Are we raising entitled kids?

entitled-child2-640x320It is definitely true that our parenting methods are vastly different from generations past – we have far fewer kids, and we treat them as friends and equals, trying to make the family a democracy instead of what was earlier essentially a dictatorship. Earlier, responsibilities came before rights. But by giving kids rights much before they have responsibilities, if at all, we have created extremely entitled kids.

Much of the blame lies with us as parents. When a kid wants, she gets. With both parents working, most families today have more money and less time, and this reflects in our interactions with our kids. Many parents want to be the cool parent and the nice parent and this, along with the constant guilt of not spending enough time with our children, leads us to give in to their demands. But what starts off as an indulgent gift of another Barbie soon escalates into an entitled child who wants everything ‘right now,’ and thinks that the world owes him. This behaviour is not just limited to families; these children are bringing their attitudes into the workforce. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, corporations like Land’s End and Bank of America are hiring “praise teams” to keep up with Gen Y’s demand for constant positive reinforcement.

So can we change this sense of entitlement? For many teenagers, two of the methods most advocated are volunteering and going out to work. One way is to get kids to feel more empathy, by volunteering among the less fortunate. This will give them a real sense of what ‘need’ really is – ‘need’ is not the newest fashion or the latest toy, but food in the belly and just a single piece of cloth to cover oneself. And though it may not always be possible for all children to do, kids who go out and work quickly realize how hard it is to earn money, and soon develop a healthy respect for money – how difficult it is to earn, and how easy to spend.

Have you used any other methods to change this sense of entitlement in your kids? We’d love to hear from you!

This blog post is a reproduction of Gayatri Kulkarni’s blog written for Parent Edge, one of India’s leading parenting magazines.

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Raising Smart Kids

Smart young boy stood infront of a blackboard

This blogpost has been reproduced from the Parent Edge blog with permission. Parent Edge is a leading Parenting Magazine in India.

The world overvalues smartness and undervalues hard work and effort. So, you would be surprised to know that research done at Stanford University by Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation, tells us exactly the opposite.

Dweck’s book Mindset talks about two kinds of attitudes with which individuals approach situations- fixed and growth.People with a fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities like intelligence and talent are fixed traits. They spend time in holding on to their intelligence rather than developing them. More importantly, they believe that talent alone creates success.

People who adopt a growth mindset on the other hand believe that ability can be developed and strengthened through hard work and effort. Talent you are “born with” is just the starting point. This view creates a love for learning and equally significantly resilience.

Now why is this so important for parents and society at large? Because unwittingly or deliberately many of us subscribe to the fixed mindset worldview- and how does this manifest?

By holding “bright” children in high esteem, secretly wishing our kids are tagged the “super smart” or gifted, applauding our children when they figure things out quickly, and also believing that talent is the biggest determinant of success.
Even last week end, when I was anchoring a discussion with parents, one of them said, my son is average in everything he does- he is not exceptional in any area- what does the future hold?

As parents, we categorize our children quite quickly and, as a consequence, we do not do what it takes to motivate them continuously.
If we subscribed to the growth mindset, on the other hand, we will encourage or children to keep trying, praise effort rather than outcomes, motivate them when they are struggling, share with them stories that so called genius is a product of at least 10000 hours of hard work, and inculcate an attitude that effort counts as much, if not more, than innate intelligence.

According to Dweck, the mindset shapes a child’s attitude towards learning and expanding one’s horizons. In life these are attributes that often determine success. An experiment carried out by Dweck among school children showed that a “smart child” with a fixed mindset is reluctant to take on risks, is afraid of failure, and so is unwilling to try the hard problem whereas the child with a growth mindset, even if he is not as smart, is willing to try the same problem, and does not worry as much about not being able to get the right answer.

No prizes for guessing which of the above kinds of children will grow up to be a Rahul Dravid ( someone whose performance has far outstripped his innate talent)!
Ps: I stole the title of this post from that of an article written by Dweck for the Scientific American!

(written by Sudha Kumar)

Protecting your child from yourself

parents-childNobody’s perfect. Moms aren’t, as well. That, somehow, seems to be a mothers’ deepest fear. What if I am not doing this right..? What if what this other mom does, is indeed right about how I should handle this? We only have our gut to rely on. Something that tells us that this is the right way to deal with this situation for our children.

The thing is, that each of us are evolving every moment. Motherhood, really, is a process..which starts when a child is born and does not end unless we choose to end it.

Every moment, as moms, we are discovering ourselves more, finding new ways of dealing with the challenges that raising children presents us with. Every moment, we try and push ourselves to do the best, limited only by our own limitations as human beings.

It is hence, tough for a mother to know her own shortcomings and to learn to address them so as to not impact her child. Losing one’s temper is perhaps one such thing that many mothers would be able to relate to.

Dealing with household responsibilities, the relationship with the husband, the extended family, a high pressure work environment, it can all really get to you.

In the midst of all this, it is tough to take a deep breath and to listen to what your child might be trying to communicate.

It is easy to get caught into this trap of ‘I can’t do this anymore’. Almost all mothers would be able to relate to this…even supermoms 🙂

So how does one deal with one’s own shortcomings as to not impact the child? The last thing you want is to shut down the communication channels with your child and for that to start impacting your child’s development.

The first step, is to acknowledge, that there is, indeed, a problem and it would need to be addressed. That itself requires a great deal of effort. It is important to then be able to isolate the factors that are causing you to lose your temper leading to venting in front of the child.

Seeking help from a life coach might help. In cases where issues are more compounded, as financial pressures or relationship issues or a highly volatile work environment, seeking help from a psychologist might be a good idea.

At the end of the day, if there is an issue, it needs to be resolved. The point is, is the issue that you need to address, you yourself? If yes, own up and take action. If not for yourself, then do it for your child and for your family. As a mom, you need to be able to protect a child. Even if it is from yourself.

Adrift

tumblr_o8et6avllt1qdjbb7o1_1280I need to tell the maid to come an hour earlier tomorrow..I have to remember to give my child the second dose of medication when she is back from school…I have to call for some groceries in an hour from now when the store opens…I only have 10 minutes to get ready and get going…(door bell rings – it’s the milkman). ‘Please come tomorrow for the payment’. I have to think about what to wear for that evening with friends tomorrow…Why won’t a plumber come in time to fix this leaking tap?..(phone beeps…it’s a friend). ‘Will get back to you by tomorrow’. I need to buy a pair of gloves for my daughter…All these, in a span of 5 minutes. This is just a trailer from 1 day of a working mom’s life.

If you are a working mom, you know what I am talking about. You go through these moments day after day after day, hoping that things will get better…hoping that soon, you will have half an hour to yourself or that you will be able to enjoy an evening out with your friends…and in that hope, life goes on and on and on. If that moment does not come soon, some of us might fall prey to our deteriorating health or friends and family who seem to be drifting away…or is it that we are drifting away from them?

In the effort to hold on to our strongest anchor, our child and our family, we might find we are slowly drifting away from our vision of our lives and how we had wanted it to be.

The good thing is, we know it when this is happening. We choose to live in that knowledge everyday, day after day. Sometimes, we reach a point when we do not know where our roots lie. We think we don’t have time for ourselves post having a baby when the truth is, we need to be rooted, in ourselves, more than ever. It is because we now have someone else to provide roots to.

The good news is that our roots are still with us. We have just gone adrift and lost touch with them.

You can choose to find your roots again and lead a sane life, just the way you would like to.

Life coaches can help you re-establish your connect with yourself. How? Sign up for a trial session free of charge and experience how it can help you.

Just send an email to namrata.arora@growth-cube.com.

Your life is yours to choose.

Happy New Year!