The Entitlement Trap

by Lolli

When I take my children shopping (which is not very often, mind you) I prepare myself for hearing plenty of, “Mom! Can I get that?!”

How often have you heard those words?

Entitlement – A growing problem

In polls among the parents of elementary and middle school kids, over half of respondents identify ENTITLEMENT as the biggest parenting challenge they face.

A sense of entitlement is the polar opposite of a sense of responsibility and robs kids of initiative and motivation.

As I have become a parent of a teenage daughter (and now a second daughter less than a year away from the teen years) I have noticed that sense of entitlement has gotten even worse with age. My older kids seem even more aware of what their friends have…..and they want it, too.

Whether it’s needing a cell phone (everyone else has them!) or needing a certain brand of jeans (nothing else but the best will do!), it seems that many kids want what they want NOW without wanting to work for those things.

Meeting the Eyres

This past week, I had the chance to meet briefly with Richard and Linda Eyre, husband and wife team, parents of 9 kids, speakers, and authors of many excellent parenting books. Their newest book, The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership, is coming out on September 6, and I am so excited to read it.

I first heard the Eyres speak about entitlement a few years ago and it was one of those topics that immediately made sense to me. Sadly, I could see so much of what they warned against happening in my own family. This week, when I heard them speak again, I was eager to introduce myself and asked if I could share some information about their new book with our readers.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you can find in their new book:

How to counteract entitlement

Kids’ sense of economic entitlement can be largely fixed by taking two simple steps:

1. Stop buying toys and games and gadgets for them and eliminate allowances that are not performance-based. “Allowance” is a welfare or entitlement term and promotes the idea of something for nothing.

2. Set up a simple family economy where kids have a couple of basic chores involving the common areas of the home and keep track of when they do those chores. Have them also keep a record of the days when they finish their homework, music practice, or other tasks that you designate without being reminded. Assign numbers to these daily responsibilities (don’t have more than three or four) and tell them they can fill out a slip each day with the number of tasks completed, get it initialed by a parent, and put it in a big sturdy box with a lock on it and a slot in the top. That box becomes the family bank, and on Saturdays it is opened and instead of “allowance” you have “payday” where kids receive an amount proportionate to how many tasks they remembered and completed. They then are responsible for buying all their own clothes, toys, and gadgets.

It is this sense of “earned ownership” that counteracts entitlement!

My own success story

I admit that I have had some serious issues in the past few years with my oldest daughter wanting a cell phone (for no other reason but the fact that “all” of her friends communicate via text messages). She has also wanted an iTouch, lots of money for movies and shopping trips with friends, and rides all over the place.

Luckily, I haven’t been able to give in to her wishes most of the time because we simply don’t have enough money to fund them all. So she got a job as a soccer referee and made a few hundred dollars. Before her check came, she had planned out how to spend her money to the last penny. She had loaded her cart on with a new iTouch and all the accessories and make-up to last a year.

Once her check was in the bank, I asked if she was going to go ahead and buy everything. It killed me to see all of her money disappear so quickly, but she had earned it and I wanted her to have the experience of spending it, too.

I was so proud when she answered that she was going to wait. She realized how fast her money was going to be gone, and she remembered how hard she had worked for it. She opted to spend it a little here and a little there and to save it for some things that she needed a more than an iTouch.

Is Entitlement an issue in your home? What do you do to teach your children responsibility and ownership?

Check out The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership and all of the Eyre’s other parenting and family values books (I personally own several of them and have heard them speak many times and highly recommend them!). As an added bonus, if you pre-order the new book before September 6, you’ll save 33%.

You can also listen to a free teleseminar with Richard Eyre as he talks about entitlement and teaching children to be responsible and independent.

Please note: We are sharing this information because we really do believe that this is an issue that parents should be more aware of, and are not being compensated for our opinions or our time. The links to the book are Amazon affiliate links.


Written by 5 Minutes for Mom managing editor, Lolli. You can find me blogging at Better in Bulk and tweeting at @1momof5.

Email Author    |    Website About Lolli

Lolli is a busy mother of five kids, ranging in age from 8 to 16, photographer, and author of Better in Bulk. Her blog has a little bit of everything – parenting, life in a large family and photography with a central tie-in: Bringing moms together to learn, connect, and enjoy life. Connect with Lolli on Twitter (@1momof5) and on Facebook.

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