Why Are Kids More Entitled Than Ever? (9 Reasons & Tips)

My wife is reading a book on how to raise kids that are less entitled and I’m very inspired by what she shared.

The book says that the #1 reason kids are much more entitled today is that they are given MANY more choices.

The more choices, the more entitled we become.

  • What do you want to eat tonight?
  • What show do you want to watch?
  • What clothes do you want?
  • Etc.

On top of that, they have more toys than ever in history.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. I think it’s the same for us adults.

We get used to SO many choices that we are harder to entertain and satisfy.

Areas We Can Simplify Life For Our Kids

#1 – Help Them Get Rid Of Some Toys

We asked our son to fill a box with stuff he doesn’t use anymore.

If he could fill the box, we agreed to sell some of it and donate the rest. In the end, he got 90% of what it was sold for.

In hindsight, we realized this actually taught our boy a few important lessons:

  1. How to reduce clutter
  2. The importance of giving
  3. Entrepreneurship

Not bad for a day’s work 😉.

#2 – Wait With YouTube And Browsing

Download the shows for your kids that you think they should watch. Of course, based on what they like – but also filtered by you, so they don’t have unlimited choices.

This also prevents them from watching scary or enticing ads or accidentally watching inappropriate material.

#3 – Set Daily Routines

In one of my recent blogs, I wrote about daily rhythms rather than routines. I find routines can be so restrictive that they complicate life even more!

Bur rhythms are helpful and calming – just like a good rhythm of a song.

Kids thrive on predictability and boundaries – even though they push the limits regularly.

You can read more of my thoughts in this blog about keeping your cool in stressful moments.

#4 – Reduce Screen Time

Kids have limitless options for streaming shows and playing on different apps.

Too much screen time interrupts our children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.

Though, there are some “better” options for shows to use when we are in survival mode or traveling.

Here are some calm and less hectic TV shows.

Pro-Dad Tip: We have found that no screen time before 9 am sets us up well for a day – less challenging behavior and whining.

#5 – Rotate Toys

This comes from the Montessori philosophy. One of Montessori’s key principles is to create space for children to fully engage in what they are doing – aka concentrating.

Too many toys out is distracting, and, for some kids, it can be overstimulating.

So instead of having all toys out or all jumbled together, observe what they are currently really enjoying or an activity they are spending a lot of time trying to master.

Select a handful of these toys and set them up on an open shelf – neat and visible.

You will be amazed at how they gravitate toward independent play for longer periods of time 🤩!

#6 – Encourage Free Play

The idea is to follow the kid’s lead and interfere less.

Here are some ideas:

  • Drawing and painting
  • Lego, Duplo, and Blocks
  • Outdoor play

This encourages curiosity and imagination.

#7 – Fewer Choices

Let them get bored!

Experts in childhood development say that boredom fosters problem-solving, imagination, and self-awareness. Something we all need a little more of, right?

I touched on some examples of the MANY choices we give our kids at the beginning of the blog.

… Did you notice that?

The many choices WE give our kids.

When I realized this for myself, it was a game changer. We had to shift the way we parented.

  • Offering two shirts to wear for the day, this or that? – he got dressed without a fuss.
  • A more simple lunch box – he ate more and all!
  • Download two short shows to watch – he knew the limit, and when it was over, no crying (most of the time).

#8 – Model Gratitude

This is more than just saying “thank you” all the time.

“The thief of joy is comparison.”

Entitlement comes from a lack of joy and lack of gratitude. It’s when we feel we don’t have enough and deserve more.

Here are some practical dialogue prompts to encourage gratitude with your kids.

These usually work best around the dinner table or at bedtime.

  • Can you tell me about something interesting that happened at school today?
  • What is something that makes you really happy?
  • Hey Buddy, I noticed that you were really helpful tonight. You set the table – I really appreciate that! Thank you.
  • Hey guys, we need to help out around the house. What are some things we can do to keep our home clean?

#9 – Model Simplicity

Simple living prioritizes inner well-being over materialism and “stuff.”

So, Dads, how can we make more simple lifestyle choices?

  • Spring clean and donate unused items (still in good condition)
  • Menu plan – this helps you to buy less and waste less food
  • Write wishlists and encourage saving up rather than “getting right now”
  • Shop at thrift stores

#10 – Evaluate Your Parenting Style

This can be a tough part of life to evaluate. We all want to be the best parents we can be, but sometimes we do things that are not helping our kids.

Could we be contributing to their entitlement? 

I’ve researched this a bit and found these questions to help us evaluate our parenting style:

  1. Do I set reasonable boundaries and stick to them consistently, or am I overindulgent and permissive?
  2. Do I follow through with consequences, or do I frequently give in?
  3. Do I often buy my kids things to make them or me happy… or to keep up with what others have?
  4. Am I overprotective, or do I allow my child appropriate independence?
  5. Am I confident to say “no” and stick to this even if my kid has a tantrum?

Pro-Dad Tip: If you are really struggling in this area, I recommend seeking the guidance of a licensed parenting coach or counselor.


Thanks for reading.

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