Entitlement and Summertime
I have recently (since school has been out) had an influx of parents in despair over the fact that their adolescents are of the opinion that the purpose of summer break is for them to relax and catch up on their sleep. Doing chores or helping with other family and household things is an absolute imposition. Unthinkable! However, making sure that the adolescent is transported wherever he wants to go with money in his pocket is expected. The give-and-take is seriously absent from his mind.
Remember that you are raising adults…not children. Teaching your children responsibility includes teaching them self-control and self discipline. They will quickly find that there is time in the day to accomplish all that they want to AND help with chores. A sense of entitlement is a detriment to our children. It keeps them from having a healthy self-concept, solid relationships, and being participating members of society. It enhances their sense of slothfulness (one of the seven deadly sins) and diminishes their feeling of accomplishment.
Children need praise and recognition; therefore, they need to accomplish something to be recognized for. Don’t let a sports camp or the like take the place of their familial responsibility. I had a teen in the office recently who insisted that she needed to “rest” and therefore, could not help with family chores the week before a sports camp. The sad thing is that she really believed this was appropriate thinking and behavior. She did not see the disrespect toward her parents that was knitted into this type of thinking. Instilling a sense of gratitude in a child begins with responsibility….not entitlement. In fact, entitlement teaches them to take without giving and to have unrealistic expectations. These unrealistic expectations follow the child into adulthood often resulting in depression; anxiety and a sense of failure. These feelings can often lead to substance abuse; a way of escape.
Help your child to feel and express gratefulness for all you do for them. Teach them to show their gratitude by giving back through service to family and others and kind words of respect.