How to Break the Sense of Entitlement in Your Child

Posted on by admin | in Nanny Tips

Raising children in a reasonably privileged household and ensuring that they have all of the opportunities that privilege affords them without creating a false sense of entitlement is difficult to do. However, breaking a budding sense of entitlement that’s already beginning to take hold is even more of a challenge. While you naturally want to do everything in your power to make your children happy and provide them with the best possible life, it’s important to remember that their childhood training needs to be grounded in the idea of helping them become productive, independent members of adult society. Stripping away the negative trappings of privilege, like the loss of pride, responsibility and initiative that come with feeling that good things are owed by virtue of existence is essential, especially if you’re not willing to spend the rest of your life financially supporting children who feel as if they’re deserving of the easiest road through life.

Give Rewards, Not Lavish Gifts

So much of commercial marketing is directed at children, teaching them from an early age that their value in society is attached to how many of the coolest gadgets, toys and outfits they can collect. Combating the influence of a consumer-driven culture is one of the most difficult tasks the modern parent faces, but it’s also one of the most important. Rather than purchasing every big-ticket item that your child asks for simply because he wants it, sit down together and work on finding a way of helping him earn it. When kids work to obtain the things they want, their possessions have more value and they’re learning a basic tenet of adult life: if you want something, you have to earn it.

Create – and Stick to – a Chore Schedule

Whether you’re working out a system of completing chores in exchange for rewards or have decided that your children should simply be responsible for helping to maintain their living spaces, a chore schedule is one of the most effective ways of teaching children about the necessity of work. Even if you’ve chosen not to connect a weekly allowance or tangible rewards to the completion of their chores, it may be wise to create a chart where kids can check off what they’ve completed or receive stickers for a job well done. Remember that acknowledging their hard work and giving them recognition for their efforts is important, and isn’t the same as bribing them with toys or money to do housework.

Refuse to Reward Bad Behavior

At the peak of a public meltdown, it can be very tempting to simply buy the toy your child is screaming for in order to salvage whatever is left of your dignity. By giving in to the screams, shouts and demands, however, you’re effectively allowing your child to hold you hostage emotionally. Learning that his bad behavior earns him the recognition he needs and the physical items he desires only inspires your child to continue the pattern of outbursts when he’s denied something he wants. Refusing to give in to those demands helps him to see that not only does bad behavior not get the results he’s looking for, but that he also has to face the consequences of having a tantrum.

Volunteer as a Family

When you volunteer together, your children not only observe the socially-conscious and helpful behavior that you’re modeling for them, but also experience first-hand just how unfortunate others can be in comparison. One of the first steps along the path of abolishing a sense of entitlement is to help your youngster understand just how much he’s been blessed with and how hard his parents work to provide the things that he has. Seeing people that aren’t so lucky can drive that point home.

Spend Time, Not Money

Assuaging your own feelings of guilt after a divorce or because work pulls you away from home too often by making extravagant purchases is normal behavior, but it can have some unpleasant repercussions. Rather than spending the contents of your wallet in an afternoon, try to spend some quality time together. Busy, working parents may not be able to be with their children as much as they’d like, but there is some time in the evenings or on weekends that can be carved out. Spend that time doing something that you both enjoy that doesn’t involve expensive gear or high admission prices.

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