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“Kids today are so entitled!” Parents throw up their hands and roll their eyes, as if they have no influence on their children’s expectations for what the world owes them.

The reality is, kids aren’t born feeling entitled or spoiled. They learn it from well-intentioned parents who don’t realize they’re teaching it by giving in to demands.

The world offers a lot of temptations in the form of material goods. Who hasn’t looked at what someone else has and wished they had it, too? So when kids start talking about the latest and greatest whatever, it’s tempting to give in to their demands because:

  • We’re in a hurry.
  • We want to make sure our kids feel equal in their peer group.
  • We don’t want to deal with the conflict that’s created by saying “no.”
  • We have lots of other reasons, which result in kids who believe they should always get what they want.

The Positive Discipline program’s Significant Seven provides guiding principles for raising kids who expect to be contributing, responsible members of the family.

Positive Discipline is based on the work of psychologist Alfred Adler, who believed that human behavior is motivated by the need for belonging and significance.

Dr. Jane Nelsen, one of the founders of Positive Discipline, differentiates these two values by explaining that belonging is about helping children “feel loved,” and significance is about “helping develop capability and responsibility through contribution.”






By Eva Dwight, BA, MEd, ACC, CPDT  (Written for All The Moms, USA Today,

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