Parents are always willing to shower their children with love and affection. However, some parents overindulge their children and fulfil all their demands. This may be due to reasons other than a bad parenting style. For example, very busy parents may give in to demands as they do not have the time to argue with their child or strict parents may easily give in to some demands as they want to compensate for their austerity. But, what effect does such parental behaviour have on a child?
What does overindulgence lead to
A parent who usually gives in to the demands of the child ends up becoming the child’s favourite. However, in the long term, the permissive attitude of a parent gives rise to various issues. For example, the child learns to overstep the boundaries set for him, seeks immediate gratification, develops a demanding attitude, and learns to manipulate and blackmail to get his demands fulfilled. It also gives rise to a sense of entitlement in the child.
Ways sense of entitlement manifests itself
Overindulged children show tell-tale signs of entitlement in their behaviour. Some of them are:
- They are unhelpful.
- They never thank others.
- They make unreasonable demands.
- They tend to manipulate, lie, and bully.
- They have an uncompromising attitude.
- They place their own interests ahead of others.
- They are unable to handle disappointment.
- They blame others for their mistakes.
- They demand exclusive privileges.
Common emotions exhibited by entitled children
As the sense of entitlement takes deeper roots, it also begins to affect the child’s emotions. Some of the emotions commonly exhibited by entitled children are:
- Anger: They expect their wish to be fulfilled. And, when it doesn’t happen, they tend to get angry.
- Resentment: Entitled children believe that they should get everything, as they are the most deserving. Not being able to get something fills them with resentment.
- Impatience: As the demands of entitled children are fulfilled quickly, they suffer from a lack of patience.
Apart from this, children with a sense of entitlement are sore losers. Instead of accepting defeat gracefully and improving themselves, they tend to find fault with the winner.
How to raise children who are deserving – not entitled
Parenting style plays a big role in the upbringing of children. In his article, ‘How Does Your Parenting Style Affect Your Kids?’ published in Psychology Today (2014), Ronald E Riggio PhD says, “An ‘anything goes’ attitude is typical of indulgent parents, and parents seem more like friends than parents. This parenting style often leads to higher levels of creativity in children, but there is little self-control, few boundaries, and a sense of entitlement.”
One of the goals of raising a child should also be to raise children who work hard to get what they want instead of demanding it. Here’s how you can raise a deserving child.
- Develop self-awareness: A healthy sense of self-awareness will help your child understand himself and how his behaviour and actions would affect others. Being self-aware will also help your child understand his strengths and weaknesses, his needs as well as those of others and his mistakes. It will even help him contemplate on what he needs to do to rectify them. In a nutshell, children with a good sense of self-awareness are better able to monitor themselves.
- Teach accountability: From early on, teach your child to be accountable for her actions. Teach her to compensate for any loss she may cause. For example, if she spills milk from her glass, ask her to wipe it on her own, or if she damages her friend’s toy, ask her to buy it from her savings or save money to buy it and give it back to her friend. Children with a sense of accountability value and care for what they have as well as what belongs to others, and are willing to compensate for any loss they may cause.
- Ingrain good work ethics: Teach your child to set goals, plan well, and work hard to execute the plan and achieve the target he has set for himself. Also, teach him that success and failure are a part of life. And, if he doesn’t succeed in his attempt, he should introspect and try again, instead of feeling disappointed and giving up.
- Inculcate responsibility: Inculcating responsibility in children helps them understand their duties and perform them without any lapses. A sense of responsibility also makes children more willing to take up newer roles and contribute in different capacities. You can teach your child to be responsible by delegating tasks. If you have a grown-up child, encourage him to take up volunteering activities in the neighbourhood.
- Teach generosity: Children are reluctant to share as they are deeply attached to everything they possess or consider their own. Teach your child to be generous and share her possessions. You can do this by telling her stories where the protagonist shares his belongings with others. Also, act as a role model by sharing whatever you have. Create opportunities for your child to share to help her learn the habit. Being generous would also teach your child to be compassionate and empathetic.
- Shun materialism: Children get carried away by glitzy advertisements of toys and other such products and pester their parents to buy it for them. So, teach your child about emotional rewards and how it would help him feel good. Cut down on TV time and educate your child about how advertisements are designed to attract children. Also, tell him about different ways he can feel happy like playing a sport, spending time with friends and family, doing something creative and constructive, or engaging in volunteer work.
- Spend time as a family: The benefits of spending time with family are many. However, the most important one is that it leads to the development of positive behaviours through observation, positive reinforcement through praise, and listening to advice from parents and other elders around.
Giving your child everything she needs may make you feel that you are the best parent. But, before you give her anything the next time, just ask yourself, “Is my habit turning my child into an individual who feels entitled – not deserving?”
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