Do children not taught that they can’t always get their own way become entitled and inconsiderate?

(See also: Does Taking Children Seriously mean children always getting their own way?)

“Surely we parents need to teach our children that they can’t always get their own way, otherwise they will become entitled and inconsiderate?”

That is like saying: “Surely we husbands need to teach our wives that they can’t always get their own way, otherwise they will become entitled and inconsiderate?”

Thank goodness my husband does not think like that! He delights in delighting me! (How do you do a heart emoji in html?!) And nor has my husband become entitled and inconsiderate as a result of my delighting in delighting him rather than trying to instil in him the deeply pessimistic, life-sapping false idea that suffering is required.

On the contrary, being kind and generous-hearted with others including our children delights them, conveys the fact that problems really are soluble, facilitates creative problem-solving and, if anything, inspires them to be kind and generous-hearted with others.

What actually results in children growing up to be entitled and inconsiderate adults is more likely to be parents instilling in them the idea that they can’t always get their own way – until they are adults. Then it’s their turn. (As in this post: Does Taking Children Seriously mean children always getting their own way?)

Children learn a sense of entitlement when we teach them through our actions that problems are not soluble – that in any conflict, the only options are to win or to lose – that life is a zero-sum game. If we adopt this inherently coercive, authoritarian stance with our children – whether we opt for ‘winning’ at their expense or if we stick to ‘losing’ (sacrificing our own wishes) ‘for’ them, they are very likely to develop a sense of entitlement. Taking children seriously is not about sacrificing for our children, it is about actually solving problems, not choosing the lesser of the two evils.

Any time we have a pedagogical agenda for our children, i.e., independent of their own wishes, such as when we are thinking we need to override their wishes regularly to teach them that they are wicked for wanting to get what they want in life, and that their wishes are of no interest to us – oops, I mean, to teach them to be considerate, not entitled – they are likely to become as considerate to others as we are to them. Actions speak louder than words.

See also:

Sarah Fitz-Claridge, Taking Children Seriously FAQ: ‘Do children not taught that they can’t always get their own way become entitled and inconsiderate?’, https://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/do-children-not-taught-that-they-cannot-always-get-their-own-way-become-entitled-and-inconsiderate/

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