Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Entitlement

I've been really worried about how much my kids feel entitled to things lately.

Here's an example:

Last week we were lucky enough to spend some time at our friends' cabin.

Not only did we get to spend some quality time with friends we love in a beautiful place (pictures later), but our kids got to spend time with their kids who are such great examples and so fun.

We had some dreamy, relaxing days in the midst of the summer chaos, and then it was time to get back to the hustle and bustle of home.

As we started packing up I reminded my "sweet" children to pack up their stuff, bring it to the car and then to keep asking what they could do to help. I figured that little reminder would do the trick. I mean, I have trained them over and over again to be hard workers, to look for things that need to be done, to show respect to people who have taken care of them, etc. etc.

I was all prepared for them to jump to work with smiles stretched across their faces.

Well, they started a meager attempt to help. They dragged their bags downstairs and then got back to a game they were playing. I had to ask over and over for them to help clean and pack up as my illusion of how I had trained them to see what needed to be done began to dissolve.

Finally one child said to me (after my fourth help request for the same job), "mom, it's just that I'm supposed to be on vacation right now."

You can guess that that little comment made me pretty huffy to say the least. It was the catalyst to a lengthy discussion and some quick back-pedaling on that particular child's part.

But it also made me question a lot about parenting. What have Dave and I really been teaching our kids? How can we be more clear about our expectations? How can we help our children realize that the way they choose to react in certain situations now is creating habits for their future. How can we parent in a way that will help them realize they are not entitled to being waited on hand and foot.

Now I know that this is an isolated incident. I know it's not the end of the world and that this particular child really can be a good worker. But this along with a succession of other instances lately have really made me think about how entitlement can be so detrimental and how I don't want that feeling in our house.

I don't even want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.

This line of thinking, of course, always leads me to thoughts of excitement about parents' new book coming out in September called "The Entitlement Trap."

I know that Dave and I could use all the help we can get and I know this book will give us just that. Even though I have heard so much of this entitlement concept before from my parents I'm so excited to have some good, concrete methods wrapped up in a book that I can put to use to help on my quest.

I know there are so many other parents out there who want the same thing. Polls suggest that a feeling of entitlement among kids is one of the single biggest worries of parents in our society today. So I'm directing you to this link with more info. about entitlement (and a video that I'd love to talk more about because it talks about allowance and we DO have allowance...a post for another day), and to this link at Power of Moms for some details on the movement my parents are trying to start. (I want to start it with them.) There are details on how to be part of a personal webinar my parents have coming up on June 21st (and also on how to win some awesome prizes) when you pre-order the book. There is more detailed info. on how to pre-order the book and why it is an important part of the cause here.

I want to help stand up against entitlement and help our children become strong, resilient adults. And I really think that this is the first step.

I would LOVE to hear other ideas on how to stop entitlement in it's tracks because I know there are so many parents out there who are experts on this in their own right.
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