“Over the past two years I’ve become increasingly concerned that we’re raising children who have little tolerance for disappointment and have a strong sense of entitlement, which is very different than agency. Entitlement is “I deserve this just because I want it” and agency is “I know I can do this.” The combination of fear of disappointment, entitlement, and performance pressure is a recipe for hopelessness and self-doubt.” Brené Brown
Entitled children grow up to be entitled adults, and that’s setting them up for a lifetime of disappointment, pain, and dysfunctional relationships. Children who grow up lacking gratitude and appreciation become selfish and arrogant. They walk around with ‘attitude.’ Nothing is ever good enough. ‘Thank you’ is not part of their vocabulary. Instead, they become accustomed to their parent’s filling their every need. They see no reason to express their thankfulness. Our children’s eyes have never been opened to the fact that this is really not all coming to them; entitlement is not a way of life. It is time for the Me Generation to become the We Generation.
To be a good parent, it’s necessary to lay aside your own guilt and your own pain from your past. Any action down out of guilt or pain can never be true. The important question we need to ask ourselves as parents is, “am I engaged? Am I truly paying attention?” If so, we’re going to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us as we try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. Parenting isn’t about being perfect and raising constantly happy children. Perfection and constant happiness do not exist. Preparing our children to be resident, and to be courageous, engaged adults should be the goal.
On Children by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.