by – Brandi Savitt – updated September 6, 2013
Teaching Self Esteem, Not Entitlement
*It’s back to school time, the perfect opportunity revisit one of our favorite topics: Kids & Money!
Last week, I had the misfortune of dealing with a colleague who asked for a promotion for a job she was simply too inexperienced to handle. The ultimate problem was her demanding nature, and that her entitled tone (backed by no experience or strategy) offended many people involved in the account. The icing on the cake? She was totally oblivious to the drama she had caused to the project and her team, and therefore could not bring herself to understand the consequences or take responsibility for her actions…
Cut to the chase: her ego and sense of entitlement were so extreme, she ultimately was let go! It got me thinking – how can you stop this sort of behavior from forming before it costs you your job?!
Don’t Blame Generation Y
While 20-somethings battle with the repercussions of being given the label “The Entitled Generation”, it is up to all of us to consider that maybe it isn’t the fault of the “kids today” at all, but rather the result of the lessons taught (or not taught) at home. So we talked to some seasoned educators and super grandmas for the scoop on how to teach our kids a strong sense of self without teaching them to expect to be handed the world on a silver platter.
You can tell a child all day long how fantastic and special they are, but if they never get a chance to prove it to themselves, they will never feel that sense of empowerment everyone needs to develop a strong sense of self. The problem comes when kids get a gold star for everything (at school and at home) – even when it’s not deserved.
There is a fine line between trying to protect a child’s feelings and giving them a false sense of self. A seemingly inflated ego can be a direct result of a child who is actually insecure and who never learned the value of accomplishment.
One of the best ways to teach your children responsibility is to teach them the value of money at an early age. If your child is old enough to want an expensive toy, let them contribute to its purchase. Perhaps they take on an extra job around the house, or strive to reach a new goal at school. If they have to work hard to get something they want, it will mean more – and teach them to take ownership and responsibility in all aspects of life.
The next humbling lesson is to teach your children is to be accountable for their actions. If a child throws her new toy against the wall and it breaks – guess what – the toy doesn’t magically get replaced to keep her from crying. Learning the consequences of our actions and being able to admit when we made a mistake is a major factor in achieving future success. After all, we all make mistakes – it’s how we own up to and fix them that really matters.
–Ultimately, my colleague’s entitled attitude lost her her job and several important references. So, while your kids should be the center of your universe, make sure they know they are not literally the center of THE universe!