From the time children are born, well through their academic years, they began to study their caregivers. Some children even began to learn how to manipulate adults around them. They want, they take, and they learn how to conquer. This demand without patience is at the foundation of raising children who may feel entitled in our world. Not too long ago, my daughter tested me and tried to get want she wanted even after I told her, “No.”
Has your demanding child ever embarrassed you?
A couple of days ago, I felt embarrassed when my daughter burst into tears at the grocery store register when I didn’t buy a toy she wanted. Let me share a little back story, before we went into the store, I told her, I am willing to buy you one thing that costs less than $5. Well, while walking down the aisle my daughter found a wooden race-car set that she could paint and personalize. There were two small cars in the set so she would be able to share one car with her twin sister. When she picked up the set, I told her to check the price, but she wasn’t able to find the price. As a result, I told her that we would have to ask the cashier to do a price check for the cars. Once the cashier told us that the price was $6.99, I told her that it was $2 over her limit. Then she began to bury her head into my stomach and cry. My sister who was with me, offered to give her $2 more dollars, but I declined her offer. The issue is, my daughter likes to get new things, we all do, but she doesn’t like to be told no, or not today. Of course, $2 isn’t a big deal and I could have bought it, but my daughter has made it a habit to cry when she doesn’t get her way and I am no longer giving into that sort of behavior. At 7 she needs to understand that I am going to stand firm by my word. She needs to understand boundaries, which is a critical skill to learn during childhood years. Since I remained calm and spoke to her softly, the situation didn’t escalate and by the time we were out the door, she was calm again. There were 3 lessons I wanted her to learn that day:
- Learn how to stick to your budget. Teaching little brief financial lessons to my daughters is important to me. If she learns not to spend over her allotted amount now, she will began to develop financial discipline when she gets older. My goal is to help “my children to develop a healthy relationship with their money before it is a necessity in their lives” (source).
- You can’t have everything you want. Sometimes, you have to wait, save, and wait some more. Just because you want something (or Mommy and Daddy can buy it), doesn’t mean that you can always have it. The broadcaster in the video recalled a quote that says, “to raise happy kids spend less money and more time.”
- Learn self-control. This may be more difficult for younger children because kids don’t have the same capacity to reason as adults, but they should be learning how to control their emotions. They should be learning how to manage their frustrations and what is acceptable behavior when they’re angry. Kid’s Health states that “Teaching self-control is one of the most important things that parents can do for their kids because these skills are some of the most important for success later in life” (source).
If you’re a parent, one day you will have to deal with a child who is demanding. There is no need to get angry and have a verbal struggle with your child. They test us, that’s what they do, but it is up to us to remain calm and teach them when their demanding behavior is unacceptable. In an insightful article “You Owe Me! Children of Entitlement” Licensed Psychologist, Lynne Namka, Ed. D., shares what parents can do in a similar situation to help teach their children cope with anger from not getting what they want. She says,
Help him develop his ego strength by taking control of his own emotions and actions. Help the child find his Observer Part so that he can step back and watch himself. He can learn to see how his angry thoughts and behaviors take him away from the things he longs for the most–love and acceptance. Becoming a detective on his own behavior can give him distance from the painful internal feelings (source).
Giving our children the tools to help them make better decisions is a gift. To help them know how to release their stress and channel it appropriately is a part of parenting. It’s not fun when our children embarrass us, but it does provide us with opportunities to teach them how to deal with small frustrating situations so they will learn how to handle more important situations later in life.
WWLP-22News. Mass Appeal Dealing with entitlement in children. Online Video Clip. YouTube. Published on 10 July 2015. Web. 6 April 2016.
Angie’sOut.com. You Owe Me!Children of Entitlement. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from http://www.angriesout.com/teach9.htm
KidsHealth.com. Teaching Your Child Self-Control. Retrieved April 6, 2016 from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/self-control.html#catbehavior
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— Cleverly Changing (@Cleverlychangin) April 6, 2016
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