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Kids are filled with a sense of entitlement these days. Luckily, the answer is a simple solution you can read about here.

Our 9 year old decided that he wants–no, needs to own a fidget cube.

My Mom had bought small fidget spinners for my older two boys, and she offered to get one for him, too.  But he wanted a slightly different model for himself.  

Trouble is, he had spent all of his money on a giant Lego set months ago and hadn’t refilled his piggy bank since then.

Part of me wanted to plop down the money for the toy and let him have it.  After all, it’s only a few dollars.  

Even in our #yearofno it wouldn’t be much to spend.  (More on that in a minute.)

And who can turn down a cute face asking for such a small thing?

Instead, I began to think about this moment on a larger scale.  Just one little moment like this seems insignificant.  

Was there really a lesson on the sense of entitlement to be learned here?

The One Thing That Stops The Sense of Entitlement

Entitled kids? It can be hard to parent without teaching your children a sense of entitlement. Raising boys and girls can be done with these helpful parenting tips and ideas.

Our family is working on something we call #yearofno.  We’re getting out of debt by not spending money on anything non-essential.

People have asked us all sorts of questions.  “How’s it work?”  “What are you doing differently?”

But the question I’m asked the most is “How did you get your kids on board?”

At first, this question totally baffled me.  Why would I ask permission from my kids?

But more and more, I get it.

We live in a world where our kids expect to get everything they want, and to get it now

Any TV show you want on demand without commercials.  (What are commercials, Mom?)  Candy or stickers at every stop while you run errands. 

And parents that are so busy, they can hardly keep up.

Who hasn’t occupied their kids with a screen in a pinch?

But for the most part, I try hard to keep entitled behavior at bay.  It’s not a fight I’m willing to lose.  

How did we get our kids on board with the #yearofno?

We did it by saying no. A lot.

I didn’t buy the thing they ask for.  I don’t take them every place they want to go.  There’s no way I’m going to let them eat fast food every time they ask for it.  I’m not buying a new app each week.

Frankly, I’m not willing to leave my future in the hands of little people too young to understand the consequences of their choices.

Is that child abuse?  Several people have said that it is!  

But I’ll stand my ground.  And I’ll tell you why you should stand your ground, too.

tell kids no

Why “No” Is Hard

Who wants to be the Mom or Dad always saying no?  That’s not fun.

Besides, who can stand the inevitable whining that comes with saying no?

Well, the good news is that you can adjust to this new attitude.  And so can your kids.

In fact, I think you’ll all begin to love it.  But only if you power through the hard parts.

How to Squash Entitlement And Raise Happy Kids

I read a parenting book called The Well-Behaved Child.  

Remember how our parents could stop our behavior flat with “the look”?  Where has that gone??

It might be “old fashioned” parenting, but a lot of good stuff was lost when we collectively decided that our parents and grandparents had no idea how to raise kids.

Here’s one of the points I loved from the book…

Think about basketball.  If your child hits another player, does the ref pull them aside and ask if they meant to do that?

No.  He points to them, reads their number, and gives them a foul.  No second chances.  No discussion on what the child feels about what just happened.

Bonus points…you never have to spend time deciding whether this is the time you’ll discipline, or if it’s another time to say “The next time you do that…I’ll…do something.”

Extra bonus points…your kid won’t wonder if this is the time you let it slide or you lose your mind.  They’ll know exactly what’s coming.

(And there’s a good chance you won’t have to discipline nearly as often because of that.)

Here It Comes…

I know what you’re thinking!  If you tell your child no, he or she is going to whine.  And I don’t mean a little whine. 

There will be full blown dramas fit for Hollywood.

You’re probably right!  But the truth is, I’ve been telling my kids no for ages…and they still whine.  But the Hollywood moments are fewer and farther between!

To be honest, if you’re the type to give in to whining, you’ve created some serious work for yourself.  Your kid knows just how to play you.

So let them have their fit, but who says you have to participate in it?  Tell them to keep their fit in a certain room and they’re free to come out when they’re finished. 

Just remember that the only way to break the whining habit is to let your children know with certainty that whining will never result in them getting what they want.

You’ll have to prove to them over and over again that you’ve quit the habit of giving in to whining before they take you seriously.

Timing Is Everything

Don’t wait for the meltdown moment to tell your kids no.  Practice saying no every day.  Does that sound like a negative thing?  

Then reframe the way you talk about it.

My kids want to eat snacks and play with toys during church.  Instead, I remind them, “Out of an entire week, I ask you to sit still and be quiet for just one hour.  That’s not asking too much.” 

Then it’s just a matter of not bringing snacks or toys with you to church.

That can be hard.  You’ll probably miss important parts of church that you’d rather be paying attention to, because you’ll be redirecting children instead. 

But keep doing it!  Eventually, they’ll adjust.  (Probably sooner than you expect.)

Another example… On the advice of parents whose kids are older than mine, I’ve decided that my kids don’t need access to social media until high school.  (Scratch that, now we make them wait until they’re 16.)

That’s hard for all of us.  I want them to be able to interact with their friends.  And that’s how most kids interact these days.

But it’s not worth the trouble that comes with social media.  Kids who aren’t old enough to understand the responsibilities of such a powerful tool simply shouldn’t have it.

Both children and parents have to practice this “no” on a regular basis in a world that accepts technology so quickly. 

But it’s given us real world chances to talk about technology as we ease our kids into new situations.  

Why is this YouTube video ok, but that one isn’t?  What happened to this child in the news when he posted something to Instagram?

No kid is going to say, “Yeah, Mom.  I see your point about social media.  You’re so smart!”  

But it will plant a tiny seed in their minds to ponder on as they go through life.

Giving our kids the best things in life

Follow Through

Don’t believe the lie that you have to be perfect.  You aren’t and you might as well stop hiding it. 😉

Do try to be consistent. But don’t throw away the entire thing if you mess it up here and there.

There's one thing you can do when you discover that you're parenting entitled kids. When that sense of entitlement pops up in your daughters and sons, it's important to remember that you're teaching them even when you aren't thinking about the way you're raising them! #parenting

What Are the Best Things In Life?

  • Family you can count on.  (Prove it, Mom and Dad!)
  • True friendships (not superficial groups of peers).
  • Good health, money habits, and relationships from learning to say no to every little impulse.
  • Knowing how to work hard and problem solve.  (Important for everything!)
  • Forgiveness.  None of us are perfect, and we’re all trying to do our best!

The Fun Part

Do I say no to my children every single time?  Of course not!  

It’s fun to have ice cream before supper or grab tickets for that special event.  But the secret is, those things are fun treats.  

Done every day, they start to lose their sparkle.

Learn to say no to your children and give them the best instead.

While I silently wrung my hands and reminded myself not to interfere with my boy while he struggled with his desire to buy something he couldn’t afford, he got busy and solved the problem.  

A few chores later, and he was able to buy that fidget with money he’d earned himself!

By the way, I strongly recommend you have your kids do chores regularly.  Grab this free printable list of chores for kids by age!

Give your kids a chance to prove to both of you that they can do it.

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How do you deal with the sense of entitlement in your kids?