Five secrets to stop the entitlement epidemic

Avoid the need to nag and remind your kids to do their family contributions by revealing consequences in advance. For example, “Our family rule is that your family contributions must be completed before you have TV, video or computer time.” Or, “You are responsible for cleaning the toy room by dinner time. Any toys that are lying on the floor after that time will go into a box and be unavailable for the next week.” Have a Plan for Whining and Badgering.

Why do kids badger us? Because we let them! Be prepared for what you’ll say the next time they want you to buy something they “desperately need.” While it may seem like an easy out to simply reply “I can’t afford it,” resist this phrase. Kids see that as an empty excuse, especially if they see you making other purchases. Instead, when your son is dying for the new LeBron James basketball shoes:

  • Empathize: “They are cool. Do you have enough allowance saved or do you want to put that on your wish list?”
  • Or, state what you ARE willing to do: “Those LeBron shoes are cool. I’m willing to pay $50 each year for a pair of basketball shoes -– you are welcome to pay the difference if you have enough money saved.

Encourage your kids to give a portion of their allowance to a charity of their choice. When your kids receive a gift or purchase something new, encourage them to put something in your giving box for someone in need. Volunteer with your kids at a local shelter. Help your child start a "gratitude journal" to record the things, people and experiences he or she is grateful for on a daily basis. A little gratitude — and empathy for situations more difficult than their own — can go a long way in raising kids who can think and act beyond themselves. Pampering and over-indulging can be a temporary fix to ease short-term aggravation, but it is a monumental disservice to kids in the long run. Pampered and indulged kids will one day grow into narcissistic adults, helpless spouses and high-maintenance employees. Begin putting the brakes on the entitlement train today. And one day, believe it or not, your kids will thank you! Note: See the list of family contributions by age for ideas for your family.Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and mom to two boys, ages 12 and 14. Positive Parenting Solutions teaches parents of toddlers to teens how to correct misbehaviors permanently without nagging, reminding or yelling. For more information on getting kids to help more and battle less and for free training resources, visit: www.PositiveParentingSolutions.comRelated stories:

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