How to Unspoil a Defiant Child [7 Effective Ways]

To unspoil a difficult child must be on every parent’s list of top priorities. Failure to do so will cause irreversible damage that can adversely affect your child’s future.

 “ Train up a child in the way he should go: 
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 
Proverbs 22:6 

Our modern world exposes our children to a wide range of negative influences. Thus, raising children with exemplary character has never been more crucial.

spoiled child

Why We Should Not Spoil a Defiant Child

A spoiled, self-indulgent child will grow up acutely oblivious to other people’s needs. He will have his way without regard for any appalling consequences. Such uncouth behavior, if carried over into adulthood, may have irreparable ramifications on your child’s future.

What Can Parents Do to Unspoil a Defiant Child?

You will need to stand your ground if you want to prevent your child from becoming spoiled. Should you succumb to his relentless demands, you will diminish your ability to positively influence his behavior.

It is then high time to nip bad behaviors in the bud.

How Do You Know if Your Child Is Spoiled?

Here are the characteristics of a spoiled child.

Check this list first and see if your child exhibits any of these unacceptable behaviors.

  •  Your child does not respect you.
  •  Blames others for his own mistakes
  •  Doesn’t take no for an answer
  •  Has an insatiable appetite for everything he fancies
  •  Throws tantrums too often
  •  Instructs you on how to do things
  •  Acutely insensitive to other people’s needs and emotions.
  •  Sharing is not in his vocabulary

If any of the abovementioned characteristics of a spoiled child ring true to your child’s demeanor, it’s time to act on the following tips to curb your child’s sense of self-entitlement and prevent your child from growing up spoiled.

7 Effective Ways to Unspoil a Defiant Child

1. Encourage your child to do random acts of kindness

Allow him to experience the joy of doing something good for others.

Every day, encourage your child to do one random act of kindness, no matter how small. Do not reward him for it. The joy that comes from doing good will be his reward.

Rather than giving him a material reward for his kindness, express your gratitude by thanking him for doing something thoughtful.
By doing so, he will learn to find joy and fulfillment in showing kindness and generosity to others without expecting anything back.

unspoil a child
Dexter Shatuluka on Unsplash

How do you raise a generous child?

To inculcate in your child the joy of sharing, give him first a pep talk before giving or sharing his stuff with others.

You can tell him,” Watch your sister’s face light up when she receives something special from you.”  

Additionally, you can encourage him to donate some toys to unfortunate children so that he develops empathy and compassion for the less fortunate.

2. Enlist your family’s help

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. For this reason, the responsibility of preventing a child from developing unruly behavior falls upon every member of the household.

Consistency and cooperation are keys. Should there be lapses in implementing the disciplinary actions imposed on our children, the war is over. You might as well wave the white flag.

Nonetheless, we must ensure that whatever disciplinary measures we put in place are appropriate for their age and offense. Inflicting harsher punishments will have the opposite effect, so do not subject him to unfair or severe forms of discipline.

3. Be consistent

Consistency is crucial in implementing disciplinary actions to yield the desired results.

We cannot command respect from our children if we are not consistently adopting the rules we have set for them to follow.

how to unspoil a child

Please remember that when a spoiled child grows up, you will take the heavy brunt of his spate of bad behavior.

4. Ignore the screams

By ignoring his screams, you are saying, “You are not going to have things your way.” Be calm and stand your ground.

To yield to his demands whenever he screams is like egging him on to continue his unacceptable behavior.

This would give him a signal that screaming is not an effective strategy to make you yield to his every whim.

Read this article to learn more about what misbehaviors to ignore.


Never ignore a child’s screams or emotional meltdown under the following conditions or circumstances:

  • Your child is too young to regulate his emotions
  • Your child is experiencing some discomfort [ex. diaper rash] or pain and can’t verbalize what’s ailing him.
  • Your child is thirsty or hungry–let us be sensitive to his hunger cues
  • Your child has a medical condition or psychological disorders
  • Your child is emotionally distressed

According to a study, kids are more likely to grow up to be happier adults when their parents quickly attend to their needs during infancy.

Being attentive to their hunger cues, discomfort, and cries will enable you to establish trust and build a secure attachment with your child.

Also, regardless of age, do not ignore your child’s screams and cries if he has a medical condition that doesn’t warrant prolonged screaming or if your child suffers from psychological disorders that prompt him to hurt himself on purpose.

5. Be a good example

If a parent exhibits boorish behaviors, the goal of transforming a child’s defiant attitude will be an uphill battle.

As an example, the way we treat our spouse and our own parents in front of our children is crucial in effecting a positive change in their behavior.

To effectively unspoil a difficult child requires us to model proper behavior by treating our spouse and our own parents with love and respect.

Though it is impossible to be that perfect parent whose character is beyond reproach, still let it not hinder us from making an effort to be somebody our children can look up to.

We might as well ask ourselves first this question, “Am I spoiled?” 

Check this list if any of these fits the bill

  • Badmouthing anyone who will not comply with your demands
  • Not owning up to mistakes and refusing to ask for an apology.
  • Unwillingness to listen to what your spouse/children have to say
  • Breaking your own rules
  • Arrogant and bossy ( One can assert authority without being bossy)
  • Buying unnecessary things for yourself even when the money is tight.
    ( This would make your child think that he too is entitled to have more stuff)

If our reply to the question “Am I spoiled?” is in the affirmative, we will never command our children’s respect.

Children follow what we do, not what we say. How we behave in certain situations is the message that will be conveyed to them. In short, if we want to know how to unspoil a child fast, we should unspoil ourselves first.

6. Don’t buy your kids lots of toys

If they are used to being gifted with lots of stuff, they will feel entitled to have more and not value what they already have.

7. Make God your partner in rearing your child

David Beale on Unsplash

Before your child goes to sleep, make it a habit to lay your hand over your child’s head and let him hear your prayers for him.

Also, read him a verse in the Bible so that God’s words will be etched in his heart and will serve as his guide, changing his behavior for the better. Never underestimate how the power of prayer can transform your child’s character.


To say that your child’s future is in your hands is an understatement. How life will pan out for him when he becomes an adult depends on how well you raise him.

Refinement of character and a deep sense of self-respect, if inculcated in him at such a young age, will enable him to become the kind of person you envision him to be.

Only then that the possibility of achieving his dreams and aspirations in his adult life will no longer be far-fetched.

By implementing these 7 effective ways to unspoil your child, you will finally rid him of any spoiled child syndrome symptoms. The sooner, the better.