It can be pretty discouraging to observe the trend of entitlement among young people these days. It seems that more and more kids feel that it’s their prerogative to have whatever they want, whenever they want. Many parents struggle with how do we help our children become grateful and hard-working individuals versus of demanding and ungrateful? It is a tough balancing act as a parent between providing for our children and helping to have a full and happy life and yet we also want them to know the value of a dollar and understand how to work for what they want. Here are some parenting strategies to help you counter the cultural tide of entitlement:
Set Expectations As Contributions (Not Chores)
Parents can give their children responsibilities and frame them as family contributions. For example, an expectation can be given that, in exchange for food and housing, a son or daughter must do the dishes every Monday night. This helps them internalize the message that we work to earn things.
Allow Kids To Fail
We often get so worried about our kids’ self-esteem that we want to save them from any hardship, but the reality is that everyone has to deal with disappointment and failures in life. Nobody is the best at everything, and it’s a really valuable life skill to learn to handle failure with grace and also to be happy for others’ successes.
Turn Off The ATM
It’s so convenient to just dole out ten or twenty dollar bills for our kids to go to the movies, buy a new piece of clothing, or spend money in other ways. The problem, however, is that this can lead children to think they automatically deserve $20, that they should get it. By being judicious about how we give out money, we can teach them that it’s a gift that we are giving them and not necessarily something they should always expect.
Practice Daily Gratitude
It’s been said that in parenting, more is caught than taught, or in other words, that children follow their mom and dad’s example more than they internalize messages explicitly taught to them. When it comes to avoiding an entitlement mindset, gratitude goes a long way. As parents, we need to practice gratitude regularly so we can help our kids do the same. Express often that you’re thankful for your blessings, and ask your children what they are grateful for as well.