5 parenting tips for battling a child’s entitlement mentality.
I’m sure we’ve all heard how terrible the world is these days. So much is being blamed on how entitled people are becoming.
I see it all the time.
The driver who refuses to follow traffic laws because she needs to get across the road now. It didn’t matter she almost caused an accident with the oncoming car who had the right of way.
The moms who cut in car line at school pick up. It doesn’t matter to them you’ve been waiting 30 minutes or more, nor does she care that those (now) behind her will have to wait 5 extra minutes because her child hasn’t been called to the line for pickup.
The kids who talk during meet the teacher at orientation. They (and their parents) don’t mind that you’re missing vital details about how the class and your child’s teacher operate. And, it certainly doesn’t matter to them if you have to waste the teacher’s time having her repeat herself.
The people who can’t be bothered to wait their turns to use the restrooms, visit an attraction, buy something.
Ahh … entitlement
: the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something
: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)
“Entitlement.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2013. .
In this house, we don’t believe in raising children with this sense of entitlement! So, I’m sharing a few things we do (or hope to do) to combat the entitlement mentality in our own children.
If you’re looking for ways to do this and not experience some crying, our approach may not be a fit for you.
5 Ways to Combat a Child’s Entitlement Mentality
1. Teach Manners
Please and thank you go a long way in our homes and beyond.
Our children have to ask politely for things they want and show some kind of gratitude if they receive it.
We began teaching each of our children these magic words as toddlers. This makes conversation pleasant and has garnered much praise for how polite our children are (at least outside the home).
2. Have Rules
Teaching boundaries helps children to learn what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. Children need to know what they are and are not allowed to do. Being able to follow rules and respect authority will help them when they enter school and again in the workforce.
We back up good and bad behavior, or following or breaking rules, with our consequence and reward jar system.
3. Teach Responsibility
Things in life aren’t given to us. We earn them.
Well, that’s what we believe, anyway!
We give our children a set of chores. There are toddler chores for the little one and chores for our 7 year old. Each of them have chores they’re expected to do without pay because they’re a personal responsibility. Other chores, we’ve deemed a family responsibility and those we allow the kids to earn an allowance for because it will take the burden off someone else in the family … but someone has to do it.
Offering an allowance allows us to teach our children that, when they can’t get something through “magic words”, they need to be willing to work toward earning the coveted item.
I love to be my kid’s friend as much as any parent. But, sometimes I have to take off the friend hat and get serious. This means, at times, I have to stand my ground about expectations and follow-through with threatened consequences when the situation calls for it.
When we threaten something and don’t follow through, we’re teaching our children they can do what they want. And, that doesn’t really help combat the entitlement mentality they’re prone to.
5. Lead By Example
Sometimes I struggle with this myself and it’s okay. When I recognize my own entitled behaviors, I usually point them out and redirect my thoughts. I’ve been known to hash out all the reasons I believe I do or do not deserve something.
We make sure to point out things like … “daddy’s getting [insert random item] because he’s worked hard to earn it.” We remind the kids how fortunate they are for receiving things because daddy’s worked hard to achieve a lifestyle that doesn’t require much budgeting. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t expect to work for things or that our children don’t have to either.
Sometimes we discuss why we have to get rid of one thing in order to gain another.
Trying to be mindful of our own tendencies helps us to teach our children through our own example.
Sure, I want to be friends with my children. And, of course I’ve love to give them everything in the world. I choose not to teach them to be entitled at the expense of the rest of the world.
At some point, I won’t be there to give them everything. So, I need them to rely on their upbringing to help them navigate through life as responsible and upstanding citizens who earn everything they want.
Do I know if we’re doing it right?
I’m just hoping that we are and that all this hard work pays off. It certainly isn’t always easy, but the fact remains that they’re learning to be more polite and people are noticing it.
Also, I love this book for teaching little kids about manners and good behavior!