Last week, a friend witnessed an 11-year-old girl throw fit after fit while getting a pedicure at a salon. The child was rude and petulant, complaining about how the decorations on her nails looked crooked. Mom demanded that the technician do it again and again until the princess was satisfied. As the little girl continued to pout, mommy soothed her by saying, “We’re not leaving here until you’re happy!”
Too many children today are being raised with a sense of entitlement; the idea that they deserve to be given things because of their age, gender, social status, or ability to pitch a fit. They have no concept of real sacrifice or suffering and are not being properly prepared for the real world.
The solution, I believe, is gratefulness. Throughout our children’s lives we need to teach our child to be grateful for everything. Saying thank you for meals, services, and gifts is a reminder to them that someone had to sacrifice their time and/or resources to meet their needs. As parents, you can model gratefulness by saying thank you often, especially for the little things. Teach your children to write thank you notes, express gratitude, and to be kind to anyone who takes care of them: waitresses, janitors, nail technicians. My husband taught our children to be grateful for every meal by reciting the following, “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate, Mommy, Mommy, Yay! Mommy!” As adults, they still express gratitude whenever they come over for dinner.
I like the poster that reads, “Here is a comprehensive list of everything you’re entitled to and what the world owes you!” – followed by a blank sheet of paper.
Vicki and her husband Terry are the parents of eight children and were named Colorado Parents of the Year and Family of the Year, 2001. Vicki is the author of two books, many articles, former talk show host, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. To get your parenting questions answered, write to Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.