Your kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

The Key to Avoiding Entitlement:

Stop doing stuff for your kids that they can do for themselves - red

Are you unknowingly too child-centered?

We wrote recently about the problem of entitlement among children — about how many well-meaning parents, without thinking about it much, have become too child-centered. The article struck a nerve. Some felt offended or were defensive, while most strongly agreed but asked for more ideas about how to keep their kids from feeling entitled.

The simple answer we gave to parents was this: As soon as your child is capable of doing jobs, take the time to teach her to do the jobs and then gracefully hold her responsible to do them. When doing those jobs benefits others, help her understand the benefits. Because when kids use their talents in ways that bless others, they begin to find their way into the purposes for which God created them.

Unfortunately, even parents who agree with this often have spoiled kids. They cook for kids who are capable of cooking. They clean for kids who are capable of cleaning. They wash clothes, shop, buy, and even speak for their kids.

It starts innocently enough. In the kids’ younger years it’s more efficient to do the stuff instead of to teach our kids to do it. It takes much longer to grocery shop in ways that involve, teach, and encourage our kids. As they get older and more capable, we keep doing all the work, because the fight to get the now-spoiled kids involved just isn’t worth it. And the snowball keeps rolling and growing.

In the name of “taking good care of their kids”, many parents have become little more than service providers, and their kids have become masterful, manipulative consumers of those services. Their kids do anything they can to avoid responsibility for their own lives, and the parents help by picking up the slack. Ultimately, as long as this continues, parents unwittingly communicate a powerful message to the children: “You are not responsible for your own life. Someone else is.” And as kids learn this message, they grow up expecting others to take care of them and their messes.

With kids of any age, the answer to this problem is simple, though the work to re-teach them may be hard:

Stop doing stuff for your kids that they can do for themselves!

It will help greatly if you gracefully:

  • Let your kids know you believe they are capable.
  • Let them know that by doing many of the things they can do for themselves, you’ve robbed them of the opportunity to learn responsibility.
  • Let them know that you are going to change your ways.
  • Ask for their ideas about how you can accomplish the goal.
  • Take charge of making and clearly communicating the plan.
  • Follow through.

By doing this you will help them learn some of life’s most important lessons: you will encourage them to grow in independence.

The older your kids are the more likely they are to resist. It’s better to start now than when they start job hunting. So make a clear plan. Calmly and gracefully state your plan. Ask the kids which parts they think will be the hardest to learn, and work together on solutions.

By doing this, you will be communicating to your kids two powerful messages all children long to hear and learn: “You are capable, and you are responsible.”

If you think this message will benefit other parents, please forward it or share it.

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78 thoughts on “Your kids: Responsible or Spoiled?

  1. I do not like the word spoiled. Number one, once something is spoiled it cannot be unspoiled. It is also not a child’s fault if they feel entitled. Someone allowed this pattern to happen. Children are not spoiled, they just have not yet learned or have not been given the opportunity to learn positive ways to handle situations.

      • If I absolutely had to use a different term to describe a spoiled child, I would perhaps use “responsibility deprived.” Children think the world revolves around them and behave as such when they are given everything without being given responsibility to go along with it.

  2. Oh man.  This was a huge kick in the rear for me.

    I admit I have been a lazy parent.  We go through spurts of being better about the chores, and then we get lazy.  We have four kids, age 10 to 1. Since summer began they’ve been lumps on the couch, which I allowed for the first week…but it’s time to get into a routine. 

    I needed to hear this and to not be defensive but recognize I’ve fallen into the pattern of letting my kids feel entitled. I think the danger for me is to suddenly change everything overnight and make them resentful…I like the suggestions of talking about how we’ve failed them in letting this pattern to develop and asking their input on how we change.

    Thanks so much…and I thanked my friend who posted it as well.

  3. I’d add the corollary that when we do this, we need to adjust our expectations of what constitutes an acceptable job. If I expect my 7 yo to pour juice for the family, I can’t get mad at her for occasionally spilling some on the floor, or filling the cups too high, or that kind of thing. We need to accept that our standards of cleanliness and order may have to shift a little. I think it’s worth it.

  4. Our summer rules: Out of bed and breakfast finished by 9. Chore time 9-10 (even if they had friends over, every one pitches in and works together). After 1000 we would run our errands , or have our summer time fun! They knew what was expected of them, and it kept our family organized. You can’t believe how much we would accomplish in a summer!

  5. I really get shocked responses when I tell people what I let my 9 year old do. I still don’t see what was wrong with letting him watch the parade on his own. We live a block away from where it was happening. (Yes, child snatching, etc… it happens from front yards. he’s not an easy target.) He goes to the restroom at the store on his own, and he knows the rules if he wishes to go elsewhere in the store to look at things while I’m shopping. As for chores, I don’t like doing someone else’s job. He’s not quite tall enough to cook, but microwave and stuff that doesn’t need cooking is entirely within his capabilities. Many days, there’s already something prepared that he can get for himself… and he does.

    Although I admit being a little sad the day he decided he could wash his own hair and told me to get out of the bathroom and go relax. Mostly because my baby, my youngest child, is gaining more independence by the day… and I can’t fight it. If I do, I do him a disservice. I still see the baby he was, but he’ll be 10 in a few short months. That didn’t take long, and 8 more years will be even shorter still.

    He still gives me those mommy moments, though. He’ll come sit in my lap, holds my hand when we cross a busy street or parking lot… because he’s still little at the moment. I just recognize that he’s growing up, and has been since the day he was conceived. Time won’t stop for me either. What will he do when I am no longer capable to do it for him? That won’t work, and I refuse to do that to my child.

    • I would never let my child go to a parade by themselves at 9 years old. I can understand why people are shocked. But maybe that’s just where you nlive. But the rest of what you’re saying does make sense.

  6. My boyfriend is more spoiled than our 3 year old. it feels like I have two pre-schoolers I have to teach to pick up after themselves. it’s really not that difficult to raise them to not be in their mid-twenties and still dependent on others to pick up after them.

      • I’m sure there are other complexities, but you do not HAVE TO treat your husband this way. You choose to because it somehow seems better to you than the alternative. It might be helpful to let him know you’re not going to do it anymore and see where the chips fall…Not with a vengeful attitude, but with a peaceful one. If you’re not truly peaceful inside then you’re not ready. But that is how you can start to change things. Keep in mind that if this has been going on a long time it is like pulling out a deeply engrained thorn, and may require some outside help.

      • I’m curious why you don’t communicate this to your husband/boyfriend. I don’t see what is wrong with telling them that you are not their mother and you resent them for putting you in that role. Tell them you are their significant other and refuse to play mom anymore. It’s not fair to you, nor is it fair to them. It allows them to keep being dependent when they need to learn to take care of themselves.

  7. Funny when you look at what children during the late 1800’s/early 1900’s were responsible for compared to today’s children. Cooking, cleaning, outdoor chores – but yet I know parents of 6/7 year olds that still dress them! I believe that parents need to let their children be more independent. My 4 year old is constantly amazing me and other people with the things she can do for herself. I think most children will surprise their parents if they are given the chance.

  8. When I was in high school, I worked at Subway my senior year. I remember teaching another kid who was a year younger than me how to mop. Not just how we did it at the store, but how to actually do it because he had never touched a mop in his life. When he said that his mother had always done the chores in the house, I was absolutely astonished. I see no reason why kids shouldn’t take on household responsibilities. My mom has always said that as soon as we were old enough to pull a stool up to the washer, we were old enough to wash our own clothes. My cousin lets her 6 year old son mow the lawn (his idea, not hers).

    • Great illustration of what we’re talking about. In most parts of the world, where kids don’t have the luxury of American childhood and adolescence, they learn to do real life chores because it’s necessary. Only thoughtful parent in America postions their kids as if they are actually needed.

    • I know someone with a 9 year old who won’t let him help her cut the grass because “he’s too little.” When I 9, not only was I helping my father cut the grass, but he would also put me up on the roof with him to help him sweep the leaves off of it (we did that twice a year). And because we lived in the country, by the time I was 9, my father had already taught me how to drive and would let me practice on the dirt roads we lived on (he didn’t let me actually drive anywhere else until I was legal, trust me). I also was allowed to canoe by myself, provided I was wearing a life jacket, and out of sight from my parents by the time I was 12. We lived around a heavily wooded area, my father taught me how to navigate in the woods from the time I was about 9 or 10 I was allowed to go in the woods at my own discretion, as long as I informed an adult first.

  9. I think I need to pass this on to my mom!! I have 3 kids, ages 2,4, and 6 and they do more than my 23 year old sister that still lives at home!. They separate the dirty laundry to wash(I wash), get the clean laundry out of the dryer, and all 3 work together to fold and hang all of their clothes and put them away. They strip their bedding to wash. My oldest 2 put all the clean dishes away out of the dishwasher, my 2 yr old helps by taking the cups out and handing them up to the oldest. They clean their plates and the table after meals and the 2 oldest sweep the kitchen. They pull weeds, pick vegetables, help us wash the vehicles. They help vacuum and dust. They clean their bedrooms and playroom with very little help from me. All 3 go grocery shopping with me and help carry in all of the groceries and put them away! I believe parents these days don’t enforce independance because its just easier to do it themselves than hear the child complain or they say, well I will have to do it after they do it so its just easier and faster if I do it. Children will never learn that way. Mine do not get an allowance at all. They love helping, it gives them great pride when I thank them and tell them how big of helpers they are.

    • I think what you have said is great. I however as a professional in the financial industry would like to see your kids get an allowance, so you can teach them how to handle money as well. You clearly are doing a good job of teaching them how to work, which is great, but they will need both skills to be successful in life. My advice on allowance is this: make it for things they want, not need. If you give your 6 year old $6/ week and tell her it is for what she wants, you can teach her if she spends it all on candy every week she will never be able to afford that $20 DS game (or whatever). However if she spends $1 on candy and saves $5 she can have the $20 toy in 4 weeks. This teaches money management and delayed gratification.
      Keep up the good work!

      • I don’t think they should get an allowance for doing chores they are supposed to do anyway. I really like the idea of putting the random chores like deep cleaning things or whatever you have in your house that needs done and assign each one a price. They get to pick what they do, pick how much they earn, and can learn to save it.

  10. I am all for this! I don’t have to worry about follow threw too much right now since mine is only 10 months right now. But I still make him put his arms up when he wants up and make him hold his own drinks when he wants them and to crawl his little butt after me if he wants to see what I’m doing. To make it easy for both of us I always make it feel like a game or something totally awesome when he does it.
    But on a different note, my in-laws still baby their 7th grade child. And I mean way too much, they cook all his meals, even if its just re-heating leftovers, wash all of his laundry, clean his room, and get this, WASH his hair when he showers!! Not to even talk about how he asks for things, more like demands stuff even from me. At my sons early first birthday party he was demanding that he was to get all the left over toys and balloons and anything else he saw that he wanted. Lol great motivation to teach my son to care for himself and to talk with respect at all times.

  11. I guess I will learn as I go but single parenting a two year old…it’s hard to know what I am asking him to do is too much or something he should be able to do…trial and error, I suppose on my part.

    • As the parent of an 8 and 5 yr old, most of the time, I decide to let them take on the task once they’ve done it by themselves. Like, once my 4 yr old could buckle herself in her carseat without help, I stopped helping. And some days, we would wait thru a meltdown for her to do it…because I knew she could. Now, I don’t even have to say, get buckled…she just does it. We are struggling with chores…most of the time, they are tired from school and don’t want to do them. I’m struggling with how much to expect from them…as I know they have spent much of their day at a desk. Parenting is not for the weak. 🙂

  12. I love this idea i have always believe that i am raising future adults not children. I also dont belive i have to change my expectations i give my child a thing to accomplish and they do it to the best of their ability then i tell them how good they did and if they made a big mistake or didn’t do something that is important i show them but if they do a good job for their age but not to my expectations after they go to bed or school or the other room i adjust it just enough . Example their brushing their teeth i let them brush then i look to see if their is something the dentist need. To know and the easiest way is to use the toothbrush to move around the mouth. the whole time saying dr murphy is going to be so proud how they have taken care of their teeth . Then sweeping my 9 yr old does it and leaves alot of dust with 7 kids it adds up fast so i applaude what he does and when he goes to play with his friend i quickly grab the broom and touch up the floor same with the dishes my 6 year old likes to wash so he washes and i rinse but as i do i take the sponge from walmartbfullbof soap and just double check them. he is happy to be washing and doesnt even worry about momms majic wand. My #1 responsibility as a mom is to love my children and in doing that i have to teach them how to care for themself. In doing that i feel i teach them how to love themself.

  13. My husband hardly does anything for himself and I am trying not to instill those values in my our daughter. My inlaws live with us and sometimes if I won’t do something for her she goes running to grandpa. It’s so frustrating.

    • That would be frustrating and I see it often. The smaller children want to run to the grandparents if the parents say no, and the grandparents give in because “Oh, we can’t deny them anything, they’re just kids.” My husband and I are about to have our first child and we’ve both said that ain’t going to happen in our family. If we say no, the answer is no, and if I find out someone else has gone behind my back, they might be in danger of losing their visiting privileges.

  14. I married the product of an entitled child. Let me tell you, you don’t want the nagging and bitterness for your child that my husband suffered at the hands of a wife who didn’t want to be a servant. Funny, my MIL is always amazed that my 2 year old son can gather his toys himself and bring his own dishes to the sink after dinner.

  15. I would like to add, let them know it’s ok to make mistakes. Don’t put the expectation of perfection on them. I grew up that way and now as an adult I’m less likely to take risks if there is a chance I could fail. That’s now how you become a successful adult. It’s ok to make mistakes and ok to learn from though mistakes.

  16. good lord this is so true. married to one whose mother would still do everything for him if we let her, this is TRUTH! teach kids as soon as they are capable of doing something and they will be capable adults later on. i don’t see how anyone could be offended by this concept, unless you are one of those parents… which in that case, i feel sorry for your child’s future spouse…

  17. I find it funny that many people find it so hard to teach children responsibility. My 3 year old puts her own laundry away, dresses herself, brushes her teeth, puts her toys away, puts her dishes in the sink or dishwasher when she’s finished, and helps feed all of our outside pets. Why are there so many parents who don’t teach their children responsibility? I once read somewhere, “Start, as you mean to end.” Meaning start now so that the end product is how you want it to be. So in other words, parent with intention. Because otherwise isn’t it called neglect when you don’t teach your children some basic life skills?

  18. How do you go about the discussion with grandparents that baby children too much? My husband and I hold our 7 year old daughter accountable and make her do the things she is capable of, but my mom (who lives a mile away and is a huge part of our lives) has an issue with doing EVERYTHING for her. I constantly see her picking up after her, even sometimes buckling her seat belt, and bringing things to my daughter that I’ve asked her to go get. It’s frustrating to me, because I’ve always felt like my mom needs to stop babying my daughter, because that’s not how we’re trying to raise her. I’ve had conversations about it with my mom, and she says it’s part of the grandparent role that she wants, and that she should have the right to baby her if she wants. I have a feeling this has something to do with a bit of empty nest syndrome my mom is going through pretty recently. But how do you go about seriously approaching the subject and basically tell someone in a nice way that you don’t want them to ruin the progress you’ve made with your child by re-instituting the entitled attitude we’ve worked so hard to erase? I love my mom dearly and don’t ever want to see her hurt or upset, and I know she loves my daughter more than anything. I just need her to see that what makes her feel good as a grandparent isn’t what is best for her granddaughter in the long run.

    • The first thing I wonder about here is how your duaghter interprets this. It’s entirely possible she can separate what happens at grammas from the rest of life. If there is no evidence that the “spoiling’ gramma is doing has effects in other places, there may be no need to address this. But if there is – then talking with gramma about what those effects are may help her see that her doting is hurtful. If this is the case you can address it with love and honesty.

      It may help to ask questions rather than give answers. “Mom, I love how you stay connected with our daughter. I know you love to kind of spoil her. But we’re seeing that it’s hurtful to her and that she’s resisting being responsible for things (be specific about how). So I’m wondering if you’re willing to work with me to help her learn more responsibility?” Or, “Mom, what are your ideas for how to our daughter responsibility? I’m really working on that it it would feel great to me to know that we’re on the same page.” If she resists your desires then simply say it. “Mom, you know I love how much you love her. I know you want to be a loving gramma and take care of her. But it goes against the goals I’m trying to reach with her to grow in independence. I’d really like us to get on the same page about that. If we can’t then I may need to find other places for her to go sometimes. It’s not about you mom – it’s about responsibility in our daughter and we know you can teach it if you decide to.

      In the end we believe honesty and boundaries are the best policy.

  19. Thank you for posting this. I was starting to feel like I expect to much out of my 9 and 7 year old. They vacuum put dishes away fold and put away laundry clean their bathroom and bedrooms sweep clear the table pick up dog pop yard work and lots more. But all of my friends kids or their friends don’t have their kids doing chores at all. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only person that thinks Children shouldn’t just be able to lay around and do nothing. We teach out kids how to be good adults they have to learn sooner or later. And when then complain about chores we just tell them how else are you going to learn how to keep your house clean when your an adult.

  20. As a dental hygienist I have to say, because of the picture, that kids need help brushing their teeth until about 8 or 9 years old. They typically do not have the dexterity to clean all surfaces well before then. What we do is have our daughter brush in the morning and at night (the most important time to have them cleaned well) she brushes and then we have a turn after her.

  21. One of my favorite “HOW to Un-Entitle your kids,” is a book called “the Entitlement Trap,” which is way more fun to read than the title suggests, and is absolutely a brilliant blueprint to fixing the entitlement in kids, the easy to see ones and the “oops, I didn’t realize we were doing that” ones, too. My husband and I have been dedicated to independent kids for years, and thought we were doing pretty well… and then we read the book which has helped us fix so many issues we didn’t realize came from entitlement, so many arguments and frustrations…and all WITHOUT contention, without struggle. We’ve actually been shocked at how simple the concepts and systems are in the book, and…yeah, our kids are becoming so much happier and more confident. I’ve been stunned. People have seen the difference in our kids and have begun asking us what the change is, why they are so much happier and more well behaved… though they (and we) are far from perfect. It’s a great option if you’re interested in fighting entitlement in the home.

  22. I think many parents deal with guilt. After I had my boys, I graduated from college and became a teacher, I did spoil my kids because I felt guilty that I was now working full-time instead of being at home tending to their needs. I still have a hard time with this when I’m super busy with work. The needs of my students often trumps the needs of my own children during the school year, and I begin spoiling my boys when I realize that this is happening. I’m so glad that I have breaks and summers off to become “mom” again.

  23. I work in a daycare with a class of 2 year olds. People are shocked to learn that even at 2 years old children can learn routines and actually LOVE doing things themselves. My kids know how to clean the tables off after meals, where to put the dishes, and even clean up spills. Of course we have to help them sometimes, but you need to teach kids these things early when they want to be helpers.

    I don’t have children of my own yet, but I definitely will be saving this article for later!

  24. What are you suppose to not do age wise? My kids are 3,5,7 and 9. I still brush and flosh their teeth most of the time because the dentist told me a child cannot bruse their own teeth and keep them cavity free fully on their own until they are 10/11?

  25. As a MOM OF seven. …I definitely have fallen sadly in the category of doing for my kids what they can do for themselves!!! They either don’t move fast enough so I just do it, I agree it’s handicapping them. … THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS ADVICE. …I AM CHANGING MY WAYS!!!!! despite how many children you have there is no perfect parent. … and I’m learning something new everyday!

    • Right on Rhonda! There is no perfect parent. It’s a bit like golf. Never has a perfect round been played. Not even close! But if you start by knowing where the hole is, and then develop your skills along the way, you’ll have much more enjoyment and the ball does end up in the hole 😉

  26. I’m 21 and I still live at home with my parents. I think a big portion of why I’m still here is because they didn’t teach me to be independent like this. They taught me basic things, like clean up after yourself, get something to eat if you’re hungry, and make your bed each day, but they never moved beyond that to bigger things for better independence. Most of what I learned about taking care of myself and living my own life, I learned when I first moved out-of-state to attend college (I’m a junior now), because there you have to buy your own groceries, wash your own dishes and laundry, speak for yourself, and fix your own screw-ups. But even though I’ve learned so much and am becoming a self-sufficient young adult (and loving it!), they won’t trust me with things like car ownership or even driving the family car to the grocery store because the independence training never moved past “Pick up after yourself!”

    Please understand, I’m not complaining from the kid’s side. Don’t take me wrong at all. I wish they’d taught me more, years ago! It’s not learning independence that’s so hard anymore; it’s trying to show my parents, who are still stuck seeing me as an eight-year-old who can’t fend for herself, that I’m learning. So parents, hear it from me: PLEASE teach your kids how to be responsible and independent when they’re YOUNG. It prevents lots of headaches trying to retroactively train them properly when they’re college age.

    • I know someone who was raised much the same way. As a result, they are almost 30 and still living with their parents. Their parents have literally done everything for them to the extent that they are now handicapped as an adult. But the amazing thing about it all is that their parents LIKE their dependency on them. They WANT them to live with them forever. It’s the weirdest thing.

  27. As a second grade teacher, I spend a lot of my time trying to convince parents to give their children more responsibilities at home. In my experience children love to have responsibilities. It makes them feel important and like they are part of a community. I keep one of the neatest, cleanest classrooms in our school district (according to the maintenance men and my supervisors) and I don’t life a finger to take care of it myself. My children always learn to clean, organize, and even do the filing! It takes time to teach them, but it is always worth it. It gives them such a sense of pride, accomplishment, and belonging.

  28. I agree with this entirely! My kids are 6 and 4 and have several responsibilities. My 4 year old is repsonsibile for cleanng the kids bathroom (organic cleaners), cleaning her room, and loading the dishwasher. My 6 year old cleans his room and does all laundry- clothes, towels, and sheets, as well as several farm chores. I’ve noticed when they start getting cranky for days at a time it’s usually time to add more responsibilites. They are honestly happier children when they feel like they are contributing and making an impact. They have also learned the more they help the more time (and energy) mommy and daddy have to play and do fun things.

  29. I agree 100%. I have two stepdaughters, when I came into their lives, one was 5 and the other was 10. Neither one could pour themselves something to drink. The 10 year old couldn’t work the microwave, they couldn’t do chores or anything. They were totally dependent. Even as they got older, the 5 year old turned into an 8 year old that still needed her dad to help her wash her hair. (of course, me being a stepmom, there were still things that I couldn’t get them to understand that she should be able to wash her hair and such). The 5 year old is now 10 and the 10 year old is now 15. The 15 year old, just learned how to use the microwave last year, just learned how to use a can opener and still wants me to cut fruit up for her (by the way, um no, at 15 she can cut her own fruit). My daughter, who was 1 when we met, is now 6. At 6 years old, she cleans her own room, folds her own clothes, takes her own showers, washes her own body and washes her own hair. I even have the knobs labeled in the order for her to turn them off, (so she won’t get burnt), she turns them off, drys herself, and puts on clothes, all by herself. She is very independent for a 6 year old. How do children ever learn to do things, if we don’t teach them and have them do them while still at home? I wan’t my daughter to be able to do things without calling me every five minutes. I want her to be self sufficient and know she can do anything.

  30. I think a lot of people don’t even give kids a chance – they are much more capable the most give them credit for. I have a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old. They both clean their rooms, put their table scraps in the bin, put dirty dishes in the sink, help sort and put away clean laundry and put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper. My youngest loves dusting and is pretty good at it too. They take turns watering the vege patch and both help me weed. My eldest likes to help me prepare meals and is very proficient with a potato peeler. I’ve had them sweep the patio, wipe down the bench and kitchen table and, I think in part because I encourage them and praise their efforts, are eager for more “fun things to help out” aka chores. When my eldest starts kindergarten, I am going to give her a regular set of chores to do, whereas at the moment, it is just anything i need help with or they want to help with. My kids really thrive on structure so I think having regular chores will help too.

    • Right on Hugz! And the more you help them understand that by their deeds they are serving others, the more inclined they will be to internalize the value of helping, and make it a lifelong norm.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  31. I completely agree with this. I must add though, that there is a fine line between making your children responsible and just being an “entitled parent” and relying on your kids to do everything. A perfect example is my ex-step-mom. She relied on my sister and I to do [almost] everything for her. She relied on us to clean HER bathroom, clean HER room, put up HER clothes, practically dress her by matching HER clothes before we hung them up for her to wear, clean out HER car (which I understand if we ever rode in it, but we never did), (as she would put it) make HER dinner, do HER hair and HER makeup, (pretty much, the only thing we DIDN’T have to do was wipe her butt) and when you didn’t do things HER way, she would throw a fit. There was this one time when she told me to go make dinner and I thought “Hey, it’s been a few weeks since we last had spaghetti. I’ll make spaghetti.” When I told everyone that dinner was done, she saw it was spaghetti, picked up the pot and threw it shouting “You know I HATE spaghetti! Stop making it all the time! Now go make something else and clean your mess up!” To which my dad said “You said for her to make dinner. She made dinner. You’ve never had a problem when we had spaghetti before and the last time we had it, you weren’t even here. You didn’t like it, so you threw it across the room. I say YOU clean it up and YOU make dinner then.” She obviously didn’t like that statement, got mad, took the pot, threw it in the sink (breaking some dishes in the process), grabbed her keys, yelled “I guess y’all will just have to starve then”, got in her car, and drove off. Fortunately, her and my dad got a divorce and my dad couldn’t be happier and his high blood pressure has gone down significantly. So, yeah. Fine line. Don’t be an “entitled parent”, please.

  32. Another opinion…children develop independence, and you can’t teach a child to be independent any more than you can teach a plant to grow flower buds. But you can provide the right conditions/environment. It is actually through their comfortable dependence on loving parents/caregivers that they desire to become independent (which is then true independence because it comes from within). If we were to make the same statement about a spouse it would seem cruel! (I’m not helping you with the laundry, you know how to do it yourself!). We are parents, and we need to allow our children to depend on us!

  33. This is a great post! parents don’t realize how important is to encourage our kids to solve their own situations, specially mom’s with boys. I have an older brother who took him longer to mature and be independent that me because all his life he was a mamma’s boy.
    Thank you for sharing

  34. “Ask for their ideas about how you can accomplish the goal.”
    Yes! I work with Creating Champions for Life, a parenting group and we are all about goal setting! It’s awesome seeing like-minded people.

  35. Pingback: Apps to help your child’s handwriting…Simple Lunch Ideas…more… -
  36. I agree with the spirit of this, though I also think it’s okay if you occasionally do certain things for your kids… for example, my mom always enjoyed cooking so it was never a problem for her to whip up something for us just about any time, provided that she didn’t have something more important to do. To this day, when I go over to her house, she cooks for me. But… she doesn’t come to MY house to cook for me (I mean, I guess she would, if I were ill or something) so it’s not like I can’t and don’t do it for myself. However, I did have chores from a pretty early age and was expected to do them–and I didn’t get paid for doing them, at least not with money (my mother would say that having to meet expectations built character as well as prepared me for my adulthood, so that was payment enough). As I got older, the chores got more involved, so that by the time I was ready to leave home I knew how to run my own home. I still haven’t mastered LIKING to do chores or LIKING to cook every single night (well, news flash, I don’t cook every night), but by golly I can do it, thanks to mom. And thanks to dad, I can do a lot of outdoor chores as well.