4 Expert Tips To Eliminating Entitlement In Your Child

Photo by Wayne S. Grazio on Flickr.com


Every parent has unspoken expectations they put on their children and on themselves about how your child is going to be raised.

While it is common and acceptable to want the best for your child, it is a slippery slope into having your child expect the best of things.

Entitlement is an attribute that is eating away at this country – so here is how to make sure it doesn’t begin in your home.

  1. Teach your child it is okay to not get their way.

This is a hard one for most adults, let alone a child who doesn’t understand why they can’t just take home the cat they found at the park or why they aren’t the fastest runner at school.

Aliza Pressman, co-founder of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center and host of the Raising Good Humans podcast, discusses with HuffPost that children have not yet developed “theory of mind.”

Children naturally are ego-centric and put their own thoughts and feelings above others because seeing the wider scope of things is a quality we develop later on.

So teaching children it is okay to not get their way is a gradual and often painful process where you have to allow your child to just feel the disappointment of not getting their way while being there to see them through the other side.

Lessons begin small, but must remain consistent. Such as, not giving into candy in the checkout lane every time you run in the grocery store for a gallon of milk, or not letting your child win every board game you play together just to make them feel better.

This is not easy for parents, because no one likes to see a child hurting, but in the long run you will save them a lot of grief.

  1. Make chores part of a daily routine.

Mommy Underground has previously reported on the benefits of chores for children, and how they can begin at any age.

Pressman says:

Teaching responsibility is a huge, huge task of parenting.”

She recommends starting small such as, “Have them bring their plate to the kitchen.”

Kids like to feel important and a valued member of the family, while they are innately both, they also get to become a productive member of the household early on when they have their own responsibilities.

Just be careful to make the tasks age-appropriate so they don’t feel burdened by the word “chore.”

Having your three-year-old take the trash out is going to be too much for them (and messy!), but they can wipe down the table with a rag or water plants.

  1. Create clear boundaries and stick to them.

Boundaries are arguably the most important part of parenting.

HuffPost recommends asking yourself some tough questions prior to establishing boundaries:

What are some of the lines you really want to hold? What boundaries are important to you (and your parenting partner, if you have one)? And how consistent are you really about keeping those boundaries in place? This can be for small daily habits to bigger expectations about how you’d like your child to behave as a citizen of the world.”

Now, no one is able to be 100% consistent 100% of the time, but it should be enough that your child understands the boundary is the rule – with the occasional exception. Not the other way around.

When your child is upset because you set the boundary that they can color only on paper and not the walls, it gives you a great opportunity to help them cope through difficult feelings.

Entitlement will start to creep in when your child begins setting the boundaries themselves when you are always caving into their demands.

If you have not been great about holding your ground, that’s ok! It’s never too late to start!

  1. Act the way you want your kids to behave.

“Do as I say, not as I do” is not the mantra to parent by if you want your kids to truly kick entitlement to the curb.

Pressman says:

Modeling respect is a huge and important component of entitlement stuff.”

Kids take in so much of the world around them and learn how to behave in social situations and relationships through observational learning.

How are you treating people when you are upset or frustrated?

Of course parents are not at their best when they are sitting in traffic with a crying baby and someone cuts you off, but what about the smaller moments when you are discussing a discrepancy in a bill or the school asks you to lead the bake sale fundraiser?

Entitlement is typically passed on from generation to generation, and as a parent, you have the unique opportunity to stop the cycle.

Don’t let this pesky attribute sneak into your home – begin implementing these four tips and crush it.