One of the biggest worries that parents have is that they will raise a child that feels entitled to things. There are so many entitled children that it can be hard to know what things are causing the feelings of entitlement. Luckily, there are some things that every parent can do to help avoid raising an entitled child. Here are some suggestions.
1. Teach Your Child To Work Hard and Take Responsibility
Accountability and ownership of actions is an important part of becoming a responsible adult. Many well-meaning parents fill their children's day with good activities. The child may be rushed from one activity to the next. Although this can be good in some respects, if it is overdone, it teaches children that everything is about them, their advancement, and their enjoyment. Instead, it is important to take time out of your day for work and chores.
Every child should be doing age appropriate chores. This means that even young toddlers should have something they can do. These chores should be their own responsibility, and the child should know that if they don't complete their tasks, there will be consequences. These chores should be done without payment, but simply because the child lives at home and needs to contribute. This will teach the child that they are partly responsible for his or her own life.
2. Teach and Model Gratitude.
Another important thing that parents can do is teach their children how to be grateful. Let your children see the amount of time and resources that go into putting on a birthday party, running a house, getting them to their sporting events, and so forth. Don't be afraid to remind your child to say thank you to yourself as well as others.
In addition, model gratitude. Say thank you to the child when they do something nice for you or for others. Be kind to waiters and service workers, and show respect to those around you.
3. Praise Your Child For Hard Work, Not Achievement
It is important that when you praise your children, you praise them for their effort rather than their achievement. Instead of saying, "you were the smartest child there," you could say, "you studied and prepared so well! Your hard work paid off! I am so proud of you." These kinds of statements show the child that they weren't born innately better or more talented than others; instead, children can see that their talents and accomplishments come because they worked for them.
By doing these simple things you can raise grateful and responsible children. But if you seem to be having problems that cannot be fixed, having your child visit a child psychologist, such as Paula Conforti, D.C.S., C.Psych. Assoc., may help provide you with other helpful tips and techniques to deal with and teach your child.