It is a deadly combination. Faulty parenting and society’s expectations are the perfect recipe to raise entitled kids. Yes, you see them all the time, everywhere. Demanding, rude, whining and disrespectful. Overprotective parents are not helping either. Something has gone wrong. After all, we only want kids who are responsible, autonomous, caring and fairly balanced. We want our kids to read and be aware of the planet and the environment. Here are 8 things we should do to stop raising entitled kids.
1. Teach them about accountability
I know a teenager who is 15 who has never been taught how to be responsible for his own grades at school. They were so bad that his father wrote to his divorced wife, blaming her for their son’s poor academic results! Not only has this teen never learned responsibility but his poor performance at school is being used by his father to influence the divorce settlement.
Kids have to be accountable for all their behavior and that includes when they get into trouble or behave badly at school. It is when your kids start to blame everyone else – then you know you have a problem! The classic line is:- “He wouldn’t get off the computer and I wanted to use it.”
But for this to work, you have to lay down the rules and boundaries, get them to face the consequences of their behavior and make sure you are consistent. This is the only way accountability can function.
2. Teach kids to be kinder and caring
When children are brought up to see the world around them and what they can do to make it a better place, then you are well on the way to bringing up great kids. When this does happen, your kids will think they are the center of the universe. But when they are made aware of caring for less fortunate people, the planet, animals, and energy saving, they are already on the fast track to becoming caring citizens and will not grow up to be totally selfish. Make acts of kindness part of their daily routine.
For younger kids, I wrote a story about Ziger the Tiger to help them become aware of the need for recycling rubbish and how to protect wildlife. You can give it to them for their e-readers or read it to them if they are still learning to read.
3. Teach them to contribute to everything
This includes making sure they are lined up to certain jobs in running the home. They have chores they have checklists and they get rewarded in some way for doing all this. It is a great way to check on their progress. Prizes and rewards can easily be built in to motivate them even more. It is a great way to make sure they are not spoiled. Also, never fall into the trap that they are too busy keeping up with their friends on Instagram so they should be let off doing their chores!
4. Teach them to keep to their schedules
This includes bedtime and you should always stick to the rules here. You will be tempted to give in when there are important matches on TV or they are still attached to their devices when they should be winding down and getting ready for bed. If you do not watch it, your kids will soon be the ones to decide when they go to bed and not you. You will have lost control. The result? Bad tempered kids in the morning, underperformance at school and a refusal to get up in time for school. Basically, mayhem!
5. Teach them the value of money
If you are always giving them money for their new gadgets and phones, this is a great way to raise entitled kids. They will just expect money to be given to them for everything. They will never learn the value of money or the fact that you have to earn money by doing little jobs or special chores. Also, they will never know how to manage their budget when they grow up, they will get into a real mess. Encourage them to save, earn and manage their money.
6. Teach them the value of gratitude
Yes, research shows that grateful kids do better at school and are happier. They are also less likely to get into drugs and have behavior issues at school. There are also studies that high school kids who are grateful are doing better academically and socially. The entitled kids, on the other hand, are more likely to be envious and generally unhappier all round.
Talk to your kids about how grateful you are. Tell them about kind neighbors who gave up time to help you and what benefits you got from it. Remind them about how kids and family members help each other out and why we should be grateful for all that. Talk about what you have gained and above all what the other sibling gave up to help your kid out. Again, remind them of the benefit. There are lots of ideas in James Froh’s book called Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character.
7. Teach them the boundaries
What use is it in having rules when you give in, under pressure? You may think that you want a quiet life and that it is not worth the temper tantrum when you have to say NO. Don’t fall for that. You are laying the foundations for entitled kids and they will never learn that there are certain things/treats/behaviors that are just not on the agenda.
8. Teach them to be confident
This is the most important of all! You want your kids to grow up feeling loved, supported and above all confident. They are not going to be temperamental, dissatisfied, envious, and difficult. No, if you give them the right sort of support, they will grow to be balanced, well-rounded kids and above all, happy. The key is to praise kids for their efforts rather than their innate intelligence, beauty, strength or whatever. Another key aspect is to read to your kids or let them discover the joy of reading and reduce their time on video games, apps and all the other electronic wizardry that surround kids these days. A study from the Institute of Education in the UK shows that kids who read when young do better at school.