My son seems to have the idea that he should always get what he wants. I admit that we do tend to spoil him. His toy closet is full of toys that he rarely plays with once the novelty wears off. Last night, he pestered me for something at the store and I said, “No.” He threw a fit and would not stop until I gave in. I’m worried that I might be raising a child who feels entitled.
Your concern is warranted. We have too many kids who feel entitled because of well meaning parents who overindulge. By nature, children constantly ask for things, but when they regularly get whatever they want without any work or stipulation, they can develop a sense of entitlement. For example, instead of doing chores as part of contributing to the family work, children are paid. It is not true that giving more stuff to your children makes you a better parent. Yet, parents often feel pressured by media and advertisers to provide the latest phone or technical device, the best designer clothing and expensive shoes that will be outgrown in a few months. It’s time to pull back and look at the bigger picture. By giving your child whatever he wants, what are you teaching him? Start setting limits. When my daughter wanted a cell phone at an early age, I said, “No.” I could afford it and many of her friends had one, but she didn’t need it. She didn’t get it and that was an important lesson. Also, create opportunities for your children to earn rewards. All of this requires a shift in your thinking as a parent. Your child is not a co-equal, doesn’t make his own decisions, needs to learn respect for money, things, and you, and should be refused when arguing or being disrespectful. You are in charge, so stop allowing your child to bully you into giving him things. These may sound like tough words, but you will thank me later!
Resource: The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership by Richard and Linda Eyre (Avery trade 1, 2011).