Adapted from The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World by Amy McCready. (Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin Group USA, Penguin Random House).
You couldn’t afford your own makeup this month because thirteen-year-old Johnny’s fluorescent orange must-have sneakers cost your entire discretionary budget. You keep a spare McDonald’s bag on hand so you can pretend to three-year-old Emma that her peanut-butter sandwich was made under the golden arches. And in order to get eight-year-old Daryl into bed, you have to let him fall asleep in front of the television, and carry him there.
Since when do parents jump through hoops at all costs to keep children happy? Since when do kids get to call the shots? The truth is kids everywhere—from toddlers to teens—are ruling the roost and they’re not about to abandon their posts without a fight.
Entitlement isn’t really a disease, but it has hit epidemic levels in our society. And it’s certainly not only rich kids who are afflicted. The entitlement problem spans classes and cultures. It’s also not only about stuff. Entitled kids believe the world revolves around them. They expect things to be done for them, a path to happiness cleared and smoothed, without putting in much effort themselves. They feel that something is wrong if they’re not happy. At any given minute they should be having the time of their lives because after all, you only live once.
How does the entitlement epidemic present in the typical household? Here are a few clues you might have an entitlement problem in your home:
You find yourself exasperated at your children’s demands but caving anyway.
You’re exhausted keeping up with the house, but everyone’s too busy watching TV to help.
You can’t make it through the grocery store without buying a treat.
You’re frequently supplementing your kids’ allowance.
You take responsibility for your kids by doing things for them that you know they should be able to do for themselves.
You resort to bribes or rewards to get cooperation from your kids.
You frequently rescue your kids by driving forgotten items to school or reminding them about their deadlines.
Your child frequently takes issue with rules and expectations at school or in activities.
Your child is quick to blame others for anything that goes wrong.
Your child tries to manipulate others to get his way.
Your child commonly sulks or pitches a fit when she doesn’t get her way.
Your child often complains of being bored and wants to be entertained by you.
Your child finds it really difficult to wait patiently for something he wants.
Sound like a child you know? In truth, there’s not a kid alive who doesn’t exhibit some of these symptoms from time to time. Whether you’ve got a big entitlement outbreak at your house or only a minor case, you’ll soon be able to move your kids toward greater independence, responsibility and contentment.
Read Brain, Child’s Q&A with author Amy McCready
Parenting expert Amy McCready is the author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic (Perigee, 2015) and the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. She is also the author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time (Perigee, 2011). A champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids, she reaches a worldwide audience with her Positive Parenting Solutions Online parenting course, web and print articles, live webinars, and media appearances. Amy is a frequent guest on the TODAY show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and two sons. Learn more at www.AmyMcCready.com.
© 2015 by Amy McCready. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Penguin Group USA, Penguin Random House.
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