Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Webinar Questions about Entitlement

Hello to all of you who are on the journey to combat Entitlement with our kids!

We had so much fun on the webinar last night! There were, of course more questions than we could answer in an hour but we thought we'd just take two or three that were asked more than once and address them on this blog, as promised.

First, several parents asked what to do when children bombard their parents with this age-old complaint: "But Mom, everyone else has an iPod, Wii, cell phone (and on and on) so why can't we?"

It used to be that it only seemed like that to kids but in today's's true! Most kids do have access to all that stuff. A good answer we think is the use of these three words....."in our family". You can kindly explain to your kids that their friends may have all the stuff that your kids want, but "in our family" this is the way we do it. Point out that your family may have other "perks" that those families don't have like family outings, travel and educational opportunities. You can always add, as my mother did when I had to practice the piano and violin many hours a day longer than any of my friends, "Some day you'll thank me for this!" And I do...every day!

Having said that, we are not down on cell phones for kids. Our oldest daughter Saren has a "family phone" that is like their home phone (since they no longer have a home phone) that the younger kids can rotate when the parents need to know where they are and when they are finished at scouts, church activities and at friends' houses. It's a great way to have young kids have access to a phone without feeling that it is theirs! The important thing on this to to decide as a family what the appropriate parameters are for family electonics so that the kids really understand the whats and whys of what happens "in our family".

"What about kids who won't go to the Repenting Bench,"

We addressed this question just a little and agreed that it was best to start when the kids were little when there was no question about whether or not they would go. In our family, the process had been practiced in a family meeting and everyone knew exactly what to expect. It was just part of the "legal system". BUT when you are starting this process with an eight and a thirteen year old that becomes much more complicated. Though we have never done that we suggest that you try to meet with the kids individually (or maybe in the pairs who have the most disagreements) and reason with them with something like this: "We have noticed that there is lots of contention in our house lately and we think that nobody including you is feeling really good about that. We have an idea that you may like or you may want to add to or change that will bring more peace to our home." Present your ideas and truly ask for their input. If they have better ideas, use them. Plan together about a way to resolve disagreements and then maybe even have them sign the agreement or better yet, have them write the agreement themselves. This gives them ownership of the plan so that when push comes to shove (excuse the pun) you can say, "This was your idea and we all agreed so let's do it!" Good luck!

The other oft-asked question: "Can kids earn extra money for things they really want?"

We talked about this when we addressed summer deals, but of course there are many things that kids can earn money for if they are desperate for something their hearts are bursting for! We can't give you specifics but the important thing is they are asking what they can do to earn something rather than asking you to give them something. That's a whole different world! Every family has to figure this out in their own way but that ownership word is the key to success!

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