1. You always give them what they want when they want it
You always give them what they want when they want it
This is very dangerous and has devastating consequences. Children who always get what they want start to believe that they deserve everything they want. That they are entitled to it and shouldn’t have to work for it. How are they going to learn the value of delayed gratification if they never experience the thrill of waiting and working for something?
2. You want them to have the life you didn’t
You want them to have the life you didn’t
Lots of us grew up in less-than-affluent homes. And maybe now that we have experienced some financial success we want to give our kids all the things our parents couldn’t afford. But when we constantly lavish extravagant gifts on them, they stop appreciating the small things. In fact, they often stop even appreciating the big things. In the end, our kids need the gift of learning gratitude and responsibility more than they need iPods, cars, lavish parties, and perfect wardrobes.
3. You’re afraid to say no
You’re afraid to say no
Sometimes we’re afraid to say no to our kids because we’re afraid of the backlash. When they’re young, we’re afraid they’ll throw a temper fit in the store (ah, I’ve already experienced this one!). And when they’re old, we’re afraid they’ll sulk or rebel or think we don’t love them. But we cannot allow our fear to keep us from doing what is best for them – and sometimes that’s saying no.
4. You want them to fit in with their peers because you’re afraid they’ll be different
You want them to fit in with their peers because you’re afraid they’ll be different
We cannot try to keep up with the Jones’s – and make sure our kids keep up with the Jones’s kids. Are we buying them things so that they can impress others? So that they’ll fit in? So that we can feel good about ourselves? We really need to check our motives in this. Fitting in is not the goal. Raising responsible kids who will shine amongst their irresponsible peers should be.
5. You feel it’s easier to just give in
You feel it’s easier to just give in
When we give in and just give our kids what they’re begging for – or stop making them do the chores they’re whining about – we teach them a dangerous lesson. We teach them that if they whine and complain enough, we’ll give in. It might be easier in this moment, but it will not be easier in the long run.
6. You want to protect them from failure
You want to protect them from failure
When we always bail them out and insulate them from their own failure, we teach a pattern of irresponsibility. How can they learn from their mistakes and poor decisions if they never experience the natural consequences? So maybe next time they forget their homework we shouldn’t be so fast to run home and get it for them. Maybe they’re better off suffering the small consequences now instead of the large consequences that will result from their still being irresponsible when they enter college and the workforce.
So how do we teach our kids to be responsible? We need to shift the responsibility to our kids.

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