As I think back over our two decades of raising children (yes, we just hit that mile marker), I’ve often shared here on the blog how the journey towards building character in our children is exhausting, difficult, requires consistency, but is so worth it.
For years, I shared a workshop entitled, “Raising Responsible Kids” at various conferences and mom events, but then our eldest son turned five and all my formulas went out the window.
In an era that desires quick fix solutions and 1.2.3 formulas, we want assurances of amazing children without the years of prayer and hard work. I find it even more interesting that many might listen to input on child rearing or read books to help them find solutions, but when it comes to actually implementing the tough ideas, yes, the ones that really make the most difference, we find a hundred reasons why we shouldn’t or couldn’t or can’t or won’t.
It’s not that we don’t care; it’s not that we don’t want what’s best for our children, we do, we really, really do, it’s just exhausting and painful and tiring.
Have I mentioned parenting is exhausting?
And here’s the kicker. I am SPEAKING TO MYSELF AS WELL!!!
You’d think that with my background of child psychology, as well as my years as a middle school and high school youth ministries director, I’d have all the solutions.
In fact, I’m a mother of five, with four of them 14-20, I should have this all figured out, right? Well, guess what?
I have figured out simple, yet highly effective ways to raise lazy and entitled children based on personal experiences with my own children, the shared stories of others and my observations.
Names and situations have been changed to protect the innocent, so if any of you start feeling like I am stepping on your toes, it’s all good. It just means we are in this together.
Please note this is meant to be read with a sarcastic, tongue and cheek tone.
In fact, having me read it out loud might make it more enjoyable because my voice inflection enhances the experience, but the reality of this situation for our next generation can not be stressed more profusely.
As you read this, if there’s a tiny bit of you that shakes your head in understanding and realization that this is happening in your home, identify it. Don’t be afraid to tackle it head on.
There’s no judgement here because statistics speak for themselves. It’s an epidemic so far reaching in our culture and much more prevalent that we care to admit, because really? Who wants to admit that our own child has any lazy tendencies. I mean, they are all perfect, right?
Let me tell you. It’s worth the fight. It’s worth the long term vision as we raise this next generation of leaders and world changers.
7 Highly Effective Ways to Raise Lazy and Entitled Children
(In no particular order of importance.)
Avoid Follow Through
When you ask your child to do something and they promise to do it later, make sure to bribe them into listening to you. When they still don’t follow through, raise the bribe to something more enticing. If that doesn’t happen, just do it yourself because it’s so much easier than training responsibility into their daily habits.
When a child makes a commitment, allow them to quit before that commitment is fulfilled. If they don’t like it, it’s ok, let them dictate their future, even if there is no good reason for not completing what they started.
Encourage Screen Time
Let them watch TV, play video games, and text for hours each day. Don’t waste your time monitoring their online behavior because you have better things to do. While nearly every parent deals with this to some degree, ignore that deep down pit of your stomach ache. Even though you know changes need to be made because of their poor choices, do not take away their screen time privileges because you will have to deal with a full blown battle of the wills.
Yes, taking away gaming systems, ipods, ipads, phone, laptops etc will initially make life miserable. It’s just not worth the emotional energy to demand a better use of their time.
FYI: If you do attempt to take away the ipod and they insist that you have no right to take it away because they paid for it, give it back immediately.
Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT list all the expenses they are accruing by using said device, including the internet service that parents are paying to give them access. Again, always let them have their way. It’s the only way to guarantee an entitlement mentality.
Set up a workable and realistic system of chores, complete with an adorable chore chart. Make sure the incentives are amazing, but when allowance time comes at the end of the week, and they haven’t completed their chores, do not hesitate. Give the money to them anyhow because we must always be “fair” and equal and all should make the same amount of money no matter how much they work. I certainly don’t want to deal with a temper tantrum over that.
One of the best tips I have for raising a wonderfully, lazy child is to give them the knowledge and foundation that they do not have to meet expectations in the home.
Place Blame Elsewhere
If we encourage our children to be proactive and show initiative, we might set our children up to fail and they might get their feelings hurt. Learning from personal mistakes can be a painful process and who really believes that the “iron sharpening iron” process is beneficial?
Instead of taking personal responsibility for their situation, allow kids to place blame on everything around them whether it’s blame on you, their teacher or those in authority over them. Allow them to blame their circumstances such as lack of money or opportunity.
Remember, even though “life is not fair,” we do not want them to know that.
Better yet, model the “This is all their fault’ or “It’s not fair” attitude for them, especially when it comes to frustration with bosses, coaches, referees or teachers/grades.
Help them understand that they have rights!
Society should cater to them and bring opportunities to them rather than encouraging them to make things happen regardless of difficult circumstances. Don’t let them fall for the American Dream.
Why try? We certainly don’t want to give false hope that they can create amazing opportunities from their most difficult obstacles and circumstances.
Step In Always
Do not let natural consequence take it’s proper place.
If there is a problem with another child, do not let them work it out themselves or walk them through how to use peaceful words instead of always tattle tailing to deal with confrontation.
Do not teach them how to apologize because you are admitting they might be wrong. If there is a problem with another mother, coach or teacher, do not make your child go with you to deal with the matter, just step in and never get the other side of the story. Always take your child’s word on what happened at school because they would never give a scewed view of a situation.
When that science fair project deadline arrives, and your child who knows better has procrastinated until the due date, make sure you step in and do all of it for them. Let them go to sleep because they need their sleep and you finish it. Most good teachers will not be able to tell “AT ALL” that your child’s nine foot paper mache project, which mimics one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, had any help from a parent. (We really should give out Best Parent Project Awards.)
Avoid Tough Love
Never consider the “If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat” principal that worked wonders for our early forefathers because you’d hate for anyone to think you were unfair. In fact, if you implement tough love, you may find yourself in court months later being sued, so make sure you give your child anything they ask for, at any time.
Teach Them to Spend
If there’s one topic I’ve addressed more than any other, it’s finances and saving money. Statistically, the leading cause of divorce in our country states finances as the top reason for the dissolution of the marriage. What that boils down to is that financial stress permeates our every day lives and that is a fact for everyone. We are spending more than we are taking in and modeling that for our children.
Children do not understand credit cards. They see it as an elusive money tree. As long as credit cards are available, allowing them to purchase to their heart’s content is so much fun. Continue to let them think that is how it works. Model for them financial irresponsibility and continue teaching them how to spend what they can’t afford.
Instant gratification continues to cement the entitlement mentality with our children, so definitely avoid talking about debt’s ramification. Debt is stressful and such a downer, so just ignore money talk with the kids, especially around birthdays and the holidays. They should be able to get any thing they put on their wish list because good parents buy their kids what they want and everyone else’s children got what they asked for. Make sure that guilt settles in.
Well, I am glad I got that off my chest and to think I am just getting started with all the easy and highly effective ways to raise lazy and entitled children.
I’d love for you to add to the list in the comments.
Do you have any great suggestions for raising lazy children?
Yes, for someone who never writes sarcastically due to the overwhelming fear that online miscommunication will occur, I let it all out here. It’s just so much easier to give simple tips on how to raise entitled children than it is to point my finger , wave my magic wand and share how to raise responsible ones, especially when our own children are still a work in process.
Just when I think “I’ve arrived” or my kids have arrived, I’m humbled and kicked a few, giant steps backwards.
We understand that all children are different and our parenting style reflects varying backgrounds and experiences. How I parent one child varies greatly on how I might parent the other based on their personalities, but I know one thing to be true, we all struggle with at least a few of the above, whether we will ever admit it publicly or not.
We are in this together and once I stop chuckling at my audacious list, I’ll get going on some of the proactive ways we have attempted to tackle each of these issues, but for now, if you want a little encouragement reading, check out the start of my Mentor Mom series.
FYI: One of our college age sons brought home friends for spring break. For a few hours, the house was quiet. QUIET!!
I looked around and they were reading!! READING on SPRING BREAK! Not just any books, but these book. HARD BOOKS!! BY CHOICE!! (So, personally speaking? It’s worth it. It’s worth the battle. It really is and I am going to continue to remind myself of that for the next decade.)
Do HARD Things! Don’t give up, sweet mommas. You can do this!
We recently purchased The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Ultimate Teenage Success Guide. While I have not read it yet, I can’t wait. I wanted to write this post first before reviewing it to see how my opinions lined up with his. I’ll let you know. ;0
Again, enjoy adding to the list!