My husband & I recently spent an evening out to dinner with a couple and their 12-year-old. As the food arrived and we were preparing to dig in, I happened to look over and notice the mom cutting her daughter's food for her. It caught me as kind of humorous. I couldn't stop thinking about it later that evening; wondering if this was a normal expectation for that 7th grade child. Could this be why this generation has been labeled "Gen Me," believing the world revolves around them?
There have been a lot of articles & books written in recent years about youth entitlement. A few years ago, I listened to a Focus on the Family radio broadcast called, "Eradicating the Entitlement Mentality of our Kids." After listening to their guest speaker, Kay Wills Wyma, I purchased and read her book, Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Even though our kids are grown, I found the book to be very insightful, funny and filled with very useful tools for purposeful Christian parenting.
The author begins with the realization that youth entitlement has reached epidemic proportions both in her family and with society as a whole; and she and today's other well-meaning parents are the primary carrier of the "germ." She says, "This realization convinced me of the need to redefine my parenting approach. Instead of communicating 'I love you, so let me make life easy for you,' I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: 'I love you. I believe in you. I know what you're capable of. So I'm going to make you work.'"
To get started, she suggests that the first thing to do as parents is to set goals and make a list of things you want your child to know before they leave your home such as: how to cook and clean a kitchen, how to do basic home repair, to how to put other first through service, how to get a job, how to act mannerly, etc. Begin by working on one goal at a time and adding goals as you go. Put a plan into action, commit to it and stick to it.
Is your home out of order?
As a well meaning parent, I have been guilty of carrying the youth entitlement "germ." But fortunately, it is never too late to make changes that can help a child reach their full potential and find their place in adulthood. And the hard work is well worth the effort!