Today I want you to think about whether you are helping your children to become empowered or entitled. Empowered means I feel confident to go out and make things happen. Entitled has the exact opposite effect. It means I feel that I should sit back and let things be handed to me.
I'm not going to get into the reasons why our society increasingly feels entitled; there's plenty of blame to go around. I'd rather help you spot signs of entitlement feeling in your children, so you can deal with them.
Immediacy - Not only do I want what I want, but I want it now. Kids see this all over the place, and it's easy to buy into the idea of not having to wait. We don't cook; we drive through. When a commercial comes on we change the channel. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with these actions. They just demonstrate how we've been able change our world to an immediate one. If your child has unreasonable expectations of how fast things should happen, and he/she is old enough to understand time, keep an eye on this.
Laziness - why should a child work for anything, if his/her parent or teacher is going to give it without effort? Of course there is a place for gifts, but to counteract this, have your child help you with projects. Show the relationship between what you do and what you earn. Tell them about your job and the pay for it. Let them see the relationship between effort and reward.
Irresponsibility - much like the previous point, why should a child clean up after himself if someone else is going to do it for him? In my opinion, even the president of the company should stoop to pick up a piece of paper on the floor, not expect the cleaning people to handle it. No, that's not his job, but it sets a good example. Make a point to teach your children to pick up what they drop, to wipe up what they spill, and to clean up personal emotional messes too. When our children were young, I always made sure each one of them had assigned responsibilities for household duties, laundry, sweeping, dishes, etc. Responsibility can be learned.
Jealousy - everyone else has this device, so I need it too. As parents we've moved from giving our children everything they need to everything they want. Teach them that it's okay to not have everything. It builds character to do without some of the things in life that would be "nice".
Please take a few moments to watch for these and implement corrections as you see fit. You will enjoy the benefits for decades to come as your children move on to adulthood.
In His Service,
Tim Miesner, Principal