How to Undo Childhood Entitlement
- Megs Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 29 Jul
Childhood entitlement is every parent’s worst nightmare. But when you see the monster of entitlement rearing its ugly head in your child’s otherwise sweet personality (see Donna Jones’ “5 Ways You are Teaching Your Kids to be Entitled”), it is NOT too late to do something about it. Entitlement can be undone if you, as a parent, act fast.
Get help from Scripture.
The obligatory standoff in the toy-aisle, where wanting to provide the very best suddenly morphs into a bribe to get them off of the floor, sneaks up on the best of us. Guardians who set stipulations on the sentiments of stuff are smacked with the same test as those who don’t. Remember who you are, and what you're called to do.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a guide to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
Consult the Author of life when searching for some parenting 411. Each day, sneak a snippet of the living, breathing word that He left for us. It will remind you who you are, who He is, and encourage and fill your life with loving wisdom and guidance.
It’s never too late to stand up and set limits with your kids. Make them aware of what’s acceptable, and repeatedly refuse to give in. Healthy restrictions guide children to His feet. Here’s a few tips:
Keep it simple. Saying, “no” is often all the explanation a child needs. A convincing argument aids their own.
Make some rules. Creating a couple of catch-all rules. “Be kind,” and “Ask me first,” are two that can be blanketed to discipline a multitude of offenses.
- Attach a consequence. Ten minutes in time out, no electronics, laps to run… pick something that doesn’t inconvenience you any further than their bad behavior; and stick to the same consequence so they associate it with your authority.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Teach children their eternal worth.
When you break down cultural entitlement that infects even the most well-meaning families today, you have the opportunity to instill a different kind of worth… the eternal worth of knowing you were made by the Lord who knows you, loves you, and has a purpose for you.
Building the belief they’re beloved creates and unspeakable sense of self-worth. A deserved title passed down from the King of Glory… a child of God.
Children need rules, boundaries, and consequences, but moreover need to be valued and loved… and know it. Perfect parenting perplexes us, but our Father purposed unconditional love to be passed down. Here are some ways to build them up without giving them free reign:
For every “no,” yield a “yes.” Every cashed in consequence should be accompanied by encouragement. Kids need to know that mistakes are normal, and do not demean nor define who they are.
Avoid attacks in the heat of the moment. Instead of snap-moment labeling “lazy,” “bratty,” or “spoiled,” try, “I hope you make a better choice next time.”
- Tell them you love them. All day. Every day. “I appreciate you,” “You are smart.” “You’re funny.” “You have value.” “God loves you.” “I love you.” The only way to foster an attitude of “I’m loved and I’m worthy” entitlement is to tell them who they are.
In the tornado of discipline that encompasses childhood, it’s essential they get the concept of entitlement right. It doesn’t earn every toy and treasure this world can produce, but it does grant them worthy of a far greater inheritance. Jesus’ death entitles us to God’s grace, gifted to all of us undeservedly.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Megs is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at http://sunnyand80.org, where she writes about everyday life within the love of Christ.
Publication date: July 29, 2016