to not be a spoiled brat, you need to be willing to give a little and compromise when the occasion calls for it.
Don’t be a Brat!
We are all adults here (in theory). I really don’t need to tell you how to not be a spoiled brat (but it was fun). Just don’t be a spoiled brat, ok? Too easy, right?
Do you have any tips on how to not be spoiled? I may need some extra help.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.