Most of our children these days have things served on a platter to them. Enrichment classes like sports, swimming, art, music, dance which were major bonuses to have when I was growing up, has become a must-have for most children. I would not even go into the area of things, as I know most kids I know (including my own child) have too many toys and clothes.
Entitlement mentality can start really young with children these days. It may not be as defined as, “My parent’s owe this to me as they brought me into the world, what I have is what I deserve and it is mine”. But there are many signs of child taking these privileges for granted when they see their peers enjoying similar privileges.
I have found out recently from K, that at 5, he already knows how to take some things for granted. He tends to treat his enrichment classes as a given, since most of his classmates have enrichment classes in school and are attending various classes on weekends.
It started with his Tennis lessons that he attends with Spex. He was enjoying the social interaction he was having with his friends in the class and he stopped paying attention to his coach. All it took was a short chat an afternoon before his class. We told him that we will stop the class immediately if he did not make the effort to pay attention and listen. It costs money for his grandparents sponsor his class so he needs to make an effort to learn, not just focus on having fun with his friends. Hb and I made him understand that these enrichment classes were not something we wanted him to do, but a privilege for him to attend as he enjoyed playing tennis.
Some parents might tell me to take it easy since it is just sports enrichment. But I need to teach my child about good work ethics, to be responsible and independent, to try his best at whatever he has been privileged to have. This also applies to things that he doesn’t like to do; helping around the house, cleaning up after play, etc. All these things needs to be done without having to whine or complain and he needs to make sure he does a good job at it.
If I don’t address this now, he will gradually become a teenager/young adult with the entitlement mentality. And I think teaching my child these things really cannot wait.
I hear this quite often from people from my parent’s generation, “He is still young, slowly teach him. When he reach a certain age, he will understand.” When children were ‘forced’ to help their parents make a living during the 50s – 60s. They could learn from real life experience that hard work is needed to bring home every cent, every bowl that the parent fills with rice.
There seems to be less learning opportunities for our children, simply because our world have changed. Children are being institutionalized in school at a tender age and are very sheltered. And since there also fewer children in most families, children are treated like little princes and princesses and are freely given most things that they want.
Can we raise privileged children without the entitlement mentality? Do share your thoughts here.