Four Ways Parents Reinforce Entitlement and How to Change It

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/8/2020

Can you agree with me that there’s a problem with entitlement in our society? It seems to be spreading in our culture everywhere. The dictionary states it as the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. 

Think about that. Entitlement is seen in a person who believes they deserve material possessions, opportunities, promotions and special treatment more than others just because. It has nothing to do with their hard work or sacrifice of time and effort. They expect it because they want it, not because they earned it. 

I’ve seen this through the years in youth sports and I fear the same mentality has crept into the workplace, probably from the very same people who thought they were entitled as athletes.

I was recently talking with a friend from an air conditioning company who was bemoaning the fact that it was hard to hire good help. Over and over, she encountered young job applicants expecting to get paid high right away and were quick to leave for a job because the grass always seemed greener elsewhere.

What are parents doing that fosters this work ethic in young athletes and in young adults? Because I promise you that if parents are allowing their children and teens to play sports with an entitled attitude, those same kids will carry that entitlement into the workforce.

If you are letting any of these habits into your parenting, you may be on your way to raising entitled adults.

You give your child money all the time, without them having to earn it.  

Whether you give an allowance for chores, or simply pay your child to work, don’t just hand it to them every time they ask. Let your child earn it; they will appreciate money more if they do. 

You give your child what they ask for immediately.

It’s okay to do this every now and then, but let your child learn how to wait for things they really want.

You fight your child’s battles and solve their problems for them. 

This is also known as being a fix-it parent, a lawnmower parent or a snowplow parent. Before you insist that you are none of those, let me ask you this: What’s your first instinct when your child faces a problem?

Most parents would say that they want to fix things for their children. That feeling is instinctual; however, you do not have to act on it. Instead, ask yourself this: what does my child need to learn from this and what’s the best way for me to help them learn it?

You do almost everything for your child and they expect it.

That’s okay for infants, but as your child grows, they need to start learning how to do things for themselves. Let your child learn how to do their own laundry, make their own beds, make their own lunches, fold their own laundry and put it away….and a bunch of other chores that parents often do, perhaps out of sympathy that their kids are so busy or out of frustration because their child doesn’t know how to do it RIGHT.

Serving them out of love every now and then is okay but be sure they are not expecting it.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for parents to understand how entitlement sets the course for an unhealthy life! The problems that result from entitled adults are infecting every area of our world today:

They have unrealistic demands on family, children, friends, and co-workers.

They often sorry for themselves if things don’t work out as they want.

They manipulate and bully others.

They will step on others to get happiness.

They expect more of others than they do of themselves.

They don’t like negotiating or compromising.

They feed off attention.

You probably don’t enjoy being around people like this; I know I don’t! And I certainly don’t want to raise entitled kids who become these types of adults.

 It is within your power to direct your children away from entitlement. And it’s never too late to start.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at