It is the result of too much 'love' being bestowed upon a child by one or both parents.
Spoiling can take many forms and be equally harmful in all of them.
Some children are over-indulged with an excessive number of toys and games as a baby and toddler and then showered with the very latest cult toys when they reach playground age.
Others are not quite so spoiled with material treats, possibly due to lack of financial means, yet are allowed to behave badly and develop poor social habits, resulting in a rude, obnoxious individual.
Parents who spoil their children are rarely tolerant of other people's spoilt offspring and see their own children as endearing characters with immense personal charm, although of course nothing could be further from reality.
Such parents almost never recognise that their children are becoming unpleasantly spoiled and manage to ignore any hint of criticism where their parenting performance is concerned.
The far reaching harm of such an upbringing can be very serious and result in a totally self motivated adult with little regard for anyone else.
Having been raised to believe that they themselves are the only important consideration, they grow to depend on coming first in all things in order to be happy.
This overflows into their own marriage and eventually their own parental abilities; and so the cycle continues.
In rare cases, the child's unpleasant behaviour is pulled up by the parent and a change is made for the better, sometimes with the intervention of grandparents or other relatives close to the child.
Well-to-do Victorian parents left the raising of their children mostly to resident nannies who were professionally trained to nurture their charges and turn them into models of deportment and sociability.
Although some of their methods were antiquated and unsuited to modern society, their basic principals were sound.
Victorian children ate simple foods, took plenty of exercise and received only one or two new toys each year which they treasured.
Children of today eat junk, veg out in front of the television and are showered with gifts at every birthday, Christmas, and every opportunity in between, most of which they hardly bother to look at once the wrapping is off.
Perhaps we should look backward for advice on parenting, rather than forward.