Can you even fathom spending $500,000 to get your child into a college that they DON’T EVEN WANT to attend? I mean seriously. There are far too many problems in that simple question. How do you ever get to that point? Here’s an equally scary thought. You know it didn’t start (and likely won’t stop) there. It started in childhood with the dreaded word … ENTITLEMENT. And how do you prevent entitlement?
The truth is we parents are all guilty of that on some level.
We all want the best for our children but are we succeeding with the next generation? At a time when most Americans live their lives in debt, do our children really need the newest iPhones? How about the cell phone bills that come with that phone?
Entitlement is a tricky subject as a parent. It is easy to see in others but difficult to recognize in your own child. It comes from a place of parental love and caring. Let’s start with a simple concept – there is a difference between NEEDS and WANTS:
Prevent Entitlement: Start with Needs vs Wants
Needs: Food, Shelter (we can include clothing in the modern era but not name brands), Water, Love
Wants: Everything else
My suspicion is that, if you are reading this, you have the NEEDS section more than covered. Pretty simple. You knew there would be a challenge, though.
Here’s your simple challenge to prevent entitlement:
If you are getting something in the WANTS category for your child, just DON’T let it be nicer than you would buy for yourself. Sounds simple, right?
Now, go look at your child’s room and see if you have done that. Pay attention next time you are at the store. Ask yourself: Would I spend that much on myself or look for a cheaper alternative?
Me in the Upper RIght – it was the 90’s people!
Think back to your own childhood. If you are old, like me, there were no cell phones (pagers maybe) for comparison. Back then gifts were things like purses or jewelry at my house. My Dad worked long, hard hours and would spoil my Mom with gifts at the holidays. I remember watching her open those gifts and thinking that I couldn’t wait until I was grown-up and would get nice things like she did. We received gifts but my Mom’s were always nicer. Isn’t that the way it should be? They were raising a family together and we were just reaping the
benefit of that work.
My fabulous children sporting things that I have NEVER owned: lululemon pants, Ugg boots, and Air pods.
Am I doing that for my own family? Sadly, no. For years, I was a divorced parent to one little girl. All gifts went her way. Then I remarried and entered the step-family world with a new husband and 3 step-sons. Guess what happened? We continued our previous trends. While the kids get Air pods for Christmas, my husband goes to Costco and buys me athletic pants to replace the old ones he is tired of seeing. And my daughter gets hers from lululemon. My rear has never felt that reportedly incredible fit.
We get needs, they get wants. And the sad thing is that many kids actually believe that their wants ARE needs. Ouch. This reflecting thing hurts a bit.
If you had what are obviously unlimited resources, like the recent college scandal, where would you stop yourself? I can believe that my code of ethics would stop me from going THAT far. They would – I’m a total rule-follower. It doesn’t mean that I am not contributing to the ENTITLEMENT of the next generation, though.
ENTITLEMENT – an ugly, ugly word. To combat, distinguish between NEEDS and WANTS. If what you are buying is a WANT, take the 1-step challenge: Don’t buy your kids anything nicer than you would buy yourself. It’s a start.
For more Blog Posts on Parenting: https://doctormome.com/tips-to-deal-with-temper-tantrums-in-older-kids/