Have you ever been sitting at the park while watching your kids interact with someone else and you are just slightly embarrassed about what they are saying to this complete stranger? Or have you been driving somewhere and your child demands something? Usually when these experiences first happen, you are shocked that you could ever hear your child say something like that.
You may brush it off and say that kids will be kids. Or you are like me who is blind to those they love most. You don't recognize the terrible traits they are developing because you think your child could never behave like that.
This is a struggle for every human that has been raised in a loving home. Loving parents want to take care of their child and provide not only for their needs but also for their wants. When your child starts expecting instead of being grateful, it's a problem. Not only will they start to be entitled to you but also to those around them.
Teach your child to be more grateful by having them write lists of what they are grateful for and helping them write thank-you notes. Thank them and teach them how good it feels to be thanked.
As humans one of the most important things we need to do is have empathy and be kind to others. We really only have each other on this earth and it's very important that we find ways to reach out and help others.
Teach your child to serve. You can get them involved in a big service project like serving someone in the neighborhood, helping with a community service project or visiting a retirement home. They could also do small services like cleaning their sibling's room or washing the dishes on someone else's dish night.
If your child doesn't take responsibility for their actions, you have a problem on your hands.
Instead of fighting them and insisting that they take responsibility about every wrong they have done, teach them about what responsibilities they have. This is easily done by giving chores or talking to them about what they are in charge of.
Lauren Steele encourages parents to make responsibility tangible. "Write a note or make a sign for your child," parent educator Nancy Samalin told Steele. "Children always read your notes and may even write you back!"
She gives an example: "Dear Jo, Just a reminder. Here is what has to be done before TV today. Clean clothes hung in closet. Dishes washed and dried. Dog fed and walked. [Thanks] for your help. Love, Mom."
If you child doesn't care about others, especially those in their family, you have a problem on your hand. This is the beginning of a very selfish life. Your child needs to learn that other people are just as important as he or she is.
Again, service will help children learn to care for others. Service is a great thing here because it teaches your children to see others as humans who need help once in a while.
Are they refusing to feel guilty? This can be a tricky one because this is more of a personality difference. Some children are more prone to feel guilty than others. But not feeling guilt is another sign of refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They don't feel guilt because they don't think they did anything wrong.
Enforce consequences. When they don't feel guilty, they should feel a loss when they do end up doing something wrong. This doesn't mean that you are out to make your children miserable. It means you are teaching them the difference between right and wrong and having them accept accountability for their choices.
Your children are incredible, and a lot of these situations are just part of growing up. Don't be afraid to teach your children to be better and serve others.