Are your kids acting entitled? When we do so much for our children, including their chores, we do them a great disservice.
As parents, our goal is to help. But we also need to guide and teach, so that one day they can fend for themselves.
Start By Looking in the Mirror…
Use today, right now, to really look into why you are doing those things for them. Why do you do their chores, or buy them a new toy when their toy breaks? Same goes for making their beds, putting their clothes away for them, or picking their backpack up from the floor when they toss it there after school.
By writing their teacher a note when they lose their homework, instead of having them tell their teacher, they are being robbed of the opportunity to be responsible and advocate for themselves at school.
As much as we want to make life easy for our kids, we need to acknowledge the line between helping, and enabling.
Why Do We Do It?
We love our children more than anything, and we want for them to feel secure in our love. Secure in the fact that we are there to help. We hate for them to be sad, even for a moment.
But… are there other reasons, too?
Maybe we don’t want to hear them complain. Or, we do it because IT IS JUST SO MUCH EASIER TO DO IT OURSELVES! No judgement, I promise. I get it. Life is busy, and weeknights are even busier. We are so fast at cleaning that we can clean the house in 10 minutes flat
The intention is good, but is it really better for our kids?
We Are Setting Them Up For Failure
I know, that sounds harsh. It’s not what any of us sets out to do. We all want our children to be successful. But, in order for any form of success, hard work needs to be put in, and that cannot be manufactured by anyone but the child.
When we take over for our kids because they are young, and it’s just easier, we do more harm. Same goes for letting their manners slip, making their beds for them, and letting bad behavior slide.
When we do things for them all of the time, it hinders their development and keeps them from succeeding on their own.
Over time, it also can be relayed into an unintended message telling our children that we don’t believe in their own abilities.
Eventually, children will grow up, and have their own home to keep clean, and ran smoothly. If they aren’t encouraged and taught as children to care for themselves, they will expect their spouse, their roommate, or you to do it for them, even then.
Show Them That You Believe in Them
I want you to STOP doing that for your kids. Stop treating them like they can’t do it themselves, limiting what they can do by what time you have on your clock. Because, yes, it is much faster to clean for our kids than it is to let them do it alone, but it doesn’t benefit them in the long run.
Let your kids feel like they are part of this family team and you NEED them to pitch in!
I always tell my kids, “When you do your part, and take care of your things, it gives me more time to play with you! If I’m cleaning up after you all day, I will not have time to lay with you at night , play board games with you, or have our special nights. I need you to help me because you are part of this family, capable, valued, and your work matters!”
If they seem doubtful or uncertain as they go through new chores, I offer words of encouragement, such as, “You can do it! I have faith in you!” It doesn’t matter how old or young we are. We all need to hear that from time to time.
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Just as it’s a life skill to take care of ourselves, I also prep my children for life in the real world with positive reinforcement and goal setting.
During family meetings, we decide which child will take on specific chores for the month (these are switched around every 4-5 weeks, so that it’s fair). Once we have the chores assigned, we use a few different systems to keep it all organized, involving our children as we track it all.
I love using these Printable Zone Cleaning Chore Charts. They are cute, and fun to use! If lists are more your thing, check out these Printable Chore Lists for Kids. I love that the chores are divided by age! It makes it so much easier to assign chores that your kids are able to do at different stages. My kids also really enjoy this Melissa and Doug Chore Chart with magnets.
But, really, you can make your own chore chart to fit your family’s needs and budget with anything from construction paper, to cardstock, or poster board. Don’t forget the markers, crayons, stickers, and even a little glitter… because why not? Use what you have, and turn chore planning into a family craft! (Then assign cleanup to one of your children!).
I’ve also seen friends turn walls/ pantry doors into combined chore charts and grocery lists with a bit of chalkboard paint!
You Want It? Earn It
Of course we want to provide our children with the very best that we can, whether it’s clothing, toys, education, or experiences.
But, that doesn’t mean we should just hand them everything they ask for.
When one of my kids really wants a certain toy, or a more expensive article of clothing or accessory than I would usually buy, I allow them to work toward earning it (or at least a portion of it) with extra chores or helping with errands.
Another idea is to issue a weekly allowance in exchange for completion of chores. This is a personal choice that each family must make for themselves, and there is no right or wrong way of doing it.
It definitely can’t hurt to have children more invested in earning their “wants”. My kids tend to show more appreciation and take greater care of the special items they work hard and save up to buy on their own!
Thanks for reading! I hope that this was encouraging to you and that you will teach your sweet children to help you clean and take responsibility now, so that they will not act entitled, but instead act like grateful, responsible adults in the future.
More Ways To Prevent Kids From Acting Entitled
- How to Teach the Kids to Help With Chores
- Chore Charts and Allowance: Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility
- Let Your Child Do It! Teaching Responsibility
- 10 Gratitude Activities For Kids
How do you prevent your children from acting entitled? Share your advice in the comments below!