Wednesday, August 19, 2015

7 Ways to Avoid Raising Entitled Children

How's it going everyone?  Today's financial literacy topic, How to Avoid Raising Entitled Children, was inspired by an article I read on Monday: How Mark Cuban prevents his kids from becoming "entitled jerks."  The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Shark Tank regular, worries about his kids getting ugly on the inside.  I mean, there really is no other way to put it.  An entitled attitude within a person takes away whatever beauty or good looks they may have on the outside.  That's as good as a fact!

I suspect Mr. Cuban is more concerned about nipping his kids' entitlement in the bud (than other multi-millionaire or even billionaire fathers in the U.S.) because of his own upbringing, growing up middle-class in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  For many families whose wealth spans at least two generations, not raising entitled children may be difficult to do.  Why?  Because the third or fourth generation is far removed from the struggles and humble origins of the wealth "Founder," and there is no one left to provide perspective.

For interested parents, here are 7 ways to keep your children from growing up as a Socs (see novel, The Outsiders).

1.  Do not let wealth insulate them.  Because of your wealth, you most likely live in a neighborhood where property values are high.  Will you send your kid to a private school too?  Consider sending them to public schools where they can be in the presence of children from diverse backgrounds.

2.  Teach them to give.  Being wealthy is only morally justifiable if you are using some of your earnings to better the lives of others.  Show your children how you donate to charities such as churches, public centers, foundations, etc. and tell them why they should do the same.  If you have your children work for an allowance, teach them to take a one-third portion and put it in a "donations" piggy bank.

3.  Have them volunteer.  You have an entitled kid?  Take them to a soup kitchen.  Have them serve food to the homeless as long as it takes to rid them of their internal malaise.

4.  Spend time with your children!  Your wealth drive is on overdrive, and you are often too busy with your affairs to spend quality time with your children.  Lavish purchases end up being your way of demonstrating your love to your child.  Well no wonder they grow up sick on the inside.  There is a fine balance between modeling work ethic and being involved in your child's life.  How will you know when you're overdoing it?  A child's face speaks volumes.

5.  Stop coming to the rescue.  Entitled kids feel they deserve preferential treatment by adults.  They are not aware of it, however, and act as if they are being victimized when they don't get their way.  Where do they go when they are told, no?  To you, mom and dad.  And how you respond makes all the difference.  Be careful.  You don't want to do anything that will reinforce your entitled child's warped thinking.  Take the time to communicate and get to the root of the problem.  Assign responsibility of fault where it exists without fear of upsetting your child.

6.  Watch yourself.  Do you have a love affair with money and material things?  Do you speak bad of the poor?  Do you demand better service than everyone else at restaurants, hotels, and other establishments?  Do you insult the intelligence of middle-class professionals?  If your children are around when you do some or all of these things...guess what?  You can blame their entitlement on you!  The, "Do what I say, not what I do," idiom also applies here.

7.   Make them work from a young age.  If you buy everything your child asks for they will never learn the true value of work.  Money for them will become a birthright.  Instead have your child work for the things they want.  You have hired help (a butler, maid, landscaper, etc.) you trust?  When your child wants something, have them work with "the help" for a few hours, under their supervision, so they see how hard the "common folk" work.  In their teens, take them to your office or business as often as you can so they see how you earn your wealth.  Have your teen work with your top managers as an "errand boy."

Following these suggestions as you parent your growing children will not necessarily guarantee you won't have entitled children, but at least you'll have the education you need to take action.

Do you have any other suggestions?  Please comment and share with readers.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

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