Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2015

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24 Hudson Valley Parent ■ March 2015 By MALIA JACOBSON W e all love giving to our children; there's nothing like witnessing the joy on a child's face when he receives a coveted toy, a favorite meal, or the latest gadget. But parental generosity has an ugly downside. Experts warn that by giving children too much, too often, parents can encourage an infl ated sense of entitlement that snowballs into demands like "But I want it… now!" In today's abundant, instant-grat- ifi cation society, parents must be in- tentional about raising children who don't have a sense of entitlement, says Karen Deerwester, parenting coach and author of "The Entitle- ment-Free Child: Raising Confi dent and Responsible Kids in a "Me, Mine, Now!" Culture." "Our entitlement climate pro- motes quick fi xes and easy answers that sabotage effective parenting," she says. Want to raise a responsible child who doesn't demand constant grati- fi cation? Read on for expert tips on curbing entitlement, from toddler- hood to the teen years. Early Years: 0-5 Waiting Game Over-entitlement begins in tod- dlerhood, because two-year-olds are naturally self-interested—it's normal and natural for them to be con- cerned with "me, mine, and now." It's when parents actually give in to tots' "now" demands that entitle- ment can begin to build. "If we con- stantly overdo and rescue children, they don't learn to live with those uncomfortable feeling of wanting something and not always getting it," Deerwester notes. One key to self-control is the abil- ity to wait, a skill strongly correlated with future success. In the famous "marshmallow experiment" fi rst conducted at Stanford University in 1972, researchers offered children a choice between receiving one marsh- mallow now or two marshmallows Avoiding the entitlement trap Raising responsible kids in a consumption-crazed culture While it's healthy for children to be assertive, challenging authority on a regular basis signals a problem.

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