Last week, speaking to a great group of parents, we opened the meeting to questions. Here were some of the ones we got:
Why do my kids sometimes make such obviously bad and foolish choices?
Why don’t they put in the effort at school to reach their full potential?
Why won't they pick up their clothes or put away their toys?
Why do they think they need to have everything their friends have?
Why is it so hard for me to influence my kids.....and so easy for their friends to influence them?
Why can't I get them to set some goals and to start feeling responsible for their lives?
Why can’t I get them to work, why won’t they follow through on their tasks?
What ever happened to self-discipline and self-reliance and delayed gratification?
Why can’t I get them away from games and gadgets, from cell phones and headphones?
Why can’t I motivate my kids? Or communicate with them? Or teach them responsibility?
As we listened, we realized that ALL the questions hinge on the same problem—and the problem is entitlement.
“Entitlement” is the best name we know for the attitude of children who think they can have, should have, and deserve whatever they want, whatever their friends have—and that they should have it now, and not have to earn it or give anything for it.
And it goes beyond having to behaving. They think they should be able to do whatever they want, whatever their friends do, now, and without a price.
A sense of entitlement contributes mightily to laziness, to low motivation, to boredom, to messiness, to bad choices, to instant gratification and constant demands for more, and to addictions (including the addiction to technology).