Babywise Week: When Your Day Is Child-Centered

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

Today, we hear from Rachel at A Mother Far From Home. Rachel talks about how difficult it can be to keep the family focused on the family when our days are consumed with taking care of our children. With three kids under age three, Rachel is definitely in the season where her days are all about taking care of the little ones. As her kids age, as mine have (now 6 and 9), she’ll come to realize that it’s easier to avoid being child-centered since kids become more independent.

But no matter our kids’ ages, it can still be difficult to make the family a priority (over the child). Rachel offers a few tips on what we can do:

1) Know the season

2) Focus on the collective

3) Let the collective benefit the individual

4) Teach manners

And even when we’re focused on avoiding child-centered parenting, I think it’s okay to talk about the kids with our spouses. Date nights probably shouldn’t be consumed with a discussion about the kids, but certainly, at the end of the day, it’s fine to chat with our husbands about the kids. Here’s what Rachel has to say about this:

“I won’t lie, at the end of the day the only thing I really want to talk about with my husband is the kids. What they did. What they didn’t do. Why I wanted to squeeze the life out of them hug them really tight. It’s how I process.”

Head on over to A Mother Far From Home to read Rachel’s post.

Babywise Week: Babywise Helps the Marriage

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

Today’s spotlight is on Emily from Journey of ParenthoodAs many Babywise parents might agree, Emily reminds us that the Babywise principles are what help us to maintain a family-centered home. She says:

“This is why I’m so, so thankful for Babywise. I believe, fully, that Babywise principles have helped keep my love with my husband in tact! We keep our marriage at the core of our family.”

She also discusses the trap that many moms can fall into. When our babies need us and look up to us, it’s easy to want to be more of a mom than a wife. In our children’s eyes, we are perfect. It’s a different story with our spouses, who don’t always forgive our faults. Here’s how Emily phrased it:

“My children are so sweet. And cuddly. And they love me so completely and fully. They forgive my shortcomings in an instant. They race into my arms and shower me with praises. I am their hero. I can do no wrong.”

I know the feeling. Even now, my kids, who are 6 and 9, still do this with me. I’ll run to the store and be gone for 20 minutes, and when I get home, they run into my arms as if I’ve been gone for 20 days. It’s a nice feeling, but it can also be a trap that encourages us to make our kids the center of our world.

Check out Emily’s blog at Journey of Parenthood to read her post.

Babywise Week: More on the Family-Centered Home

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

If you haven’t noticed, the Babywise Friendly Blog Network is growing! We have two great bloggers to talk about today! Claire from My Devising and Elaine from Faithfully Infertile both offer more thoughts and tips on maintaining a family-centered home and avoiding child-centeredness.

I love what Elaine has to say about how Babywise and routines create order out of chaos and give us time to focus on our families. Here’s my favorite quote from her post:

“There is a time for everyone to eat, a time for everyone to sleep, a time for play, a time for learning and a time for exploring the great outdoors. There is a time for me to take care of household chores — to make sure the laundry is done, the dishes are washed and put away, the house is organized in way that creates order and peace to our days and not chaos and turmoil. There is a time for us to spend together as a family, there are times for us to spend one-on-one time with our children and there is a time for us to spend as a couple so we can make sure through it all we are staying connected as a couple.”

Claire has a great discussion on the transitions from single woman to wife and wife to mom. I like what she says about dads getting lost in the fog when baby arrives:

“And just when you think you’ve figured the new baby thing out, you remember something.  There’s a guy over there that’s helping me with stuff and I think I’m in love with him but I can’t quite remember.  Wife can easily get consumed with all things baby and husband can easily get lost in the fog of it all.  Working on your marriage while doing the baby thing is tricky.”

I think this can happen at any point in a child’s life. Mom may be nursing a newborn or shuttling her teenagers from soccer practice to piano lessons. But the idea is the same: there’s no place for dad. And when there’s no place for dad, he feels alienated and alone. We cannot let our kids take our spouse’s place.

Head on over to My Devising and Faithfully Infertile to read their great posts!

Babywise Week: Put Your Marriage First for the Child’s Sake

Does your child come between you and your spouse?

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

This week, many of us are writing on the topic of child-centered parenting. It’s a basic yet fundamentally important principle of the Ezzos’ parenting ideals. They tell us that we are to welcome children into the family without making them the center of it. The husband and wife relationship must stay intact, and we should remain husband and wife even as we become mom and dad. I wholeheartedly believe in this.

First, let me grab a quote from Growing Kids God’s Way that tells you what the Ezzos say:

“We know the tragedy that can befall a family when basic principles of parenting are violated. We have counseled mothers and fathers who, with the best of intentions, started their parenting with love and nurturing only to see their dreams of a beautiful family reduced to a nightmare of survival…. There are two related evils that threaten successful parenting and lead to the demise of the family. The first is downplaying the significance of the husband-wife relationship in the parenting process, and the second is falling into the trap of child-centered parenting,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 31).

I don’t think any parent would tell you that parenting is a piece of cake. Sure there are kids who sleep well as babies and are innately obedient as toddlers, but even those kids require that parents change their way of life. And since parenting can be so difficult, it is bound to put a strain on the marriage. In fact, many times, parents believe that divorce is what is best for the child.

Let me insert a disclaimer: I believe there are many times when divorce is the only option. This is typically in the case of abuse, yet abuse takes on many disguises. If a parent is so beaten down, physically or emotionally, that he or she cannot live a healthy life, happy and secure in their own skin, then divorce may be the right choice. Even in this case, however, I believe every attempt should be made to improve the health of the marriage before seeking divorce.

Now, back to those of us who are happily married, there are many reasons why it’s important to put the marriage first. As already mentioned, chief among the risks of child-centered parenting is the damage it could do to the marriage. Another risk is that it can lead to self-centeredness. The Ezzos say, “The result [of putting the child first] is a society consumed with child-centeredness which is the precursor to self-centeredness,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 31). What’s more, by putting the child first, we aren’t modeling a healthy, happy marriage. It’s important for kids to see how two happily married people show their love for each other.

But beyond this, the main thought that I want to get across in this post is that putting the marriage first is for the child’s benefit. It may seem backwards, but putting the child second is actually putting him first.

I have a few Facebook friends who post inspirational quotes from notable people. I usually enjoy these quotes until they broach the subject of parenting. Often, these quotes say something like, “everything I do I do for my child,” or “my child is my universe.” These quotes get to the core of what it means to be child-centered. And though the people who post these quotes are well intentioned, I don’t think they understand that making their child the reason for their existence is actually detrimental to the child.

What a child needs most–in addition to love, care, and devotion–is a stable foundation. For all the reasons that we put our babies on routines, stability is comforting to a child. When two parents make their marriage the priority, the child knows that the foundation upon which his family rests is solid and secure. On the other hand, when the child is made to be the foundation of the family, life is on shaky ground. It’s anything but comforting for a child to be the ground on which the family rests.

The Ezzos explain it well. This is a lengthy quote, but it’s good, so bear with me.

“As professionals, we cannot overstate how necessary a healthy husband-wife relationship is to the emotional well-being of a child…. Strong marriages create a sense of certainty. When there is harmony in the husband-wife relationship, there is an infused stability within the family. A strong marriage provides a haven of security for children as they grow…. Children know intuitively, just as you and I knew when we were growing up, that if something happens to Mom and Dad, their whole world will collapse. If the parents’ relationship is always in question in the mind of a child, then that child tends to live his life on the brink of emotional collapse. In contrast, when a child has confidence in his parents’ relationship, he is emotionally free to get on with his life,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 37).

Now, I’m not saying that making the marriage top priority is easy, especially when our kids are little and demand so much of our attention. Plus, it’s fun to live life through our children’s eyes and give them all that we can. But it’s so important to keep this in check. Do whatever you can to promote the health of your marriage. Practice couch time, go on dates, and frequently tell your child that his request will have to wait while you tend to your spouse. Find opportunities in your day to make sure your child understands that Mommy or Daddy comes first. As you do so, remind yourself that it’s all in the name of stability and security for the child.

 

BFBN Graphic

Babywise Week: Baby Joins a Family

It’s Babywise Blog Network (BFBN) Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

We begin the week with a post from Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise MomAll week, we’re discussing the principle of child-centered parenting which is so vital to parenting the Babywise way. And although the idea is basic, there are many facets of child-centered parenting–or the lack thereof–that we should fully understand as we attempt to make our marriages the priority.

Valerie talks about the fact that the baby joins the family. Although bringing a new baby home also brings many changes, especially with our first, it doesn’t mean that we should completely change the basic structure of our families. The Ezzos have been heard to say that our children are welcome members of the family, but they are not the center of it.

I like what Valerie has to say about this:

“The point of the idea behind ‘baby joins a family’ is so people don’t become baby-centered. You don’t want to make every decision based solely on what is absolutely best for the baby. Sometimes, baby can give a little. Sometimes you can do what is good enough for the baby rather than best so that ‘best’ can go to someone else in the family for a bit. A family is about give and take. The family should not revolve around the baby–that isn’t healthy.”

Head on over to Chronicles of a Babywise Mom to read Valerie’s post in its entirety.

Babywise Week: Be a Little Selfish

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Go ahead, think only of yourself every now and then. It’s okay. In fact, it’s good for your child. I’m not saying that you should ignore your child and have him fend for himself. Odds are, if you’re reading a parenting blog, you’re not the type to neglect your child. It’s likely you can’t even imagine a parent who neglects their child. I was that way for a while. I’d hear stories of completely selfish moms, like one mom I know of who just tells her kids to go to bed without reading or tucking them in. I was aghast!

But I digress. The point of this post is that if you are the type to build your life around your children, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Now I’m not going to tell you to nap every time your baby naps. That’s just unrealistic. The dishes and laundry have to get done at some point. But do take some time away from motherhood. Even if you’re still physically with your children (it’s hard to get away sometimes), let your thoughts wander. Think about your own dreams and aspirations. Think about whatever it is that excites you.

If you’re not sure what excites you — as a person, not a mom — then it might be an indication that you’ve been mired in mommyhood a little too long. We need to keep growing as people because some day, our kids will leave the nest. It scares me to think about it, but my oldest is almost 9. That’s half-way to 18! Anyway, spend some time pondering whatever you think might help you grow as a person. Take a cooking class. Join a book club. Learn photography. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Whatever it is, find something that will help you grow and get out of mommy mode for a while.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that being selfish can be good for your child. The Ezzos warn us being too child-centered. Our children need us to not build our lives around them. The oft-uttered phrase in Ezzo circles is “the child is a welcome member of the family, but not the center of it.” To avoid raising selfish children, we need to be a little selfish ourselves. Our kids need to see that we have lives that don’t include our kids. We weren’t born to wipe noses, pick up toys, and taxi our children around town. We stand on our own two feet and don’t need our children to fulfill us — or at least that’s how it should be.

I know how easy it can be to build a life that’s centered around the children. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. The corporate life wasn’t thrilling me. In fact, it was exhausting me. And I was so ready to move on to the next phase of my life. But I had to wait. As it happens, I got the mommy bug when my husband was in flight school. He wasn’t thrilled about having a child during such a rigorous program. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, he was ready, and I quit my job! It’s a good thing, too, because William was so difficult (colicky, allergies, speech delay, etc.) that I can’t imagine his needs being met in a daycare.

But you can imagine that after having waited and changing my life so drastically, I did build my life around my child. Ultimately, when I learned more about child-centered parenting, I realized that I needed an outlet. I needed to escape from mommyhood every now and then. So I shifted my focus a bit and started to build my freelance copywriting business. It was, and still is, the perfect mix. I get to be a mom, and they get to see that I have a life that doesn’t include wiping noses.

If you’re a Babywise mom, you’re probably a planner. So take the time to plan out your escape from mommyhood. Find the catalog to the local community college to see what classes might excite you. Go to the local bookstore or library to find out about book clubs. Figure out what cause it is that you believe in most (animals, sick children, homeless, elderly), and find out how to volunteer. Whatever it is, make a plan to find your hobby and schedule it into your life.

Entitlement: Self-Sacrifice

In January, I wrote a post called “Entitlement.” It seems to have struck a nerve for some of you. The blog was pretty active that day. I can see why. Entitlement is one of those ugly characteristics that we want to avoid instilling in our children. At the same time, it’s difficult to avoid, as evidenced by an entire generation that has been labeled as entitled.

Today, we’ll discuss all that we as mothers sacrifice and how it may lead to entitlement in our children.

They say that motherhood is the ultimate in self-sacrifice. In pregnancy, we give our bodies. In the newborn phase, we give up sleep and pretty much all semblance of free time. In the toddler phase, we give up the freedom to sit and relax (as we chase them around the house), not to mention the freedom to use the bathroom alone. In the preschool phase, we don’t have to give as much physically, but then the reality sets in that we need to start preparing our kids for school. As they grow older, we give less, but we still sacrifice adult time, date nights (that don’t cost an arm and a leg in babysitter fees), and everything else that won’t see the light of day until our kids can stay home by themselves. Plus, we’re still responsible for our kids’ physical and moral development.

There’s a funny thing about self-sacrificing mothers. There are many moms who say that their children give their lives a purpose. They feel needed and they like it. These are the moms who will sacrifice everything for their children, and many of them are self-righteous about it. They give the impression that working moms or moms who have activities outside the home are not fulfilling their duties as moms. Many of them go so far as to criticize those of us who sleep train or have our children sleep in their own beds.

Despite how self-righteous they may be about it, it’s usually these self-sacrificing mothers who end up with entitled children. These kids have been given the world for their entire lives. Then they get to a certain age and start to expect that they’ll be given the world. They act entitled. Why wouldn’t they? It’s what they’ve been taught to do. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

Realizing that this is the case, it’s important to stop every now and then and examine how our parenting methods may be creating entitled children. In what ways do we sacrifice as mothers? What areas of sacrifice can we give up? Where can we depend on our kids more? What more can we require of them as they grow up? What do we give them that they feel entitled to?

Here are some ideas to think about:

1) Insist that your crawling baby or toddler wait outside the bathroom for you. It’s okay if he fusses for a few minutes.

2) Don’t pick up your baby or toddler every time she cries. Shush her until she stops whining or crying, and only then pick her up.

3) Set aside time for your spouse every night (couch time) and insist that your child not interrupt you.

4) Find a time in the day where your child is awake but you have some alone time. Teach your child that when he sees you reading the paper and drinking coffee, he is to leave mommy alone.

5) Make sure your kids earn every privilege.

6) Track the time your kids spend on devices (computer, iPad, video games, TV), and make it clear that it’s a privilege, not a right.

7) Require chores, no matter how much homework or piano practice she has. Even from an early age, kids can start helping out around the house.

8) If your child starts acting entitled to a certain privilege, take it away. Only give it back when he seems grateful for the privilege.

Keep an eye on all that you sacrifice for your kids. Make sure that you sacrifice less and less as the child grows. Have him do more for himself as he ages and make sure he knows you don’t live your life catering to his every whim.

Prevention: Lay a Foundation

Source: alivecu.coop

Earlier this week, I talked about the benefits of outdoor play and cultivating the imagination in our children. Both of these ideas speak to the heart of what it so important in training our children: laying a foundation. By laying a foundation for our kids and our parenting, we do more to prevent problems with our children than to deal with them after they occur.

A few weeks ago, I asked you all what you wanted to read more about. Many of you said you wanted to learn more about consequences. I feel like I’m shirking my duty in giving you what you need. But I also feel like you’ll have more success as a parent if you lay the right foundation. It’s better to do your work ahead of time and set your child up for success than it is to discipline a child after the fact.

I certainly relate, though. When I first got my hands on On Becoming Childwise, I skipped ahead to the chapters on discipline. I felt like I needed a fix and I needed it now! I felt like if I could just get my hands on the right discipline method (timeouts, logical consequences, etc.) I would have my answer. That was so short-sighted of me. If there is anything I’ve learned in my 8.5 years of parenting, it’s that there is no quick fix in parenting.

This idea is even a primary focus in my e-book. Before I get into the specifics of training our children in first-time obedience, we need to set the stage. We need to do all we can to avoid child-centered parenting (couch time), give them independent play, schedule their days, make sure they eat healthy meals and get quality sleep, and more.

This applies to everything we hope to accomplish with our children. It goes beyond behavior. So whether you’re hoping to improve table manners or wanting them to get ahead in school, it’s all about laying that foundation. We need to set an example and create an environment that allows them to succeed.

An example of this is giving our boys outside time. While our greatest desire for our child may be creating a piano prodigy, we need to recognize our kids’ needs and give them the things they will need to succeed. It’s only by giving them outside time that we can expect them to sit still at the piano for any length of time. It’s only be cultivating their imagination that we can inspire creativity. It’s only by scheduling their day that we make sure we have time for it all.

This idea of laying a foundation forms the basis of my parenting. I believe in it so much that it affects everything I do with my kids. If we’re having issues with my boys not listening, I won’t immediately blame them or come up with a discipline plan. I will think through whatever it is that I’m doing wrong in laying a foundation. Whenever we have struggles, rather than blame my kids or lecture them on it, I’ll reevaluate our schedule and find a renewed commitment to follow it. (Following a schedule is one of my weaknesses.)

The other wonderful benefit of laying a foundation is that it’s all under our control. We cannot physically control our kids, but we can use our authority to follow a schedule, make sure they are in bed on time, take them outside, do couch time, and more. Probably the biggest detriment in laying our foundation is believing that it’s important.

Look at it this way. Our society has gotten a little carried away with the idea that popping a pill will cure whatever ails us. Popping a pill is so much easier than changing our diets or exercising. But we all know deep down that diet and exercise are the only true ways to improving our health. The same holds true with our children. Perfecting your timeout routine or finding a new logical consequence is akin to popping a pill. Laying that foundation and setting the stage for success for our children — the equivalent of diet and exercise — ensures a healthy home and children who will live the lives we want most for them.

Set Up Your Environment for Success: Pre-toddlers and Home-Proofing

Source: safeslider.com

By Amanda, Planning On It

Home-proofing means “setting appropriate limitations” on your pre-toddler’s mobility, introducing freedoms only when your child is old enough and wise enough to understand how to handle them. Where does the difference lie between “home-proofing” your child and “baby-proofing” your home? It lies in philosophy. … In contrast, “baby-proofing” has parents rearranging their living area so the child is never placed in a situation where Mom or Dad would have to limit his freedom of exploration or confront him with the feared words, “No, don’t touch.”  –p. 129, On Becoming Pretoddlerwise

After reading the above description of home-proofing your child vs. child-proofing your home most Babywise parents will nod their heads in agreement. Then they will go their merry way thinking they can leave their home completely unchanged and surely they can train their pre-toddler not to touch any off-limits items. At least that’s what I thought.

And then my child actually became a pre-toddler.

I learned that maybe Ezzo didn’t mean that we should leave out the glass dishware on the coffee table, or that tube of medicated cream in the nursery, or all those DVDs on the low shelf right beside the toybox. Oops! Live and learn, right?

So how do you find that balance? How do you train your child in self-control and respect for others without either endangering their safety, causing irreparable damage, or just plain driving their mothers crazy?

Much like child-proofing, home-proofing your child starts with setting some physical boundaries. You will make use of baby gates and playpens, child locks and regular locks. But as above, the difference lies in philosophy. Your goal is very different. Your goal does not end with keeping your 15-month-old from throwing books all over the room; it ends with teaching him proper respect and care for those books. But in striving for that goal you also recognize he is just 15 months old and this will take time. You recognize that you can teach respect for books by keeping out a few paperbacks and then later reintroduce the rest of the books that usually reside on your coffee table or low bookshelf.

Here are a few tips and ideas on home-proofing your child while staying sane.

Put a physical limit in place if…

  1. An item is dangerous. All the moral training in the world isn’t much good if our kids don’t live to be 3, right? So first we make sure their environment is safe. This means put medications and even vitamins in very high medicine cabinets or locked in a toolbox or small safe. Put a child lock on that knife drawer. Put a latch on the front door that your child cannot reach. Make sure heavy furniture is secured, especially things like TVs and tall bookshelves. No need to go crazy, just do a few commonsense things as a precaution.
  2. An item is precious. If an item is very valuable, sentimental, or irreplaceable, do not leave it within reach of your pretoddler until you can rely on him to not touch it. The risk isn’t worth it for the emotional or financial distress it would cause you.
  3. Your child is driving you crazy. How do I define crazy? Well, if you find yourself yelling frequently, spanking frequently, or feeling exasperated or exhausted by the simple act of keeping your child out of trouble, then these are clear signs your child is outside his or her funnel! A pre-toddler can be brought back inside his funnel by putting a boundary in place to limit his activity. This allows you to keep an eye on him, and it allows you to focus on training him to one or two items at a time. Using a baby gate is not admitting defeat. It’s admitting that you have a healthy, active 12-18-month-old and need to scale back his freedoms so he can listen to your instruction better. By scaling back on the number of off-limits items you can really use your energy wisely to buckle down and enforce the “that’s a no” instruction with consistency, patience, and firmness for just a couple items. Once your child is reliable with those, expand the boundaries a bit again and work on training with a wider funnel and more off-limits items.

Keep in mind the foundational principle in Babywise, that you are welcoming your child as a part of the family, not rearranging the family to conform to his desires or asking him to tag along with your adult lifestyle. Do not rearrange your living room to look like a daycare or only decorate the top half of your Christmas tree. But also do not keep fragile vases on the coffee table and then lose your temper when your 15-month-old topples one over on herself in a mischievous moment. Welcome your newly walking pre-toddler into your home by making sure his needs of stimulating play and safety are met while also slowly but surely teaching him what is valuable in your home, what deserves more care and attention, and where his personal boundaries lie within the home.

Amanda blogs about her family and home organization adventures over at Planning On It. She’s a former teacher and nanny and currently a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to her three young children. 

Entitlement

Source: shine.yahoo.com

There’s a big problem in our world these days with people acting as though they’re entitled to the best things in life. It’s gone so far that Generation Y has been renamed by some as the Entitled Generation. It’s said that people of this generation buy things they can’t afford, put personal matters above professional ones, disrespect their elders, and have no desire to set down roots.

Of course, this is a sweeping generalization, but what exactly does entitlement mean and what can we do to ensure our children don’t become entitled? At the root of entitled behavior is selfishness. Put simply, those who feel entitled think only of themselves. It’s all about me, me, me and instant gratification.

The first step in ridding our children of this ugly characteristic is to first recognize it. You may not want to admit it, but if you see entitlement in your children, recognize it first and then come up with a plan to address it.

From a big-picture parenting perspective, entitled kids grow up with parents who do everything for them. I can see how this is tempting. When we become parents, our children are often the focus of our world. The Ezzos warn us of child-centered parenting, which is easy to understand intellectually. But at the same time, when you are running your kids from piano lessons and soccer games to Kumon and gymnastics, it becomes very easy to build your life around your child. It’s easy to justify this because you are doing what you believe to be the best thing for your child.

And I’m not saying that children shouldn’t have activities outside the home. It’s just that they should see that mom and dad have a life, too. We don’t live our lives simply to please our children.

What’s ironic is that in an attempt to create enriched, smart, sporty kids — what we believe is the best they can be — we may actually be doing more harm than good. It’s all fine when a child is a soccer super-star and still respects his elders. But if a child is a soccer super-star at the expense of important moral values, then something somewhere has gone horribly wrong.

And it runs deeper than the activities our children are in. Entitlement ultimately comes down to parents giving their children everything they want and doing everything for them. School is their job, we say to ourselves, so they don’t need to take out the trash. They’re so busy practicing piano, we say, that we shouldn’t require them to unload the dishwasher. Homework is more important, we say, so we pick their clothes up off the floor for them. We may even put such a high price on grades that we do their homework for them — in the guise of “help.”

This extends outside the house, too. If a child is shy, we’ll order their meal for them at a restaurant. If a boy is bouncing in his seat in a restaurant, we excuse his behavior, saying he’s all boy. If a child goes so far as to hit another child, we let the child run off and say that he’s going through a phase. We do whatever we can to excuse or perpetuate poor behaviors.

When a child is raised with parents like this, it’s no wonder he’ll grow up to feel entitled. When he’s been given everything he’s ever needed or wanted without having to work for it, and when his poor behaviors and attitudes are excused, he will of course feel like the world should revolve around him.

One of the best things we can do as parents to ensure our kids don’t grow up to be entitled is to encourage self-sufficiency. If we encourage them to do for themselves and gain some independence, then they will grow up to believe that they have to work for whatever it is they want. They will grow up to believe that their parents don’t exist to fulfill their every desire.