6 Ways to Curb Your Child's Sense of Entitlement

Today’s kids grow up with an entitled mentality. If you're unhappy with how spoiled with stuff your kids have become, follow Mighty Mommy's 6 tips to curb that sense of entitlement and keep your kids focused on more important values.


Cheryl Butler
7-minute read
Episode #263

No sooner had our holiday decorations been put away when I overheard my 11-year-old son telling his friend what he was going to ask for next Christmas!  After receiving the latest iPod, trendy-hot new basketball sneakers, and several other sports-related items this holiday season, he was already jumping a year ahead to plan for what he could ask (and most likely get) that he didn’t score this year.  Sigh!

Because I spend a lot of time trying to instill gratitude into my 8 kids, my son’s casual sense of entitlement really took me aback. But it also got me thinking. Perhaps I need to get back to basics with him and the rest of our brood so they didn’t take their material possessions so easily for granted..

Today’s kids grow up with an entitled mentality due to heavy exposure from non-stop advertising, TV shows and movies that glorify having stuff, and peers at school who always seem to have the latest gadgets or the hottest labels.  This ultimately leads to parents giving their kids much more than they need—and sometimes, more than their family can really afford.

Today, Mighty Mommy has 6 ways to help curb your child’s sense of entitlement and help him/her stay focused on values that aren’t materialistic:

Tip #1: Ask Yourself: What's the Lesson?

Whenever you want to get a message across to your children, it’s important to ask yourself, “What do I want my child to learn?”  In the case of trying to help your child understand that he can’t expect material items to be casually handed over on a silver platter, you might ask yourself, “What do I want my child to learn about money?” And then come up with an explanation or lesson that will teach them about the value of a hard-earned dollar. 

In other words, if your`12-year-old is desperate for video game that costs $75, he needs to understand the value of an hour’s wages for a particular job so that he can grasp the concept that in the real world, he would need to put in X amount of hours before he had earned enough money to pay for the game. 

Take it one step further by offering him jobs around the house that would earn him $10 an hour and let him figure out how many hours he would need to work to earn the money for the game.  When he sees that it would take at least 7 hours of his time to buy the game, it will either lead him to reconsider how desperately he needs the game, or it will help him place value on the item if he does work to pay for it himself

The leson here is that he can’t have everything he wants just because he feels like he deserves it. Things cost money and money is hard to come by.

Check out my episode How to Teach Kids About Money featuring special guest, Money Girl, for more tips on this subject.

Tip #2: Don't Be Your Child’s Best Friend

Your child needs you to be an authority figure, not a peer.  At home, your child needs to know that you hold the power. That doesn't mean you should ignore your child's point of view or make decisions without considering her feelings.

We’re only human when we admit we want our kids to like us.  Sometimes we give into our kids because we enjoy hearing them brag to their friends that mom is cool because she bought him the latest ski jacket. Some parents allow this to go on for years without realizing the consequences—overindulgence.

While it’s not a bad thing to give nice things to our children, it’s important that they develop a sense of ownership by earning things, not a sense of false entitlement from getting what they want whenever they want it. This sense of entitlement will not serve them well in the future.


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!