Parenting in the Age of Entitlement |

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25 April 2016
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The self-efficacy beliefs of parents and collective efficacy of teachers transcends to adolescents and their belief systems. The need for attention and recognition is a rising problem in the US culture. Adults modeling good behaviors and attitudes produce more productive results in the mimicked behaviors from the children without expectation of praise and rewards. The social environment that adolescent’s respond more correctively to are ones that are active in life activities. This cultivates in the child an interest for productivity and enabling the self-beliefs of being competent. These are seen as personal resources that allow the child to make the most of unexpected situations.

Teaching a child the value of money is important to fight the entitlement in this affluent society. Children used to have to work for what they wanted to purchase. Those children are now the parents of children. Parents have over compensated for the lack of privileges they had in their youth and have given without thought that their children are not learning how hard it is to make money needed to buy the material goods. Material goods have risen in cost and the affluent families have set standards for all socioeconomic groups. Showing adolescents how money is distributed to financial obligations that are required to pay to keep the family going and how much is left afterwards is important. Many parents have been found to hide money problems from their children so that the children do not feel less than others in their peer groups.

Children that are worried about what they want to purchase and personal gain for their selves are found to lack self-control and manners needed to maintain a healthy environment. Teaching a child manners, how to be patient, and considerate of other peoples feelings are less likely to show constant selfish behaviors. Parents from all socioeconomic groups are finding that their children can be harsh and even bullies in their peer groups. This leads to isolation for the adolescents due to losing friends and peer groups. These children are likely to be manipulative and covert instead being overtly healthy in behaviors.

Kids have been found to develop healthier schemas if they have responsibilities and limits placed on them. Parents are working long hours and gone on business trips. This partnered with the high number of extracurricular activities takes away all available family time. Contributing to the success of family in ways such as chores or taking care of siblings provides the child a sense of contribution to the family. Less activities outside of the family unit and more time spent as a cohesive productive member of a family has provided positive outcomes in research in treatment for anxiety and depression in adolescents in the US culture.

Turning off the television has been another strategy used to help fight the entitled beliefs. Commercials and reality television have set a standard above even the more affluent families. Commercials that imply a person is better with consumption of a certain product lead a child to feel they are at a disadvantage if they do not have it. Electronic devices such as phones are one of the biggest markets targeting younger populations. Reality television shows display the elite socioeconomic class or a group that is fortunate to be interesting enough to broadcast and be instantly famous.

Allowing a child to find his or her own autonomy is important. When children are ready to go off to college, it is ideal for them to be able to manage and organize their own daily lives, have the ability to prioritize, and manage social relationships. It has been found that the more affluent the family is, the more involved the parent is in planning the child’s days. Affluent parents seem to want to protect their children from failure more than other groups of parents.   This is a problem because some of the best learning and character building comes from failing and learning from the experiences.   Staying consistent in discipline teaches the child that autonomy does not mean they can do what they desire at all times. It teaches the child that there are boundaries and repercussions if those boundaries are not adhered too.

High structure parenting practices is an important strategy to help facilitate healthy developmental growth during adolescence.   Besides having regular chores and responsibilities, an adolescent should be required to sit down with the family several times a week for a meal or activity that does not require money to do. There should be limited privacy allowed instead of kids thinking that they have the same rights as adults do for privacy. This is due to the adolescents desire to be an adult but not having developed the skills to produce adult decisions. Serving the public is something the family can do together as an activity to demonstrate being humble and caring for those less fortunate.

High warmth parenting practices for adolescents has shown significant changes in a child’s belief system and self esteem. A child needs to feel that they are loved unconditionally. This needs to be demonstrated not only by words but actions. A parent being available to listen to the children without judging the experience is key for future communication and less isolation from the parents. Having opportunities to have fun together relates to the developing child that they are as important as responsibilities and pulls from outside the family structure. There are so many critical and negative voices a child will hear at this age. It is important for parents to express faith and confidence more often than the children hear the negative feedback from peers.

Christy Ragle

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