"I'm worried I'm raising my children to be spoiled little brats."

I’ll be the first to put my hand up and confess that I am probably, sort of, highly likely to be…raising three very spoiled little brats.

It’s not like I give them absolutely everything they ask for, just most of it. Now I’m worried they’ll get the dreaded “affluenza” and end up like that knob from the U.S. who mowed down several people by drunk driving in his sports car and then went on the lamb with his mother who really should have known better.

That actually happened. I wish I’d made it up.

His name is Ethan Couch and after a night of drinking and partying at his home in Texas in the US in 2013, he decided to drive drunk and ended up slamming into a group of innocent people, killing four and injuring others.

He was 16 at the time.

Ethan ended up escaping jail with the help of his mother and fleeing to Mexico where they were subsequently arrested.

The story of Ethan Couch continues. Article continues after this video.

Video by CNN

It was after his initial arrest and first court appearance that the word “affulenza” was used to describe the Texas teen’s mindset ahead of the accident. Affluenza, according to Google search, is described as:

A psychological malaise supposedly affecting young wealthy people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation.

Ethan Couch’s defense team argued that the now 18-year-old was pampered and spoiled by his parents which led to his irresponsible behaviour.

They argued for rehabilitation instead of incarceration however since his escape and re-arrest all bets are off, for him at least.

For our kids, there’s still time to undo any damage we have done.

I’ve been called everything from helicopter mum to paranoid to over-protective when it comes to my parenting style, and that’s from friends and family. Even strangers notice how much I do for my kids.


I had some workers in my house a couple of weeks ago and the kids arrived home from school. I met them at the bus, helped them carry in their school bags, hung them up, got them all drinks and snacks, gave them lots of hugs and kisses.

One of the workers said, “Gee Mum, you’re kids have got it made” and Ethan Couch’s smug little face popped into my head.

I shouldn’t just focus on Ethan Couch.

There have been so many privileged young people who have gotten themselves into similar strife for similar reasons. I remember before I became a parent I heard a news story about the 17-year-old heir to the Faber Castell fortune who had wrapped his over-priced sports car around a tree.

My husband and I watched it and from that day on whenever he was tempted to spoil his boys from his first marriage, and later when we had our own children we’d say, “Faber Castell” every time we felt one or both of us was doing something that might spoil them.

I’ll be the first to put my hand up and confess that I am probably raised spoiled brats.

The last thing we want to do is to raise irresponsible, pampered, ungrateful trouble makers who are a blight on society. We want to raise happy, confident, grateful children who contribute to the world around them.

As I rush around the house making their beds and picking up their dirty clothes I wonder if in my quest to give my kids a better childhood than I have, I’ve taken it a few steps too far and am now pampering them.

It’s also much easier to just do everything myself instead of constantly nagging them to clean up after themselves which by itself can be even more exhausting.

Pick up your school bag…

Get your own drink…

Make your bed…

Feed the dog…

No you can’t buy more coding software/another bowling set/more Shopkins…

As I clearly descend into extreme parental paranoia I should also point out that I’m not the only one worried I’m raising spoiled brats.

Experts have weighed in on Aussie children and said they too are concerned about the consequences of their cushy lives.

New data from the Australian Early Development Census, out this week, has found that many young children lack emotional maturity which expresses itself as aggression, disobedience, refusing to help others, being inattentive and being easily distracted.


Kids these days are also struggling to get along with other kids, accepting responsibility for their actions and following rules.

The more privileged the kids, the worse the results.

Jo Abi with oldest son Philip, 12.

Clinical psychologist Heather Irvine-Rundle told News Limited that she sees this kind of behaviour all the time. “It’s absolutely an epidemic.”

“Some of the children we’re starting to see have a personality in which they’re much more demanding, and you start to see what’s called histrionic personality disorder — that is, the drama queen. They’re demanding, self-centred and (have) a lot of emphasis on appearance, as well as extreme difficulty making relationships based on values and connections around shared senses of love and trust. We have a lot more histrionic kids coming into our schools than we’ve ever seen before.”

I wouldn’t call my children demanding or histrionic, yet, however I do feel as though they have the potential to be damaged by their pampered little lives, enough to pledge right here and right now that I will start doing less for them each day.

I will do less, make them do more and ensure they contribute to the running of the home they live in.

They are 12, 8 and 6 and it’s about time they did something to help their own lives run smoothly.

I’ll start by leaving their school bags where they drop them, getting them to help themselves to snacks and drinks and ensuring all dirty clothes are put in the laundry basket by them.

Each of them will be given a job:

Philip, 12, can take over the feeding of our dog;

Giovanni, 8, can start doing something (not sure yet, he’s on the autism spectrum so I will ask his OT);

Caterina, 6, has just learned how to do laundry, although it takes her a while to get it all in there but so what? At least she’s doing something:

And here’s the catch. They will not be paid for their chores. They won’t be doing any of these things for money.

They’ll be doing them because they should do them. In the olden days all kids had chores and what they did was crucial to the running of the home which normally doubled as a farm.

Our lives certainly are privileged and cushy and I don’t see a problem with that, as long as they appreciate it, as long as they are grateful for it and as long as they do something to contribute to it.