Have you ever wondered why kids today seem to get bored, frustrated and impatient so easily? Are you worried that we’re raising a generation of entitled kids?
Growth mindset research tells us that the brain can continue to develop and change throughout our lives. There are things we can do to make us mentally stronger.
The trouble is that many parents, despite the best of intentions, are actually engaging in behaviours that don’t encourage a growth mindset. These behaviours can, in fact, have the opposite effect and result in impatient, entitled kids.
Don’t want to raise entitled kids? Avoid these five common parenting mistakes.
1. Instant gratification
It is so easy to give in to the demands of a whiny child to make the frustration stop, but when we do this we deprive them of the opportunity to learn patience.
We know your motives are pure, you just want to make your child happy. But If you find yourself running to get snacks every time your child wails “I’m hungry!” or turning on the TV every time they say “I’m bored”, you may be doing them more long term harm than good.
2. Constant entertainment
There is this pressure to create an endlessly fun universe for our kids. Blame it on social media, or smartphones, or whatever…but a lot of parents feel like their kids have to be constantly entertained or else they’re not doing a good job. Let us break it to you… that’s entirely not true!
Let your kids be bored once in a while! It’s okay, they’ll live.
Even better, get them involved in doing some chores around the house. Research has shown, time and time again, that chores provide a host of benefits for your child’s development. Chores teach responsibility and grit. Key traits children need to succeed in school. Kids don’t learn how to apply themselves by doing tasks that are “fun”, they learn to apply themselves through work.
3. Limited outdoor and social time
Parents today are so busy. We have tons of work to do. It’s easy to hand your kid an iPad or turn on a Disney movie to keep them “busy” too so that you can tackle your to-do list.
But here’s the issue with that. Kids need time to play outside in unstructured environments with you and with other kids in order to learn social skills. When iPads replace outdoor activities, our kids fall behind.
If you want your child to have strong social skills, they need to be out socializing! There’s no substitute for quality interactions outdoors.
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4. Letting kids make the rules
“My kid won’t put on his jacket.” “My daughter won’t eat anything green.” We hear this kind of thing from parents all the time.
When did parenting become a democracy? If we let kids make the rules, there’d be Netflix all day, pizza for breakfast, and you can just forget about bedtime all together.
And we wonder where all the entitled kids come from?
We aren’t doing our children any good when we give them what they want, if what they want isn’t healthy.
It also sends a really bad message. It tells kids that they don’t “need” to do certain things like chores or schoolwork if it isn’t something they “want” to do. Which we all know is blatantly false. By letting kids set their own rules, they don’t learn how to do the work necessary to achieve a goal.
5. Too much screen time
This is one of the blights of the modern age and a huge factor in the rise of entitled kids. Using tech as a distraction and/or babysitter never ends well.
Compared to the world on their screens, real life is bound to seem boring.
This leads to impatience, frustration, and an unwillingness to do tasks that require slow, focused attention like reading and studying. Not to mention the havoc longtime exposure to constant stimulation can wreck on a child’s nervous system and concentration. Tech also disconnects kids from their friends and family and limits the social interaction they need to develop.
Now that you know the pitfalls to avoid if you don’t want to raise entitled kids, you might be asking yourself…what can I do instead? Great question!
You can TOTALLY steer your kids away from entitlement by encouraging a growth mindset and helping train their little brains to develop the emotional and social skills they need to thrive.
Here’s how to NOT raise impatient, entitled kids:
Make consistent bedtime and morning routines and stick with them.
Be sure they eat healthy, nutritious food. Even vegetables.
Set limits on screen time and monitor what they watch.
Get them outdoors to play with you and other kids regularly.
Assign and enforce age-appropriate chores.
Let them be bored once in a while.
Don’t allow devices at meals, even at restaurants. Let them wait and talk.
Have them save up for a new toy they want rather than buying it outright.
Don’t feed them immediately every time they whine “I’m hungry!”
Connect as a family
Share meals together.
Plan family game nights.
Play together outdoors at a park, beach, etc.
Teach social skills
Be sure to cover etiquette basics like “please” and “thank you”.
Teach them how to be a kind winner and how not to be a sore loser.
Practice acts of kindness together to teach empathy.
Nobody wants to raise impatient and entitled kids, that’s never the end game. The good news is if you feel your children might be going down this path it’s not too late.
Kids learn fast! If you avoid the mistakes we discussed and make a few tweaks to your parenting style, you should start seeing improvement right away.
Article was adapted from Beenke.
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