With summer rapidly moving by, many parents find themselves frustrated with the level of entitlement and laziness that their teens display. Each day, mom and dad are working hard, taking care of the business of running a family. And this is exhausting, just doing the work of mom or dad.
However, when it feels like you are doing everything, and your kids are doing nothing…it’s time for a change! But where do you start? Here are three simple changes, that can make a real difference!
Change #1: Ignore the Herd and Honor Your Values
The ‘herd’ is where everyone else is going. It’s very tempting to simple follow what everyone else is doing. In fact, it’s much easier. This does not mean better. It just means easier.
The herd doesn’t stop to think. The herd just follows the herd. The herd does not ask, “What is really important to me?” “What will create a happy, balanced and fulfilled life for our family?” “If we are all this exhausted, is it really good for us?”
The herd is constantly on the move, following the rest of the herd. The judgment of what is reasonable is left up to the herd. This is not necessarily good.
Whether it’s 12 sporting events this week, or letting their teen play “Call of Duty” or requiring no responsibility at home, when following the herd—this is the result.
I encourage you to pause, and check in with your heart, and turn to honor your values. This may take your family down a different path. It may also point to change #2…
Change #2: Stop Trying To Give Your Kids Everything They Want
When we examine the research on happiness and optimism, we do not find that happy children develop by getting everything they want. In fact, happy children (and adults) discover that their happiness is NOT dependent upon getting what they want.
It is dependent upon discovering how to be happy and enjoying what you have. In this country, we are remarkably blessed with safety, flexibility and resources beyond compare. Our children are given more and more, and end up only expecting more and more. Yet, we do not see this producing happiness and satisfaction.
Instead, we see more children with tantrums, whining, disrespect and a sense of entitlement.
We begin to turn this around when we don’t try to give them everything they want. We allow them to learn to find happiness when with they have. This is a much better formula for happiness.
Change #3: Let Children Learn About Responsibility Through Having Responsibility
Life is very tough, if we grow up missing the fundamentals relating to personal responsibility. Yet, more and more we see children and teens who are shielded from having any responsibilities. It’s as if we are thinking that our children will somehow ‘get it’ on their own, when the time is right.
This is a formula for disaster. Life is much easier when we learn the lessons of personal responsibility early on in life. We clean our room, help with lawn and even help earn our way to next year’s summer sports camp. These are all simple ways of preparing children for the reality of life.
With mastery of ‘personal responsibility,’ we can create a happy, joyful life. If we don’t have the ‘lesson’ mastered, we stumble and fall in many critical ways that rob us of success and satisfaction.
As you consider these suggested changes, I remind you that your children will not approve. They will resist. However, their approval is not the criteria of whether or not these changes are healthy for them. Trust your choices, as your perspective can consider the long view. Their perspective is caught (often) in the ‘give it to me now’ view. They need you to make healthy choices for them…based upon the wider, more mature view of life.