And the Most Spoiled Kids in the U.S. Live …

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And the Most Spoiled Kids in the U.S. Live ...The word alone brings chills to parents when they hear it: Spoiled.

We all wonder: Are we giving our kid enough? Or … way too much?

One thing we never guessed was that it might be a function of zip code. Now a new survey claims to be able to tell you whether or not your child might be spoiled … based on where you live.

A new survey out of Bundle.com examined spending by households with children at stores that sell toys, clothing and other services for tots, kids and teens, then determined the average spent by these households over the past three years.

Then they ranked those cities based on the percentage spent above or below the U.S. average, presenting the American cities with the ten most and least spoiled kids.

Where the Spoiled Kids Are

Fortunately for me, there may still be some hope for my kids. See, I live in the Midwest, which, according to the survey, is where parents tend to spend a lot less on their kids than in other regions.

Heading up the other side of the scale, moms and dads in New York City are apparently the most willing to blow a wad of cash on the kids, and their neighbors in Brooklyn are close on their heels. Madison, Wisconsin, on the other hand, is at the top of the heap when it comes to frugality, spending half the national average.

Washington, D.C. is also on the thrifty side–maybe it has something to do with all that talk about budgets.

Here’s what Bundle found more specifically:

Top 10 cities with the most spoiled kids: 
New York, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Miami, Florida
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Dallas, Texas
Atlanta, Georgia
Los Angeles, California
San Diego, California
Fort Worth, Texas

Top 10 cities with parents raising budget-conscious kids:
Madison, Wisconsin
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Columbus, Ohio
Tucson, Arizona
Raleigh, North Carolina
Alexandria, Virginia
Washington, DC
Phoenix, Arizona

What to Do About the Spoiled Kid in Your Life

Spending isn’t the only way to raise a spoiled brat. Spoiling is also about the feeling that your child should get everything, without having to work for it–from toys to clothes to staying up an hour later, just because she whined and begged for it.

This can be a big hurdle later in life, when it comes time to actually get a job, or live in the real world where things don’t magically appear just because you cry for them.

The first thing to do on the road to determining whether or not your child might be heading down the “Me-Want-Now” lane is to be on the lookout for some telltale signs, including the following:

  • The most obvious: Your kid is constantly whining and complaining
  • Your kid has a hard time bouncing back from a disappointment
  • Your kid asks for your help putting her shoes on–at the age of 9
  • Your kid wants to control the decisions of other family members–including things like what restaurants to eat at to what color car you purchase

If you believe your child actually could be–wait for it … spoiled–don’t be too worried. “Unspoiling” a spoiled child can actually be easier than you might think. Consider trying the following:

  • Letting natural consequences teach her a lesson. Instead of nagging your teen to get a summer job, leave her alone. If she doesn’t follow through, she’ll simply have to skip all those fun summer plans she had in mind.
  • Using praise. If you notice your child making a real effort to act differently, let him know that you notice the change, and you appreciate it.
  • Setting parameters. If you’re at a store with your kid and she wants a toy, let her have it–if she pays for it herself out of her own money.

Check out our story on spoiling for a list of eight ways to spot a spoiled kid—and more on what to do about it.

In the meantime, we’re curious–what do you think about the survey findings?

  • anthonysmom

    I’m a Tulsan (transplanted from Michigan 12 years ago) and although I was first surprised to see my beloved Tulsa on the list, after giving it some thought, I’m not surprised.  Kids here are in multiple activities, both during & after school, plus all summer long.  Many kids drive really nice cars, attend private schools, carry around their own credit card, get regular pedicures/manicures, highlights as young as age 8-9, etc.  When I see those things, I cringe.  I hope that I don’t have kids who are too spoiled, but we are a blended family, which = parents/extended family constantly trying to make-up for the fact that parents got a divorce.  As a former long-time single mom, I’m the only one of the bunch who doesn’t jump on the “poor babies have been through so much train…” b/c I’ve seen what it can do.

    I can also see how the environment here in Tulsa has affected many of our youth.  The kids in their late teens/early 20′s seem to do more drifting and partying than looking for a more solid path to take in life.  Is this b/c mom & dad are still footing the bill?  Many times, yes.  We have a thriving economy here, with a very low unemployment rate, yet I constantly here “there are no jobs.”  There ARE jobs, just maybe not the perfect job with the perfect hours and huge pay that’s expected.  It’s a shame, really.

  • graceshephard

    It’s funny that the Twin Cities are split into the two extremes.