How We're Trying NOT to Raise An Entitled Child

I'm sure we've all heard how terrible the world is these days and so much is being blamed on how entitled people are becoming.  I've seen it recently - a woman didn't feel like waiting her turn to cross the road so she barged her beat up old SUV out in front of ours in just enough time not to get nicked by an oncoming car.

Ahh ... entitlement 

: the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something
: the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges)

"Entitlement." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Oct. 2013. .

In this house, we don't believe in raising children who believe they're entitled, so here are a few things we do to combat it.  If you're looking for ways to do this and not experience some crying, our approach may not be a fit for you.

1) Teach manners - please and thank you go a long way.  They have to ask politely for things they want and show some kind of gratitude for receiving them.  Since teaching my daughter to use her magic words, she's become accustomed to it and uses them appropriately quite often.
2) Have rules - teaching boundaries help children to learn what is and isn't acceptable behavior.  Children need to know what they are and are not allowed to do.
3) Teach responsibility - things in life aren't given to us, we earn them (well, that's the way I think it should be anyway).
4) Stand your ground and let your kid cry - Accept that you're not your child's friend every moment of the day.  Standing your ground on important issues will make them upset with you (for a moment ... or a few years) but they'll get over it and more than likely, eventually, respect you for it.  At any age, explain to them why it's so important that a particular rule can't be broken.  And, as always, access your rules based on age, responsibility, and maturity level of your children.

In due time, we'll be working on a chore chart together with a reward system to help her learn how to be responsible and to earn things she wants.  Why?  Because, sometimes, even asking "please" a thousand times doesn't justify a reward ... if she wants a $500 toy, that's something she's going to have to work her butt off for.  Just like when she has to work to earn a paycheck to pay for a $60,000 vehicle should she want it.

I want to be my daughter's friend and give her everything in the world, just not at the expense of the rest of the world.  At some point, I won't be there to give her everything and she'll need her skills to help her navigate through life as a responsible and upstanding citizen who earns everything she gets.

Do I know if we're doing it right?  Nope.  I'm just hoping that we are and that all this hard work pays off.   It certainly isn't always easy, but the fact remains that she's learning to be more polite and people are noticing it. And, because of it, I've seen fewer tantrums because she's having to remain calm in order to get a desired result... since we don't typically give in during tantrums.

If you're looking for more ways to teach manners, try this book:

The Please and Thank You Book

Is there anything else you'd add to my list?

This post originally appeared at

Ivy B