5 Parenting Styles the Cause Entitlement in Kids (And How to Change Them)

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5 Parenting Styles the Cause Entitlement in Kids – And How to Change Them

By Amy McCready

We all have them: the “What were we thinking?” parenting moments. We let our kids sneak in after curfew because we don’t want another battle. Or we stock our purse with candy to make it through errands. Or maybe we’ve been cleaning the forgotten guinea pig’s cage — every Saturday for two years!

Guilty as charged? In fact, most of us have probably gone to similar extremes rather than trying to actually change our kids’ behavior.

There’s nothing wrong with helping our kids out every so often — but when our “helping” and “allowing” become a way of life, we’re walking the slippery slope of the entitlement epidemic.

In fact, more and more parents are recognizing the signs of entitlement in their kids. We see kids who won’t lift a finger to help out, who think the world revolves around them, who rarely show gratitude and empathy and who demand more…more…more!

But the seeds of entitlement are sown over the years in a million little parenting decisions — all made in the name of love. Sometimes a few tweaks in parenting style can make all the difference. Below are some of the most common entitlement-prone parenting styles, as well as a few proven fixes:

1. The “Keep Em Happy at All Costs” Parent

This might be you if: You’d rather let your kids dominate your phone during errands or pull strings with teachers and coaches than face a tantrum.

When we drop everything to help our kids avoid unhappiness or disappointment, we teach them that their happiness is a top priority. Kids develop the entitled “What’s in it for me?” attitude whenever they’re asked to behave or show kindness. And when they face life’s setbacks, like not making the team, they’re unable to cope. Make a clean break by telling your kids, “You’re really growing up, and I’m confident you can make it through the grocery store without my phone.” Then, help your kids develop some strategies for overcoming difficulties large and small from having to sit quietly through Aunt Ellie’s wedding to raising their history grade.

The fix: Give kids what they are entitled to: your love and undivided attention every day. I call it Mind, Body and Soul Time, and parents tell me all the time how this tool works wonders in their homes. Simply spend at least 10 minutes a day individually with each child, on their terms, doing whatever they want to do during that time. Commit to it on a daily basis, and you can watch entitled behaviors melt away. Your kids will stop trying to get your attention in negative ways (like tantrums and negotiating) when they know they’ll get it in positive ways.

2.The Enabler

This might be you if: your 16-year-old still expects to grab a fully prepared bag lunch on her way out the door every morning, or your 7-year-old somehow always gets you to clean up his Legos.

Enabling starts small, but can soon get out of control as you fix multiple meals for dinner or you continually gather up dirty clothes from your 13-year-old’s room because it’s easier than dealing with the complaining and negotiating. When is it time to say when? If you feel annoyed or put out when your kids expect you to go out of your way for them, or if they seem to feel entitled to a free ride, that’s a big clue you need a change.

The fix: Tell your kids, “You’re really growing up, and you’re old enough now to remember to put your dirty clothes in the laundry room.” Then, employ a tool I call Decide What YOU Will Do. Say, “I’ll do laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays. I’ll wash the clothes that are in the laundry baskets and already sorted by darks and lights. Anything that’s not ready and waiting in the basket can wait until the next laundry day, or you are welcome to wash it yourself.” Set your kids up for success by asking, “Now, what can you do to remember?” Then follow through. After having to wear a smelly tennis uniform once or twice, your teen will soon be stepping up and taking personal responsibility.

3. The Rescuer

This might be you if: Your child can’t remember his homework, permission slips, gym shoes and lunch unless you remind him every single morning.

You’ve had the sense for a long time that your kids could remember their soccer cleats by themselves, but they never seem to — and then they feel entitled to your personal delivery service when they forget. The truth is, whether you’re frantically helping your child finish a science project the night before it’s due or negotiating grades and football starting positions, you might need to back off and let your child face the music when it comes to his own effort (or lack thereof) and forgetfulness.

The fix: Institute The No-Rescue Policy for repeated forgetfulness (anyone can make a mistake from time to time). Tell your kids in advance that you’ll no longer be rescuing them. Be clear about your expectations, and help them brainstorm strategies to keep track of their responsibilities. Let the situation play out — even though it’s tough — and soon your kids will make a giant leap in following through.

4. The Indulger

This might be you if: Your 12-year-old demands to see the PG-13 movie with friends — and wins — or your 6-year-old insists on drinking soda with every meal — and wins.

We’ve all been busted on this one. It’s not wrong to let our kids experience life’s little pleasures, but it’s our job to set the appropriate limits we know are best. Entitled kids are known for thinking of themselves as above the rules, and deserving the best of what life has to offer. We can change this mindset by sticking with the limits we set, and ignoring the protests and negotiations.

The fix: We can provide plenty of opportunities for kids to wield age-appropriate control over their own lives by offering them a Decision-Rich Environment. With this tool, we allow our kids a sense of power over positive things, such as what kind of healthy snacks to buy, whether to do their homework in their room or at the table, and input into vacation activities within a set budget. When kids have more control over some aspects of their lives, they are less likely to pitch a fit when we have to say no or enforce limits in other areas, like bedtime or curfew.

5. The “Over-the-Top” Parent

This might be you if: You go far out of your way to make sure your kids have the best childhoods possible.

Lavish holidays, designer bedrooms, picture-perfect outfits — these are all great things, but kids don’t need them. If they always experience the best of what life has to offer when they’re young, they’ll feel entitled to it, and better, as they grow older. Cutting back our over-the-top tendencies will make for happier, more contented children down the road.

The fix: Take pleasure in the little things by expressing gratitude for what you do have instead of focusing on what you want. In fact, research shows that grateful people are happier overall. Involve your kids, and create daily or weekly gratitude rituals to help them appreciate what’s most important in their lives.

Whatever your parenting style, you can put an end to the entitlement epidemic at your house by putting these positive tools to work. Your kids will be happier for it — and so will you!

Funday Friday: Elemental Humor

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Here is some elemental humor for your Funday Friday:

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For more humor or joy in your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Four Ways Worry Can Devastate Your Marriage

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Four Ways Worry Can Devastate Your Marriage 

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

It’s easy to get bogged down by worry, but it’s essential to resist the pull. Worrying prevents you from living life fully, and from truly experiencing the richness of your relationships–especially your marriage. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asks, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Worry occupies your mind, but it accomplishes nothing. It steals your time and misdirects your focus. It borrows trouble, creating all manner of worst-case scenarios in your mind that will probably never come to be.

At its very worst, worry can turn you into a destructive person before you realize what has happened. Chronic, pervasive worry becomes toxic to you, to your spouse, and ultimately to your marriage. Here are 4 ways that worry can cripple your relationship.

  1. WORRY DISTRACTS YOU.

In our present distraction-filled world, why would you want to add another distraction to the stack? If you spend your time worrying, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

Worry will keep your head out of the game–in all areas. You won’t be focused on the right areas of your marriage, your parenting, your job, or anything else. Negative thoughts and feelings will draw you like a magnet, and you’ll spend so much time in that muck that you will neglect truly important things.

  1. WORRY DISTANCES YOU.

While you’re busy staying distracted by your worries, you’ll also find yourself doing two more destructive things:withdrawing and ruminating. Let us explain.

When you’re chronically worried, you’ll withdraw into yourself, spending more time in your own mind than interacting with others–namely, your spouse. And your increased time alone in your head will become obvious. You may send the wrong signals; withdrawal might communicate to your spouse that you’re detached, disinterested, or angry, when all you really are is worried.

Ruminating means that you spend a lot of time dwelling on a particular subject, going round and round over the same idea (and it’s almost always something negative). You could liken it to spinning deeper and deeper into a hole of your own making. So when you do communicate with your spouse, chronic worry will dictate that these conversations be dominated by rumination, thus bringing your spouse down instead of building them up.

  1. WORRY DAMAGES TRUST.

Let worry dig its heels in, and soon you may find yourself becoming suspicious of your spouse (or others who are close to you) without cause. Worry can develop a mind of its own, hijacking your otherwise good sense and twisting it to create horrifying scenarios. If you’re not careful, these scenarios can begin to include your spouse.

  1.  WORRY DISRUPTS INTIMACY.

Ultimately, when a spouse worries constantly, intimacy in the marriage is disrupted. As the chronically worried spouse spins out of control into distraction, withdrawal, rumination, and mistrust, it doesn’t take long for intimacy to break down. A marriage with dysfunctional (or nonexistent) intimacy simply won’t hold up to life’s challenges.

In conclusion, if you recognize yourself as a chronic worrier, there is absolutely hope. Your spouse wants to help and support you, so consider calmly approaching him or her and expressing your desire for help with your worries. Allow your spouse to reassure you, and if needed, to help you find a licensed counselor who can help you to overcome the worry that has taken over your mind, your heart, and your life.

Making the Most of Your Time

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Making the Most of Your Time

By BYUI Counseling Center

Once you have figured out how you spend most of your time, think about what are your most important activities.  Do you have enough time for them?  If you’re like most people, the answer is “no.”  So now let’s consider how to make the most of your time when it seems you just don’t have enough.


DON’T BE A PERFECTIONIST.

Trying to be perfect sets you up for defeat because nobody can be totally perfect.  Perfectionists are afraid of failing, so they often avoid and procrastinate rather than attempting to do something.  Or they may spend so long trying to make it perfect that they either don’t finish everything they are supposed to do or they don’t have any down time.

It’s important to set challenging goals, but they should also be achievable.  Break difficult tasks into manageable chunks.  Remember that the only way to eat an elephant is one forkful at a time!

Don’t be afraid to fail–be willing to “endeavor!”  And then, accept your best effort as “good enough.”  Perfectionists also tend to have a lot of rules about how much they should be accomplishing and doing.  While you are in college, with a lot of your time focused in the “intellectual” area of development, there are limits on how much you can do in some of the areas.  Remember that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).


LEARN TO SAY NO.  

Suppose that you made social plans for tomorrow with your friends, and you set aside tonight to study and do laundry.  An acquaintance of yours asks you to see a movie with him/her tonight.  You’re not really interested.  Or maybe you are interested, but you don’t see how you can spare the time.  You want to say no, but you hate turning people down.  Politely saying “no” should become a habit.  Saying “no” frees up time for the things that are most important and helps you feel in control.


LEARN TO SET PRIORITIES.

It’s important to prioritize your responsibilities and commitments.  The key to accomplishing your priorities is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to first establish your priorities and then schedule your priorities.  Some people don’t know how to set priorities, and so they procrastinate important tasks and then panic when time gets short.

Using a “to-do list” places items in order of importance.  One way to prioritize is the ABC list.

ABC Priorities List
This list is divided into three sections.  Place items that need to be done today in the A section.  Items that need to be completed within the week go in the B section.  The C section is for items that need to be done within the month.  As the B and C items become more pertinent, they are bumped up to the A or B list.  You can try this or come up with your own method, but do something to set priorities.


USE TIME MORE EFFICIENTLY.

Combine several activities into one time slot.  For example, while walking to school and around campus, listen to recorded class notes or mentally review the important points from your classes.  This allows you more time in the day for good study review.  While you’re showering, make a mental list of the things that need to be done.  When you watch TV, accomplish tasks that don’t require much thought, such as shining your shoes or folding your laundry.  These are just examples of ways to make better use of your time.


AVOID THE PERILS OF PROCRASTINATION.  

About one-fifth of adults report the habit of routinely delaying tackling tasks that would lead to a more successful life.  Procrastination not only causes stress and self-doubt, but procrastinators are more likely to suffer physical symptoms and to visit the doctor more often.  The following ideas can help you to change your thinking so that you can overcome procrastination.

  • SERIOUS SELF-TALK.
    • On a piece of paper, create two columns.  In one, write your excuses for not getting started on something.  In the other, challenge these excuses with positive, realistic thoughts.
      • Excuse: “I don’t have enough time.”
      • Response: “The longer I wait, the less time I’ll have.  So I’ll never have more time than I have right now.
  • PUBLIC PROMISE.
    • Write a “contract” with yourself and sign it.  Better yet, share your goals with a friend, spouse, or co-worker.
  • SUCCESS SCENARIO.
    • If you worry about what others think, imagine responding to and surviving harsh criticism.
  • REWARD REMINDER.
    • Set an alarm on your phone or computer to sound off at regular intervals to remind you of the benefits of completing a task on time.

If you would like help with your time management skills, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or a counselor.

Top 10 Reasons for Procrastination (and Their Solutions)

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Top 10 Reasons for Procrastination

By BYUI Counseling Center

time(Adapted from “The Top 10 Reasons for Procrastination and How to Get Over Them,” by Louise Morganti Kaelin)

1.  Clouded vision.  (SOLUTION: Step back.)

It’s time to look at the forest.  What exactly are you trying to accomplish?  Sometimes we get so caught up in the detail that we forget where we’re going.

2.  The task is overwhelming.  (SOLUTION: Break it down.)

The bigger the task, the more we need to define the natural milestones within the task.  Want to lose 20 pounds?  Go for five pounds, four times!  Need to clean your room?  Break it down into North, South, East, and West.  Or divide it into tasks that can be done in a certain block of time (15 minutes, 2 hours, etc.).

3.  Fear of the end result.  (SOLUTION: Acknowledge the fear, then take the next step.)

Sometimes we’re afraid we’ll fail; sometimes we’re afraid we’ll succeed.  The outcome is the same:  fear of what will happen when we’re done scares us so much that we don’t work at it.

4.  The task is unpleasant or boring.  (SOLUTION: Focus on “why” you are doing it.)

You hate to clean, but you love living in graceful surroundings.  You hate to do laundry, but you love having clean clothes.  You hate to make phone calls, but you need the information on the other end of the line to make your project go faster or easier.  There are many tasks or chores that we don’t like to do but that are necessary to live the life we want to live.  Focus on the bigger picture.

5.  Indecision.  (SOLUTION: Remember, often there are no wrong choices.  So do something, anything.)

There are very few things that can’t be undone, or done again.  Can’t decide what color to paint, so you let your walls remain stained and grungy?  Pick three colors.  Start with the lightest.  If you don’t like it, go on to the next.

6.  You lack confidence.  (SOLUTION: Figure out if your lack of skill is real or imagined.)

If it’s real, find out where to gain the skills you need or find someone with the right skills who can help you.  If it’s imagined, look at #3-fear of the end result.

7.  Not enough time.  (SOLUTION: Break it down into steps that are doable in 5 to 15 minute chunks of time.)

This is related to #2–feeling overwhelmed, but has more to do with time than feeling overwhelmed.  Large, uninterrupted chunks of time are very hard to come by.  (And if we’re honest, when they do come, we’d rather do something fun!)  A good rule of thumb is “5 or 15”.  Either do 5 things (file 5 pieces of paper, fold 5 articles of clothing) or do something for 15 minutes.  You’d be surprised how much gets done that way, and without pain!

8.  Distractions.  (SOLUTION: Be honest with yourself, then get focused.)

Are you consciously inviting distractions so that you have a “good” reason not to get something done?  It’s a way we often sabotage ourselves.  Give yourself a gift of time to work on a project.  Don’t answer the phone or door for one hour.  If someone calls, ask the person if you can get back to them in an hour.  Take control of the situation.

9.  Not allowing adequate time  (SOLUTION: Figure out how long it will take, then double it, or better yet, triple it.)

When we envision a project in our minds, we see ourselves flying through it, on a straight and narrow path.  Because of that, we tend to vastly underestimate how long it will take-partly because we forget about Steps 1 through 8!  Eventually you’ll get better at this, but to begin with, start doubling how long you think it will take.  This will allow you to plan better and, perhaps, even complete a project without stress!

10.  Too many other projects.  (SOLUTION: Ask for help or establish priority.)

If you’ve got too much on your plate, speak up-either to your boss, your family, or to yourself.  What is the most important thing to do right now?  Focus on that.  Also, work on “Important” tasks, not just the “Urgent” ones!

The Keys to Unlock Great Communication

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The Keys to Unlock Great Communication

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

When you ask any couple what the key to a successful marriage is, they’ll likely include “great communication” in their list. But when we’ve asked couples what “good communication” is, we’ve gotten a lot of foggy answers. Not everyone knows the basics to communicating well, and that can lead to a lot of frustration and unmet expectations in a marriage.

With so many thick books on communication, it is sometimes difficult to cut through the clutter and sum it all up, so we’ve listed out what we think are great places to start. Here are five keys to unlocking great communication:

KEY #1: SEND CLEAR AND ACCURATE MESSAGES.

Precise and unambiguous statements facilitate good communication, while imprecise and ambiguous statements hinder it. Consider the difference between these two statements: “You hurt me tonight at the party,” versus, “I was hurt when you spent almost all of your time at the party watching television instead of talking with our friends.”

KEY #2: AVOID INCONGRUENT MESSAGES.

Do not send simultaneous messages with mutually exclusive meanings. How many messages are contained in the following statements? “There is nothing wrong! And I don’t want to talk about it!” Most often, incongruent messages come from a statement that is not in synch with the person’s facial expression or tone of voice. When a husband says, “I’m happy to wait for you,” but his tone and posture indicate that he is definitely not happy to do so, he is sending an incongruent message that is destined to cause a communication breakdown.

KEY #3: BE EMPATHIC.

Empathy can be defined as listening with your head as well as your heart to truly understand what your spouse is thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Empathy involves putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and imagining what that would be like from his or her perspective. When you partner tells you about feeling rejected by someone at work, for example, put yourself in his or her position. Use your heart to imagine how you would feel if rejected. Then, use your head to accurately understand if what you would be feeling is the same as what your partner is feeling. Every time you empathize, you are able to better understand what your spouse is saying.

KEY #4: PROVIDE FEEDBACK.

Communication involves an exchange of information. The response (or feedback) to the message the other person has sent indicates the message was (or was not) received and was (or was not) understood. “Yes, go on, I’m listening.” “No, I don’t understand that. Please repeat it.” Providing these kinds of simple statements, as well as being attentive with your eyes and posture, lets your spouse know he or she is being understood—that you are genuinely interested in hearing the message.

KEY #5: BE GENEROUS WITH SUPPORTIVE AND POSITIVE STATEMENTS.

Accuracy, empathy, and feedback are all important. But we all like to feel good about ourselves. When we give recognition to our spouses, when we compliment their accomplishments, and when we reassure them of how important they are to us, we not only make them feel better, we build a stronger foundation for communication. When we feel supported and are supportive, many of the other basic communication skills fall more naturally into place.

While there are plenty of additional elements to good communication, these five qualities are some that we view as being most important. In fact, you might want to review this list from time to time and think about your own communication style. Ask yourself how often you use the practices listed here with your spouse.

 

If you would like help with your communication, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or a counselor.

Funday Friday: Nerdy Shirt Humor

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Here is a NErDy shirt for your Funday Friday:

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If you would like to add some more humor into your daily life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Stifled Grief: How the West Has It Wrong

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Stifled Grief: How the West Has It Wrong

By Michelle E. Steinke

I’m here to say that the West has the concept of grieving all wrong.

I’d like to point out that we are a culture of emotionally stunted individuals who are scared of our mortality and have mastered the concept of stuffing our pain. Western society has created a neat little “grief box” where we place the grieving and wait for them to emerge fixed and whole again. The grief box is small and compact, and it comes full of expectations like that range from time frames to physical appearance. Everyone who has been pushed into the grief box understands it’s confining limitations, but all of our collective voices together can’t seem to change the intense indignation of a society too emotionally stifled to speak the truth. It’s become easier to hide our emotional depth than to reveal our vulnerability and risk harsh judgment. When asked if we are alright, it’s simpler to say yes and fake a smile then, to be honest, and show genuine human emotion…

Let me share below a few of the expectations and realities that surround grief…

Expectation: Grief looks a certain way in the early days. Tears, intense sadness, and hopelessness.

Reality: Grief looks different for every single person. Some people cry intensely, and some don’t cry at all. Some people break down, and others stand firm. There is no way to label what raw grief looks like as we all handle our loss in different ways due to different circumstances and various life backgrounds that shape who we are.

Expectation: The grieving need about a year to heal.

Reality: Sometimes grief does not even get started till after the first year. I’ve heard countless grieving people say year two is harder than year one. There is the shock, end of life arrangements and other business matters that often consume the first year and the grieving do not have the time actually to sit back and take the time to grieve. The reality is there is no acceptable time frame associated with grief.

Expectation: The grieving will need you most the first few weeks.

Reality: The grieving are flooded with offers of help the first few weeks. In many cases, helping the grieving six months or a year down the line can be far more helpful because everyone has returned to their lives and the grief stricken are left to figure it out alone.

Expectation: The grieving should bury the dead forever. After a year, it is uncomfortable for the grieving to speak of their lost loved one. If they continue to talk about them, they are stuck in their grief and need to “move on.”

Reality: The grieving should speak of the dead forever if that’s what they wish to do. When someone dies, that does not erase the memories you made, the love you shared and their place in your heart. It is not only okay to speak of the dead after they are gone, but it’s also a healthy and peaceful way to move forward.

For the full article, please go to the original post online.

If you would like help in your grief, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

 

A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

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A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

By Nicholas Bakalar

A happy spouse may be good for your health.

Previous studies have found that mental well-being — feeling happy and satisfied — is closely linked to good physical health.

But a new study, published in Health Psychology, suggests that physical health may also be linked to the happiness of one’s husband or wife.

For the full article, go to the New York Times post.

If you would like help in being a happy couple or a happy individual, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Hello, I Am an Idol

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It may seem odd to see an article about idolatry on a counseling website, but an idol isn’t necessarily something that we literally bow down to, offer prayers to, and/or offer sacrifices to during our week. An idol is something, even something intangible, that has control of our hearts and controls our thoughts, emotions, desires, and interpersonal relationships in a way that produces anxiety, depression, and stress when we don’t have it or fear that it may be taken away.  By pinpointing our idols, we can begin to understand and begin to healthily deal with the thing or things that may be producing unhealthy interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles.

Here is one way to identify what idols may be causing issues in our hearts and lives:

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Hello, I Am an Idol

By Nicholas McDonald

Hello. I am an idol.

Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. I notice you’re turned off by my name: “Idol.”

It’s okay. I get that a lot.

Allow me to rename myself.

I’m your family.

Your bank account.

Your sex life.

The people who accept you.

Your career.

Your self-image.

Your ideal spouse.

Your law-keeping.

I’m whatever you want me to be.

I’m what you think about while you drive on the freeway.

I’m your anxiety when you lay your head on the pillow.

I’m where you turn when you need comfort.

I’m what your future cannot live without.

When you lose me, you’re nothing.

When you have me, you’re the center of existence.

You look up to those who have me.

You look down on those who don’t.

You’re controlled by those who offer me.

You’re furious at those who keep you from me.

When I make a suggestion to you, you’re compelled.

When you cannot gratify me, I consume you.

No—I cannot see you, or hear you, or speak back to you.

But that’s what you like about me.

No—I am never quite what you think I am.

But that’s why you keep coming back.

And no—I don’t love you.

But I’m there for you, whenever you need me.

What am I?

I think you know by now.

You tell me.

 

If you would like help dealing with the idols in your heart and life that are causing issues, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.