Without question, we want our children to grow up knowing they are loved and valued. As parents, this is our constant goal, and it is an honorable one. But what happens when our child develops an attitude of entitlement? How do we continue to build their self-esteem while keeping the attitude of entitlement in check? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to keep the fine balance in check.
Are You Focusing on Time or Things?
This is a question that every parent should ask themselves every now and then. When we are raising children in this culture of “too much”, it is easy to get carried away. All the fascinating toys, funky clothing, and even experiences like expensive vacations start to lose their benefit when there is too much of them.
As a parent, it is normal and fine to want to spend money on your child and give them fun moments to treasure. But we should be careful not to go overboard. What our children really need, and want deep down is us. They want our time, our care, and our love.
We don’t need to spend any money at all to make truly memorable moments together. Take a walk with your child, go to the park, or ride bicycles to the corner store for a simple treat. Shelve the expensive things and end the spending sprees. As the Beatles once sang: “All you need is love.”
Are You Being Thoughtful of the Situations of Others?
Are you buying your child brand name runners and fancy apparel while his friends can only afford the less expensive versions? We are not obligated to live exactly like everyone else; likewise we must be careful not to develop an attitude of superiority in our children. This can happen unintentionally when our child always has more than everyone else around him.
Strive to even out the differences to promote camaraderie amongst your child and his friends. This makes it easier to avoid feelings of entitlement in your child.
Are You Feeling Entitled?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Children are often young versions of their parents. It can be difficult to do, but take a reality check in your own life. Do you harbour feelings of entitlement? Are you living your life in a way that speaks of giving and humility, or of taking and selfishness?
Do your best to be who you want your children to be someday. Instead of an attitude of entitlement, promote love and unselfish attitudes in your home and your children will be likely to follow your example.
Raising a child with a giving heart is certainly possible. There are a few things we can ask ourselves to figure out if we are bringing them up in a way that will help them be aware of the needs of others, and to think less of their own wants. If we are failing in some area, sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes in our parenting to lead our children away from a sense of entitlement, and help them become the kind of adults this world needs.