The entitled child epidemic

Career & Education

The entitled child epidemic

Dr Karla Hylton

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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As loving parents we want our children to have everything we desired when we were children. We want to protect, pamper, provide, and praise our children, but we often end up inadvertently creating a “me, me, me” epidemic.

It is difficult for well-meaning parents to come to grips with the possibility that they are harming their own children by over-parenting. Yet, this is a definite and real problem in today's modern world. In seeking to meet their every request, whim and desire we are raising entitled children.

To be raised as an entitled child means that your child believes that he or she is owed something and everything from the world around them. That child believes that you, as their parent, should and must provide for all their wants and not just their needs. Hard work and the value of earning something is a foreign concept to the entitled child and narcissistic qualities get developed from an early age.

Modern society encourages children to want more and expect more of the finer things in life. Parents often add fuel to the fire by not establishing firm boundaries. Too many parents fight their children's battles and solve their problems, thus disallowing the youngsters to fend for themselves.

Tips to NOT raise an entitled child:

• Stop giving in: A child likes to test your boundaries. He/she may throw a tantrum, make a scene, or simply embarrass you in public as a means to an end. The child will want something and want it now. Ignore the tantrum and the scenes and stand your ground. No is no! Do not give in to your child's pouting, whining, and weeping. True love does not mean that you give your child everything he/she wants.

• Teach gratitude: This comes down to 'un-centring' your child from the centre of the universe. Teach your child to say 'thank you'. Reinforce this every time something is received. It is good to allow them to interact with the less fortunate and to develop a sense of appreciation for the things in life so that the child learns to not take everything for granted and will cultivate empathy. Volunteerism and charity also are good practices to establish in a child from an early age.

• Teach accountability: Do not be quick to drop off that homework that was left at home. Children must take responsibility for certain aspects of their lives and must face consequences. They should learn to speak up for themselves; for example, if having difficulty with a concept being taught, encourage that child to speak respectfully to the teacher about this, rather than depending on you to do so.

• Give your child responsibility: This means that your child should have age-appropriate chores to attend to, without pay. Your child should be helping around the house and picking up after himself. At the appropriate age, they should be able to clean their own room, make the bed, etc.

• Do not try to be your child's best friend: Your child needs you to be an authority figure and not a peer. While it's natural for us to want our child to like us, we must be careful not to overindulge a child. The child must understand that you have more experience and that you are there to guide and point in the right direction.

• Talk to your child: Nothing beats the one-to-one conversations between parent and child. Make sure the child understands the value of hard work in achieving success financially, spiritually and academically. Speak about earning, saving and achieving.

Dr Karla Hylton, UWI lecturer in biology, is the author of Yes! You Can Help Your Child Achieve Academic Success and Complete Chemistry for Caribbean High Schools . Reach her at (876) 564-1347, or .

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