28 Former Spoiled Brats Share Their Wake-Up Calls

Each childhood is distinct—some easy, others challenging from the get-go. Lucky ones with lenient parents often confront life’s tough lessons later. The realization of privilege or a charmed life varies, hitting home for some when they venture out alone, and for others, only after a major life event shakes their perspective.

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.

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.

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..

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.

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.

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.

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.

Father died and gave his inheritance to his 25 yo gf

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

When I mistreated someone I cared about and they actually followed through with cutting me out of their life.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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