Why do children feel entitled? It is shocking how much children rule the household. Everything is done for them. They can't find their shoes; guess who finds the shoes for them (the first two guesses don't count)? Kids don't like what's for dinner and you make something else. You, housekeepers, babysitters, and or nannies all do everything for children including making sure they are entertained. Gone are the days when children are forced to find activities for themselves. I remember telling my mom that I was bored and she'd respond with: "great, you can go in and do the dishes, or mow the lawn, vacuum the house, clean your room." The list could be pretty extensive so I learned never to tell my mom I was bored and learned to find my own activities.
When a parent doesn't recognize that their children expect them to do everything for them up to and including laundry, pick up their rooms, organize their rooms, meal prep, finding items they've lost (the children) etc. there is a disconnect. When children are babies then yes, you need to provide everything for them the imbalance comes as a child becomes physically able to do more for themselves the more they need to have increased responsibilities. A parent's life should become easier as children get older, not MORE difficult, and it shouldn't be expected.
Chores are an integral part of raising children that won't expect something for nothing, and becoming responsible for their own successes in life.
- Fewer presents. Oh my word the gifts and presents that children receive is phenomenal; they even get presents for GOING to a birthday party. This is super confusing to me because isn't the fun party what they get when they go to a party? Parents give their children presents just because they want them, and this is a trend that will not help your children in the future. One of the best movies about this is the old animated version of: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", and how the Whos could feel good without presents and that being together is the real gift.
- Instill work ethic. This is where chores come in. Life isn't always fun, and childhood isn't either. I'm not saying that you should be making them be your personal slaves but being responsible for appropriate duties and responsibilities is imperative to their adult success, and that some things in life still need to be done even if it is unpleasant.
3. Buy second hand items. If a child wants something and you can get it cheaper second hand then by all means get it. If the child isn't very receptive to this idea you can then take the opportunity to teach them that if they want something new they can earn it by taking on additional responsibilities around the house that are age appropriate.
4. Teach respect for authority and their elders (including babysitters, childcare providers, housekeepers or other service industries that help your household run smoothly). Children should never tell an adult what to do, they should never make fun of an adult (or others for that matter), never scream at an adult, interrupt conversations when adults are speaking to each other (nor should adults interrupt each other themselves; children learn from example). When I say this I don't mean they shouldn't question adults or an adults motivation. This can be a very fine line because you also don't want your children to accept everything an adult does or says because you don't want your children to be a victim of any kind of an abuse that an authoritative figure can take advantage of.
5. Buy older technology. Children do not need the latest and greatest technology. A lot of times newer technology offers more and with that "more" children can become victims of online bullying, predators, etc. Purchasing older technology can assist in teaching (see #3) plus keep your children safer. You may need the latest technology but your children don't. This will also help children realize that it is okay to keep technology until it breaks.
6. Learn family history. What are the obstacles you went through to be the adult you are now and the parent you are? What is the history of your parents and grandparents? What were their struggles and their successes? You can go back even further if you know your family history. Teaching children their personal history will teach them gratitude for where they come from and for the life they've been provided by you.
7. Teach them the value of money.
The old adage; "money doesn't grow on trees" is true but, it is a lesson forgotten as we have become wealthier as a nation. I want, I want, I want is what we hear, and it is what generations before us have heard from their children too but instead of giving children everything they want parents gave special items on holidays, said no to other things or simply had their children earn what they wanted. This lesson is so helpful for children as they become responsible adults. It will have an impact on their credit card debt, and their spending habits. You wouldn't want your children to have bad credit because they weren't taught that they needed to earn what they got; would you?
8. Teach them the difference between rights and privileges. Children have the right to have a roof over their head, an education, food, clothing, to be heard and listened to. But a privilege is top of the line technology, watching television, games, going to restaurants, pizza, high-end clothing, toys (of any kind), etc. You know what they are, and it is up to you to teach them. As an adult I don't have the right to drive I have the privilege to drive because I've followed the laws, paid and passed certain tests etc.
9. Assign family responsibilities. This means that you assign them responsibilities that benefit the family as a whole not just them such as taking out the trash, helping to organize and clean rooms in the household that everyone uses including bathrooms, the yard, and the garage. Being a family isn't just doing fun stuff together but it is also developing a community where responsibilities are shared and as children get older responsibilities begin to equalize between parents and children.
It is much easier to do all of this ourselves, and not teach our children, but parenting isn't about easy. We all know that. Taking the easy way out is doing our children a disservice. Doing all the housework, not having children be responsible for their own things including their rooms, purchasing them all that their heart desires, allowing children to interrupt and be disrespectful etc will not help them be successful adults. Not only that, their adulthood will be much more difficult because parents didn't teach them the tools to be successful. We don't all win trophies, get what we want all the time, don't have to earn or work for what we get. This doesn't mean childhood is meant to be hard but it never hurts your children to learn the appropriate lessons of life as they grow up.
If we want our children to succeed it is up to us as the adults in their lives. Love our children with chores and helping them with the realities of life when it is easier so they don't get fired, not be able to pay bills, have unsuccessful relationships, and face homelessness as adults.