I am sometimes surprised and shocked by what teens and young adults believe they are entitled to have. From cell phones to cars to college degrees there are a lot of kids who have grown up thinking that the world owes them something. It has become a big shock to a lot of them when they realize that the world, in fact, owes them nothing and they will have to work for it like the rest of us. Or their poor parents who raised them will have them living and mooching off of them until they are 30.
How do we raise kids who work hard, have character and integrity, and who do not feel they are entitled?
The problem starts in early childhood with a parenting style that sets no limits. Kids need limits on things that are not good for them, tv, internet, junk food, and much more. When parents refuse to set limits in early childhood, older kids become even more demanding and things become much more expensive.
When you give in to giving your child a cell phone at 12 years old because everyone else has one, you are giving your child the idea that they deserve one. If you really want your child to have a phone, which I think is a mistake before high school for many reasons, at least make them earn it.
Our oldest 6 kids have all had to earn straight A’s for a full year before they can get one. A lot of my friends think I am over the top mean. However, all 6 of them have achieved it. So, it seems to me that if you want something bad enough you will really work for it. And that is the key. The lesson is in working for something that you want or it means nothing to you.
If you want to raise kids who are hard-working, responsible adults, then start requiring that in early childhood.
Have your child earn privileges. You can have them do chores to earn money for things they want or to earn time on video games or tv. If they want a car, make them get a job.
The number of kids who have wrecked the free car they got for doing nothing is significantly higher than the kids who worked 3 years to earn the money for one. If your child is working his way through college, you can be sure he won’t fail a class because it is his own money he will waste.
We all want our kids to have better lives than us and to be happy. But, giving them everything they want does not achieve that. We only wind up with young adults who see themselves as victims and who are dependent on us.
Let’s raise a generation of responsible, accountable, hardworking, happy people who feel the joy in life because what they have, they earned!