“The entitlement epidemic usually begins with over-parenting – over-indulging, over-protecting, over-pampering, over-praising, and jumping through hoops to meets kids endless demands,” she says. “Today’s generation of parents are overly invested in their child’s happiness, comfort and success.
“Overly involved parents helicopter their kids’ every move and mow down the potential obstacles in their path,” McCready adds. “In our attempt to shelter our kids from adversity, we rob them of the opportunity to make decisions, learn from their mistakes, and develop the resilience needed to thrive through the ups and downs of life. This is all done in the name of love – but too much of a good thing can result in kids who always expect to get what they want when they want it.”
Here are 9 signs your child has entitlement issues:
1. The expect bribes or rewards for good behavior.
2. They rarely lift a finger to help.
3. They are more concerned about themselves than others.
4. They pass blame when things go wrong.
5. They can’t handle disappointment.
6. They need a treat to get through the store.
7. They expect to be rescued from their mistakes.
8. They feel like the rules don’t apply.
9. They constantly want more… and more.
Whatever the depth of your child’s sense of entitlement, it can be lessened.
Good places to start: Restrain your overprotective instincts and stop doing things for your children that they can do themselves. For instance, if you are worried about your child, preteen, or teen riding in the car with a new driver, say no and then stand firm. Sure, your child will be disappointed, but don’t change your position. Children tend to recover fairly quickly from most disappointments.
Ways to discourage entitlement
- Set reasonable, age appropriate limits and stick with them
- Teach them to be grateful
- Let them learn by their mistakes
- Teach them humility
- Don’t do everything they want or ask
- Teach them about working for a goal
- Teach them its ok to wait for something. Delayed gratification builds character
- Teach them to be other centered
Here is what the Bible says about entitlement:
Think of others: If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Phil. 2:3 The Msg.
Fruit of the Spirit: But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Gal 5: 22
Reap what you sow: Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. Gal. 6:7-8