Thursday, March 31, 2016

6 Ways to Deal with Entitlement in Your Children

If you have children you no doubt know that children can be prone to entitlement. They look around and see other children owning cell phones, iPads, designer clothing, a TV and expensive gaming devices in their own room, personal laptops and more and feel that they should have the same. So what is a parent to do? Do we just surrender and feed the self-entitlement monster out of love for our children in the name of not wanting them to "miss out"?

I was in the toy store the other day and overheard a conversation between a child and his mother. The mother was telling the child they only had enough to get one toy for him that day. The child started to say no and began to cry and whine hoping to manipulate her. The mother stood her ground but the child kept getting louder and louder. The child then took the toy and threw it on the ground. The mom then picked it up and put it back in the cart and said they were going to pay for the toy and then go home.

Now granted, there could have been a myriad of reasons this occurred--mom could have been tired, child could have been too. But we can't let these be excuses to allow this type of sin to grow in our children's lives. We just can't.

A few things that should have been done differently would be:

-Have the child say "thank you" for the toy. 

-Do not allow the child to begin crying/whining in the first place. 

-When the child threw it down she should make him pick it up and put it in the shelf. And afterwards apologize. She should not pick it up for him or put it in the cart. 

-Do not buy the toy. You don't reward bad behavior. Come back another day to teach the child a lesson on how to behave and being grateful.

In some extreme cases, I  have seen children try to hit their parents or tell them that they hate them. I know of children who have tried to run away from home (just for not getting what they want) and many of us are even familiar of cases where children were even  trying to sue their parents for what they felt was owed to them.

As you can see,  it is very important to teach them early not to have an entitled mindset. But how do you that in a culture that is saturated with it?


1. Teach your child what the Word of God teaches on gratefulness and contentment. The Word does not come back void and gives wisdom on living a life of righteousness.

2. Don't give them everything. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is giving our children everything under the sun. Sometimes we do it out of "love" or guilt. Whatever the reason, the over indulgence of our children can just lead to them being spoiled and not appreciating what they really do have. It also makes them focus on materialism instead of things that really do matter.

3. Teach them to work for what they have. When my child asks for something, many times I will ask them if they have the money for it. If not, we talk about ways they can earn the money to get what they want. When a child works hard for something they will cherish it more later and learn the valuable lesson that things in life are not always free and you need to work for them. They will also take care of things better that they worked hard for.

4. Teach them responsibility for what they own. Show your children how to take care of their things. There should be a place or "home" for everything they own and don't let them just throw things on the floor.  If they own too many items don't be afraid to whittle things down to just what they really enjoy and can take of. Sometimes having too much leads to clutter and can be overwhelming for the child and parent. Children can still be happy with less especially if those are the things the child truly enjoys. This also helps them to grow into responsible adults.

5. Teach them to say "thank you". This is an important part of responding in gratefulness and teaching your child that everything is not owed to them. I also like to teach my children about third world countries (through pictures, books, documentaries) live in poverty to help them get a better understanding of how blessed they are and how so much of the world goes without even the basic necessities. This helps us to keep a good perspective in front of us. Teach them to give to others too so that the focus isn't always on their desires and wants.

6. Be a good role model. The funniest thing about entitlement is that it just doesn't affect our children but it can affect adults too. We want the bigger house, bigger car, bigger toys, bigger salary and feel it is owed to us.We complain when we don't get what we want.  Let's be mindful to be content in what the Lord has given us and be good role models to our children in this area. If they hear us grumbling about what we think we lack then they are likely to grumble too.

If this is a topic you would like to read more about, I am currently reading Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World which has been excellent so far. Here is a quick description from Amazon:

“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children—don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet—it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to say the ultimate yes as a family by bringing up faith-filled kids who will love God, serve others, and grow into hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation and create a Jesus-centered home in which your kids don’t just say—but mean!—“thank you” for everything they have.

You can find it HERE.


Do you have any tips you'd like to share on  dealing with entitlement in your children?

Share them in the comments below!

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