How to raise children who are deserving--not entitled
According to this specialist, there are 10 steps on the path to raising hard working, humble kids! Learn more here!
The ultimate goal for many parents in today's society is to raise a child who knows the value of hard work, and what good fortune can come from a little elbow grease. After all, no one wants a child who thinks the world owes him everything, or a kid who feels entitled to everything around him.
According to Laura Markham, Ph. D., there are nearly a dozen steps parents can acknowledge on the road to raising kids who feel deserving and empowered—but not entitled!
Check out her expert assertions, and see how you can raise hard working, humble children:
1. Don't feed a child's emotional hunger with possessions
What Dr. Markham means to say here is that you can't fill voids--brought on by emotional distress of any type--with material objects. For example, if you've been caught up at work and haven't spent time with your child as often as you used to, you can;t expect to solve that problem with a flashy new possession.
Using the method of buying your kids things to make up for your own faults and shortcomings can lead to them being demanding. And, as Markham suggests, [w]hen your child gets demanding, that's a red flag to stop, drop your busy-ness, and get clear about your priorities."
"As the old saying goes, children thrive when you give them half as many presents and twice as much of your presence," she adds.
2. Don't shame, instead, empower them to create their own abundance
Markham believes that there are occasions in which kids express their desire for material things, and parents "shame" them as a result of their own anxiety over money. However, giving in and giving them whatever they want whenever they want also yields negative effects.
If you instead empower them and make them feel as though they can work toward earning what they want, they'll understand that they can make a difference through a little hard work. For example, if your child is begging your for a new toy, don't just give it to them. Make them do chores, or wait until their birthday to receive the item. They'll learn they have to work or wait for things to come their way.
3. Empower your child by giving her the chance to learn the value of hard work
In accordance with the last entry, you must show your children the value of hard work and dedication in order to earn something.
"[A]ll children need to learn that if they work hard at things, they can make their dreams come true. They learn more from earning than from just being handed things. And the pursuit of a goal is rewarding in itself," says Dr. Markham.
4. Help your child learn how to hold a job
"Earning money at home is one thing, but there's nothing as educational as working for someone outside the family for pay, which teaches real responsibility in the real world," suggests Dr. Markham.
There are really quite a number of things you can do to aid you child in this lesson. You can start by helping them acquire little odd jobs from your neighbours, like yard work, washing cars, or walking dogs. As they grow older, foster their desire for more jobs similar to this to help develop a strong work ethic, and need to maintain a job when given one.
5. Role model
Many believe that kids won't always do as you say, but given the right amount of time, they'll do as you do. That means whenever a new iteration of the iPhone comes out, and you openly express your desire for it, your kids will follow in your footsteps. This means you have to display strong work ethic to reach your goals, and show them that hard work pays off. Furthermore, you'll have to show them that you're appreciative of the things you've earned as a result of your hard work.
6. Help your kids learn to be accountable for damaged goods
As Dr. Markham asserts, "If kids help pay from their own savings for lost library books and cell phones, windows broken by their baseball or a jacket they lose, they learn a valuable lesson about valuing what they have, rather than assuming someone else will simply 'buy another.'"
Doing this will help your kids learn not only the value of objects, but the responsibility it takes to take proper care of their goods. It'll also show them that just because something is broken, doesn't mean they're entitled to something else or a new version of something. Plus, it gives them a chance to practice maturity as they'll want to value things that they earned with their time and effort.
7. Counteract the notion that happiness can be bought
Everyone knows that happiness isn't quantifiable through monetary value. However, the marketing world that is ever so present in society may have your children thinking otherwise. Through constant advertising of all forms, people have developed an insatiable desire for newer better material goods. It's the goal of parents to make sure our kids don't confuse having nice things with happiness! The goal in life isn't about money and possessions.
"Ultimately, what we model and what we tell our children will matter more, but we need to confront those destructive messages directly, and when possible keep them from reaching our kids," Markham claims.
8. Help your child wire his brain for a different kind of reward
Buying things doesn't just hit your wallet, parents. Dr. Markham says, "[B]uying is an addiction, given that dopamine is released when we get what we pursue. It isn't wanting that gets us into trouble, it's WHAT we want and pursue. Material things don't satisfy our hunting urge for more than a day or so before we crave more."
What parents need to do is teach their children about emotional rewards and all the good feelings associated with them. Teach them that it's the mental, and emotional achievements that last and are far more worthy of your time and effort.
9. Give back as a family
Children don't always understand the value of what they have. That's why parents need to help them conceptualise what they have by giving them context. A great way to do that is to expose them to families that aren't as fortunate. In other words, try giving back as a family by donating goods or time and effort helping less fortunate families.
The goal of charitable acts isn;t just to help others but to help your child get a "birds-eye-view of what life is like for children who might not have his or her blessings."
10. Live the values you want to pass on to your child
IF you don't want your kids to value "stuff" above all else in this world, then you're going to need to lead by example. Show them that you're more interested in your passions, the people you love, and doing good for the world--not in material items.
"Kids need to hear explicitly, and to see you demonstrate, what matters most, so they learn that life holds huge abundance beyond achievement and accumulating material possessions," says Dr. Markham.