I’m stepping out of my relationship and sex counselor clothes and going to discuss a pet peeve of mine. This irks me, as well as a ton of other people alike. It’s those ill-mannered, self-entitled, and disrespectful children and teens in the world. Perhaps it’s only a U.S. epidemic, maybe it’s worldwide. Nevertheless, it’s a current situation that must be dealt with. It is the parent’s responsibility to start the shift to raising respectful, kind, and decent kids.
Yes, we want the best for our children; we want them happy and well-adjusted. This does not mean we give our children everything their little hearts desire, or not teach responsibility for one’s actions. Many parents spoil their children not only in material avenues, but also persist in allowing their children to speak to them disrespectfully and yet still get the keys to the car, go out with friends, or play with that new toy. Not only does the disrespectful language surmount, actions in form of not having chores, not helping with laundry, and not picking up after themselves become second nature, and sounds of “I don’t have to” ricochet off the walls. Other comments I’ve heard: “You had me, so you’re supposed to give me a cell phone, a car, pay my gas and insurance, and stuff!” I know, I sound like I’m on a bashing tangent. Perhaps I am.
The American society has witnessed such behaviors over the last decade where children and teens lack manners, genuine respect for others, and an entitled attitude where the world owes them to their life’s content. Delayed gratification is an unknown term to many children and their parents alike.
Some key elements to extinguish entitled children are to teach our children simple rules:
- Manners and kindness toward others
- To appreciate what they have
- Teach them responsibility for their actions and behaviors
- The world is unfair
- That they are loved and deserve love, but those things do not equate to constantly getting their way
Here are some aspects that may help teach our children the things above:
- Have consistent consequences for inappropriate behavior. If a child gets away with inappropriate behaviors one time out of ten, they will remember that one time.
- Teach them to pick up after themselves. If they make a mess teach them to clean it
- Perhaps: “You can play with another toy after you put the other away.”
- “If you don’t wash your clothes, you’ll have to wear dirty ones, period” (of course age appropriate here).
- Teach them to delay gratification.
- Teach them the difference between needs and wants.
- Remember to reinforce to them they are loved! Their displaying negative behaviors, does not, nor should not mean they are not loved. This also teaches them that you can be angry and still love someone.
- They have a right to feel mad at you, though does not give them the right to disrespect, call names, or break things. If they do, again they need to replace it by working it off, or perhaps one of their prize possessions goes bye-bye.
Again, I am not here to bash others, I want to simply teach parents and caregivers to instill responsibility, and reduce spoiled and entitled attitudes and behaviors so present in the American society. There are a lot of great children and teens out there. Let’s work together to enhance more of those! This is by no means an end all to this problem, but a starting point.