Expert Parent Advice

Ending Entitlement Epidemic

Kids aren’t born with an entitlement gene, but if you ask most adults, they’ll say the sense of entitlement has reached epidemic proportions in today’s youth.

I’m Amy McCready with Positive Parenting Solutions, and I’m proud to partner with Kids ‘R’Kids for the Expert Parenting Advice Series.

Today I’ll share remedies to the entitlement epidemic so we can raise responsible, respectful, and resilient kids.

The two biggest culprits for the entitlement epidemic are overindulging and pampering.

No parent intends to raise an entitled child.  It starts small when a toddler throws a tantrum in the store and mom buys a toy to keep him happy.  He quickly learns if throws a fit, she’ll eventually give him what he wants.

Entitlement also happens when parents pamper their kids and don’t expect them to help out at home.  Eventually these parents wake up and wonder why their teenagers are unmotivated and feel that the world owes them a living.

Fortunately, there are simple measures we can put in place to put the brakes on the entitlement train:

1.  Stop doing things for your kids they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves.   Pick a day and make a list of things you do for your kids that, with a little training, they could do for themselves.  I’m not talking about a once in a while favor – but things you consistently do for them.  For example, if you make the bed for your 4-year old every day, that’s a job that she could do for herself with a little training.  Little by little, train your kids to do those tasks and turn over the reigns of responsibility.  How can we expect to have capable and responsible teens if we don’t expect them to take responsibility as children?

2.  Shut down the ATM and give your kids an allowance. Instead of reaching for your wallet every time you go to the store, let your kids know from now on, they can use their allowance to buy their own non-essentials like games, toys, and the like.  For guidelines on allowance, be sure to check out the interactive that goes along with this video.

3.  Foster giving and gratitude.  Counteract the “it’s all about me” attitude of entitlement by making giving and gratitude part of your family culture.  Encourage your kids to give a portion of their allowance to your place of worship or a charity of their choice.  Create gratitude rituals by sharing what you are thankful for at dinner or help your child start a "gratitude journal" to record what she is grateful for on a daily basis.

4.  Be the bad guy sometimes.  It’s okay for kids to be disappointed or feel some discomfort as they tread through life.  In fact, it’s downright necessary.  Resist the urge to “make it all better” and let your child face the little adversities of the day-to-day life of being a toddler to teenager.

The practice of pampering and over-indulging are temporary fixes to ease short-term aggravation, and it hurts our kids in the long run.

To put an end to the entitlement epidemic, begin with these four strategies and don’t forget the strategies in the interactive that goes along with this video.  One day, believe it or not, your kids and the rest of society will thank you!

For ongoing solutions to your parenting challenges, visit us often at Kids ‘R’Kids.com.

I’m Amy McCready for Kids ‘R’Kids, and I’ll see you next time!