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When Children Feel Entitled

Now that the holidays are over, some parents have begun noticing an unanticipated change in their children. Consider how endowed these children were during the holidays, not only in terms of presents but also yummy treats, late bedtimes, entertainment, no homework, a lax of chores, and vacations. Indeed they feel like royalty!


It is no wonder that children would like these wonderful times to continue and perhaps they have grown in feeling entitled to all these luxuries. How do we transition our children back to the realities of daily living, responsibilities at home and school, and general respect for the adults who showed them so much love. Sometimes our most altruistic intentions backfire. Rather than blow your trumpets, it is time to recognize a hard part of parenting–learning to say “no” without using negatives like “no, shouldn’t, can’t, won’t, etc.”

  • When your children say “…but I want…” Rather than argue and say “no”, simply agree “sure you would like…” and “how do we behave in our home when the holidays are over?”
  • When your children express entitlement to stay up late on a school night, you can simply agree “I’ll bet you would like to stay up late. What time do you think would be best for your bedtime that allows you to feel fresh for school in the morning?”
  • When your children refuse to do their homework, you could empathize “I’ll bet it is hard to get back to school work. How do you think it will work out for you at school if you don’t submit your work?”
  • When your children announce boredom, simply agree that it can be hard to decide what to do. Then ask your children which new toys and games should be donated to a child who would enjoy them.

Encourage your children to think by asking questions similar to the ones above versus telling them what to do. Without getting angry, allow them to experience the consequences of their choices. It is likely their feelings of entitlement will wither while their sense of responsibility spurts. Whether your children are behaving as entitled royalty or also have disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, Asperger’s, ADHD or oppositional defiance, they will benefit from your loving guidance. As a parent, you will have turned over the baton to your children who will end up thinking harder than you, and in the process learning some very important decision making skills and life lessons.

You can also see this article as published in Desert Health News (