Dr. Tracie Baxley is a professor and parenting coach, as well as an author of a best-selling parenting book. And according to her, raising good kids starts with the family. While I couldn’t agree more, she explains her theory in depth.

According to her, children begin to develop empathy and compassion around the age of three, based on research. Furthermore, during her work as a parenting coach, she explains that she has noticed a few parenting mistakes that can lead to children growing into selfish and entitled adults.

1. Saying yes to practically everything.

When children are overindulged, they are far more likely to become entitled and far less likely to exhibit empathy. In turn, they may also believe rules don’t apply to them, and that they are entitled to whatever they want. Instead, she encourages giving and following through with consequences, and setting healthy boundaries and limits.

2. Missing out on good teaching opportunities.

Oftentimes, parents may miss out on teaching opportunities which would truly benefit their children. She explains that even at a young age, it’s important to get them to see things from the vantage point of others. She makes an example about her son wanting a turkey sandwich and assuming his brother wants one too. She corrects him by saying that while that may be his favorite sandwich, it isn’t his brothers, and to consider what his brother wants, too.

3. Not explaining what is going on in the world.

By the age of 8, she explains that children understand how people’s feelings can be affected by their life circumstances. She encourages parents to make sure that when their child brings up concerns about the news, social media, or something they have heard about at school, to “use these moments to model how to show genuine or support.” In turn, they will likely have a broader sense of compassion and empathy.

4. Giving them everything, without encouraging gratitude.

She encourages parents to provide an allowance given based on chores, so they have a greater understanding of teamwork. Additionally, she explains that when children are given everything they want, they are less likely to have gratitude for what they do want. She explains that it’s good for children to want things, and it’s important to make them say thank you and express gratitude for what they do get.

5. Not encouraging them to do volunteer work.

Another thing Baxley encourages is for parents to introduce their kids to volunteer work. In turn, they will understand a greater level of compassion, which will teach them to have empathy for people in situations that have not endured.

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