Parenting in the Age of Entitlement


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

Love Thy Enemy


Christians are familiar with the greatest commandment in Mark 12:30-31:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (ESV)

It is easy to love your neighbor, especially if they are considerate ones.  Ones that are enjoyable to be around.  Those that we see eye to eye on multiple things in life.

But, what about those that aren’t so kind back?  What if your neighbor (which can represent a family member, coworker, acquaintance, customer service rep, etc.) makes it hard for you to love them?  Maybe they aren’t located on the love spectrum in your eyes – they are on the polar opposite: hate.

You know, everyone (that is human) has said this line before – “I hate __________.”  I hate those individuals that cut in front of me in stand still traffic.  I hate those individuals that abuse animals.  I hate those that defame my name for their advantage.  I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about when I wrote these simple “I hate” lines.  Sound familiar?

So, what did Jesus do with those that would be considered our enemies?  He loved them still!  Sounds outlandish, but our savior loved those that we despise just as much as He loves us.  Take a moment and consider the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10.  Jesus befriended a despised chief tax collector!  Out of all the individuals that were present to greet Jesus, he requested to stay at Zacchaeus’ living quarters the night before being sentenced to death.  What an honor!

Why did Jesus choose to stay at Zacchaeus’ house instead of one of his followers?  He wanted to show his people who being a Christ follower also means to love your enemy.  He came to seek those that were lost and save them by making them believers.  As Christians, we should seek those that are lost and be kind to them.  Show them who a follower of Christ is, by being like Jesus.

Acknowledge who you may be “hating” at this moment and ask yourself, how can I show brotherly/sisterly love towards this individual that will exemplify Christ within me.  Love thy enemy, by recognizing they are your neighbor as well.

If you are still finding difficulty in loving your enemy, here are five Bible verses to assist:

Luke 6:27 – “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”

Exodus 23:5 – If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.

Acts 7: 60 – And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Mark 11:25 – And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.


The Importance of Sleep

The Importance of SleepI grew up hearing “You’ll get enough sleep when you’re dead”.  Well, at times I do feel dead.  I find myself on auto-pilot driving in to work, zombie mode when doing administrative duties and thinking about the next time I will receive R&R (the weekend).  During the week, I am lucky to receive 6 hours of sleep.  According to National Sleep Foundation (, I should be receiving 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

The National Sleep Foundation reports the following sleep recommendations for different age groups:

Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours

Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours

Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours

Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours

School Age Children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours

Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours

Young Adults (18-25 years): 7-9 hours

Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours

Older Adults (65+): 7-8 hours

So, what is the importance of following the recommended sleep time?  Well, there are mass benefits!  Not only will you feel rested, but you will also experience: an improvement in learning and retaining information, a hormonal balance, a natural immune system booster, alertness, less dependency on caffeinated drinks, and an enhancement in creativity!  With all these benefits, why would we not want to sleep?  Starting tonight, I plan to commit to receiving 8 hours of sleep by setting an alarm to go off on when I need to call quits on daytime functions and to say hello to the cows that I need to count.

So, how are you stacking up on your z’s?  Do you need to change some of your habits?  If so, what do you plan on doing differently to receive your appropriate sleep hours?

…One more saying before I catch some z’s: “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Drawing Your Desired Reality

Drawing Your Future RealityAre you feeling discontent with your current reality?  Don’t fret, there are ways to change it!  But of course, changing your reality will take work (A LOT of work) on your part.  I stumbled upon this TED Talk clip this morning when I was just browsing videos on YouTube.  I found this 10 minute clip to be the most inspirational and motivational clip that I have viewed in a while.  Take time and watch it to find out the three most important aspects in changing your reality via drawing it.  Afterwards, let us know what you plan on changing and how!  Family First Counseling can assist by being your cheerleader for your new change.  Enjoy!


Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Did you recently lose a job or a loved one?  Are you experiencing difficulties along your pathway to recovery?  Whatever you are experiencing at this current moment, you are not alone.  Yes, the choices that are made, whether you invoked them or they presented themselves to you, God is with you.  There is a reason why you are experiencing this choice.  Many of us may ask God “why me”?  Instead, ask yourself what can I do for Him with what’s been presented.

To mask your emotions with distractions (alcohol, drugs, work, sex, etc) would be a disservice to Him.  We are human, we all experience a range of emotions.  Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  What that means is simply this: Feel your feelings… allow yourself to be humble and acknowledge that you are human.  As humans, we need to break down at times to build ourselves up.  Use God to assist you during these times.  He will never leave you.

When we actually feel our emotions, we are then available to listen to our inner hearts and what God has presented to us: a gift.  He gives us strength to overcome, keep us moving forward and to follow what He truly wants us to do.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Actualization

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Self-actualization

When you have succeeded in all the other needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy, you have reached the top: self-actualization!  It has been said that everyone has the capacity and capability to reach self-actualization, but very few actually do so.  Maslow reported that only 2% of people will obtain this need (1970).  I tend to be more optimistic and believe the percentage is higher, seeing how self-actualization is based on one’s own perception of self.  Below is a list of characteristics that define someone who has reached self-actualization, according to Maslow (1970):

1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;

2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;

3. Spontaneous in thought and action;

4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);

5. Unusual sense of humor;

6. Able to look at life objectively;

7. Highly creative;

8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;

9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;

10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;

11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;

12. Peak experiences;

13. Need for privacy;

14. Democratic attitudes;

15. Strong moral/ethical standards.

Behavior leading to self-actualization:

(a) Experiencing life-like a child, with full absorption and concentration;

(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;

(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;

(d) Avoiding pretense (‘game playing’) and being honest;

(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;

(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;

(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.

Do you find yourself among these characteristics and behaviors?  If so, congratulations – you have achieved self-actualization!  If not, that is okay — Maslow did not associate self-actualization to perfection.  Instead, obtaining self-actualization is a matter of degree in achieving one’s potential.  We will always continue to take backwards and forwards steps along Maslow’s hierarchy of needs depending on our situations, life stages and more.  If you would like to find out more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, check out Simply Psychology’s website at:

Always continue to grow and prosper!

Kristy Johnson, MA, LPC-Intern


Maslow, A. H. (1970a). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.

Maslow, A. H. (1970b). Religions, values, and peak experiences. New York: Penguin. (Original work published 1964)

McLeod, S. A. (2014). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from