Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Book is Coming!

We are excited about our new book, set for world wide release from Penguin next year. It is called THE ENTITLEMENT TRAP, How to Rescue Your Child with a new Family System of Earning, Owning and Choosing.

Every parent who even hears the title seems to want this book, and want it now! The sense of entitlement that our kids today are growing up with is the biggest threat to their happiness—and to ours!

We would love your feedback on the book even as we write it!  The book will open with some little everyday vignettes showing how entitled our kids are feeling these days.

Let us give you a few excerpts from early in the book, just to give you a feel, and then show you a little series of brief everyday stories of entitlement. We would love to have you add a vingette by putting it in the a comment section below. We’ll love hearing from you and our editors will decide which ones will be included in the book.


“Just as the Eyres’ brilliant #1 bestseller Teaching Your Children Values provided a roadmap for a whole generation of parents in the 90s, their new work The Entitlement Trap gives today’s parents a warning about the trap of indulgence and instant gratification they may be creating for their children.  Then it offers families a compass on the directions they need today and shines breakthrough clarity on what kids will need to cope with our new and unpredictable economic realities.”

------Stephen R. Covey

Sports figures and celebrities think they are entitled to whatever they want; bankers think they’re entitled to huge bonuses; and our own children think they’re entitled to the latest cell phone.  The old mentality of working for things and waiting for a reward seems to have disappeared.  Without the sense of responsibility engendered by the work of earning and the pride of ownership, kids grow up thinking the world owes them a living, and with that attitude, they have little chance to develop the motivation and will-power that will allow them to be happy and to succeed.

What today’s kids need is to be sprung from the trap of entitlement and indulgence.  They need to own their choices, to own up to their mistakes, and to earn and own all their stuff rather than getting it handed to them.

Are we letting your kids fall into a trap that can make their lives (and ours) miserable?

Instead of giving our kids a sense of responsibility, are we giving them the exact opposite—a sense of entitlement?

Are we setting your kids up for disaster by not teaching them how to handle money?

Are our homes a little microcosm of a bad economy and a sick society….built on wants rather than needs, and on bail outs, debt, and instant gratification?

Are yesterday’s parenting methods completely unsuited for today’s world?

And are some of the old reliables like allowances and withholding of privileges just not helpful anymore and even becoming counterproductive in raising responsible kids?

Is the technology that surrounds and suffocates our kids sapping them of real world experience and taking away their chances to make good choices and become responsible?


Here are some vignettes that illustrate what we mean:

 A thirty-something working mom who had been gone from her family for a week was greeted by her nine year old son with a big hug.  That night at dinner after a catch-up session about things that had happened while she was gone, her son quietly brought up something he had obviously planned quite carefully.  “Mom, you’ve been gone a long time and you missed my band concert. How about buying me the new Wii game to make up for it?”

A hard-working, service oriented twenty four year old decided that for a year her time would best be spent helping young women in the projects in Atlanta  They had all had hard lives and had been raised on the dole. None could remember ever sitting around a dinner table with their families but of course every one had a cell phone with a bazillion different ring tones. One day she was helping them sort out their lives when one of them said, “Hey I like your shoes!  They’re so cute!  How about you give ‘em to me?”  Stunned, she realized this girl was serious. “Hey, I worked hard for these shoes,” she declared as she realized she was looking straight into the face of ‘entitlement’! 

A Sunday school class of hard working parents were asked if they thought their children felt as entitled as their peers who were not particularly religious. Almost like a chorus they declared, “Of course they are!  They all think they need cell phones like their friends! They claim they don’t have time to clean the bathroom because they’re so busy texting and doing their “homework” on the Internet.”Some of the parents thought entitlement was worse in faith centered families where kids felt they deserved special blessings in reward for their righteousness.

An eight year old boy was aghast when his mother suggested he might have to work to earn some money to replace the neighbor’s window that he had broken while throwing rocks. His argument was, “You’re my mom, that’s the kind of thing you are supposed to take care of!”




richard said...

wow, I need this book,
and I need it NOW!

lacy said...

We recently started a "sticker chart" for our 3 year old to help expedite the bedtime process. If she does each thing on the chart with a smile (instead of whining "I don't want to go to bed") she gets a sticker for that box within the chart. She was telling her older cousins (6 and 8 years old) about her chart. To which they responded "and what do you GET when your chart is all full of stickers?" I quickly dismissed them...the stickers are enough for the three year old!!!

Anna and Ryan said...

Hi Linda! I love this idea for a book. I can't wait to read it. However, I don't think the first example is a particularly strong one (the four seasons vs. the Four Seasons). It is funny, but I don't think it illustrates "entitlement" as much as privilege. It's easy to assume that kids whose parents are affluent (and give them first-hand knowledge of The Four Seasons) would grow up with a sense of entitlement but I don't think that is necessarily so.

Growing up on the Upper East Side myself I encountered plenty of entitled kids (I may have been one of them*), but also there were also many who defied that stereotype. I'm sure you know this but entitlement has less to do with circumstances than with what is taught and practiced at home.

*My mom likes to tell the story of how when I was 10 I told her that I would never need to know how to clean my own house because a maid would do it all for me. She laughs at that one now when I call her with questions about house cleaning.

I'm looking forward to reading your book and others' comments. Best to you all!

ERIN said...

I love your books!

I'd like to start my story that I DO NOT "entitle" my children to much. I believe in hard work and earning your way thru life.

HOWEVER, I have a wonderful set of in laws (that don't even live by us) who are crazy out of control spoilers! My children are bought whatever they want whenever they want every time they are in town. These quaterly encounters have left my children under the impression that money grows on trees and that if they don't take care of their stuff, it's ok, grandma will buy me another one.

One Christams as my kids ripped thru present after present, not even bothering to see who it was from or say thank you to whoever gave them the present, I sat there in horror at what my children had "become."
And after they finished their pile of presents they turned to their grandparents and said "Is that it?"

After that Christmas, grandma and grandpa were cut off! It took months of me putting my foot down and saying no repeatedly to get my point across.

It doesn't have to be parents who are the "entitlers." Besides the ridiculous amounts of spoiling, my children have a very special bond with their grandparents and those 4-5 visits each year were enough to make an impression on my kids.

I was an entitled child, as was my husband obviously. After we got married, we had to learn some hard lessons and it took a long time to realize we couldn't live the way our parents did. I'd like my kids to learn these lessons before they leave home, especially the value of a dollar.

Ashley said...

A few weeks ago, I was shopping with my four year old, who saw something he "really wanted". He got upset when I said "no" and angrily asked me why I wouldn't buy it for him. My response was "Because I don't want to spend the money on that". He frowned, growled at me (that's pretty embarrassing) and said "Fine, then you just give me the money and I'll pay for it."
I tried really hard not to laugh, but it really made me think about what I'm teaching him about the value of a dollar!

Can't wait to read this book! Obviously I need it!

Cristi L. said...

My friend Melissa taught preschool in a very affluent neighborhood in Las Vegas. The children had everything they could ever need or want. Melissa found that giving the children a "reward sticker" just wasn't enough for them. They wanted MORE!
Melissa later took a job teaching 1st grade in a pretty scary part of town. She found that if she gave this "poor" children a pencil they responded as if you had given them the world.

Tami said...

After having cleaning ladies who helped me clean my house for years, including my children's rooms, I decided that I needed to get rid of them, and start having my children work around the house more. The first week, as my plan went horribly wrong, I wrote on the chalkboard in our kitchen, "Dear Family, Clean up after yourselves, I am NOT your maid. Love, Mom." The next day, I see this note, written by my 12 year old daughter: "Dear Mom, You got rid of our maids, so now you are ours!!" You can see the picture of it here:

Ruth H. said...

I recently had a friend's six year old daughter along with me and my children while we ran some errands. I was annoyed by how many times our little friend asked me to buy things for her. Now, it's not that I'm not used to having my own children make requests in the grocery store--it was just the frequency and persistence of this child asking someone who wasn't even her parent to buy things for her! I replied just the way I do with my own children, "That's not on our list," or "I didn't bring money for that," and I even said, "That's something you can ask your mommy to get." This child's response was always, "But I WANT it!" I would be so embarrassed if my child did that to someone.

Hopefully, I won't be, because we've worked hard to help our children understand the difference between wants and needs. Here's my favorite story of anti-entitlement:

It was December, and I was driving with my children. My son was in first grade, and rumors were swirling about Santa Claus. He was telling his sisters and I what his classmates had been saying about Santa being parents, and wondered aloud if maybe they were right. Before I could reply, his big sister said confidently, "Jon, think about it: there HAS to be a Santa Claus. Mom and Dad have a budget. They would never spend all that money on toys!" My husband and I LOVE that what has kept our children believing in Santa is our budget!

Brigitta said...

I think this idea for your book is powerful and something every parent should read. Our children are growing up in indulgence. Unfortunately for them, they don't realize it, because they haven't seen or experienced otherwise.

It is a a daily reminder exercsie for us to teach them that things and money don't make people happy.

I had an expereince with the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy at our house always gives our kids 1-2 dollars. My kids have always been delighted and surprised by the generoristy of the tooth fairy. Until one day when my son was telling his friend about a recent visit from the tooth fairy. He was explaining how excited he was that he got 2 whole dollars for his one tooth, only to be shot down by his friend that said, "You only got 2$ from the tooth fairy I get 20$ from the tooth fairy. Your tooth fairy is lame."
As I listened to this my heart sunk, knowing that my son would be dissappointed and hoping that he didn't think that he should be getting 20$ from the tooth fairy, but of course he was disappointed and then asked me how come he didn't get 20$ from the tooth fairy????......this is just one small example of the constant battle we face with our children of whats reasonable and whats appropriate concerning material things.

It's a constant battle each day to teach our kids that more isn't better. And that stuff doesn't fill us with happiness.

Thanks for getting this message out to the world

Shelley said...

Ugg! Just reading this bums me out. Although my husband and I think we are teaching our children about hard work and responsibility I know we need to do better. Case in point: my 15 year old daughter is in an AP History class this year that had summer homework. My daughter told me we needed to buy the textbook online and it was $130. When I balked at the price she admitted that the teacher did have some books that students could "check out" for the year. "Yes!" I said, "do that." She was glum but said okay. Then yesterday she comes home from school and the first words out of her mouth are, "Mom! You HAVE to buy me the AP History book! The one the teacher gave me is falling apart and I CAN'T handle it!"

Seriously? She can't handle it? She can't tape it, or cover it, or ask me for help with it...she just thinks I should fork over $130 this instant?

We do have chores and allowance but "something" tells me there is room for improvement. Cannot wait for your book. "How to Talk to Your Child About Sex," is like our Bible. It has been to more restaurants than your average book, that's for sure!

Anyway, good luck! We sure miss David and Shawni.
Shelley Fosse

Joy in the Journey said...

As parents of two college aged kids (son-19 and daughter-21) we have found this to be our biggest parenting issue in the past few years. Perhaps it's because we moved overseas years ago and our kids were raised in an affluent expat community. I've wondered if we overinduluged them in an attempt to help them feel like "real" American kids even though they lived in another country. Or maybe I was trying to create the perfect chilhood for them. What I do know is that once they got to college and had a very limited amount of money they were in shock and reality is sinking in. It's been TOUGH on them and it's been tough on me (mom) to be strong and not give them more. But I have a husband who is determined to nip this sense of entitlement once and for all. No easy answers because our culture is so materialistic and toxic and it's hard for kids not to fall into the web of lies the world is selling.

P.S. I used to watch your show Families are Forever when my kids were babies. It was a great resource for me and I incorporated many of your ideas into our family (We're not LDS so they were all new to me!)

Tanya said...

My daughter Kate and I had the following conversation. "Kate, will you please pick up your toys." Kate- "No" "I really need you to clean up your toys so we can have a tidy home." Kate- "Don't worry mom, the cleaning people will be here next week. They can clean it up." I was shocked by this response. We actually do chores in our home but after this experience, we started to do more.

Unknown said...

I am very honored and privelaged to work with the youth in our ward. In May we had a large group of YM/YW graduating High School. It was interesting talking to them about summer plans. Most of them felt they were "entitled" to take the summer off. They had earned it! They needed the next couple of months to relax, have time for themselves and enjoy life.

I can tell you that the parents had a completely different idea. Didn't these kids just spend the last 12 years playing and enjoying life. Welcome to adulthood and responsibility.

As I watched them progress this summer, you could see the struggle to grasp working, going to college and the other great pressures that come with being a responsible adult. My own daughter struggled the first two weeks of summer college. One day we had a heart to heart. Bottom line was...this is your life. You can go to school, follow what your dad has outlined for you and get college paid for OR you can get a job and pay your own way through school. Within a week she adjusted her attitude and realized her life wasn't that hard or bad.

Attitude and expectations play a HUGE part in this generation.

Looking forward to the book! I am one of Shawni's friends in AZ. You came to my house last December for book club.

joanne said...

Your book sounds Great!! I can hardly wait to read it.
I just found your “Empty Nest Parenting” on-line and my husband and I have been reading it. I really appreciate your perspective as you have been through the trenches.

As far as your new book it is timely advice as I see this with a lot of families. Actually just recently I was talking with a friend that we have not seen in several years. I was telling him about a great trip that we had taken with our kids a couple of summer ago. We had spent 30 days in a motorhome traveling along Route 66 and showing our children a lot of old museums and sights. We drove over 5300 miles and they LOVED it, in fact they were sad when we headed back home. He could not believe it. His comment was “Your kids weren’t bored?, Mine would beg to go back to the Hotel pool they can’t stand history or museums”. It took me back because I thought wow I can’t imagine how boring a vacation would be if we were only at a hotel pool.

Parents need to realize that always having fancy vacations and not really learning to do other things beyond getting on a plane flying to places like Hawaii and swimming in a pool when you get there is another way we harm our children. Those types of vacations can be fun, and we have done that with our children but also they should have other experiences as well so they don’t feel that if they are not at a 5 star hotel they aren’t “having fun”.

It is a balancing act because we are a generation that wants to provide what we didn’t have.

I am looking forward to your new book I am sure I can learn a lot from it as it is so easy to want to give to our kids.

Good Luck
joanne mccolm

Jessica said...

As a leader of youth at my church, I reached out recently to a young 15yr. old girl who seemed quite loud and insecure. I asked her if I could could oome to her next dance competition? Her reply was simply, "Only if you're willing to pay a ticket fee and bring me flowers!"

Meredith said...

My kids think eating out all the time is normal. See, my husband has zero hobbies (like golf or skiing or video games etc) that cost money and he likes to go out to eat. He was the last kiddo and born at a very busy time in his parents life when eating out became the norm. I get sad when I ask my kids what special dinner they would like and they start to chant and fight with each other "I want chick fil a! No, I want Subway! We had subway last time...I want to go to TGI Fridays!" Some nights are just "easy dinner nights" in my book - make a sandwich, even eat a bowl if cereal. my husband would rather take everyone out. Instead of fighting about it I go along with him. And it is spoiling my kids and I can't stand it.

I am sure I have another...

Meredith said...

Not sure I was clear on the last comment - he doesn't have hobbies that cost money so eating out is my husband's financial indulgence.

I have actually had a thread going with friends on facebook discussing these kinds of issues and we blame our ungrateful children for their poor behavior and attitudes but it is US as parents that need to be retrained to properly train our children.