Raising Teenagers-Part 8: Entitlement
How many pre-teens and teenagers have cell phones?
The answer is a lot. Most young people today have cell phones, and for parents who want to wait until later to get their children a phone are faced with the concern that basically all other kids in their child’s grade probably has one.
Young adults show up for their first day of work expecting a corner office, a generous salary and the respect of a CEO. Why? Because as children and teens they were told they deserve these perks, in word and action. It comes as little surprise that young adults today have been dubbed “the entitlement generation.” New research is showing that this generation is showing more signs of depression and other mental illnesses, along with failures in their young relationships.
As parents, we need to work to break the entitlement trend.
Teach your child the value of hard work and money. It’s natural for parents to want to give your teens whatever they want because providing good things is a positive thing to do. However, your generosity can quickly contribute to their attitude of entitlement. Help them find opportunities to work, earn money and save for what they want. This teaches delayed gratification, discipline and the value of a dollar.
A parent has the instinct to protect their child from pain and harm. Protecting them from danger is a good thing, but protecting them from all forms of adversity doesn’t teach them the important life lesson of perseverance. Don’t teach them to avoid adversity, teach them to overcome.
When parents tell children that they can be anything they want to be, this can create an inflated sense of self and ultimately can set a child up for failure. Of course, parents should encourage children to pursue their dreams and help them achieve their goals, but help them shape their goals based on an honest assessment of their God-given abilities and willingness to work.
Teach them empathy. If they feel that the world revolves around them, they have trouble grasping the pain of others. This usually improves with maturity. Have them view situations from the perspective of others. For example, if your son broke up with his girlfriend via text message, ask him how he would feel if someone broke up with him that way.
As parents, we have a responsibility like no other. We have the power to help shape the way our children view themselves and the rest of the world. While social media and trends may try to push your child towards entitlement, you can buck this trend. Privilege without responsibility ends in unrealistic expectations, not self-worth or self-confidence.