Raising deserving children in an entitled world

Posted August 2

An unknown source once said, “Entitlement is a delusion built on self-centeredness and laziness.”

Dr. Twenge warns that, “Narcissists lack empathy, overreact to criticism and favor themselves over others. They are incapable of cheering anyone else’s success. Ultimately, they lead miserable lives because they cannot form and maintain healthy relationships.” We live in a world of instant gratification. With one tap on a smartphone, you can essentially have whatever you want. Patience is a virtue, but it is a rare one in the rising generation. We hurt our children if we let them lead entitles lives. We will enrich our children and their future success if we teach them how to be deserving of what life has to offer.

Here are some tips to help raise deserving children.

Let them be bored.

Constantly entertaining your children will not serve them well as they enter adulthood. College professors, co-workers and religious leaders won’t fulfill that constant need for attention. Denying your children to “be bored” will teach them to rely on themselves for gratification and a sense of accomplishment. Unstructured time allows for the growth of their creativity and imagination. This will encourage them to find what pleases them. It allows children to find a passion that their heart desires. It gives children the power to choose for themselves how they will structure and manage their time.

Set expectations.

Children need boundaries, structure, love and most definitely expectations. We should not set unrealistic expectations on our children, but we need to teach them how to take responsibility for their actions. They should be held accountable as a child, because inevitably, they will be held accountable in their lives as adults. Establish both good and bad consequences. Make sure your children have a clear outline of what you expect of their behavior, attitude, work around the house and at school and the way they should treat others.

Set an allowance.

Teaching children to manage money will help them plan for their future. Children are quick to ask for money, and parents are quick to give it. The real world doesn’t work like that. Allowing your children the opportunity to earn money, take pride in their accomplishment, then budget for needs and wants will help them be more financially successful as adults.

Let them fail.

Don't intervene on every mistake. Let your children be responsible and solve situations on their own, when applicable. Let them figure out a bad grade, writing thank you notes and finishing homework. It's a part of growing up and if they know you will always take care of the hard things for them, they will never learn to depend on themselves for success. The feeling of accomplishment that comes to a child when they do something for themselves will help them learn how to become independent and strong. Mistakes can teach us a lot about ourselves. If the mistakes aren't detrimental, allow them to happen.

Don't bribe your children's behavior.

If children expect a reward anytime they do something good, they will have a harder time doing the right thing if there is no tangible profit in sight. We must teach our children to do what's right because it is the right thing, not because it is rewarded. The benefit and gain of good behavior is a sense of pride and accomplishment. Our children will be better adults if we take the time to teach them this principle while they are in our care.

Monitor screen time.

Children live in a world where everything is "on demand." With the click of a button, you can essentially get anything you want in a short amount of time. We have robbed our children of the joy of working hard, anticipation and endurance. A recent study found that 38 percent of 2 to 5-year-olds own an Android tablet and 32 percent own an iPad; almost a third of these kids also have a mobile phone. The study goes on to explain the harm associated with too much screen time. Establish rules and guidelines that work for you and your children.

Have a chore chart.

Whatever way you institute chores, follow through. Teaching your children responsibility. All character traits are learned and many are developed as youth. Perseverance and good work ethic doesn't just come to our children, it comes as we prepare them for these traits.

Boost your child's self-worth.

If your children know their worth in your eyes, they will want to make you proud and do their best. By giving your children the confidence they need to rely on themselves and not others, we are helping them help themselves. Raising independent, self-sustaining, hard-working children is one of the greatest contributions you can give society.

Serve as a family.

Serving others, especially those who don’t have as much as you, allows your children to gain compassion. Children are bound to feel less entitled if they serve a family who has less than they do. Give your children the experience to help others who need you, and serve alongside them to set the example. Getting rid of unnecessary material items is not only good for your children to learn to simplify, but it can help them learn that giving to others enhances their lives and the lives of the recipients.

We want to raise responsible children in an ever-growing entitled world. Communicate with your children what is necessary for them to succeed and give unconditional love. We have the power to raise our children to be a deserving generation. Give them the gift of self-reliance and hard work.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” - Proverb

Candace is a freelance writer, victim advocate and stay at home mom and wife.


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