6 Huge Differences Between A Sassy Kid And A Spoiled Kid

Here's why sassy is better than spoiled when it comes to your kids.

Last updated on Sep 15, 2023

Sassy child Ashlee Thomas | Ashlee Thomas Photography

By Lauren Levy

Being the parent of an opinionated child isn't always the easiest task. While it's great that your child has strong beliefs and isn't afraid to speak up about their wants and needs, the ways in which they go about doing so can easily venture into undesirable territory.

However, children who boldly express themselves aren't all spoiled little ones with no sense of discipline. Many are sassy kiddos who are confident in their beliefs and are not afraid to stand up for them.


Check out these major differences between sassy and spoiled kids when the behavior can feel very similar to help you figure out if you're potentially raising a brat.

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Here are 6 huge differences between a sassy kid and a spoiled kid:

1. How they speak to you.

It can be hard to discern from their opinionated outbursts whether an outspoken child is acting spoiled or sassy. However, it becomes much clearer if you look beyond your child's bold opinions and at how they are choosing to express them.

Spoiled: They speak their minds but in a disrespectful way that you wouldn’t let others speak to you.


Sassy: They openly express their honest opinion (even if it’s one that you don’t necessarily want to hear) in a matter-of-fact manner without intentionally being rude.

2. How they view winning.

Whether your child is sassy or spoiled, he or she most certainly plans on winning. However, they view their wins in completely different ways.

Spoiled: This child expects to win because they don't know any other way. They haven't had to work for their major accomplishments and wouldn't know how to handle it if things didn't pan out.

Sassy: This child expects to win because they are confident in their abilities to achieve it. They plan on success because they know they can put in the effort to achieve it and aren't afraid of a challenge.


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3. Why they expect to get what they want.

Both of these children make their wants very clear, but they don't go about obtaining wishes in the same ways.

Spoiled: This child thinks it's enough to make their wants known until they get it. They believe that they can keep stating their desires until they get exactly what they want, and that's just how it works.

Sassy: Not only are these children outspoken about their wants, but they are also independent and work on their own to achieve them. They expect to get what they want but not from others — they're willing to take charge to make it happen on their own and are confident in their abilities to do so.


4. How they express themselves.

Both sassy and spoiled children make some noise, but this self-expression (often at a higher volume) is done in different ways.

Spoiled: These kids yell and scream when they don't get what they want. They oftentimes have major meltdowns when things don't go their way and even have trouble communicating their frustration in the heat of the moment.

Sassy: These kids are willing to argue for what they want, and even if their volume is elevated, they use their words to fight their battles.

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5. How they disagree.

Any child is going to be at least somewhat disappointed when things don't go their way, but when both sassy and spoiled children completely disagree with a decision or statement, they very clearly let their opinions be known.


Spoiled: These kiddos show their displeasure through defiance. When they disagree, they are literally defiant of the parent’s authority, and usually, it’s not in a polite or conversational way.

Sassy: Instead of getting defiant, these children opt for respectful disagreement. The difference is that respectful disagreement allows for appropriate questioning, invites conversation, and still recognizes that the parent is the final authority.

6. The reasoning behind the outbursts.

All outbursts aren't created equally, and the answer to whether your child is just being sassy or exhibiting spoiled behavior can be found in the reason behind their flare-up.


Spoiled: They act out as a way to get attention and speak their mind in an attempt to get what they want.

Sassy: They speak up because they are passionate about their opinions and aren't afraid to let others know their points of view.

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Lauren Levy is a freelance writer who has worked on staff at Fast Company, New York Magazine, the Fader, and Apple News. She is the founding Deputy Editor at the radical Jewish quarterly PROTOCOLS.