Entitlement vs Gratitude


Entitlement.  It seems to be the buzz world surrounding millennials.  And according to an article by Larry Alton in Forbes (2017), the generation that grew up believing that they should be rewarded for every minute achievement will suffer the repercussions as they cruise on into adulthood.  But this isn’t news to us - we’ve explored the notion of over-rewarding and lawn mower parenting in recent months. The Forbes article does take the research further by suggesting that this sense of entitlement is creating a number of serious issues in the workplace.  As parents and custodians of our children’s preparation for the adult world, this view on entitlement suddenly has more depth.

So what is the opposite of entitlement?


“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.  The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for” Zig Ziglar

I’m going to be bold and suggest that the first steps in guiding children away from entitlement is to immerse them in habitual gratitude.  Help them see all the incredible parts of their daily life that they can be grateful for. Help them unpack the simple joys and shift their focus from what they don’t have to what the do have.

Go on that ‘noticing walk’ with them.  Point out that they can walk , they can see, they can hear, they can speak.  That some of their peers may not be so lucky.   

Sit down for your evening meal and take a moment to appreciate that you are eating (and have probably have eaten more than once a day), have a roof over your head and that they will be going to school the following day.

Simple right?  Absolutely! But so easily forgotten in the humdrum of life.

Let’s create a habit in our children that could be useful as they cruise on into adulthood.  

A gratitude journal.  

Ask them to write or draw three things that they have been grateful for during the day. These things could even be the same each evening.  Pop the book by their bed or under their pillow ready for them to look at when they first wake the next day.

While it might not be the magical switch from entitlement to gratitude, this simple exercise could pave the way for a more positive way to start and end a day.   Perhaps we should all give it try?

Do you already practice gratitude with your children?  Do you think you could put aside five minutes a day to try this little experiment?

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If you would like to start the daily habit of gratitude, I’ve created a template to help - it’s this week’s download.  If you’re not signed up to the newsletter - let me know and I can send it direct to your inbox! 

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