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Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:12 (NKJV)

During the last few days we have been looking at what Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists as the five most common entitlement-prone parenting styles. Today we look at the last style:

  1. The “Over-the-Top” Parent. All of us parents want our children to have a better life than we might have, but if you go far out of your way to make sure your kids have the best childhoods possible, you may be creating in them a sense of entitlement. Some parents today are giving their children lavish holidays, designer bedrooms, picture-perfect outfits, birthday or wedding parties way above and beyond their means, things that their children don’t really need.  As McCready explains, “If they always experience the best of what life has to offer when they’re young, they’ll feel entitled to it, and better, as they grow older.”  If you cut back on those over-the-top tendencies you will end up with happier, more contented children down the road.

Instead of being overly generous, teach your children to take pleasure in the little things by expressing gratitude for what they do have instead of focusing on what they want.  Research shows that grateful people are happier overall.  McCready suggests, “involve your kids, and create daily or weekly gratitude rituals to help them appreciate what’s most important in their lives.”

Ellen White penned these words in a letter to her sons: “My Dear Children: We, your father and mother, feel a deep interest for you. You may sometimes think that your parents are too strict, that they watch you too closely; but, dear boys, our love for you is great. We have dedicated you to God. You are his, and we must keep you separate from the world, that you may be the Lord’s. We you’re your lives to be right and pleasing in his sight. Don’t feel discouraged, my children. Satan is ready to lead your young minds; but go to God, seek him for strength, pray much, give your hearts’ best affections to him.”[ii]

Father God, while I want to give my children the best I can, give me wisdom to not overdo it and teach them to expect more than necessary.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

[ii] White, E.G. An Appeal to Youth, p.74

And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead. 2 Samuel 13:39 (NKJV)

Yesterday we considered the third of what Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists as one of the five most common entitlement-prone parenting styles. Today we look at the fourth style:

  1. The Indulger. Have you ever been guilty of doing these?  Your 12-year-old demands to see a certain movie with friend, one you may not even approve of, but you hate to disappoint him, or embarrass him in front of them, so you allow him. . . he wins.  Or perhaps your 6-year-old insists on drinking soda with every meal, and you buy it for her… she wins.  Your daughter wants to wear the latest clothing style, even though they are not modest, in fact, quite revealing. . . buy when you take her shopping you buy her what she wants. . . she wins.

We’ve all probably been guilty on this one at one time or another. It’s not wrong to let our kids experience life’s little pleasures, but it’s our responsibility to set the appropriate limits we know are best for them. As McCready writes, “Entitled kids are known for thinking of themselves as above the rules, and deserving the best of what life has to offer.” We need to change this mindset by establishing boundaries and sticking with the limits we set, while at the same time ignoring the protests and attempts at negotiations.

Instead of indulging your kids, you can provide your children opportunities to learn to use age-appropriate control over their own lives in a decision-rich environment.  Allow your kids a sense of power over positive things like what kind of healthy snacks to buy, whether to do their homework in their room or at the table, and input into vacation activities within a set budget. As McCready explains, “When kids have more control over some aspects of their lives, they are less likely to pitch a fit when we have to say no or enforce limits in other areas, like bedtime or curfew.”  As Ellen White writes, “Children, when they become of age, will prize the parent who labored faithfully, and would not permit them to cherish wrong feelings or indulge in evil habits.”[ii]

Father God, help me as I guide my children to make the best decisions for their lives.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p.292

And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead. 2 Samuel 13:39 (NKJV)

Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists five of the most common entitlement-prone parenting styles, as well as a few proven fixes.  Yesterday we considered the first one:  The Enabler.  Today we look at the third style:

  1. The Rescuer. Does this describe you? Your child can’t remember his homework, permission slips, sports shoes, and lunch unless you remind him every single morning.  You can see that your child can remember their favorite show, or the game in which they are playing, or the date with their friends, but when it comes to remembering their sports equipment, they never seem able to.  Then they call you to bring what they “forgot” to them they feel entitled to your personal delivery service when they forget.  You need to remind yourself that whether you’re frantically helping your child finish the science project the night before it’s due or figuring out how to negotiate their grades and their involvement in sports or other activities, you may need to back off and let your child face the music when it comes to his/her own effort (or lack thereof) and forgetfulness.

McCready suggests you institute the “No-Rescue Policy” for repeated forgetfulness.  Anyone can make a mistake from time to time.  Have a good conversation with your child, and calmly let them know in advance that you will no longer be rescuing them.  Make your expectations clear, and help them brainstorm strategies to keep track of their responsibilities.   While it is difficult to watch as your child suffers the consequences of their carelessness or lack of responsibility, let the situation play out and soon your kids will learn how to follow through.

Read these sobering words:  “What right have parents to bring children into the world to neglect and to let them grow up without culture and Christian training? Parents should be responsible. Teach them control; teach them that they are to be managed, and not to manage.”[ii]

Father, while my heart goes out to my children to help them, show me how not to teach them to become responsible for their own choices.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

[ii] White, E.G.  Child Guidance, p. {CG 186.3}

Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. Mark 13:12 (NKJV)

Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists five of the most common entitlement-prone parenting styles, as well as a few proven fixes.  Yesterday we considered the first one:  The “Keep Em Happy at All Costs” Parent.  Today we look at the second style:

  1. The Enabler. This may be your parenting style if you still prepare the bag lunch every morning for your 16-year-old, because that’s what she expects you to do it, or your 7-year-old somehow always gets you to pick up his toys.

Of course we want to help our children and doing some things for them is our way of showing them that we love them.  Loving our kids is one thing, but enabling starts small and can get out of control when you continue to pick the clothes off the floor for your teenager because it’s easier than dealing with the complaining, arguing, or negotiating.  The question is, when is it enough?  McCready writes, “If you feel annoyed or put out when your kids expect you to go out of your way for them, or if they seem to feel entitled to a free ride, that’s a big clue you need a change.”

One possible approach is for you to talk to your child and say something like, “You’re really growing up, and you’re old enough now to remember to put your dirty clothes in the laundry room.”  At the same time, work together to establish certain boundaries and expectations and the consequences for not abiding by them.  If those boundaries and expectations are violated then you must follow through with the consequences.  One of those consequences may be that their clothes are dirty, smelly, or wrinkled.  You may be worried or embarrassed of what your friends may think about you.  You need not worry about it and allow your child to experience the consequences of their own decisions and actions.  After they wear a smelly uniform once or twice, or when their own friends make fun of how their clothes look or smell, your teen will soon be staking personal responsibility.

Father God, I want to help my child, but I don’t want to inadvertently help them become dependent on me for everything.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Luke 11:11 (NKJV)

Very few parents are selfish and don’t want what’s best for their children.  Once a child is born there is something planted inside each of our hearts that wants to do and to give the best we can to our children.  There are also some parents that give their children so much that they create in them a feeling of entitlement.  Amy McCready, writing for TODAY Parents[i], lists five of the most common entitlement-prone parenting styles, as well as a few proven fixes:

  1. The “Keep Em Happy at All Costs” Parent. This may describe you if you’d rather let your kids dominate your phone during errands or pull strings with teachers and coaches than face a tantrum. If you drop everything to help your kids avoid unhappiness or disappointment, you teach them that their happiness is a top priority, and they may develop the entitled “What’s in it for me?” attitude whenever they’re asked to behave or show kindness. One of the problems is that when they face life’s setbacks, like not making the team, they’re unable to cope. McCready suggest you tell your kids something like, “You’re really growing up, and I’m confident you can make it through the grocery store without my phone.”  You should also teach and help your children develop some strategies they can use to overcome difficulties and challenges.  T

Remember, as a parent you must give your kids what they need most and what they are entitled to — your unconditional love.  You can also give them the attention they need every day.  Plan to spend at least 10 minutes a day individually with each child, on their terms, doing whatever they want to do during that time. Make it a daily practice.  Remember these words:  “Positive attention is better than negative attention, but negative attention is better than no attention at all.”  Your kids will stop trying to get your attention in negative ways (like tantrums and negotiating) when they know they’ll get it in positive ways.

Father God, help me to remember that I need to give me children love always, but I can’t make them happy always.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/entitled-kids-these-parenting-tips-can-change-behavior-t32201?cid=eml_tes_20150720

I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Psalm 77:12 (NKJV)

Gina Vivinetto, of  TODAY,[i] shares two more warning signs that three relationship experts agree should never be ignored if we want our relationship to survive.

  1. Not talking about the elephant in the room. In other words, there’s poor communication. Often when couples sense their relationship has hit a tough patch, they often avoid talking about it instead of dealing with it.  As one of the experts told Vivinetto, “Avoiding the conversation, whether it’s about sex or something else, can lead to one or both partners feeling a range of negative emotions even if on a sub-conscious level.  And if they are in La La Land and putting up a front that all is OK at home, playing this game in and of itself can be exhausting and take its toll.”  The solution is to have a good conversation with each other, no matter how awkward.  Express how uncomfortable you both are. Then, share what you most want to change and what you ideally want for your relationship. In some cases, you may need an expert to help you as you work through the issues.  A neutral third party that you trust can be a game-changer.
  2. Cheating. This may be a sign of a neglected partner. According to some studies, only one-third of relationships break up because of cheating.  The fact is that people don’t cheat if they’re happy.  As one of the experts explained to Vivinetto, “It’s another case of one or more partners not nurturing the relationship and leaving the other feeling neglected.”  In order to prevent, or solve, this situation, is to devote to their spouse, and their relationship, the time and attention they need to nourish it and keep it healthy and strong.   As Vivinetto writes, “A couple can come back after cheating if they get to the core of their problem and talk about it. The partner who’s feeling neglected needs to say so, and the other partner needs to step up.”

None of us would choose to ignore warning signs from our car, our house, our job, or our health.  Let’s not ignore the warning signs telling us our marriage may be in danger of coming to an end.

Father God, help me to take the necessary steps to strengthen our relationship and not ignore any warning signs.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/5-relationship-warning-signs-couples-should-never-ignore-t33981?cid=eml_tes_20150723

Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 1 Timothy 4:14 (NKJV)

Relationship experts would agree that breakups rarely happen overnight.  Often there are clues and warning signs when there’s trouble in paradise. If we choose to wait too long to deal with the underlying issues, they may develop into bigger issues and the eventual end of the relationship.  Gina Vivinetto, of  TODAY,[i] shares five warning signs that three relationship experts agree should never be ignored.

  1. Excessively busy lives that keep couples apart. This could be a sign of a neglected relationship. When people get involved in their own career, get busy with their own life, and stop making a point to spend time with one another one-on-one, their relationship starts to go sour.  They forget how to be a couple.  The solution is simple:  Be intentional about making time for one another.  Use that time to talk to each other, do activities together, get reconnected.  You may also be proactive and decline jobs and other obligations that keep you and your spouse apart for too long.
  2. Chronic nitpicking and criticism. This may be a sign of underlying disdain. Sometimes people allow negative feelings to take over and they begin to see each other through disdainful lenses.  In order to solve this before it damages your relationship, take time to recall what brought you together, what attracted you and what you appreciate about your spouse.  As one of the experts says, “The question is, are you able to dig out and resurrect what you liked that outweighed what you didn’t like? When you see your partner, do you see the positives outweighing the negatives?
  3. Not offering support when it matters. This may indicate a loss of trust. A loss of trust isn’t always the result of a dramatic betrayal. Often, it’s a matter of little things adding up.  If that is the case, couples need to recognize what’s happening and learn how to talk about it.  You should seek help from a therapist; unfortunately, couples often come to her too late.

Father God, help me to not ignore any warning signs ever.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/5-relationship-warning-signs-couples-should-never-ignore-t33981?cid=eml_tes_20150723

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