Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Kids Are Alright:Raising Kids Without Entitlement

     How does a parent raise self sufficient children without entitlement in the world today when instant gratification is the norm? This is my goal. I have found it has been very hard to accomplish but I am doing my best at it every day despite it's challenges.

What I  See:
     Everywhere I look I see children with brand name clothing, the newest available devices and phones in elementary school. This generation of kids is being raised to expect things to be handed to them without any work being involved. Parents overindulge their children. They give them spending money not tied to chores, they wait on them and meet their every request. They cart them around to anywhere their little hearts desire. Their children call all the shots. This NEEDS to stop if we ever expect them to succeed in the world as adults. I see parents placing more importance on popularity, looks, sports, the latest and greatest brand names and devices than on education. How can we change this phenomenon?

What I Do:
     I am teaching my kids that everything they have beyond basic needs has to be earned. I expect hard work at school and at home, practicing instruments, homework and chores completed before they will receive any privilege. They are allowed one extracurricular activity at a time. It is to be seen as a privilege, not a given. If they sign up they are expected to complete the term or season, meaning doing their best and going to all practices, meetings and games. I expect them to take good care of their own belonging and bodies. All devices we own are shared between at least 2 family members since these are not to bee seen as needs but extras. No one NEEDS their own devices. They are for fun during spare time. They need to work out between them how they are to be shared and if they cannot I will remove the device until they do. This teaches problem solving. They must show respect for me and all authority figures. Now, up to this point I may sound very strict, but I assure you, they are given many freedoms and also shown my respect. I listen to their concerns, freely give praise, and encouragement. I apologize when I make mistakes, which I do quite often. I spend a lot of time doing family activities with them which they have input on. I also allow them to choose whatever they would like to do with their free time.

What I Don't Do:
     I don't buy them anything that is not a basic need unless it is their birthday or Christmas. I don't give them spending money, or pay them for grades or chores. I will not get them phones, ever. When they are 16 they can have one if they pay for it themselves. I don't buy them brand name clothing unless it is from a garage sale or on clearance. I don't look for their misplaced items, pick up their things or wait on them. I don't listen to whining or tantrums. I don't carry their belongings into the house from the car. I don't hover over them during homework, I only help if they get stuck. I also respect their space so I do not make them clean their rooms. My only rule about it is nothing is to be left on the floor and dirty clothes go in the hamper. I don't limit screen time at all if all their responsibilities have been met. I do not care one bit about grades on their report cards. As long as I see them doing their best work, I do not say a thing about it. (They are all A/B students by the way). 

     My goal is to raise self sufficient responsible children that will carry into adulthood. I want them to equate the things they have with the work they have done. More things cannot take the place of spending time and care on their development. If I invest time and teaching in them now, that is how they will become self reliant. We are only given so much time to form them into the adults we want them to become. Even if I had the means I still would not buy them whatever they want. That teaches absolutely nothing except entitlement. I want them to always work hard to earn what they have. Am I on the right track to make that happen? Only time will tell.