Probably there are a lot of ways you can successfully end up with a spoiled child but, dear friends, I can only share how we have done it.
An example of what works for us follows.
Today Ellie had some allowance burning a hole in her little pink wallet. Burning! We had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe near fisherman's wharf with Grandma Diana, her friend Dave, Billy, Bill and my cousin Lori to celebrate my upcoming significant birthday and Ellie was dying to buy a pair of crocs in the gift shop for $17. "Nope," I told her, "save your money for Disneyland."
So then she found a t-shirt for $5, and I acted like a broken record.
How about a lollipop for $1? No.
She then did the thing wherein she stomps, and huffs, and says, "this is the WORST day ever...blah, blah, blah." And she won't talk to anyone and she stands off by herself and is pretty much a sulky stinker. Yuck.
Later today, when she was at Target with Marc, he let her buy a ceramic piggy bank because getting the other parent to let her do what she knows she isn't supposed to is her super power. If you want to develop your child's inner sneak I highly recommend this type of positive reinforcement.
But wait! Marc and I aren't the only ones involved in her spoiling.
As she was carrying her new bank into the house, Ellie dropped it on the front porch and it splintered into many pink plaid pieces. I was in the house, and Ellie came running to me looking for consolation and, perhaps, a refund. But at this moment I was firm. "Bad things happen to good people," I told her. I thought she might learn some lesson about consequences, or maybe not sneaking because of cosmic retribution, or something but it was not to be.
Apparently her three big sibs saw the debacle and immediately demanded that Marc right this gross injustice and buy her a new piggy bank. And Marc said, "no way," 'cause we're all about saving the monies for vacation right now.
So meanwhile Ellie is sprawled on my bed carrying on about how awful Target is and they "shouldn't make toys for children that aren't plastic because they should know that little children are going to drop them and it is not fair," when who should come to her rescue but the three big sibs. Yes, they pooled their resources and all three of them decided to buy her a new pink piggy bank and Maddie even said she would go to Target right then to get it.
So see? This level of spoiling is not entirely the work of her parents. It takes a village.
p.s. Thanks for the birthday lunch everyone!