The Opposite of Spoiled: Summary of Ron Lieber’s book

The Opposite of Spoiled by Ron Lieber – Book Summary ———GetNugget

Do you want to raise a spoiled child? Are you afraid of having too much or too little? (Find below the summary of book and some of the best nuggets – visual quotes from books )

“People are not dispassionate about money, and they’re certainly not calm and rational about their kids.”


'Children aren't naturally born spoiled. It's an adult choice to grow up a smart adult .' @ronlieber Click To Tweet

And I couldn’t agree more. This phrase practically describes best the daily context of our life as parents while they are struggling to not raise a spoiled child.

Despite our emotions, we keep trying to rationalize all the things that are related to “money”.

On the other hand, despite a demanding future, which puts us in the position of analyzing everything in a very rational manner, we are still strongly emotionally connected with our children. However, childcare experts agree that emotional bond – existing between child and parent, must not stand in the way of rationality and impartiality. The many things that are easier said than done correlate with this “methodology”. Raising a spoiled kid is a phenomenon which affects the entire community. People often think, “I am The Owner” of this child, maybe not expressed with words as much as with thoughts and behavior.

“The Opposite of Spoiled” is a book which covers all the areas related to all stages of child-growth. From very young age to adulthood, you’ll get an insight on how a parent should behave and the benefits emerging from such behavior. Ron Lieber draws examples from his life, and from other experiences that he witnessed. GetNugget presents this book summary as an intro of what is yet to come. The credit goes to author’s openness and transparency to share all kinds of examples that are omnipresent among the people in different countries and cultures. A spoiled child is a “rabbit in a hat” waiting to rise again.

And when it comes to the money conversation, we spend valuable time to figure out how we should best approach this topic.

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But time is not on our side. Sooner than we even think we will be hit by questions like:

  • “Why is that person asking us for money at the red light?”
  • “Shouldn’t we give our second home to someone who doesn’t have one?”
  • “Do you make less money than Daddy?”
  • “Are we poor?”
  • “Are people with nice clothes lazy?”

Simple questions, complex answers. Ron Lieber puts some tips in this book – “The Opposite of Spoiled” – to help us figure out which will be the best way to answer.

In fact, this book seems to be – even from the beginning – like a solution to a math problem.

Maybe just because it is about money. And how and when we should talk about it. Financial means math after all and we have all the data available to describe the situation:

The problem: how to start the money conversation? “talking about money at all[…] is just too uncomfortable.”

The analysis of it: Even if kids are naturally curious about money topics, usually parents react by rejecting: “None of your business’ is a typical reply, which isn’t particularly nice, nor is it particularly true.” and avoiding the conversation: “Silence also happens to be very convenient. It makes it easy for those of us who have a mortal fear of the money topic”.

By acting like this, parents tend to skip 3 important ideas:

  • “Wonder is just one or two short steps from worry.”
  • “Reticence can be so strong that it sometimes manifests itself physically”
  • “Talking about money leads inevitably to strong feelings and conflict.”

a spoiled child

Solving algorithm: this is based on some subliminal rules:

“The fantasy that there is any way to protect children from anything… I mean you have to arm them. This is human self-defense!”

The hidden message of offering the truth to children is that you and your children can work together to manage difficult issues.

There is one answer that works best for any and every money question. The response is itself a question: Why do you ask?

Implementation path:

  • “Because the future is unknowable, it’s probably best not to make any guarantees.”
  • “Values should drive behavior. And you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what makes you whole as a human being. That’s worth teaching.”
  • “The lesson is that you can buy things, just so long as you do things.”

a spoiled child

  • “Teaching our children the ability to wait is a big part of our overall goal”
  • The want versus need test will inevitably come up as our kids get older and start to question the fairness of parental spending decisions.”
  • “Let them invent a new gratitude ritual for the family to adopt. If the kids’ efficient method?oversee it, it may feel less like some kind of daily chore.”

Analysis of algorithm complexity: was this the shortest, easiest, most efficient method? It’s difficult to have an answer to this if we don’t experience the steps above. Fortunately, we’ll find in this book plenty of examples which can be for a while a substitute for this experience.

Following the 9 chapters of this book, you’ll find out valuable information on topics like:

  1. Why do we need to talk about money?
  2. How to start the money conversation
  3. The allowance debates
  4. The smartest way for kids to spend
  5. Are we raising materialistic kids?
  6. How to talk about giving
  7. Why kids should work
  8. The luckiest
  9. How much is enough?

After a good read of this book, finally the conclusion will be inevitable:

”‘There Click To Tweetfeared that they would somehow raise a spoiled child.’ @ronlieber”]

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