Taming Entitlement

Grace's "stormcloud" face.

My Gracie girl has tendency to pout when she doesn’t get her way. But she’s learning!

Today, an epidemic threatens American children.  Encouraged by parents who fret over their supposed delicateness more than they challenge their inherent strength, these children may be doomed to remain children forever.  Where sixty years ago, the greatest generation overcame the odds and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps after the Great Depression, kids today show signs of becoming generation “me.”

A few years ago as I sat folding laundry for four for the first time, I woke up to this stark reality.  I realized that I was not empowering my daughters to become the successful adults I know they can be.  Instead, I coddled them in a childlike state where, I realized, I kind of wanted them to remain.  That isn’t REALLY what I wanted for them, but in the moment, it was what felt good.  To care for them and protect them.  To do nice things for them.  To give of myself for the people I love.  These actions in and of themselves are not detrimental, but the day can easily come when, in doing these things, we deprive our children of their independence.

I realized that it was time for me to rethink how I approach parenting.  There are so many things that I want my children to be, do and have but I can’t do it for them.  They need the skills to do it themselves. It starts with being appreciative of what we have so that our children will be appreciative of what they have.  None of us is perfect, but we can all do better.

What is one way you are working to tame entitlement in your children?

Turn around twice…

Today already seems to be fraught with emotional time bombs and eggshells that need to be carefully navigated. This morning has already included explosive arguments with two people who are important to my life and couple that with the lack of sleep I’ve had the last few days and anyone would understand why I’m ready to throw in the towel before the clock even strikes 8.

But I can’t. And I won’t.

I have four little people who count on me and they need a Mama who is present physically and emotionally. When they’re grumpy or having a rough day, I stand them up, turn them around twice and tell them that it is time to start the day over. Sometimes it works on the first try, but we keep on going until they chandler their attitude. Generally resulting in laughs and giggles.

So I am going to post this and then I’m going to stand up, turn around twice and start this day over with a better attitude.

Because I can.

And then… There was light!

For a very long time now, I have felt stuck.  Every time I tried to make a move to change something in my life I felt like my decisions were not my own.  Mainly this was because of how my choices would affect the feelings of other people. People who are NOT my husband or my children. Would they be mad that I couldn’t go out for drinks on Thursday night because I had to study?  Would they be frustrated that I was working fewer hours because I desperately need to spend more time with my children?  And then, there was light.

A little light bulb went off in my head the other day and I realized that no one is going to respect my boundaries if I don’t respect them first.  No one CAN respect my boundaries if I don’t bother create them.  So there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I am setting more goals and working harder than ever to be the person I want to be and strive for who I want to become in the future.  I won’t spend my days as a doormat anymore.

I am so grateful for this unique time in my life when my babies are young and I don’t want to let a minute go by that is filled with frustration and anger at people who, when you think about it, aren’t the main focus in my life anyway.  Would I rather spend five extra minutes watching Bella coo and laugh?  Absolutely!  Can I spend ten minutes hearing Gracie read six letter words for the first time?  Heck yeah!  I would rather be hanging out with Madison on a Saturday night watching movies and being silly than almost any other thing in the world.  And will I be there this afternoon watching Mikey shoot baskets in the backyard from the kitchen window while I make them dinner?  You better believe it.