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Belated Child Discipline

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Spoiled Brats are generally some of the most insufferable characters in fiction, being extremely whiny, entitled, and self-centered to an insane degree. Worse, unlike more sympathetic antagonists whose rotten behavior is the result of a traumatic past, a Spoiled Brat's behavior is the result of being handed everything in life, their parents/legal guardians not disciplining them, and being shielded from consequences as a result of their family's money and/or connections. As such, a poetic form of karma for spoiled characters is to have them actually receive discipline for a change.

The reason why a spoiled character is finally being disciplined can vary; perhaps their parent/guardian(s) have finally gotten sick of their behavior and decide to be more strict with them or send them somewhere or someone who is willing to be more strict with them such as a Military School, a boarding school, or stricter relatives. Maybe the spoiled brat finally crossed a line which caused their parents to realize that they failed to raise their child properly, which leads them to try and be more strict to make up for their actions. If the brat's parents/guardians lose custody of them, their new guardians, while not necessarily strict or controlling, will certainly be less willing to tolerate spoiled behavior from their new child. If their spoiled character's Karma Houdini status is the result of money or connections, they will inevitably start suffering when they lose their power.

Depending on the story, this form of karma might be treated as either a form of "just deserts" or as an opportunity for Character Development. In works that use the former variation, the spoiled brat won't grow an inch of character and whine about being "abused." In the latter variation, the spoiled brat is likely to become a better person and feel ashamed about the type of person that they used to be.

Sub-Trope of Karma Houdini Warranty. Compare Break the Haughty and Humble Pie. A parent/guardian who does this is likely trying to be The Atoner. Overlaps with Anti-Nepotism if someone who once benefitted from Nepotism is forced to stand on their own two feet. Could happen alongside Calling the Young Man Out, The Dog Bites Back, and/or Break the Haughty. Silver Spoon Troublemaker comes into play if the character's parents are influential public figures.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Hello! Lady Lynn, Mary Waverly is constantly indulged by her rich grandfather Victor Reynolds. However, when Edward reveals to him that Mary is actually a Spoiled Brat who caused Vivian to become injured by slashing her equestrian equipment during a race, he is so angry that he decides to no longer support her. We don't see how exactly he punishes her, but it's implied she's in some deep shit... especially as Vivian's father and Mary's grandfather are business partners.
  • Is It My Fault That I Got Bullied?: Ai Nagumo is an Alpha Bitch Phoneaholic Teenager whose mother, Kyoko, is an outspoken education-critic... and utterly oblivious to how monstrous her own daughter is. After everything is revealed, Ai expects to be able to escape the fallout of her actions by studying abroad, only to learn that's not going to happen, since her parents' professional reputations have been completely destroyed. Kyoko expresses her disappointment and regret that she raised such a Spoiled Brat.
  • The Secret Garden: Because her parents didn't want to raise her, Mary Lennox was pampered by servants all her life. When her parents died and she was sent to her uncle's manor in Yorkshire, she found that the servants there were less willing to put up with her spoiled attitude, and became more independent.

    Fan Works 
  • Alysanne, Lady of Winterfell: In the prequel Jonquil sans Florian, Derryk Darklyn is extremely spoiled and willful due to being the heir and the only legitimate child in the family to survive past infancy. When he is eleven, his father realizes enough is enough and sends him away to squire for Lord Massey. Six years later, Derryk returns, having grown into a mature and responsible young lord.
  • Danny Phantom: Stranded: Donovan Loadman is the spoiled son of the good-hearted Reginald Loadman. When Reginald realizes just how much he spoiled his son, he decides to fix Donovan's bratty behavior by disinheriting him and forcing him to get a job. Reginald is even willing to go so far as to kick Donovan out of the house when he turns eighteen in the hopes that it will get him to shape up.
  • For His Own Sake:
    • After discovering just how toxic an influence Naru, Motoko, and most of the other Hinata Girls have been upon his daughter, Seta takes her away from the Inn and enrolls her in a public school. When that fails, he sends her Off to Boarding School at the strict Saint Clavicus. Sarah disowns him as her father, expecting the Hinata Girls to race to her rescue; when she finally realizes that none of them are coming, she begs to see him again, only to be reminded that she cut him out of her life and will have to remain at Saint Clavicus until she's ready for high school. Sarah is left regretting how she destroyed their relationship out of anger over not getting her own way.
    • Naru is even more of a Spoiled Brat than Sarah; having been a sickly child, she grew accustomed to her family doing everything they could to manage her illness, developing an entitled All Take and No Give attitude towards everyone around her and throwing fits whenever reality doesn't conform to her expectations. After Granny Hina realizes that she repaid all her years of kindness and catering to her every whim by abusing her grandson, even participating in a plot to kidnap and potentially murder Keitaro, and that she shows absolutely no remorse whatsoever and expects her to continue bending over backwards, she cuts her off. Naru then learns that her own mother refuses to take her back after how she treated them, and that nobody else is willing to let her cross the bridges she'd torched.
  • The Karma of Lies: Both Adrien and Chloé grew up in wealthy households; while her father was more of a pushover than Gabriel, both still ensured that their children could have all the material goods they could ever want and then some. While Chloé eventually has a Heel Realization about her bratty behavior and starts working to change her ways, Adrien remains convinced that he's entitled to getting everything he wants just because of who he is. Things change after his father gets arrested and he finds himself in the custody of his Aunt Amelie, who pulls him out of public school for his own protection and sets him up in a modest flat without any of the extravagant luxuries he's accustomed to. When he declares that he doesn't have to listen to her because she's not his father, she informs him that she is his legal guardian, and if he doesn't keep his grades up and his nose out of trouble, she'll ship him off to a Military School.
  • The Lament Series (ChaoticNeutral): Chloé's Lament has Chloé unintentionally doing this to herself; she's a Spoiled Brat who always gets away with her actions because her father is rich and is the mayor of Paris. The wish causes her to switch lives with Marinette, meaning that Marinette is now the daughter of rich and powerful parents while Chloé is the daughter of a baker. Since Chloé's father lacks money or power, it means Chloé's now suffering actual consequences for her actions. As a result, Chloé soon learns that she's on probation for trying to rob Marinette, and the only reason she's not in jail is because Marinette herself is nice enough to give her an opportunity to reform rather than ruin her life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In About the Little Red Riding Hood, the wealthy Spoiled Child thinks the world exists to do his bidding and is astonished and angry when Little Red Riding Hood scolds him for always relying on servants and refuses to be his friend even when threatened with lashes. Eventually, though, he listens to her, begins to do household chores (to his Idle Rich parents' horror), and ends up running alone through the woods to save Red Riding Hood's life.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Veruca Salt, the insufferable Bratty Half-Pint, gets everything she wants from her Extreme Doormat father. At the end, after she's gone through the garbage chute, she demands a glass elevator like the one Wonka has. Her father shushes her and insists the only thing she's getting is a bath once they get home.
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby: Ricky's two sons, Walker and Texas Ranger, are supremely rowdy brats who spend most of their time causing a ruckus that Ricky is usually all-too-eager to enable. When Ricky ends up losing his career as a racer, divorced from his Gold Digger wife, and is forced to live with his mother, Lucy, he brings his sons along with him. Alongside the main plot of Ricky learning to get his groove back is a subplot where Lucy puts her foot down over her grandsons' behavior and introduces "Granny Law" to whip them into shape. She ends up being quite successful, and by the end of the film, Walker and TR have become significantly more well-behaved and polite kids.

  • In the first Valdemar novel, Arrows of the Queen, one of Talia's tasks as the new Queen's Own Herald is "civilizing" six-year-old Princess Elspeth, who is currently known as the Royal Brat because the Queen has been busy and Elspeth's nurse has deliberately spoiled her rotten. Talia has plenty of experience in handling children, so she sets about delivering the discipline Elspeth has never had, mixed with the genuine love and support the princess has never had either. It pays off with remarkable speed: within a couple of months the Royal Brat is gone and Elspeth is on the way to becoming a worthy Heir to the throne.
  • Fire & Blood: Princess Saera Targaryen was dreadfully spoiled from a very young age and always given everything she wanted. At 17, she was involved in a scandal where it came out that she lost her virginity to three of her male friends and pressured her two female friends into losing theirs, with one getting pregnant. She was forced to watch her father King Jaehaerys kill the worst of her suitors, and afterwards was sent to become a silent sister (a nun, but with much stricter rules than even in the strictest convents of real life, including, among other things, an oath of silence), had her head shaved, was beaten with a cane for disobedience, and was forbidden from speaking. Sadly, it did not do much good; she endured it for a year and a half before running away and fleeing across the narrow sea to become a High-Class Call Girl in Lys.
  • Fudge: In the first book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter Hatcher feels as if his parents, Warren and Anne, favor his younger brother Farley, better known as Fudge, over him, because they are much more lenient when it comes to disciplining Fudge than they are with him. This is largely due to Fudge being a toddler and Peter being nine years old, so they have to take Fudge's level of maturity and understanding (or lack thereof) into account, while Peter is seen as being old enough to know better. In the subsequent books, Fudge grows older and his parents' expectations of his behavior increase accordingly, and consequently his bad behavior is both taken more seriously and punished more often. In the second book, Superfudge, Fudge and his friend Daniel both attempt to run away from home after Peter refuses to take them both on a picnic he's having with his friend Alex. Warren and Anne punish the younger boys by taking their bicycles away for a month, at Peter's suggestion. Fudge himself begins to experience this from the other side after his baby sister Tamara Roxanne (better known as Tootsie) is born, and Peter seems to grasp it on some level as he explains to Fudge what it's like to be an older sibling.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Rhett indulges his daughter Bonnie so much that the one time he's firm with her— telling her she must wait until she's older for him to buy her a bigger pony and buy her a higher jumping bar—he quickly gives in to her tantrums (unusually, shes actually Spoiled Sweet rather than the brat typically seen in this trope) and moves the bar higher, resulting in her death when her pony can't make the jump.
  • Malory Towers: Zigzagged with Gwendoline Stacy, who used to be homeschooled and was spoiled rotten by her mother and governess, resulting in her being lazy, vain, and catty. Her father sent her to Malory Towers partly in hopes that the school would knock some sense into her. Over the course of six books, she is repeatedly humiliated and/or punished for her misbehaviour, but any potential Character Development she might start to show would get undone when she goes home for the holidays, where her mother and governess would spoil her rotten again. It takes her father almost dying of a heart attack, forcing Gwen to withdraw from school, does the lesson finally sink in.
  • In The Orphanage Girls, Natasha Rumyantseva is a very spoiled but lowborn ward to a wealthy family. Her guardians die intestate and she is sent to a working-class orphanage, where she has to learn discipline and responsibility for the first time in her life. Sadly, it all hits a Reset Button after she is adopted by a rich guardian again.
  • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: A central character is Eustace Clarence Scrubb, who is over-indulged, has no friends, and is obnoxious in many ways, including showing off his knowledge of facts, while having no idea about feelings or stories. He frequently complains about the spartan conditions of the ship, having to work with everyone else, and early on, the mouse Reepicheep raps him with a rapier, and the narrative notes that he has never before been subjected to corporal punishment (which was commonplace in schools at the time the book was written). He undergoes Character Development over the course of the story, especially when he is transformed into a dragon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Full House: Of his three daughters, Danny Tanner finds it the hardest to discipline Michelle, his youngest, due in part to the fact that his wife, Pamela, was killed in a car accident when Michelle was a baby. This becomes a plot point in Season 4's "Crimes and Michelle's Demeanor", where he blames D.J. and Stephanie for things Michelle did, such as bringing her kiddie pool into the kitchen when she wants to go swimming. Eventually, the two older girls have had enough of being blamed for Michelle's troublemaking and stand up for themselves, telling Danny that he lets her do whatever she wants. Upon hearing this, Danny tries to deny it, but when he hears Michelle confirm this—"Yes, you do! I'm a little princess!"—he realizes that D.J. and Stephanie are right and he knows that he has to punish Michelle. He does so by giving her a Time Out.
  • In the Son of a Critch episode "That Was Me in Grade 9", Mark is repeatedly menaced by Baby Fox, the youngest of the Fox siblings, who gets away with everything both because his older siblings are terrified of him and because Mark technically started it by mouthing off at him, and Fox family rules say you never take crap from a non-Fox. However, after Baby takes it a step too far and pelts Mark with rocks, his big sister finally takes him aside and tells him that if he lays a hand on Mark again, she'll kick his ass so hard that her shoelaces will come out his nose. He leaves Mark alone after that.

  • In The Twelve Months, the teenage orphaned Queen is used to getting her way in everything. After she drags her entire court to the forest to pick snowdrops in January and threatens to execute the Girl for refusing to tell her where snowdrops can be found in winter, she is treated to a Break the Haughty courtesy of the Twelve Months. After experiencing a rapid change of all the seasons of the year in the course of a few minutes and seeing most of her courtiers except for the truly loyal ones abandon her, the Queen begins to learn to be more humble, wise, and kind.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Airi became a Spoiled Brat because of her mother Konomi's influence, often insulting her father Yutaka for not earning enough money. After Konomi loses custody of her due to going into debt, her new caretaker is shown reeducating her by teaching her basic manners such as saying "thank you" and "sorry."
  • Monirobo: Shiomi was favored over her stepsister Yoko due to her beauty. As a result, their parents spoiled her by forcing Yoko to do all of the chores while letting Shiomi treat her like a slave. After the parents get arrested for trying to force Yoko into sex work, Shiomi is adopted by relatives on her father's side, and calls Yoko to complain about how her relatives are abusing her. Said "abuse" consists of Shiomi having to do things like clean up her room, eat whatever food the family makes, and being scolded when she talks back; in other words, not giving her special treatment and holding her accountable for her actions.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Eustace Strych is a spoiled boy because his father is too soft to discipline him. At the end of "Billion Dollar Boy," Eustace's father manages to gain the will to ground his son after Jimmy's dad Hugh advises him to set limits. Sadly, it didn't stick, as Eustace returns in "King of Mars," having been ungrounded early. The reason?
    Eustace: Yes, well, my daddy's will is easily manipulated.
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: In "Reptiles in the Rose Garden", King Koopa has a hard time saying no to Kootie Pie, his Spoiled Brat of a daughter, especially since it's her sixteenth birthday. When Kootie Pie demands to have America for her birthday, Koopa gives in, taking her to the real word so she can take over America while he holds the President and the First Lady prisoner. After Mario rescues the President and the First Lady and foils Koopa's plan, Kootie Pie blames her failure on Koopa. Koopa finally puts his foot down and starts disciplining her, ordering her to clean her room, among other things.
  • Played for extremely dark humor on The Boondocks, where Robert loaning his belt to a woman at the grocery store instantly makes her grow a backbone and use it on her epically bratty son.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: In the episode "Out of Scale," Dale and Chip are captured and given to Buffy, the very spoiled daughter of a gangster named Ratso. At the very end of the episode, as Ratso, his goons, Professor Nimnul, and Buffy are being taken to jail, Ratso laments that his house, criminal enterprise, and fortune are gone. When Buffy whines that she wants a new toy, Ratso yells at her to "shut UP!", causing his goons to cheer for him.
  • Ducktales 2017:
    • Doofus Drake, after receiving his late Gummeemama's entire fortune, became unhinged to the point of turning his parents into servants in their own home. When Louie reprograms B.O.Y.D. to be Doofus's brother in "Happy Birthday, Doofus Drake!", giving B.O.Y.D. the right to half the fortune, Mr. and Mrs. Drake finally Grew a Spine and start disciplining Doofus.
    • In "Timephoon!", Della, recently-returned Missing Mom who is still adjusting to the role, is lenient with the triplets in their Uncle Donald's absence. After Louie's reckless time travel scheme almost hurts the family (as well as time and space), Della, whose own recklessness caused her to go missing in the first place, finally puts her foot down and grounds Louie, forbidding him from scheming. This continues in "Glomtales!", where Della bars Louie from joining their adventure to Big Rock Candy Mountain. This helps Della develop as a mom and helps Louie realize that while he's good at scheming, he needs to prioritize his family over himself. After Louie saves the family fortune from Glomgold, while Della holds firm that Louie needs to be careful, she agrees to help him think things through instead of banning schemes altogether, since Louie has proven he can scheme responsibly.
  • King of the Hill: In "Hank's Bully", Hank is pestered by a boy named Caleb, but when he tells his parents, they laugh it off. In the end, Hank has Bobby pester Caleb's parents the same way, with Hank saying the same things about his actions, which finally forces them to see that Caleb's behavior is unacceptable and that they have to discipline him.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Chloé Bourgeois, a spoiled brat and the daughter of the mayor, spent five seasons doing whatever she wanted and relying on her father deploying his wealth and connections to make sure she never suffered for it. At the end of season 5, though, her father gets fed up with his own corruption and resigns his office, eliminating his power and his ability to rescue Chloé from her own mistakes. Chloé responds by seizing control of the city in a coup d'etat (with the help of the supervillain Hawkmoth) but after she's defeated, her father sends her off to live with her mother (who is unimpressed by Chloé's antics and bluntly tells Chloé that she will no longer be permitted to do whatever she wants).
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Bought and Scold", after Princess (the Rich Bitch whose father lets her have everything) takes over the position of the Mayor and makes crime legal, the Powerpuff Girls take advantage of this by stealing her father's things. When she finally gets his belongings back, he appears behind her and taps a newspaper in his palm as Princess tries to explain herself. While we don't get to see what happens afterwards, it's rather clear he won't let her off the hook this time.
  • Rugrats (1991): Drew Pickles struggles to discipline his daughter Angelica, due in part to being a workaholic parent who tends to give in to her demands. However, as time goes on, he begins to punish her for her bad behavior. In "Runaway Angelica", he sends Angelica to her bedroom for playing in his office despite her having been repeatedly told not to, even going as far as not to fall for any of her "Sweet, apologetic child" tricks. In "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", she steals Chas' Latvian Folk dance CD and convinces Chuckie that it's his fault the CD got lost. When Drew finds out that Angelica stole the CD, he makes her apologize to Chas for taking it and forbids her from having dessert for a week.
  • South Park:
    • In "Tsst", Liane tries to finally set Cartman straight by calling in various experts. While the television nannies end up failing dramatically, dog whisperer Cesar Milan manages to succeed by applying his canine training methods on Cartman. This causes Cartman to realize what a Spoiled Brat he's been and changes his ways for the better. Unfortunately, it doesn't take since Liane realizes that besides Cartman she doesn't have anybody in her life, so she starts to spoil her son again.
    • In "HumancentiPad", after Liane tells Cartman that they can't afford an iPad, Cartman, being his usual self, is not happy. He repeatedly tells his mom to fuck him in the middle of the store. One Gilligan Cut later, and Cartman is seen crying in the car. In a rare instance, Liane actually stands up against her son, as they drive away from the store with nothing.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Montana Max is the meanest and richest kid in ACME Acres and enjoys making the lives of everyone else miserable for his own pleasure. In "Citizen Max", when his family becomes rich after winning the lottery, he kicks his own parents out of their mansion for making him eat brussels sprouts and takes total control. In the show's second season, Monty's parents assert themselves into his life. In "Fit to Be Toyed" (part of "Playtime Toons"), when Mr. Max catches Monty blowing up his old toys, he has them donated to Toys 4 Tots. He also takes away Monty's charge card to prevent him from buying any new toys, leaving Monty with only his imagination and a paddle ball to play with. In "My Dinner With Elmyra" (part of "Love Disconnection"), Mrs. Max makes Monty take Elmyra out for dinner and a movie, as the Duffs are close personal friends of her and Mr. Max. Monty initially refuses, but Mrs. Max threatens to take his allowance ($700,000.00) away, so he reluctantly does as she says.
  • This is what triggers the Character Development of Jeremy Creek in The Town Santa Forgot. Jeremy would demand every toy he saw and threw a fit when he didn’t get it. Ultimately, his parents finally put their foot down and refuse, leading to Jeremy trying to ask Santa for every toy made and the confused elves discovering the off-the-path town of Jeremy Creek.