How Do you Make Kids Feel Special Without Creating Entitlement?
We get this question a lot, especially when we talk about being an encouraging parent.
We have spent years of parenting asking the same question! Don shared how he lived in fear and thought he needed to point out all the kid’s mistakes or they wouldn’t turn out well. The fear is based in great intentions. We don’t want our kids to be entitled! Entitled kids are not a blessing! What is the difference between making our kids feel special and not being an entitled brat?
Let’s start by adopting this statement: We want our kids to feel set apart not set above!
This idea radically changed our parenting and we believe it will help you balance entitlement and encouragement. Look at these verses and see how our God-given identity directly links to our behavior.
I Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
We want our kids to feel like they God’s special possession. He made a way for each of us (His kids) and we are a part of His Kingdom! These verses pull our kids out of this messy world and allows them to think and see the world differently. It challenges them to see it from a Kingdom perspective.
Set Apart vs. Set Above
Set Above is an attitude of thinking we are better than others. Set Apart is putting others above yourself. They are clearly different!
Let’s Get Practical!
Matthew 3:17 “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.””
God acknowledges His son and speaks identity over Him. This is what we need to do with our kids. Saying, I love you and I accept who you are. Showing you are for them and about them.
We tell parents a lot, if there is one thing you can do for your kids it is to instill this verse into them. Remind them daily you are proud of them and find things in them you value.
Focus on the things you are proud of in your kids, not the things they need to change. Draw out the greatness in them!
Encourage + Set Apart Ways:
You choose them and let everyone know they belong to you
You tell them you love them as many times as you can in a day
You tell your child you are pleased; you are proud, you like them throughout the day
Help them to feel set apart, seen, noticed, understood, valued, and enjoyed
Do this with your words, actions, spending time with them, laughing, and having fun
Listen when they talk to you (put your phone away!!)
Ask their opinion on a subject
Let them choose a dinner, a game, or new pair of shoes
Teach them how to say thank you and be grateful
Show them how to work hard for something and feel good about it
At the end of the day, we want our kids to say we were far more encouraging than critical. Every kid wants to be loved, heard, and seen by their parents. When we do the little (simple) things to show love, our kids will start to see their God-given identity. They will start believing they are set apart! This belief will change their behavior and they will start to live humble, not entitled.
Entitlement + Set Above Ways:
Buy them whatever they want or let them always have their way
Compliment them in a manipulative way
What benefits you
Only when it puts others down (rooted in comparison)
Stop what you are doing and cater to their every whim
Put their lives, activities, desires and plans before your own life
Being their servant and doing everything for them
You May Have an Entitled Kid If…
They take more than they give
There is always a competition to be the best
They are demanding
They don’t think or care about others
They crave attention and admiration
Bullying or always want to be in charge
Remember, your kid may come across as entitled but in reality, it is insecurity. They can look the same because they are alike. A lot of times entitlement and insecurity can be fixed by encouragement and speaking their “set apart” identity over them!
Here’s the truth, all kids are entitled to a degree because they don’t know any other way. Newborns are born completely entitled and parents live those first few months doing their best to keep them alive. Dependence is designed to become independence and we get to show our kids the road between the two behaviors!
How to Un-Entitle Your Kid
Work:Give them things to do that are hard. Teach them how to preserve and earn what they think they deserve
Serve: Show them areas they can think about others and not themself
Change Perspective: Every time they focus on themselves and what they want, tell them about other people involved. Throwback: WWJD (what would Jesus do!)
The whole goal is to get their eyes off themselves. By working, serving, and changing their perspective they can become lowly and see the value of living for others. Just like Jesus did!
Remember, don’t get frustrated if it takes time. This is a life-long journey and it will take time to change the culture in your home.
2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Parents, we give you freedom! You are not going to entitle your kids by teaching them to live set apart. It is worth it to say to your kids they are made in God’s image and you are pleased with them. It will cause them to feel grateful and cause them to live humbly.
Speak God-given identity over your kids this week and remember 1 Peter 2:9 to declare over your family this week!
Pick a verse and memorize it with your kids. In the times when they are acting entitled, pull out the Word of God and speak it over your kids. Let identity reset the moment. Watch how the truth comes in, breathes life, and changes the direction of where your family culture is going!
Post it on the FB or Insta and share with the CCF community how you are helping your kid not be entitled!
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].