Are Today's Children More Spoiled?

Do you think today's children are more spoiled because they receive more understanding and less punishment? Keep reading to learn more.
Are Today's Children More Spoiled?
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 09 January, 2024

The way of educating children has changed. Parents are becoming more aware of their work and more respectful of their children. There’s no longer any place for violence in the home and punishments are used less frequently. All this leads many people to believe that today’s children are more spoiled. But is this true?

Many think that children whose feelings and desires are taken into consideration are spoiled children who always get their way and have no limits.

But what if we told you that what a child wants, desires, and needs most is precisely what’s denied them? We’re talking, of course, about the presence and companionship of their parents during their early years and the freedom to grow at their own pace.

Do you think that at this point in human history, little ones enjoy these privileges? We’ll explore the answer below.

What is a spoiled child?

As we said, to spoil a child is to give him everything he asks for when he asks for it. And, although many consider this to be wrong and erroneous behavior, it is important to learn to contextualize.

During the first months and years of life, the baby is dependent on his parents; he needs them to survive and to satisfy his basic needs for food, security and affection.

Thus, as suggested by a study published in the Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention at this time, it is not only positive, but crucial to meet the child’s demands on time, as this is the way to build a secure attachment.

The baby needs to be held, to feel close to his attachment figures and to have them come to him when called. Offering this presence, affection and comfort to an infant is not spoiling or spoiling, but helping him to develop confidence in himself, in others and in the world.

As the child grows, it is necessary to establish limits. However, these limits should not be arbitrary, but designed to guide his behavior and help him develop a range of skills, such as frustration tolerance. It is in those cases in which no rules or limits are set to their wishes and whims that consent becomes a problem.

Are children today more consensual?

With this in mind, we can ask ourselves if children today are really more consensual than in the past. And for this, we can look at different variables and elements.

Basic needs for affection and security

As we said, infants need to be close to their main attachment figures, especially before the age of two. This is their main desire and their greatest need. And yet, it is a privilege they do not have today.

The incorporation of women into the labor market and other socioeconomic changes have led many families to leave their babies in the care of third parties from a very early age. This is something that in previous times occurred less frequently.

In fact, according to the study “Daycare and Family 2013“, 70% of children are enrolled in school before their first birthday and a large percentage of them spend more than 8 hours a day in daycare. Therefore, these children are already experiencing the first major limitation to their desires.

But, in addition, they are not assured of a propitious response from their parents to their demands for affection, contact and security. The percentage of families who choose to co-sleep with their children is low (Roldán-Chicano et al., 2009), to hold them in their arms without limitations or to extend breastfeeding to the recommended time (Correa et al., 2007).

On the other hand, today’s children face much greater demands from their parents. They areoften expected to become the smartest in the class, the most creative, athletic and sociable.

They are expected to learn languages from their early childhood and their agenda is saturated with extracurricular activities that can generate high levels of stress (Franco, 2018).

Nowadays, we have an overvalued idea of productivity and the fact that the child enjoys quiet afternoons, free play or idle moments seems to us a waste of time. However, this is a need that, once again, we are depriving them of.


If there is one thing we can say that today’s children are more spoiled, it is overprotection. Today, many parents express affection for their children by trying to “make their lives as easy or easy” as possible. This is in order to spare them pain, effort or discomfort.

However, this attitude prevents children from developing their potential and self-confidence and from acquiring basic life skills. So, yes, they are being pampered and spoiled, although this is actually detrimental to their own future well-being.

Today’s children are not more spoiled, but they need limits

We can see that today’s children are not as spoiled as many believe. It is true that they receive more respectful and empathetic treatment from their parents. But they also lack basic emotional necessities and face restrictions and limitations from their earliest years.

However, today’s parents fall into the error of considering that loving their children means overprotecting them. To prevent this from happening, it is crucial to take certain measures. For example, encourage their autonomy, allowing them to develop on their own and assume responsibilities according to their age.

In addition, a series of rules must be established at home and consequences that derive from their non-compliance. This will help children to experience a greater sense of security in their daily lives and will guide them on how to direct their behavior.

Let us remember that raising with love is also about providing the right conditions for children to learn to trust themselves.

Times have changed

In short, we can say that educational trends have changed, but this does not mean that children are more spoiled. Offering respect, understanding and empathy are basic tasks that parents should address, and this does not detract from the discipline of parenting.

In addition, let us remember that spoiling or pampering a child is not always negative, since the child needs to have his or her basic needs met in order to develop good mental and emotional health. Thus, we need to seek a healthy balance between love and limits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.