In the desire to give their children the best of everything, many parents are unknowingly raising entitled kids. The intention was good – give the kids an easier life than what mom and dad had – but the outcome was not what they had anticipated.
Who hasn’t come across children who throw tantrums at a mall, because mom wouldn’t buy the toy, or teens who demand the latest gadgets, yet don’t wash the dishes or make their beds. Children of the ‘Me” mentality don’t know how to say the words “please’ or ‘thank you’ simply because they think they’re special and above the rest.
Photo by mohamed taher from Pexels
There are many examples of how entitled kids feel, talk and act. But a prevailing characteristic of entitled kids is narcissism. Yes, narcissism is present in kids, too. Everything is about them. They lack empathy and have a bloated sense of self-importance. When their need for attention is not met immediately, they have exaggerated responses.
Here are some signs of entitled kids:
They never help with house chores. If they do, they expect a reward.
Their demands must be met immediately, i.e., use the car, buy the things they want.
They wallow in self-pity, get angry, or make threats if they don’t get what they want.
Their needs and desires take priority over others.
They feel they are better and more important than other kids. They crave admiration and praise.
They are only concerned with themselves.
They blame other people if things go wrong.
They are exempted from rules, in school or at home, but the exemption doesn’t apply to other kids.
They are bullies in school, egoistic, and self-indulgent. They have a feeling of superiority over others.
If you recognize these signs in your kids, you’re most probably raising entitled kids. You over-indulge in your love and care for them, constantly telling them they’re special and better than others, giving them whatever they ask for, being at their beck and call at all times. But set aside those guilt feelings of over-pampering because it’s still possible to remake your kids and turn them into responsible, caring adults.
Here are 5 ways to raise kids who will be warm, caring, compassionate and grateful:
1. Cultivate in them ethical values and walk your talk.
Children learn by imitating the actions of adults they look up to. Be honest and fair. If you were given extra change at a store, call the attention of the cashier and return the excess money. Recognize, too, that you are not perfect and can commit mistakes.
Give your kid a hypothetical ethical predicament and ask how they would have acted, or if they have encountered such dilemmas in their young lives.
Related: Wonderful Examples of Kindness
2. Teach them that others’ needs are a priority, too.
Children, at a young age, should realize that they are not the only ones who have needs and that they must learn to consider other people’s needs. They should learn to keep the promises they make and meet their obligations. It could be simple things, like showing up for a birthday party as promised, even if they don’t feel like it.
Inculcate in your child’s mind that being kind to others is more important than making one’s self happy.
3. Teach them to care about other people outside of the circle of family and friends.
Children learn soon enough that a world exists beyond the family and friends, and that other people matter. Train them to give up their seat for old people. Say “thank you” to the waitress, bus driver and be friendly to others they will meet in their daily lives.
4. Create occasions where your children can apply caring and gratitude.
Studies have shown that expressing gratitude develops one’s compassion and kindness. Ask them to help with small chores and show your appreciation but don’t reward them with a treat or money.
Encourage them to help a neighbor or friend with schoolwork. Do these on a regular basis.
5. Educate them on how to handle negative emotions.
Related: How to Help Kids Deal with Grief
It’s but natural for children to feel anger, shame or resentment and these may interfere with their inclination to care for others. Tell them these feelings are normal; what matters is how they act them out. Help them manage their negative feelings by teaching them mindfulness and meditation. Practice along with them on how to keep make time to keep still and be silent. Teach them to focus on their breathing, and count to ten. Do the meditation when your child is calm. During upsetting moments, do it together with them.