What is Emperor Syndrome? (Child Tyrant)

The syndrome of the emperor or the tyrant child is a behavior disorder where the son is the one who dominates his parents, and through shouting, anger and tantrums, he always does his will.

You do not know what to do. Your son is very demanding, he screams, he has tantrums, he exhausts your patience and you end up yielding to his demands.

Emperor syndrome

Be careful, it may be a case of this phenomenon. These are children or adolescents with strong character whose parents probably have not been able to place healthy limits to their behavior.

Emperor syndrome

The good news is you can do a lot about it; this syndrome can be reversed, although depending on the case it will require more or less work and patience.

Knowing this syndrome and how to educate your child is fundamental because you will give him a good education and you will maintain a healthy coexistence in your home.

Characteristics of the Emperor’s Syndrome

These are children or adolescents who generally seem insensitive emotionally, have little empathy, little sense of responsibility, no sense of guilt  for their attitudes and lack of attachment to their parents.

In general, the responsibility in this type of situation rests mainly on the parents, who have surely been too permissive and overprotective and have not been able to control or limit this type of behavior on the part of their children.

However, it is also true that the characteristics of today’s society, where individualism and consumerism predominate, and where it seems that desires should be fulfilled immediately and without any effort, are factors that favor this syndrome.

Statistics of the Emperor’s Syndrome

The family structure has changed a lot in recent times. Marriages dissolve, dad and mom soon have a new partner, single children abound and women tend to have their children later.

These are factors that make children seen as a precious asset that parents try to protect from all evils, giving them everything they ask for and more, giving them material things and satisfying all their desires without any consideration, even if their demands are crazy.

Nowadays many parents fear placing limits on the behavior of their children for fear of doing them some harm, but in fact the effect is exactly the opposite.

Children need discipline, they need their parents to put limits on them to feel safe and confident, and parents must be the ones to tell them how they should work in their lives because they do not have the maturity to do it for themselves.

Characteristics of the tyrant child

The child, whose behavior has not been limited or controlled by his parents, can become a tyrant child.

These children try to impose their will always, and if they do not at first achieve, they are aggressive, they make tantrums in public places and they do not manage to  control their anger, turning the day to day of the family in a permanent ordeal.

The parents end up giving up just getting some time of precarious peace. They try to avoid conflicts by giving their children everything they ask for without demanding anything in return.


The pampered child of the house becomes the king, he is the one in charge. Over time he becomes a tyrant. Even some parents come to fear their children and in the most extreme cases, teenage children mistreat their parents verbally and physically.

These are the main characteristics of the tyrant child:

  • He has an exaggerated sense of what he deserves. He hopes everyone around him will meet his requests.
  • Has low tolerance for discomfort, frustration or boredom. If he asks for something and his parents say no, he expresses his anger with fits of rage, screams and insults.
  • They show little ability to solve problems or face negative experiences.
  • He believes that he is the center of the world, he is selfish and individualistic. It demands the attention of everyone around you.
  • Look for justifications for their behavior. He is convinced that others are to blame for everything that makes him feel bad.
  • He lacks empathy, cannot put him in the other’s place and think about how others feel.
  • Ask for more and more things. And when parents give you everything you ask for, continue to ask for more.
  • In general, he does not question or feel guilty for his attitudes.
  • It discusses the norms that its parents try to establish and considers them unjust. Whether it is tiredness, annoyance or guilt, parents give in to the child’s claims.
  • He has difficulty adapting to the demands of situations outside the home, especially at school, because he does not respond well to authority figures or social structures.
  • He often feels angry, sad and has low self-esteem.

What the parents of a tyrant child should do

If you think that the situation with your child has reached a limit, it is time to do something about it. And if your son’s tyrannical behavior is not yet extreme but you’re worried, you must change your attitude before things get worse.

To stop the exaggerated demands of your child, you are the one who must take action in the first place. And over time, the demands and tantrums of your little one (or adolescent)  will also give way, if your wishes are not fulfilled after a tantrum.

Look at the following tips:


  • First, agree with your spouse on how to educate your child and how to act when the child has tyrannical behaviors.
  • It is very important that both of you stand firm in your position. If the child perceives that you disagree or that you are not convinced of what you are doing, take advantage of these fissures in your favor.
  • Establish clear rules and routines. There will be a schedule for meals, a schedule to do homework and study, and a time to go to sleep, which will be respected.
  • It is also good that the child has certain tasks at home and certain responsibilities, according to his age. You should take care of storing your toys, laying your bed, helping set the table, etc.
  • No threats. If you have established a certain “penance” or a “time out” as a mother or father, in case the rules are not fulfilled, then you should practice it when the little one transgresses the norm, without many words.
  • Surely there will be tantrums for a while. You have to take a deep breath and have patience. Children can be very perseverant and ask a certain thing thousands of times, to convince you by tiredness. You must not give in. Even if you feel very annoyed, if you said something that is not, then you should stick to it.
  • No squeals, hot flashes or smacks. Violence is never a good solution and you should not get up to your child’s temper tantrums.
  • Neither will discuss with your child and argue endlessly. The tyrant child will not consider your reasons. Explain why you said no to something or why you have established a rule just once, you do not have to repeat it a hundred times. When you insist on the same question, you can reply “I have already told you about this subject and I will not do it again”.
  • Gratify the child appropriately when his behavior is correct. The reinforcement of positive behaviors is fundamental to achieve a change in their attitudes.

If you try to apply these measures but you do not get it, or you think you did not get good results after applying them for a certain time,  then it’s time to make professional consultations.

The first step is to go to the pediatrician, to rule out any physical pathology. It is likely that you as a parent, and also your child, need to perform some kind of psychological therapy to provide you with tools to get out of this situation.

And in some cases, it will not hurt to consult the psychiatrist to rule out depression or other disorders that may be affecting the child or one of their parents.

Emperor’s syndrome in adolescents

If the problem is not solved, when your child is between 11 and 17 years old he will have become the real head of the family.

In the most extreme cases, these teens verbally and physically mistreat their parents, threaten them and even steal them.

This type of violence is not new, but in recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of cases.

According to data provided by the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the State of Spain, since 2000, allegations of violent behavior of children towards their parents have increased six-fold.

Also Read: What is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder?

And this could be just the tip of the iceberg, because most parents do not denounce their children and hide the problem because they seek to protect them.

In other countries, more research has been done on this subject, and the figures obtained are of real concern.

In a study conducted in the United States, children were found to have aggressive behavior toward their parents in 7% and 18% of traditional families. This figure rises to 29% in single-parent families. That is why it is so important to prevent the emperor’s syndrome.

Some experts are of the opinion that, in extreme cases, the problem is not only a matter of parental attitudes. It is likely that in adolescents who have aggressive behaviors towards their parents there is a genetic predisposition, some other associated disorder or influences of the extra-familiar environment  .

But being overly permissive and overprotective with your children will be detrimental to them anyway. When they are older they will be irresponsible, conflicting, they may be easily influenced by bad examples of friends and they may commit small crimes.

Surely you do not want this to happen to any of your children. So if you think that the emperor’s syndrome is slowly settling in your home, you should start taking action immediately.

And if you want to prevent such situations, please read the next section of this article.

How to Prevent Emperor Syndrome

Children should learn to tolerate frustration. This will be very useful for their adult life: many times they will not be able to get what they want, and must learn to coexist with frustration so that they do not dominate and can continue with their lives, being happy and working harder to  achieve his objectives.

Obviously, in the first months of life the baby should have his needs met immediately. But as of about the year, all  children need their parents to set clear rules and limits between behaviors that are appropriate and those that do not, between what is owed and what ought not to  be done.

As you will know, one of the favorite “sports” of children is to transgress these rules or tries to move those boundaries, and parents should be firm in their stance and not compromise on the rules that are really important.

Children of two or three years old often make tantrums to see if they can get their parents to give in, and it is essential to have  patience, not to give in and to know that your child will not be traumatic and will not do anything wrong for not getting everything what you want.

If parents manage to exercise their authority with affection and constancy, being congruent with their own sayings and attitudes, then there will be no tyrant children at home.

But if, on the contrary, parents give in to tantrums and do not dare to impose the slightest discipline, then the emperor’s syndrome may appear.

And do not think that in order to educate a child you must shout at him, much less resorting to physical violence.

It is perfectly possible to control this type of  behavior using “time out” (what was formerly called penance) and an appropriate system of rewards when the child has positive attitudes,  among other educational tools.

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