Kids Ask Dr. Phil and Robin: Sean

Spoiled Brat?
Kids and parents ask Dr. Phil about their concerns and fears.
Jackie, 22, says that her 13-year-old brother, Sean, is a spoiled brat who gets anything he wants. She says he gets a new pair of shoes every month, has a lot of computer games, and will cry if he doesn't get his way. He drives his mom's car and even helped her pick it out. "Sean rules the house," she explains. "I'm sick and tired of the way he treats my parents."

Sean's mom, Sherry, recognizes the problem. "Enough is never enough for Sean," she says. "He thinks kids should be able to do what they want to do, when they want to do it."

But Sean doesn't think he's spoiled. "My life is just like every other kid," he says. He likes his parents to buy him things, but doesn't like helping around the house. "I only do chores if I'm getting a present," he explains.

Sean asks Dr. Phil and Robin, "You would want me for a son, wouldn't you? Do you think I'm really that much of a spoiled brat?"


"You may not want me as a mother," Robin jokingly says to Sean, and then Dr. Phil says, "I'm not sure you would want us as parents." He then asks Sean if he thinks he is spoiled. Sean says no.

After Sean admits that he pouts and complains when he doesn't get his way, threatens to pack his bags and leave if his parents aren't nice to him, and thinks he should be able to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, Dr. Phil asks Robin if she thinks he is spoiled.

Robin says he is, "Because he answered yes to all those questions."

Sean stands firm, "I still don't think I am." He explains, "I might get more of some things, but I don't get more of other things that I'd want. They buy me smaller things, and I'd like bigger things."

"But you don't have any problem accepting those small things."

"I feel like I should have to work for what I get, but they figure that I should work a lot more than I think I should," Sean tells Dr. Phil.

Sean's sister Jackie says that she thinks he is spoiled and over the top with his wants.

Dr. Phil asks Jackie and Sean's dad, Jeff, for

his view. "Didn't you kind of fess up that you tend to kind of give him some boy toys?"

"A lot of the things he has are things that he and I can use together," Jeff tells Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil acknowledges that Sean is intelligent, does well in school, and expresses himself well. He then asks the audience to raise their hand if they think Sean is spoiled, and most of them raise their hands.


Dr. Phil explains to Sherry and Jeff that they're doing Sean a disservice. "If you have a certain standard at home and then he goes out into the world and there's a different standard, he's going to have a lot of trouble." He then asks them, "Aren't you guys teaching him rules that are going to put him in conflict with the world once he gets out there?"

Sherry responds saying, "We try, and then he packs his bags."

"That is absolutely, unequivocally disrespectful," Dr. Phil tells

them. When Sean threatens to leave, they need to ground him and remove every luxury from his room. "I would take everything he entertains himself with that are privileges instead of requirements." If that doesn't work, they need to strip his bedding.

Dr. Phil continues, explaining that Sean needs to understand that his parents work hard and sacrifice to provide him with things, and those things are privileges. "If you don't teach him that work ethic and that value system, you are setting him up for failure in the world."