I just read a post/ article (how do I figure out which it is?) called "Is My Kid entitled? How to Tell" and it really intrigued me. When I saw the headline I had to go and read it so I could find out if my kids are entitled.
I found out that it's not an easy answer. Are they ever? The answer is yes and no. When I look at the behavior my kids exhibit, sometimes they do act entitled and sometimes they don't. Hmmm, what's a mom to do?
My answer is to reflect. As I look back on my kids and their behavior, I have to say that in the past they have acted more entitled than they do now. I credit the education I got through the Parenting on Track Program and my own and Webby's personal conviction to teach our kids that life will not just be handed to you. Upon reflection, however, I figured out that's exactly what I was doing. There is a difference in inviting your kids to participate in their lives and asking their opinion, or what they want on everything.
I remember as a new mom going to the store and my little cherub saying she wanted something and I would get it for her. "She's only little once," my mind would tell me. Or, "Who doesn't want a little treat every now and then. Surely, she deserves it. She's just spent time at the grocery store with me." Or worst of all, "I want that, too. So I'll use her desires to fulfill my wants." No, a treat every now in then does not make an entitled child. But what about every week. I remember asking my 2 year old what she wanted for lunch. Not a big deal, she has her preferences. But I would also make 2 dinners. One for Webby and I and one for her. Because, honestly, how could I possibly require a child to eat an adult meal. Not that she didn't do it all the time, but when she didn't want to then it was different. I remember my mom telling me she ask my daughter what she wanted to eat and she said, "Cajun Salmon." Nuff said.
So what about now? How is it different? I don't really have all the answers. I can tell you I make one meal for dinner. If you like it , great! If not, too bad. The next meal comes around eventually. No snacks in between and no, you can't have a spoon full of peanut butter and some bread. Breakfast and lunch, on the whole, my kids are in charge of fixing for themselves.
One of the best things I ever did for myself was to teach my kids how to do laundry. I figured out recently, that laundry was one of those things that was making problems with my relationship with my kids. I would do the laundry or "help" them with the laundry. Then I would separate the clothes into individual baskets and stack them in my room or their room. In either place the baskets would just sit until I said I needed them again. Then the clothes would be dumped on the floor with the dirty clothes (yes, there was a hamper in there) and it would get all mixed up and I'd end up washing clean clothes. Does that make anyone else angry? If they baskets were in my room then they would take out the clothes they wanted, when they wanted them. You get the picture.
Now honestly, I don't want something stupid like laundry getting in the way of our relationship. So I came up with this solution.
Each child gets 1 ticket each week. That ticket is good for 1 wash and 1 dry. They don't have to use their ticket and they can keep collecting them as they want up to 5 tickets. If they need to wash something but don't have a ticket they can pay $1 for each wash and or dry. New tickets go in one side, used tickets or money goes in the other. They can separate their clothes by colors and share the responsibility or they can throw all their stuff into one load (that's what I did in college.) I won't say a word about any of it, unless they leave their stuff in the washer or dryer. They can leave it clean in the basket or fold and put it away. Whatever, it's their stuff. They have been trained how to take care of their stuff. What they decide to do is their decision. How nice it is to not have that on my back anymore.
Why did I tell you that? I have no idea. It just came to my head and I posted it. That's how I roll sometimes.
Take a few minutes, if you haven't already, and go read that article (I decided it was an article.) It's very insightful.