Does your child take it for granted that they will receive every item on their Christmas wish list? It isn’t uncommon to watch parents wander through the grocery store with children who demand each item that catches their attention. Worse yet, many parents will put those items straight into the cart without a second thought. Children quickly learn to anticipate that their parents will always say yes, feeding into their sense of entitlement.
Fueling a child’s entitlement issues only sets them up for future disappointment. Squash your child’s entitlement quickly with some of these simple tips.
When the holidays roll around, children often flit from one gift to the next without fully appreciating any of them. Grandparents and family friends may feel snubbed by such a rude and ungrateful response. You can help your child to feel less entitled to the gifts they’re given by teaching them to properly express gratitude.
Consider making your children write thank you notes for each gift they receive. This teaches them the value of appreciation and communicating with others.
Many parents may prefer to make gratitude a regular part of everyday life instead. Each night, family members might go around the table and state one thing they’re thankful for before eating. It’s a great conversation starter and it helps to set a great example for entitled children.
Brainstorm how kids can remember their responsibilities.
Entitled children often feel that they don’t need to be responsible for themselves. Parents fall into the trap by bringing forgotten lunchboxes to school, helping to do incomplete chores, and rushing to finish a last-minute school project. You may want to consider taking some of the stress off yourself and start giving your child more responsibilities at home.
Before you begin, explain to your child that things are going to be changing and they will need to be more responsible in the future. Give them a clear list of expectations about the tasks that are now their responsibility. When things aren’t done, they will have to face the natural consequences of forgetting (or choosing to forget) their responsibilities.
Don’t just leave them high and dry though. You’ll need to help your children come up with a system to remember their new obligations.
Set clear limits.
Perhaps your child feels entitled to receive an affirmative answer to every request. When the answer should really be a no, learn to stand firm on your initial response. You may struggle initially to set clear limits and boundaries for your child. However, it’s ultimately in their best interest to learn how to handle disappointment in the present moment.
Teach kids to think beyond themselves.
Many children struggle with entitlement because they have a difficult time seeing beyond their own needs and desires. Expanding their horizons to see the less fortunate plights of others can help considerably. Consider teaching them to think about the needs of others and how to care for them. This simple life skill can help them to stop spending so much time thinking about themselves.
This could be as simple as helping them donate old toys or outgrown clothing. Perhaps they already know a few children who could benefit from those hand-me-downs. Alternatively, you could find a place where your child can serve the community and interact with others. When they’re more aware of the needs of the community, they may be less inclined to feel like you should satisfy their every desire.
Entitlement can be a lifelong problem if children aren’t taught to respect the needs of others and think beyond themselves. It’s significantly easier to teach a child the value of gratitude than it is to help a privileged adult. Stop enabling your child’s entitlement issues today with some of these key suggestions.