Every kid grows up differently. Some have it easier, others have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have from the get-go. Those who are lucky and have their parents spoil them find out how harsh life can be only later in life.
This moment comes at different times for different people. Some spoiled kids realize how good they had it once they leave the nest. Others only understand how coveted they were after a certain tragedy. One Redditor was curious to know the experiences of these children. So they asked: “Ex-spoiled kids, what [were] your reality checks?”
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I always thought that if people actually tried to live frugally they wouldn’t complain. Now I realize that even if you’re single, have a tiny apartment with roommates, an old clunker, eat rice and beans, etc: you can barely make enough to live, much less set aside money to hopefully own a home one day without Mom and Dad’s help. Actually crazy how much life costs and how little we make.
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I had a few reality checks. The first major one was during a Christmas gathering where my nephew received 2 new Playstation consoles and 1 new Xbox console. The idea was to send a Playstation to each parents house as they were separated. His comment was “is that it?” The amount of red that I saw was insane. I was a spoiled brat but I never made a comment quite like that. Made me realize how insufferable it is to be around a spoiled brat.
Second was when my mom had a stroke. Found out she took out a lot of loans in secret to afford a lifestyle facade. I was used to my mom fixing all my problems whether it be monetary or education based. We were told my mom would have 48 hours to live – needless to say I sobered up quickly and got my s**t together.
Nearly 9 years later and both mom and I are doing great!
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I failed out of an rich kid private college and the only place that admitted me was night school at a large public university. For the first time I was surrounded by working class people who were busting their a**es to improve their lives, working one or two jobs while going to school. Changed my perspective. That and a couple girlfriends (one now my wife) who were the first in their family to go to college who kicked the rich kid arrogance out of my sorry a*s.
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When I mistreated someone I cared about and they actually followed through with cutting me out of their life.
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Got to college and I was genuinely pretty shocked that everyone else didn’t have month long vacations in the south of France eating in Michelin star restaurants etc. Must have seemed like a real d**k to quite a few people.
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Father died and gave his inheritance to his 25 yo gf
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Having a disabled child. I was an only child with a supportive dad and stay at home mom and I had a great childhood with very few responsibilities. When my first child was diagnosed with multiple lifelong disabilities I knew I had to grow up and put her first and be her advocate. It has made me a better person for sure.
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At the age of 13 I went from living in a mansion to sleeping in a car because it turns out my dad had committed many white collar crimes and our bank accounts were frozen & assets seized.
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There were a few small things that helped me realise I had it pretty good.
Learning that people waited until the last possible moment to turn the heating on, and not just having it come on automatically when it was cold.
Realising there were people who had to share rooms with their siblings.
My friend being shocked that my fridge had an ice dispenser and 2 doors.
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My mom had her own salon and I worked for her. I was a very spoiled, entitled and irresponsible 21 yo. I would party all night, come home at 4am and then go into work 30 min late without telling my mom. I thought I did a better job than everyone. I looked down on my moms employees. I didn’t care about customers and treated them badly. The list of negatives could go on and on.
Anyways my moms brother, my uncle, died unexpectedly. They were extremely close in every way almost like twins. My mom had a complete mental break down and stopped going into work immediately. I had to step in to take care of her business and employees while she took time off to mourn. She ended up taking 4 months off and went on a once in a lifetime all around the world vacation to cope with her grief. I literally had to take on a million responsibilities overnight. In those 4 months I took care of every single aspect of the salon without prior business knowledge. I realized how difficult having a business was and how ignorant I was before.
I got my c**p together real quick to save my family’s business and keep it afloat while my mom was gone. I really grew up from that experience and I’m glad I went through it. I never once took my mom, her business, customers, income or people in general for granted ever again
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I was “spoiled” in the sense that I was infantilized. I didn’t move out until I was 23. Having to keep up with all my own stuff, including life skills I was never taught, was a smack in the face.
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My parents were super wealthy so all my siblings and I were spoiled. My brother however despised my parents and was super rebellious so he always rejected their help. As soon as he turned 18, he went to university, was able to pay for it himself through scholarships, part time jobs, paid internships and student loans. I remember visiting him during his uni years, asking if he needed money (I was younger than him btw) but he refused any help. His living conditions were absolutely horrible. He would rent a locker on campus, put all his stuff inside and sleep on campus. He constantly looked for free food anywhere and everywhere. That’s when I started to realize how hard life would really be without my parents support. It gave me a new appreciation for my parents but I also started to respect my brother a lot more. Always thought he was just a delinquent lol
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When my parents got divorced because my dad decided that drugs and hookers were more important than his family.
All my friends from my private school stopped talking to me because I was no longer ‘one of them’.
And I had to transfer to a public school. I pretended it was because I wanted to be in a co-ed environment and try out for cheerleader, but the reality was, we couldn’t afford it any more.
My horse was sold.
Then the IRS came after my family for back taxes and took my mother’s bank account, our house and sold our belongings – including my white princess canopy bed.
And to top it off – we had to move into the ‘projects’ after that.
This was in the 70s.
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As my daughter got older, I realized my financial illiteracy was a real hindrance in life, coupled with the fact my parents never instilled any sort of work ethic in me as a teenager. My daughter will be getting a part-time summer job when she turns 14 and will need to contribute a portion to her savings account. When she starts driving, she’ll need to contribute to her insurance/gas costs.
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When I was complaining to a college classmate about how my laptop battery wouldn’t last for a whole class and I was really hoping for a new one from my parents for Christmas. I then learned her parents were homeless and she was just hoping by Christmas they’d have a roof over their heads. Big wake up call. We remain friends to this day.
My friend who’s unaware that he’s rich thinks that his laptop is terribly outdated after a year so he wants to constantly have a new one yearly.
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Once my roommate moved in I realize how privileged I was. She does not have a good relationship with her parents, so they don’t help her with anything, I on the other hand, have a very good relationship with mine. they help me with absolutely everything. I sat down and explained my finances to her and casually told her about how my mom pays for my car bill and my car insurance and how if I’m ever short on money, I can easily just text my parents and ask them for it, she stared at me like I came from another planet. I didn’t realize until then it wasn’t like that for everybody else. Ever since then I’ve taken steps to take more accountability with my own finances, I stopped shopping as much as I used to, and definitely second-guess going out for the night needlessly. Seeing how hard she struggles when I’m pretty much doing just fine really opened my eyes on how hard it actually is out here. So for now I pay all the bills when they’re due and she pays me her half when it works financially for her and although I’m still spoiled in many ways I’ve managed to find a way to make it work for her and I in our favor. Bills due now but you won’t have the money till next week? Okay, I’ll call my parents and they’ll pay it and when she has the money I just give the money to my parents to pay them back. You can be spoiled and still find a find a way to share the privilege if you care enough.
Father passed away. He gave me everything I needed and wanted. Instead of an inheritance, I received all his lawsuits and debts. All of a sudden I had to grow up… It took me years.
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I did not grow up rich, but I was decidedly middle class. My wife grew up poor.
I remember a blowup once when I mentioned that I had randomly bought lunch for myself when I was out for a personal errand. My wife was *in tears* when I got home, asking how I could have spent that money randomly without checking in first with the family budget.
That was my first reality check, that even a middle-class lifestyle could be unobtainably rich for so many people.
Now, a couple of decades and one oil-company inheritance later, my wife and I make absolutely sure we don’t live beyond the means of our younger selves.
I wasn’t spoiled, my parents provided a very average middle class upbringing, but being from the SF Bay Area, the value of the house my parents had bought in the 1970s had skyrocketed over time.
After watching Fresh Prince of Bel Air one day, I ran downstairs to my dad who was sitting on the ground, sweating from hours of pulling weeds from his garden and said, “Dad, you should become a millionaire so we can have a butler!”
And he just looked at me and said, “Goosfrabbah, I am a millionaire…” And just went back to weeding.
That one will always stick with me
Becoming an adult and realizing I can’t just drop 20K on shopping to make me feel better.
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Doing habitat for humanity like trips to West Virginia and Nicaragua. Seeing other people’s homes in disrepair and then building a personal relationship with the home owners hits differently. These people were just born into their situation just like I was born into mine. It made me appreciate the stuff I have more
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I am the second child who got everything he wanted. My sister was the one to compromise everything for me. I wanted new phone, i got it. I wanted a new computer, i got that too. Basically everything i wanted i got it. While my sister was still using her old stuff. Now comes the part where at some point i realized this is wrong. When i go over memories of me getting the stuff i wanted my sisters eyes pop up, and they look sad man.. I ruined her childhood. I just wanna roll into a ball and cry.. not for me but for her. I was a horrible brother we fought a lot and everything had to go my way. We are grown ups now and every now and then when i look at her i feel shame. She has a beautiful family and is doing financially light years better than me. I’m so happy that she’s getting everything she wants but i know i will never get rid of the shame of what a spoiled kid i was..
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I was late to the game when it came to applying for colleges my senior year of high school, so when I accepted to go to a school 8 hours away from my hometown, I had missed the deadline to apply for a dorm or nearby apartment. I ended up living in a house four miles away from campus with no car, and with the nearest bus stop being a 30 minute walk through tall grass next to a busy street with no sidewalks. I missed my bus the very first day of class and started sobbing. I called my mom and she empathized, but there was nothing she could do. That was the day I realized I had to start figuring things out on own and life would no longer be easy.
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I went through the unemployment process and realized how very privileged I was to have a college degree and a car paid for by my family to lean back on when I lost my job. The discussions were u comfortable because I didn’t wanna reveal that I couldn’t relate to their struggles.
Many people have nothing and have to rely on except for themselves, through no fault of their own. I felt like such a brat going to the required classes to learn employment skills I already had that were so easy for me but were difficult and necessary to learn for many of the folks in them.
I always knew I was kinda privileged, but holy c**p I didn’t realize the gap just between blue collar and middle class.
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My dad loved me by buying me whatever I wanted. I was honestly pretty entitled about it. One year around my 15th or 16th birthday I asked for a laptop. He had already gotten me an old one from his work, but I couldn’t play Oblivion on it and the battery didn’t last long so I wanted a new one.
My dad got turned down for a bestbuy credit card right there in front of me and I didn’t get my laptop. It was one of the most uncomfortable 30 minutes of my life. He got me the laptop the next week, and I don’t know how. It was such a shellshock because before that moment, it never occured to me that his resources were limited and he was making sacrifices to give me things.
I didn’t want to embarass him going forward, but I also didn’t want to anything as expensive as a laptop, so every christmas became a complicated dance of trying to figure out how his year was and what I could ask for without putting him out.
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That you had to pay your debts back and debt was a real, countable thing. I always chalked it up to this imaginary thing that wasn’t a big deal. Oh boy.
I used to think “I don’t have any debt, I don’t have a credit card, or a car, or a mortgage so I’m debt free!” Then I remembered the govt paid for my uni degrees, and that that debt was indexed at the current rate of 7.10%, meaning I may never pay it off.
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My mom got seriously ill in cancer and ended up in the ICU for five months. I had to get my s**t together real quick now that she couldn’t fix my messes anymore.
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My dad read the book “Tough Love” and took it very seriously after I had two unsuccessful attempts at different colleges. Had to move out at 19 and it was challenging to say the least. Honestly I look back and think, I wasn’t a bad kid, just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I would never do the same to my kids, even though looking back I’m able to appreciate it as it made me stronger. (And earned my bachelors at 25) My brother and sister both stayed pretty sheltered and it still drives me nuts sometimes and we are in our 50s now!
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I lived a cushy life in a high income area raised by a single mother. We weren’t always well off, but I was too young to remember and was treated very well despite that.
I got a girlfriend who was mixed and from the low-income area around me. My mother hated her and constantly made comments about her. I then realised, “oh, she’s racist and classists, wtf”.
Eventually, my mother hated her so much, I was kicked out of the house and was forced to move in with them. Now I live in a household with some financial issues and pay rent support them. Wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Dad worked in upper management for ExxonMobil. We had a very privileged up bringing. Private international education, trust funds (which i blew threw in two years after high school), if we flew we always travelled first class business, big house, cleaners and maids…you get the picture.
Long story short I was cut off by the time I was 20. I wasn’t attending university or college and working some dead-end job with zero prospects. Decided to live internationally, met a woman, married her and she pushed me to find a career. Now we own a house on 3 acres of land in the country side next to a lake in Nova Scotia. And I work a blue collar job in an industrial factory. I love our life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I love my father and he taught us a valuable lesson. Privilege is earned, not given. Work hard, live hard, love hard.
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Joining the workforce. Very first day of my first job I was like “Oh s**t, this is what everyone was complaining about.”
Omg I know. I was flabbergasted when I got my first full paycheck & had nothing leftover paying off my car, phone, insurance, credit card & medical insurance payments. I was like wtf mom how do you guys afford groceries, 2 cars and all this big house!!!
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Sometime when I was a teenager, I realized my experiences growing up was not like other kids. Some of my friends said I was rich and I honestly didn’t see it at the time. I thought my parents house was average, but it wasn’t.
Living in my own in one of the most expensive cities in the planet was a baptism by fire. You learn very quick where your dollar should go and where it shouldn’t.
I got my first job at 19. They asked me to mop. I figured, I’ve seen people mop, right? I got this.
I did not have it.
I honestly can’t really comprehend Now what I could’ve done wrong but I was very embarrassed while being corrected on a normal every day task and I was teased a while at work after. (Also I looked up videos on sweeping.)
When I was living in my own apartment the first time (now 23) and called my dad panicked the first time the toilet clogged asking how to fix it.
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When my father died. I suddenly went into protective mode for my mother, and younger siblings. My mom had always been a SAHM and although we had an amazing support system from her family, emotionally I was not equipped for such a loss. My younger brother also switched majors, quit partying and cutting class and started a very successful business. The sense of responsibility was overwhelming.
Moving away from Seattle for the first time. I grew up feeling embarrassed because we lived in a “modest” house ($2m), compared to the >$10m mansions my friends lived in. At one point after a date I had them drop me off down the street and I walked home because I didn’t want them to see my house. A literal $2m house. Moving out of that bubble/buying a house of my own really smacked me in the face with reality of how most people live and now looking back I can’t help but laugh a little at the ridiculousness of it all.
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When I discovered things like electricity and water come with monthly bills.
That hit me when I got to college and did off-campus apt living with some friends. I had zero understanding that I had to pay for water… You can imagine my confusion even more when I had to put in $1.25 for the washing machines every week… First thought I had was “who tf carries around loose change?” Now I have a little coin separator thingy in my car at all times and keep about $5 of loose change in it just in case!
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My family was middle class but treated me like they always had plenty of funds. When I heard that they took $ out of their retirement savings so I could go to private university, I turned in my transfer notice and came back to an in-state college and picked up a job as well.
Yea sounds like they knew they raised them right and it was a worthy investment. I think some need to differentiate spoiled vs privileged.
For me it was going to college and finding out that not everyone’s parents pay for it. I was fully aware of how expensive it was, my dad took out a loan to pay for my sisters education, but the fact that some people MY age were taking out loans themselves was eye opening. It helped me resolve a lot of identity issues too though. In middle school I started to resent the “rich / popular” kids because I didn’t want to be grouped in with them. It wasn’t until college that I realized the reason why was because I didn’t want my “rich kid” status to invalidate my struggles.
Now days I’ve finally come to simply be grateful for the opportunities and support that I’ve had, and try to do the same for the people around me.
The moment I realized my friends in college who had to take loans weren’t doing it that way because their parents were jerks or because they were obstinately “Paying my own way.”.
Until that realization, my understanding of the world was that’s just how it worked. You got to college and your parents paid for it. That’s when I started looking around at the world around me.
Parents have always made good money, but I had no comprehension of what that meant growing up. Basically whatever I wanted I got (within reason of course, I wasn’t obnoxious or rotten about it). But once I got my own apartment in college and had to pay my own rent and such it was very eye opening just how expensive I was used to living. Like my parents don’t look at prices when they grocery shop and my mom will just decide to redecorate a room every couple of years and that sounds crazy to me
Going over to my friends house where no that food isn’t just for anyone and we can’t go to that fun thing unless you can pay for gas.
Went to boarding school at 10, shared a room & one bathroom with 20 other girls & realised no one was going to conform to my morning & bedtime routines. Also I was unpopular because I really was an odd little bird. Really was a smack in the mouth, both literally & figuratively. To this day I love my own space but I get on really well with people, even when I have to fake it.
My father lost his business and all his money while I was a sophomore in high school. Had to move from Mexico City, where my parents were the top 10% to rural South Dakota to live with my grandparents while my parents picked up their lives. Went from having everything I wanted to given to me to “if you want it, you have to earn it”.
I learned a lot my last 2 years of high school. How to shovel pig s**t for one (that smell doesn’t go away quickly). I learned that I’m never too good for hard manual labor. Bought my first car, had to learn how to fix it and make it road worthy. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep at night, get up the next day and push forward and toughen up along the way. Thirty years later, I’m very thankful for those lessons.
Seeing my friends and in-laws struggle to afford extracurriculars for their kids. Growing up in a high-income area, everyone I knew (myself and my siblings included) participated in activities like Girl Scouts, dance, gymnastics, soccer, softball, etc. There was never any question of affordability and uniforms and gear were always purchased brand new.
Now I see parents in my age group (early 30s) only being able to afford one, MAYBE two extracurricular activities per year. Girl Scouts, gymnastics, and clubs like the YMCA are too expensive. Dance classes for my niece were gifted as a birthday present and leotards were purchased used from thrift stores. She can’t do gymnastics because it’s way too expensive.
Definitely made me feel privileged and somewhat ashamed at how I took those opportunities for granted. My partner and his siblings never did anything outside of the included school activities due to their family being tight on money growing up. His siblings with kids want to give their kids more than they had, but it’s so expensive.
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Not really spoiled, but many of the adults in my life as a child thought it was a good idea to infuse me with an abundance of “I am the main character” energy. Parents, teachers, folks at church, all of them. It was a f*****g rude awakening in my 20s when I went out into the world and discovered everyone didn’t exist to open doors and grease the skids for me.
Finished college and moved from my small town in the South to NYC – got a job at a law firm that specialized in foster care and adoptions. It exposed me to reality, and people who were on the opposite of policies and politics I was raised with. I will be forever grateful for that job as it made me into the person I am today – I’m a bit of a black sheep to my family now but I’m proud of what I stand for.
My dad stopped paying for my bills when I was around 25, and although I was working, all my income was disposable. One day I guess he said enough is enough and I suddenly realised that my wage was barely enough to live on, let alone go out for brunch, drinks, buy designer clothes and all the rest.
Whilst I am forever appreciative of how much he helped me and for how long he supported me, I wish he had pulled back earlier. I learnt lessons later than all my peers, and when all my friend were starting to come out of min wage jobs and beginning real careers in their mid twenties, I was plunged into freshman poverty with ramen noodles and bus riding.
£55 a month for a phone bill suddenly seemed luxurious and don’t get me started on my withdrawals from Uber. But I learnt to stand on my own two feet and have promised to teach my kids these lessons much earlier.
I got pregnant and realized I had to care for this little human on my own. Take care of a house on my own, cook, do all the things normal humans do. And then my husband died and I really got a reality check because he just took over for my parents when we got together. Did everything, cooked, I never paid a bill… I didn’t have to carry the diaper bag or stroller or baby when he was around… and then BAM! Real life.. 5 years out & grateful for the growth.
I (22M) used to get lots of toys in the mail as a kid. One day, when I was around 6 or 7, I didn’t get a package in the mail and I chucked a huge tantrum. My parents immediately told me they were no longer giving me toys in the mail, and they followed through. From that day on, I didn’t get any more packages.
It’s not a big story, but it was a huge lesson on humility and being grateful for what I have no matter what.