03 April 2015

Children Are Not Entitled: 4 Things Parents Don't Owe Their Children

It seems like most people in our society today are obsessed with what they are owed, what they aren’t getting and what they are entitled to. I hear and come into contact with so many adults who at times, sound like little children which begs the question…

What message are we sending to our children with this attitude of entitlement? Are we teaching them how to have an attitude of gratitude and to work hard or are we equipping them to be lazy and make excuses for why things do and don’t happen for them.

I can’t count the number of times that I’m in a store and hear a child complaining to their parents, “But I want that toy!” or “It’s not fair! Susie has this same toy, why can’t I?” or “I’ve been good! Why can’t I have it?” And while kids will be kids {we’ve all had to deal with a major meltdown a time or two} the messages we send to our kids in these moments is vital. It’s the difference of our children understanding that not everything in life is fair and that sometimes, the answer is simply “No.” 

And guess what. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your child “No” from time to time. You don’t have to feel bad for being the parent who says “No.” I’ve often wondered from time to time how some adults could have turned out differently if their parents had told them “No” a few times along the way. It seems to me that this simple word “No” has a great way of teaching our children that they are not owed or entitled to anything and everything. 

While we as parents do owe our children some things; love, support, a comfortable home, food, a healthy and nurturing lifestyle and more, there are some things we simply don’t owe our children as parents or for them to be entitled. 

An explanation. This simple basic principle was a hard one for me to understand growing up because I always had such an inquisitive and rebellious mind. Now that I have a child of my own, I get it and I don’t feel the need to explain every decision and choice I make for my daughter to her. Sometimes as parents, it comes down to “Because I said that’s the way it’s going to be” and that’s it.

Rewards for good behavior and following directions. Are there times when our daughter gets a materialistic reward for doing something right? Absolutely, but it’s not the norm. I also make it a point to tell her, “That’s great you have your listening ears on and you’re following directions. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Keep it up!” It’s a verbal, positive reinforcement. My take is that life is not a hand out and that you don’t always get recognized or rewarded simply for doing what it right. You should be doing those things anyway without an expectation to be compensated.

Curbside service. This one grates on my nerves. You have a child who wants something and they want it now. So many times I see parents giving into this demanding and harsh behavior and it kills me. Since when do the kids get to make all the rules and set the level of “service” they are to receive? There are many lessons to be had in teaching patience. Many times in life, we don’t get instant gratification. Most times, we have to wait patiently for the right things to come along at the right time. I cringe to think how many children are being taught that it’s okay to have such a demanding demeanor simply because their parents catered to every single whim. Sorry, Maddy. It’s not happening in our home.

That they should win every single game they play. It’s perfectly acceptable for our children to lose. As much as we want to see them be the best at everything, the reality is that this is just not possible so why should we set our kids up for unattainable goals? I think this does so much more of a disservice than a service in molding the types of adults they will grow up to be. Every child should learn the valuable lesson of losing because it teaches them how to do it graciously and how to cope with rejection. If they learn these lessons early on, they can easily adjust to the curve balls life will throw at them.

In a perfect world, our children would all be perfect and would never have to know of the hard lessons of life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the world we live in. I feel it’s our job as parent’s to equip them the best we can for the challenges and life situations that lay ahead, and while rewards and compensation have their place, I think it’s far more important to teach our children the difference between the things in life they have to work for vs. the things in life that are freely given. 

What do you think? What are your thoughts on entitlement for children?
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.


  1. Really like this post. I can see that you are an amazing parent and have great values. We need more moms like you! Found you on Blogger Life. I wrote a post sort of similar to the one you wrote. http://inspirationindulgence.com/2015/01/13/13-lessons-i-will-teach-my-children/

  2. YES on the game winning/losing one! When we play games, any kind be it Candy Land or Memory, there is no 'cheating' so our daughter can win. And guess what - often, even in games like Memory, she STILL wins. But sometimes she loses, and that's so important! 100% agree on the rest as well!

  3. Dorothy Butler-LandesApril 3, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    This makes me think of an episode of blackish I just watched. The parents were struggling to teach their children work ethic and what it's like to have less than as a very affluent family. It's called the gift of hunger. Here's the link: http://www.hulu.com/watch/712017

  4. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesApril 3, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    Yep. Yep. Yep.
    There are so many times I've said "no" in a store and had an epic fit being thrown from the shopping cart. But I just keep on trucking. Mommy isn't a money tree, and things need to be earned.

    We've also been working on sleeping through the night without needing mom or dad to sleep in the big boy bed, and not wetting the bed. For every night that this is accomplished a penny is earned. Once we hit the 5 nights in a row mark it will then take 5 nights of continuous sleep/no bed wetting to earn that penny. And eventually we'll work our way to no pennies. I do not want my child to think that doing the every-day norm will be rewarded with a prize. But, for now it's incentive to get us all through the night.

    As for the 'everyone wins' mentality. I cannot handle it. There are times when we're playing a family game and Marcus doesn't win. It want him to learn that it's ok not to win every time, and that sometimes losing means growing.

    Awesome post today!!

  5. Love this and totally agree. I feel like more and more we're becoming a society overwhelming full of entitlement, you see ti everywhere. It really annoys me to no end.

  6. I agree. Now with my 7yo, he's at the "but my friends have it" stage. It started with the haircut. Thank God he wanted simple and short, not some weird haircut!

  7. I love these and they're a great reminder. I feel like this is valid for most adults, too, sadly! I think our society, as a whole, is pushing everyone into an entitled mindset. I agree that it's our job, as parents, to help our children learn ways of handling hardships that life will bring!

  8. Great read! Parents need to stop being friends to their children and be the parent. As a teacher, I wish I could post this in every school bag. Our classrooms would be so much more manageable.

  9. YES! Children are not little royals and shouldn't be treated as such. Great post!

  10. I find myself giving in a lot because I'm just over fighting about silly things. Especially since it's me and him allllllll. the. time. But that's going to bite me in the ass so I'm going to take this post as a my homework to really work on some of my weaknesses with C.

  11. Just stumbled upon this post and I think it's great!