It’s Possible—3 Steps To Help Parents Not Raise Self-Entitled Kids

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A Guide for the Hip Aunts and Uncles

So
I’ve seen first-hand how parents want what’s best for their children. They’re
willing to do everything they can to ensure that their child is happy. Many
parents give in to all of their child’s requests and some clean up after them
when they’re old enough to do it themselves.

The
trouble is, this habit can lead to cultivating a child’s sense of entitlement.

First,
let me make a quick a disclaimer: I’m not a parent. But I have spent a lot of
time with young people.I’ve taught Bible lessons to children at my local church
for most of my adult life, I was a high school teacher for eight years, and I’m
also a (self-professed) cool and loving aunt of two cute, adorable little
girls.

Why are people self-centered?

Amy
McCready, the founder of Parenting Solutions, says that “The entitlement
epidemic usually begins with over-parenting—over-indulging, over-protecting,
over-pampering, over-praising, and jumping through hoops to meets kids endless
demands.”

And
statistics show that this is getting out of hand—entitled and
self-centered kids are becoming entitled and self-centered adults.

If
you don’t want to raise entitled kids—and adults—consider these 3 steps:

1.  
SHARE YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORIES
ABOUT GOD.

Before my eldest niece turned a year old, I would pray
with her before eating. At first, she would just copy my motions—eyes closed,
and muffled answers. But at three years old, she asked me why we needed to
pray. So I told her about the many times that God answered my prayers.

As adults, we learn to consider what God wants for us
because we recognize how much He has done for us at different points in our
lives. But for a young child, that relationship can be difficult to understand,
especially because they’re only starting to get to know God. Their experience
with Him is limited. That’s where you come in. 

As you tell your kids about the good ol’ days, include
stories of how God helped you get through your challenges. Did He provide for
your family at a tough time in your life? How did God take care of you when you
were young? Storytelling is a powerful way of teaching children. Letting them
hear about how God rescued you at your difficult times, makes God’s power and
presence feel real to them. And once they realize how much God provides for us,
they’ll understand why their motivation and decisions in life should include
God. 

2.   
BE A RESOURCE, NOT A WAY OUT.

When I used to teach high school,
my least favorite time of the year was parent-teacher nights. Don’t get me
wrong, I take pride in talking about my students’ accomplishments. The problem
was, a majority of the parents didn’t want to talk about their child’s
accomplishments, instead, they were there to help their child get a better
grade than what they’ve earned.  They
were fighting their children’s battles for them and taking away the important
lesson of accountability.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get involved
in your child’s life—you should know how they’re doing in their studies and
extracurricular activities. But don’t solve their problems for them. Instead,
offer advice. Encourage them to reflect on their own actions before blaming
their shortcomings on others. Remember, there’s a difference between making
their decisions for them and being helpful as they make their own decisions.
And if they’re still afraid of doing things on their own, remind them to depend on what God can do for them. 

3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Woman carrying a little girl in the field.

For some people, being mindful about everything that
God provides is intrinsic. They consider it common knowledge. But here’s the
thing—children can only adopt practices that they can see. They need to see and
hear how God provides
everything for you and your family
—from the food you eat, the
opportunity you have to work for a living, to the friendships that you enjoy.
Being grateful is positive energy that can benefit your children. And hearing
it from the people they trust most—their parents—makes a difference.  So take the time to practice gratitude. Start
with each other—let your child know why you’re grateful that God placed them in
your life, and encourage them to do the same with other members of your family.

Focus on what God wants them to
do

Helping
them become aware of God’s blessings in their lives may help them focus more on
what God wants them to do—actions that not only serve themselves, but can also
benefit others. 

Proverbs 22:6 TEV

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This blog was written by Michelle Barreda with biblical support by Donald Pinnock, a minister of the gospel of the Church Of Christ.

Michelle Barreda is the fresh
cup of coffee that you need in the morning, but can’t handle in the afternoon.
Aside from kickboxing, she geeks out about writing and anything music-related.
This is her first blog on incmedia.org.

Donald has been an ordained minister in the Church Of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) for over 27 years.  He hosts the show The Solution, where he helps individuals find solutions to their life’s problems using only the Bible.

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