Are You Spoiling Your Kids?

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.

The Gift of Self Esteem

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.

Taking Ownership

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.

Being Accountable

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! 





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4 Responses to “Are You Spoiling Your Kids?”

  1. Karen says:

    I love this article!!! The spoiled kid is being set up by his parents to lead a tough and unhappy life. When someone thinks they know it all and feel they never need to listen to advice, they are in for trouble till they change their ways. This is a huge problem with only children and children who are never taught to accept responsibity for what they do and say. Tough for kids to work through and as adults they are unbearable people. You are not entitled to have everything you want, you must work and earn it. And, there is much to learn every day no matter how old you are. Both important lessons for all parents to teach!

  2. Simone says:

    Great article!
    I’m a New Yorker and grew up riding the buses and subways. As a kid, traveling w/ my mother, I knew that if the bus/train was crowded, I was to give my seat to an adult.
    Today’s children? Never! The little 4 year olds sit comfortably while seniors, pregnant women, and even those with canes, or just heavy bags have to stand, while junior sits, often putting the soles of his/her feet on the chair. When I see this, I just want to slap the parent!

  3. Liz says:

    I think this is right on. I see kids at gymnastics etc get praised each time they take a step, and I think it’s ridiculous. If they’re told that they’re doing great when they’re not, then when they DO accomplish something the praise isn’t as meaningful. I really try to praise effort and attitude over actions. It really goes a long way….

  4. louie says:

    Self worth and esteem must be taught at home, naturally, and right from the beginning. But it must be taught thru the aspects of earning it. Competition is the eye of the tiger that has been obviously lost in America today. There can only be “One” number 1. Children need to be coached how to achieve the #1 status, when possible, and also how to handle being “Other”, and handle it graciously. The true lesson needs to be how to accept and learn from failures and to strive for goals and perfection from that experience.
    If you think you know it all or are entitled to it (in today’s world of entitlement) you’re doomed to failure and disappointment. Parents… Teach your kids to work and earn respect and never to stop learning. One size doesn’t fit all and you need to earn your aspired position in society.

Any Thoughts?