Prevent Kids from Developing Entitlement Syndrome
At our Midwest summer camp, we strive to empower our campers to be their best selves. It can be a challenge as a parent to spoil our children even while intending only to have a positive influence. Good intentions can sometimes lead to negative outcomes though; entitlement develops when a child is given too much, too soon. It’s a function of giving our kids too much stuff, and not necessarily what they really need: parental guidance, wisdom, and direction. Here are five ways to maximize that you won’t accidentally be raising a child that feels entitlement:
1. Teach Your Kids to Not Interrupt
Kiddos need to learn respect for other people’s time, conversations, and physical space, so as not to be inadvertently taught that “the world revolves around you.” While it is important to give our kids undivided attention at appropriate times, we want to raise engaging kids, not entitled ones.
2. Make Saying “Please” and “Thank You” a Big Deal
Grateful people say “please” and “thank you” for the big and small things in life.
3. Model Abiding by Sensible Rules
Allowing kids to break rules teaches disrespect for earned authority. When we allow our kids to arbitrarily make their own rules, we tell them: “the world revolves around you.” That message leads to entitlement. We do need to lovingly and consistently teach our kids to follow the rules, and can/should involve them in creating them.
4. Avoid Intervening Too Quickly
We all know that mom or dad—the one who throws a fit if their child doesn’t make the A team, doesn’t get the A, or doesn’t get the recognition. Yes, we want our children to succeed, but the goal is to help them learn how to succeed based upon their own merits. When children receive recognition based upon parental intervention rather than their own initiative, entitlement results. Also, failure is a good thing! It helps your child develop resilience, diligence, and character. Allow your child to succeed in her own time and way and you’ll raise an empowered child, not an entitled one.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Your Own Trail
We want to make our kids feel special but avoid spoiling them. Not everyone needs a trophy for everything; if every event is special, no event is special. Before mindlessly doing something just because everyone else is, analyze if the decision in your child’s best long term interest. Instead of giving too much, too soon, let your child look forward to things as they mature; special things will then be really special.