The feeling of Entitlement is starting at a younger age, which means children as young as infancy have started developing the beliefs that they deserve special treatment and additional privileges just for their existence. Though this may seem cute for a short time, the problem is quite serious when you consider the struggle they develop as they get older and need to someday provide for themselves or their families. The results of entitles children are often catastrophic struggles throughout their adulthood. Research studies and data have compiled ways to avoid the problems that come along with entitled childhood behaviors. Some may argue that the list is common sense, however, looking at the world today, it’s clear that these strategies aren’t being used enough.
Five Ways to Block Childhood Entitlement as backed by Science
1.) Teach Empathy
A child only knows what they are exposed to, often children may go through their entire childhood not realizing that life isn’t the same for each child. Introducing a child to the reality that many children are not as fortunate, helps them understand empathy. Activities such as donating a toy and volunteering as a family will introduce them to appreciation as well as kindness.
2.) Global Awareness
Teaching children about struggling countries can open their eyes even further to the luxuries they were born with and how easily it could have been different. Global awareness is certainly not used with the intention of filling them with guilt, but rather recognition of conditions around the world.
3.) Rewards Instead of Bribes
Bribing children is a trick many parents use to avoid public embarrassment and save their energy. The problem is, bribes are often present when a behavior needs changed, in turn, the behavior that should have already been present is now getting rewarded. By being proactive instead of reactive entitlement is lessened. Instead of rewarding a child once they stop behaving badly, reward them when they are being good on their own.
Acknowledge the positive behaviors they are already displaying and stop bribing them.
4.) Cause and Effect
When children are given something they desire, like a toy for example,without doing anything to earn it, they are directly exposed to entitlement at its highest. Chores and goal setting are simple ways to allow your child to associate cause and effect instead of expectancy.
Even as adults in today’s society which revolves around “instant gratification” we have forgotten the virtue of patience. Children have set time limits for how quickly they want results and often they want them immediately. Teaching a child that they must be patient and not everything will come quickly stops the entitlement attitude in its tracks and will help them understand long term goals in their future.
The responsibility of parenting is a never ending job that constantly evolves, it’s important to know that children are resilient and if you are aware your child is already acting entitled or spoiled, they can change, but it starts with you. Being an example of what you teach is one of the most important factors to help your child along in their development.