As adults, we live in a world of reality.
One where we have to work hard for our money, so we can pay for the things that our family wants and needs.
A world where life isn’t always fair, we don’t always get what we want and it’s ok because life goes on anyway. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the same world some of our children are living in.
Personally, I want to raise respectful, well-mannered, well-adjusted children who are going to make capable, well-functioning, self-sufficient adults someday. So, I am trying to curb the attitude of entitlement in our home, by attempting to eliminate these few things from our daily lives.
Too many of us foster guilt because we can’t give our kids everything they want or they aren’t happy all the time. It is important for kids to learn that they won’t always get their own way or get what they want, and that life isn’t all roses and sunshine.
Teach your kids to experience life as it actually is, even in its painful and sad moments and even when they aren’t getting what they want. Children learn so much from everything they experience even the bad things, they will build stronger character, learn coping skills and gain emotional control and understanding.
Do your kids think money grows on trees and seem to have no respect for how hard you are working to earn it? Do your kids break or lose things and just expect they will be replaced?
Just as your household runs on a budget and it is important to stick to it, it is important to involve your kids in the realities of money including spending limits.
Kids need to learn that sometimes in order to get something you want, you need to save first or perhaps forgo it completely if it really is just a want.
Some important words I like our kids to hear us say are “no, we can’t afford it right now,” “we have to save for it” or “we just don’t need one/it/them.” They need to learn the difference between need and want and how to prioritise accordingly.
These are some of the factors that cause children to have a warped sense of entitlement.
1. Centre of the Universe Children
It’s important to have your own life and teach your children to respect that the world doesn’t revolve around them and everyone is equal and individual
Nowhere else in their life will the universe revolve around their axis, so fostering this mentality at home will only cause problems in other environments like school. It’s also not healthy for us as parents to have no interests or lives outside of our children, we were people too before we had kids, don’t lose touch with that person!
2. Made Up Awards
We have all seen these: participation awards, everybody gets a ribbon, these drive me crazy. It is just as important to lose as it is to win. Kids learn lots from both experiences and all lessons are important. When did it suddenly become unacceptable to lose?
Why do we feel such a need to protect our kids from a simple reality? Kids are tough they bounce back and get on with it because it’s not a big deal, it’s the adults here who have developed some fragility about losing.
3. Fixing All Their Problems For Them
No parent likes to see their child struggling, but you need to ask yourself whether their struggle is teaching them or tormenting them.
If it is tormenting them, obviously, you would step in and assist, but if you are intervening all the time before they have a chance to problem solve, learn and figure it out for themselves, then you are doing more harm than good.
Unless you’re planning on shadowing your child their entire life (creepy!), you will not always be there, so it is vital they learn to problem solve situations for themselves.
4. Too Much Stuff!
Once a year, we do a cull in this house. The kids help and we donate or sell what we have that is no longer needed. We find numerous toys, clothes, bits ‘n pieces from everywhere that just don’t get used are no longer needed or that were a waste in the first place, so out it all goes. I am teaching my kids three lessons here: the first is about charity for those less fortunate.
The kids know our donations are helping someone who needs it much more than us, including other children who may get their donated toys. Secondly, they learn from selling some of their own stuff, about taking care of things, the value of things and handling their own money.
Lastly, they learn about appreciation for what they have and knowing when someone else would appreciate something more than they do.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
Kids these days want everything now, but just because I have a smartphone doesn’t mean my son should get one at whatever tiny age he starts asking for one.
His expectations are unrealistic and he needs to know that there are some things kids just don’t need and definitely won’t be getting for a long while regardless of how much he thinks he needs or want it.