July 21, 2014

7 Highly Effective Ways to Raise Lazy and Entitled Children

May13

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 do!

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.

Chores

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.

Don’t allow the necessary time to teach children about money or talk through the difference between a need vs. a want.

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.

Is your child reading on spring break

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!

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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!


Comments

  1. Great tips! I’m definitely guilty of these at some points…and it’s a good reminder that I need to keep fighting the fight. I have 2 boys (10 and 7), and I love reading your tips and ideas as a mom who has some kids closer to the end of the child-rearing journey. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. {Kathy} What an awesome post! When we look at raising children from this viewpoint we can see things so much more clearly. I have 4 ages 10-20. You would think I should have a view things figured out too. Yet, I get curve balls every day. Every. Single. Day. Thank you for your encouragement. Sharing this one on our wall.

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  3. LOL. I’m so glad you don’t have it all figured out because anyone that says they do is in for a rude awakening! I feel like we learn something new at parenting every single day and even though I’m relatively new at this and only been parenting for a few years I can see that no day is going to be easy, no day is ever going to do like I plan it to go, and we will be all learning along the way!

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  4. Haha, aww. From what I can tell of your kids, I’m sure I’d love mine to be exactly like them even on their lazy and entitled moments. You clearly put a lot of intentional work into them, so keeo up the good fight. I love how you are so open and thanks for the entertainment (aka warnings ;))

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  5. Love it. Thanks for the reminders! Good to know we’re not in this alone; there are other parents out there who do say “no” and mean it!

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  6. Lora Cotton says:

    OMG!!! I’m STILL chuckling, and I’ve read it twice!!! First time I read it my husband kept interrupting wanting to know what was so stinkin funny, so I had to end up reading it again, to him!!! We both were rolling!!! We’re both in our 50′s and our kids are all grown, but it was still funny to take a trip down memory lane!!! My only “critic” of your 7 ways, is that while you want your children to learn how to deal with confrontation themselves, you also must make them aware that you will ALWAYS be there for back up. Two incidents from my son’s experience: The first when he was very young (pre-pre-school age.) I allowed him to “walk” around to a friends house on the cul-de-sac our home backed up to. He took a brand new set of “golf clubs” (the plastic ones you see around Easter time) with him. Approximately 45 mins later, my (roughly) 4 yr old son comes walking thru the door (he had been told to holler for me from the other child’s back yard -our back yards “touched” and I would walk 1/2 to meet him on the way home) dragging the bag by the now broken strap. He was in tears!!! When I asked what was wrong, he told me how the other boy (they were the same age!) had decided he wanted to play with some other friends (other kids on the cul-de-sac) and so when the other kids started making fun of my son, this other boy joined in. It ended up that the other kids pressured the other boy into breaking 3 of the 4 golf clubs, and using the last one to literally BEAT my son like a dog!!! (He had raised welts for DAYS after this!) Given his age, there was NO WAY my child could have known how to deal with this situation. I called the police and had them come out to deal with this child and his parents. The officer was APPALLED by what they had done to my son, but despite my acknowledging that I realize I was getting only one side of the story, the officer re-iterated that he’d have to see what the other boy said. I wasn’t upset about the fact that the boys had a disagreement/whatever, I was ENRAGED that the boy had been physical with my son.
    The 2nd instance, was when my son was in 7-8th grade. My son had been “teased” about being homosexual (which he wasn’t) by other boys for at least two years at this time. I had encouraged him to simply ignore these boys when they started this kinda of “teasing”. My son did an extremely good job of this for a good while, then came the incident in the locker room. Class had ended, but the period had not, so the boys were sitting in the locker room waiting to be released. My son was completely re-dressed and was simply sitting on the bench staring “into space”. One of the other boys decided that my son was staring at him (the other boy wasn’t finished getting re-dressed) and an altercation occurred. Both boys were suspended for 3 days for “fighting.” My son was shoved into the lockers by the other boy for “being a “perve” and “wanting” his junk.” Despite the fact that my son had told the kid that he hadn’t been staring AT him, but rather thru him, the other kid used physical force, but because some of the other boy’s friends said my son “started it”, the school was required to suspend both of the boys. Given the fact that I had secretly contacted the school administration after some of the more perverse “gay” hazing episodes, and the fact that the other boy in this incident was a “known” bully, I went to the school admin and managed to get my son’s suspension lifted.
    We did have a couple of situations where my son wanted me to “deal with it” while he stood back, but each time he would try this, I would INSIST that HE HIMSELF try to resolve it first! Then, if it couldn’t be resolved, I would see what I could do.
    Since my son went on to become a US Marine and be honored to be appointed to “Presidential Support” (aka Presidential guard)in his first assignment, I would say that I didn’t do too bad a job.

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    Leah Reply:

    @Lora Cotton, You sound like a concerned mom who took appropriate action given the circumstances. We need to be vigilant in the lives of our children so they know we care and support them. We just don’t smother them. It sounds like you did a great job! : )

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    Jen Reply:

    Absolutely! I whole heartedly agree!

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  7. OMGoodness I swear you were just in my house last night. I dealt with the whole he skipped doing a chore so when he came home I told him to hand over ALL electronics and I got the whole “it’s mine, I bought it” speech so I quickly walked over to my computer and unplugged it. Fine, don’t give me it and the WIFI is off. Needless to say he got the hint rather quickly, handed all over to me and did his chores. I love this post. Thank you so much for writing it, I actually debated writing something like this, no where near as beautifully written as you have done. Love it! 16 yr olds can definitely test ya.

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  8. Great article and so very true! I am the mother of but one child, who is 17, and totally fits your description of lazy and entitled. It’s all my fault, I know. I think this child-raising thing might be harder on the Type A’s but that could be just a cop out, too. LOL. My favorite quote from your article is “It’s just not worth the emotional energy to demand a better use of their time.” I have SO BEEN THERE. This is something that I definitely need to get better at. After all, she’s about to head out in the world and Heaven help them/us if I fail now. :) Thanks for sharing so I know I’m not all alone.

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  9. Good grief….I am guilty of at least 2 of these at one time or another.

    I have 2 very athletic kids, so I spend pots and pots of hard earned money on equipment, fees, gas and travel. Not too mention the time I put in… So my parenting tips is, ‘when your kids tell you they want to try out for a sports team, tell them they will never make it and if they do they will hate it. Then buy them another game for the xbox.’

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  10. Love this. Great points; I totally agree as I work on my 4, ages 8-16.

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  11. Lori Fast says:

    This is so my house some days. It is just too much to stay on top of all 4, every day, with all the added stresses of anything other than parenting!! I keep reminding myself that it isn’t each day that has to be perfect, but I am working for a long-term goal of teaching our children respect, love, kindness, responsibility, etc etc etc etc!! I thought it was hard when they were babies, but that was just physical labor! This emotional and social and intellectual and character stuff is way harder.

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    Jen Reply:

    Isn’t that so true? Your long term vision (and mine) are intertwined. We take it day by day and know that in the long run, WE CAN FINISH STRONG!!

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  12. LOVED this! You brought a smile to my face. As a mom of over 2 decades, I, too, have learned to raise lazy and entitled children. But most of the time, my kids are great, and I love ‘em.

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    Jen Reply:

    We are definitely in it together. :)

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  13. With one married, one getting married in 2 months and two teenagers in the middle of driving, I can echo every one of these. It’s hard. It’s beyond exhausting, but it’s worth every single tear (mine) and grumble (theirs). Love this post, Jen!

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  14. This was great! My kids are ages 6–22 years. You did forget one more item – allow your children to emotionally blackmail you into whatever they want :-)
    Thanks

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  15. Sounds like all the extra effort paid off. I know the road less traveled is always harder but often reaps amazing rewards.

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  16. Amen!! Every one is true and I have been there! As everyone else has stated, it is an emotional draining effort, but it does pay off eventually. I’m still in the trenches with DD 18, who just emailed me her “birthday list”. Too bad she’s not getting everything she listed, but we will still have birthday cake!

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  17. I think you must have been spying on me raising my children!! Lol
    I am so so guilty of these things! Thank you for the laughs. I am now going to attempt to find all your parenting goodies to help out with my the kiddos (8,10 and 13).

    Great, fun article!! :-)

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  18. One of the best articles on this I have read yet. I can hear my own sarcastic tone while reading it. Thank You for taking the time to write this. Tough love isn’t easy, but will be worth it someday I hope. While of course I knew all of this like most moms do, it’s nice to be reminded. We all slack every now and again :/ (guilty). Glad we are in this together and have a great support group and possibly a hidden bottle of wine in the back of the fridge for backup. Amanda

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    Jen Reply:

    Thanks so much, Amanada! We ARE in this together!! (And we’ll make it :))

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  19. Excellent post, Jen, and delivered with just the right amount of humor! I think we can all relate to some level of this post. Thanks for the encouragement to keep persevering.

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  20. Ooh. Good stuff. It IS hard to do a good job of parenting. I’d rather take a nap. Or watch Downton Abbey re-runs. But if I don’t train my children to take care of me when I’m old, who will? ;) Seriously, this was well-written with enough humor to soften the edge.

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  21. Let’s not forget-dont ever remind your kids to use “please” and “thank you” ….entitlement goes so much better with words like “gimmie that” in a snotty tone of voice. And never ever encourage the use of kind words. Never.

    Lol
    great article

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  22. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for highlighting the modern challenges mothers are facing today, and thank you for having the bravery to be HONEST! I feel as though everyone is do darn scared of being honest with themselves or to have an honest conversation about our kids, after all, this is in pursuit to raise independent and caring adults who are contributing to society right? And by the way defensive moms, actually it IS sort of my business when your children will be living in society next to my children and grandchildren. We do have a tough job ahead of us and most of it is trial and error, a lot of going back to the drawing board, consulting with those who have reached the “finish line” successfully, and maybe even putting into place those rules we swore we’d never impose on our own children. How many moms can confidently say to themselves as they go to rest at night “Boy, I sure got this parenting thing licked! Every decision I made today will surely make for an outstanding kid, I need to pat myself in the back !” Every night I would bet most of us fall into bed at night and obsess over the day’s events with guilt, worry, and maybe even a little bit of fear. Some moms that are fighting the good fight with tooth and nail surely aren’t celebrating either, so I thank you for your uplifting and motivating words, and please keep being honest and encouraging all of us to be honest.

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  23. Great, great list. Even as I laughed, I was cringing because I’ve definitely fallen into some of these traps.

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  24. Oh, and what about “Let your children run wild in public places. They’re entitled to do that, even if it disturbs others.”

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    Jen Reply:

    HA – seriously!! Yes, that is definitely one to add. :)

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