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Moment Of Clarity

Don’t Raise an Entitled Child

In my work with professionals who were raised in poverty and have gone on to make a very good living for themselves, they often face difficulties in parenting their children. More specifically, they are concerned that they may have raised an entitled child.

Many of these parents feel the need to give their children what they did not have when they were growing up and to try to limit the number of obstacles faced during childhood.

Although they have good intentions, parents who try to ease developmental struggles and give their children most of what they want, are really doing their kids a HUGE disservice.  In fact, they are setting them up for some major disappointments and setbacks as adults because they now feel entitled.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ENTITLED?

Essentially, entitlement is the feeling that one deserves to receive something just because they are who they are. They may feel they deserve things like access, items, acknowledgement, or preferential treatment simply because of their profession, financial standing, or reputation.

While some positions like being the President of the United States (POTUS) does come with some privileges, entitlement refers to the underlying tone of the feeling.

For example, President Obama may understand that he has the privilege to jump to the front of the line at a local restaurant, but he still asks if it is okay to do so as opposed to telling someone to move because he’s the POTUS.

WHY SAYING ‘NO’ IS CRUCIAL

I have four children and would love to say ‘yes’ to most of what they want; however, it would be unhealthy. It is important to teach children delayed gratification – how to wait to get what they want. Helping your child understand that they have the ability to obtain what they want by earning or working toward a goal is very empowering.

Entitled children, and adults, are used to instant gratification – getting what they want when they want it – and it is affecting their self-esteem, relationships, jobs, and ability to be rational. When they are unable to get what they want when they want it, they can fall apart and spiral out of control (e.g. tantrums).

As a parent, you want to ensure that your child has the ability to wait for what they want because most things will not come right away. Teaching your child delayed gratification will help them become successful and responsible adults. See the additional benefits of delayed gratification below.

Learning how to wait has several benefits:

1)   Regulate emotions such as excitement, disappointment, and anger.

2)   Builds anticipation instead of anxiety. That’s why so many kids look forward to Christmas; and tend to act a little better, too!

3)   Obtain a deeper appreciation for what you receive.

4)   Respect the needs and boundaries of others.

5)   Increase motivation and focus

Now, this does not mean that you should always say ‘no.’ It simply means that there should be some balance and reason behind the yeses and no’s.

Tip: As a parent, if you are acting out of guilt or desire to alleviate your own childhood discomfort, you are probably not helping your kid. At that point, it’s about you.

Instead, try to think about it objectively: Does he need it? Did she earn it? Would they appreciate it? Why do they want it? Will they want it is two weeks? The answer to these questions should guide your decision in a more grounded way.

CHORES ARE EMPOWERING

Chores are a natural self-esteem builder. It helps kids appreciate what they have, develop responsibility, and learn humility. You can give children chores beginning at 2 years old – yep, you heard me!

If your kids are busy doing sports, clubs, et cetera and are unable to help around the house, then you have a problem.  Chores can be as simple as taking out the garbage every day, making their beds, cleaning the bathroom, and washing dishes certain days of the week. If you need some guidance on age-appropriate chores, visit WebMd.

One of the biggest benefits of giving kids chores is that it teaches them how to take care of themselves. So many kids leave home not knowing how to care for themselves and expect the world to take care of them. Not only is this unhealthy, it is unrealistic. Often times, these are the adults who have a difficult time maintaining relationships and jobs.

I hope you found this to be helpful. If you are looking for an easy, straight to the point read on how to raise children with common sense, you may be interested in my book: “The High Achiever’s Guide to Being a Decent Parent.”

With love and light, pleasant journeys!

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at talkback@jetmag.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90% success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!