Wanting to take care of our children is a natural instinct, but does it get to a point where parents/caretakers take too much care? Research has shown that kids nowadays are less prepared to take care of themselves, due to parents being too child-centered. Kids nowadays are usually raised to be quite dependent on their parents, yet parents expect them to be responsible when there is a need to. While kids do have the skills to be independent, e.g. do their own laundry, wash their own dishes, clean their own rooms and help out around the house or assist their parents in simple tasks like washing the car or grocery shopping, they tend to feel like that others are there for them, and they can skip out on these tasks to do something that interests them more.
Here are some ways you can avoid raising kids who are entitled:
- Let your kids know that they are capable of doing more
Explain to them that things are going to change around the household and that you’ve actually denied them the opportunity of learning to do many things that they can do on their own. Let them know that they can be capable and responsible.
- Give your kids meaningful jobs
There are many tasks and roles parents play unknowingly when children are capable of doing it themselves. Click here to check out the age-appropriate chores we’ve listed that you can introduce at each age. Other basic chores that they can start learning at any age include cleaning up their own room and cleaning up after themselves after using a common play area/playing outdoors.
- Set up systems and structures around the household
Build a roster where tasks are shared evenly within members of the family. If your kids vary in age, give them tasks that are age-appropriate and explain to them that they are capable of more since they are older in age. Make sure that you put a small reward system in place using their privileges. For example, they can get to watch 15 minutes of television once they have cleaned their rooms.
- Explain to them how not doing these jobs will negatively impact others in the family
Whether it’s helping to water the plants, collect dry laundry, helping to set the table or prepare dinner, each task will have an effect on other members of the family, since they have other tasks to take care of too. Let them know how failing to do each task will affect others, like failing to set the table will make mom and dad late for work, or forgetting to keep your toys after they play with them might injure others.
- Keep these systems in place and follow through
A common mistake many parents make is failing to follow through with rules that they implement. It’s important to stick to the structure and routines that you put in place, as this in itself is a lesson for the kids. If parents fail to follow through, kids will think that skipping out on chores, tasks, assignments or plans in any other context is fine as well, since they are not required to be responsible for what’s assigned to them at home either.
Encourage your kids to grow in independence and learn together as a family. Implement the new structures gracefully and convey to them that they are capable and responsible.