I read an article wherein some parents were asked this question: “Who are the most important people in your family?” Every single one of them responded “Our kids, of course!” Then they were asked why. "What about your kids gives them that status?” The parents couldn’t answer the question other than to fumble with appeals to emotion. I found it interesting that they themselves had never questioned that.
The writer went on to point out that many, if not most of the problems they are having with their children, typical stuff these days, are the result of treating their children, as if they, their marriage, and their family exist because of the kids, when it is, in fact, the other way around. The kids exist because of them and their marriage, and thrive because they have created a stable family.
The writer went on to say – “In my generation, the kids weren’t the most important people in the household. The parents were. They were the ones who provided the food on the table, the roof over our heads, etc. We didn’t sleep in their beds or interrupt their conversations. The family meal was deemed more important than the extracurricular sports activities. The parents spoke with each other more than they spoke with you. The most important person in an army, is the general. The most important person in the corporation is the CEO. The most important person in the classroom is the teacher. The most important person in the family is the parents.”
The primary objective is to raise a child wherein the idea of community living is strengthened. “Our child is the most important thing in our family” is the first step toward raising a child who feels entitled.
When a child is raised into adulthood believing themselves to be the center of the universe, the consideration of themselves will always be the priority and main concern. How can that affect a community? A community requires the selfless giving of oneself in order to help others, to take part is something bigger than just themselves. It is a consideration of others before ourselves. If we keep raising children that feel they are the center of the universe, they will become a community unto themselves. I’m not sure if you can see the destruction of society in that.
Being present with your child, attending to their needs in the moment, will not create an entitled child. Their play time, alone time, is essential for their development. Just as important is their role in helping out in the household in which they are a part, because the household is really intended to act as a mini-structure of a community.
One of my recent blogs was about wrong order and cultivating an entitled child is the wrong order of things. Parents first, not child first, because that would be like saying what is “beneath us” is dominant and more important than what is “above us”, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. That is also the same as saying that the past is dominant and more important than the present moment. Those very beliefs and actions are what keep us stuck in this hand-me-down world.
Some people say that they wish parenting came with a handbook. I say it does. That handbook is written in our hearts, but we rarely live from that place to see and know the truth of that fact.
Most of the time when relating to our children, we act and respond from fear, from the past. Fear is the past and remains in place in this world because we continue to bring it forward without question. Fear was never intended to be the “God” of this world. That’s wrong order that we have cultivated through our misunderstanding, and that is exactly why cultivating an entitled child is the same as cultivating a very fearful one.
“Honor thy mother and father” is the same as saying “Honor what is above you”. Respect and honor will never be cultivated in a child if there is wrong order. Respect and honor will never be cultivated in a child if the child believes themselves to be the center of the universe, because they will always resist (be disrespectful of) what the present moment is revealing, if it doesn’t match what they believe they are entitled to.
What I wish for all parents is for them to understand the harm, the painful life they are creating for their child when they cultivate an entitled one. The more entitled a child believes themselves to be, the more life will bring unwanted moments to show them that erred belief in themselves, as Life always brings to us what is needed to reorder what is out of order. That’s simply how it works.
In all this, please know that I am not saying that there aren’t certain instances wherein sacrifices are necessary to place the child first. What I am saying is to remember that whether you are husband and wife or a single parent, you are the most important. Your relationship, your word, your actions, your authority. They come first.
Exercise for the Week: Remember that your home is a mini-structure of a community. Teach your children how to be a part of their little community by the giving of themselves in one way or another.
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