Helpful Tips To Prevent Your Kids From Becoming Entitled Adults

I've been thinking about good parenting tips, specifically about how to raise patient and disciplined kids, and how putting your kids in the center of your universe isn't doing them any favors. Giving in to every whim will just encourage impatience and entitlement. I'm far from a perfect parent, and being a widow certainly puts me at a disadvantage. Yet, I try to balance my intuition of what I think my kids really want in the moment, with my practical, disciplinarian side of what they truly need for future life lessons.

Patience is a virtue—not only for the parent, but even moreso for the child. Patience is one of those mindsets and demonstrative behaviors that will carry children far in life—patience with a spouse, patience with friends, patience in getting through school and finding the perfect job, patience with hard tasks, and patience with themselves. All are "works in progress," as we all are in this life.

I taught my kids patience when they were younger by using creative ways to respond. For example, I educated them on the definition of "whining" so they understood how patience plays a part in curbing undesirable behaviors—"patience is waiting without whining." Whining is impatience defined.

If those words don't increase their understanding, I break out into song—Rolling Stones style: "You don't always get what you want, you don't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need." My daughter usually stops me at the first off-key note, as she knows now what's coming, and I don't mean the "lesson," but the awful singing voice. Heck, my singing is so bad that when I rocked my son to sleep as a toddler, he once put his hand over my mouth and said "mommy, no." Okay, I need a new way to teach instead of singing. 

I use a quote from my past career in telecom in order to help them see that patience is essential to complete a hard task correctly: "We never have time to do it right, but we always have time to do it over." Now that my kids are teenagers, the lessons are a bit different. It involves more punishment and the removal of phone, car or social privileges.

When my teenage daughter cannot find something and is asking for my help, I ask her to look again and again, then come back to me if she's exhausted all options. For good measure, I tell her if she still hasn't found the item and I do, she will be grounded for the weekend. That prompts her to look more diligently, thus being less impatient, and voila. She's found it. Amazing how patience really is a virtue.