What do you do when you realize you’ve raised an entitled son or daughter?
Parenting doesn’t always go how we planned. So what do you do when you realize that you’ve raised a kid who has a serious attitude problem, without making them feel attacked? It’s a struggle lots of families face!
So when I heard Tyler Jacobson’s story of what he did when he realized his daughter was entitled I couldn’t wait to share his post with you! So today you’ll be hearing from him, not me, and I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did.
Love what he says! Here’s Tyler:
As parents, it can be difficult to see the flaws in our own children. We love them, without equal, without question. Because of this, we’re sometimes too close to see the issue for what it is, which can make it difficult to nail down exactly how to solve it in the best way.
As parents, it’s easy to see individual issues and not notice the overall picture.
I adore my daughter, but there’s always been pieces of her personality that haven’t exactly jived with me: picky eating, playtime with others meant doing what she wanted, speaking over people when she had something to say.
They were all separate pieces to a much larger puzzle that I couldn’t see as they’d developed over the course of her life. When looked at all at once, it’s pretty easy to see, but at the time I had thought of them as separate issues.
The truth of it came out after dinner one night.
Normally we have healthy, home-cooked meals full of vegetables and nutrition. Sometimes, though, we have a fun night with nuggets, or fish sticks. Normal dinners can be a hassle getting my daughter to eat. It can even turn into tears as she becomes so dramatically riled up over having to finish her plate. These fun nights, though, she goes back and back again for seconds, thirds, or even fourth helpings.
It bothered me.
“It’s just what kids her age do,” my wife said, not thinking much of it. But no, it was more than that. It wasn’t just that my normal twelve-year-old child liked dipping her food into ketchup. There was something else there.
Hours later, in the random way that the brain works, it all clicked into place. She’s selfish. Entitled. Instead of Asking “How?”, asking “What Now?”
Everything had to be her way. She felt entitled to the attention, to the toys, and food, and items she wanted. Even though we raised her the same as we had with our two boys, needing to earn her rewards and enforcing politeness and appreciation, somehow she’d become entitled.
The realization that my daughter was entitled came as a major shock.
I was baffled. Despite teaching her to say thank you, she still didn’t appreciate what she had.
After speaking with my wife, we realized that we needed to make a change. Obviously what we had been doing wasn’t working. When it comes to parenting, research isn’t just a good idea, it’s vital if you’re at all serious about it.
However, despite all our research, the answer actually came to us in the form of a parent/teacher meeting. After the normal conversation, I asked a few probing questions about my daughter’s behavior. Now that I had a clearer understanding of the issue, I wanted to get as much information as I could.
To my surprise, she seemed to exude none of the selfish, entitled traits that she did at home. If anything, she seemed downright generous.
This difference in public versus private behavior is actually a fairly common trait, and one I was thinking I could put to good use.
We got involved in volunteering.
The answer to our issue came in the form of a local food drive. Since it was important my daughter didn’t feel this was a punishment for anything she’d done wrong (and might thus reject the lesson out of rebelliousness or spite), I presented it as an activity she and I could do together to help people.
I volunteered us for weekends at first. We helped collect, organize, and hand out the food collected to those in need. The variety of people that came by to pick up food made an impression. Here she was, holding cans of a vegetable she would cry about having to eat, and handing it to a person that was so thankful just to have something to eat.
The impact volunteering had on her was astounding.
The vague apprehension she had at being around all of these new people melted away as she saw the appreciation on the faces of those that came by. On top of that, she was surrounded by those that were there purely to help those less fortunate, and saw how happy they were to give as well.
After helping for that first weekend, she was hooked. She asked if we could do more. On the weekdays when she didn’t have any afterschool activities, we would either help the drive, or go out on our own to try and find any place willing to donate.
Helping with food drives–which we still do–has helped her entitlement. It didn’t solve all problems overnight, but it’s definitely been an improvement.
She saw, really saw, what it meant to be without. It’s not an experience easily forgotten or ignored.
From the mountains of Utah, Tyler Jacobson writes about his experiences as a father and husband. By sharing the struggles and solutions his family has faced, Tyler hopes to help other parents looking for a way to better their lives. You can connect with Tyler and read his helpful insights on: Twitter | LinkedIn
Have you ever dealt with entitlement in your children? What were some ways you combatted that attitude? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
If you liked this post, make sure you pin it to Pinterest by clicking the image above!