Teaching relevant values will not only help our kids develop and build good character, but also prepares them to be great future leaders and admirable members of our society
We have seen so many videos of “Karens” — entitled, elititist women who not only embarrass themselves but also cause harm and spread ignorance in their communities. Self-awareness and accountability not only help us learn from mistakes but also prevent us from being undesirable to coexist with.
For our young ones who are still developing their mindsets and learning new things each day, our good example greatly influences their behavior, motivations, and sensibilities. How do we prevent our kids from becoming future entitled “Karens”? How do we set them up to become adults to be proud of? Here are family values to learn and practice at home to raise future model citizens and avoid raising entitled kids:
5 Ways To Avoid Raising Entitled Kids
1. Teach empathy to teach respect
Protecting our children is the top priority for every parent. But to gradually assimilate them to our current realities, you need to soften your grip slowly and let them explore the world through their own eyes. Encourage them to ask questions when they witness something new or confusing for them. When they see or experience something different from normal, be the first to educate them. Offer a perspective that is easy to understand and open for discussion and further thought processing. By understanding experiences, they are then capable of sympathizing and reacting respectfully.
Vital steps in processing:
- Review: What is this? How different is it from my experience?
- Reason: Why is it like this? Why is my experience different?
- Reaction: How should I react with respect? What can I do within my capacity?
2. Balancing sharing and setting boundaries
We all know sharing is caring. But we are also human beings who are susceptible to information overload, positivity exhaustion, and physical and mental drain. A more important lesson is to teach you and your child how to set boundaries. Determine what is being asked—is it time, resource, or effort? Rationalize the reason for the ask—why do they need this from me? It is important to know that you and your child are allowed to prioritize your need and want in any scenario (as long as it does not harm others) before finally offering what was requested. Caring is best practiced with self-care.
Points to ponder:
- Have and Have Not: How much do I have?
- Need or Want: How much do I need and/or want?
- Generosity vs. Oversharing: How much should I give?
3. Develop fulfillment through diligence
One of the biggest problems of the current generation of parents is the tendency to be overprotective and to coddle our kids from working too hard. It is understandable. We have witnessed our parents undergo economic crises and have experienced the consequences. We are understandably fearful for our children. The way to encourage diligence though is to feed their passions and interests. Create an environment where they can raise the bar of their own excellence. Being their own catalysts of self-improvement teaches them hard work not only benefits them but also makes the journey worth it.
Parental guidance awareness:
- Capability: Is my child capable of developing skills and learning from this? What can I do to help?
- Achievability: Are my child’s goals realistic and will my support enable them to achieve them?
- Vulnerability: What are my child’s limits? What are the limits of my help?
4. Honesty and humility cultivate success
This is one of the toughest lessons to teach and learn. But the benefits of earning these virtues are life-changing and long-lasting. Start with communication. By being open to questions, being receptive to ideas, and learning how to respond respectfully and thoughtfully, you can lead by example and teach by example. When you make a mistake in front of your child, do not hesitate to be honest and be accountable. This will teach them to own their mistakes and be quick to find solutions to correct them. Use humor when appropriate, start healthy discussions, and never be afraid to be human.
Considerations to remember:
- Initial Reaction: What’s the first thing to do when my child shares their faults or admits mistakes? Take a deep breath, process slowly but surely, create a safe environment. Then discuss.
- Short-Term Actions: What are the appropriate retributions? What do I think will be the effects of my reactions? Did they learn from this experience? How can I help prevent this in the future?
- Long-Term Actions: Have I been creating experiences where they can exhibit newly learned lessons? Have I been exposing them to both good and bad examples for them to learn and remember?
5. Tough love is true love too
The most challenging part is being firm and consistent with your plans and actions. This is important for you to deliver so that your child will not only grow with well-defined values, they will learn to discern with full conviction as well. Ask yourself about the appropriateness of penalties: Will my reactions traumatize or teach them in the long run? Then discuss openly. Never leave an issue unresolved or leave them hanging. When you do not have immediate answers, search for them together so you can learn and bond through them. And most importantly, always effectively assure them how much you love them and that everything you do is meant to teach them and make them feel loved, protected, and encouraged always.
Steps of tough love:
- Exhibiting: Well-thought action plan on appropriate penalties that you do not break
- Explaining: Open discussion regarding the necessity of your reactions
- Extending: Practice and deliver the rewards of good behavior to imprint its benefits
Good intentions go a long way. Raising children has never been more difficult, especially with how the world is. As parents, you want to do your best and be at your best when you teach lessons. But always remind yourself, too, that in these learning experiences, both you and your child are learning. Your bond is growing, developing, and maturing as you both act and react to the environments you live in. And it is through this dual learning experience that you can nourish the pride and love you have for each other. Instead of entitlement, be the parent that strives for worldly endearment.