By not allowing our kids to fail, however, we may preclude them from learning how to tolerate painful emotions. Children will come to believe that these emotions are to be avoided at all costs, rather than learning that they are, in reality, temporary and tolerable. Parents who allow their children to fail and then respond with loving, caring attention are on the road to creating entitlement-free children, rather than demanding “give it to me now” children.
As they get older, children learn to better control their emotions and predict consequences of their actions. During this time, they also begin to ask about toys, games, etc., that other children have, as well as products they see advertised during their favorite shows. This makes this the prime time to begin explaining the concepts of money, worth, value and earning in order to help children develop an understanding of the difference between want and need.
Establish realistic expectations and help your kids develop a plan for earning and saving for the item they want. Avoid offering big rewards for small tasks, but if you choose to use rewards, then make the task, reward and effort appropriate, which will help them develop the skill of delaying gratification and frustration tolerance because they have to work for what they want.
Child reading list
“The No-No Bird” by Andrew Fusek Peters
“Never Say No to a Princess” by Tracey Corderoy
“I Just Don’t Like the Sound of No!: My Story About Accepting ‘No’ for an Answer and Disagreeing the Right Way!” by Julia Cook
Parent reading list
“The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership” by Richard Eyre and Linda Eyre
“The Entitlement-Free Child: Raising Confident and Responsible Kids in a ‘Me, Mine, Now!’ Culture” by Karen Deerwester
“From Innocence to Entitlement: A Love and Logic Cure for the Tragedy of Entitlement” by Jim Fay and Dawn Billings
Signs & Behaviors
Has a “me, mine, now” attitude
Asks for toys, shoes, clothing or electronics, etc., and then discards them immediately
Does not show care or appreciation for their possessions
Unable to accept “no” as an answer and will immediately throw inappropriate temper tantrums
Expects rewards for any and all behaviors and tasks they complete
Unable to cope with their negative emotions, avoids negative emotions, or expects others to solve their problems for them
Lacks flexibility, has difficulty with transition and can’t understand why they are not getting their way all the time
What you can do
Teach concepts of money, worth, earning, value, responsibility, saving and economy early in development terms.
For younger kids, use a token economy at home. Discuss the emotional reinforcement your child feels after he completes a task before giving the reward.
For older kids, use allowance to teach them how to buy and save so they can understand the value of money.
Make volunteering a regular part of your home life. Get involved with local family organizations that focus on giving back to the community.
Have regular conversations with your child about the difference between want and need.
Set limits on what you give your kids for holidays, gifts and rewards.
Remember that it is OK for your child to fail, make mistakes and feel disappointment. It is also OK for parents to feel bad for saying no, but it is important to set limits.
“People work hard to earn money. It’s part of life.”
“People earn money so that they can buy what they need first, and then they can save some to buy what they want.”
“Let’s work out a plan to help you earn enough money to buy the thing that you want.”
“I know it is hard, but you have to earn extra things that you want. You don’t just get to have them because you want them.”
“Needs are things we need to live, things we want are extras that we don’t need to live. What are your needs?”