We all want to make sure we raise happy, healthy, and successful kids. And while that is all found and good, we also need to make sure we are raising our kids to be good humans.
Every aspect of how our children develop starts at home. Dr. Traci Baxley is a parenting coach and an author. She says that having a compassionate home shapes children into better human beings. And she also points out that by the time our children are three years old, they are capable of showing genuine empathy and compassion. As a parenting coach, Baxley says she has noticed some things that can cause children to be more entitled and selfish, which ultimately can set the stage for who they become as an adult.
She explains that these 5 mistakes can be toxic to how children turn out.
1. Saying yes to everything.
Research has shown that children who are overindulged grow up feeling entitled. And it might be tempting to say yet, to keep them happy and at peace, but the more you say yes to everything they want, the more likely they are to feel entitled. Sometimes, it’s better to say NO, Baxley says.
2. Failing to create teaching opportunities.
Any opportunity can be a lesson. Any time that you notice your child not thinking about someone else, draw attention to that without making them feel bad. She uses an example about one of her sons trying to make his favorite sandwich for his brother, in the example, she draws her son’s attention to the fact that his brother would want his favorite (PB instead of turkey.) It’s little things like this that help to send the message. Other experts say to point out feelings in other people.
3. Not addressing the state of the world.
While a lot of us may feel the need to shield our kids from the world, Baxley advises against it, at least after the age of 8. By 8 years old, she says they can understand that general life circumstances can impact us on a major level. During this stage of development, kids can start to relate with others in more dire circumstances than their own. They are going to hear things from their friends about the world, and see or hear about the news. She suggests using these moments to clarify, from an empathetic place, what is happening.
4. Giving them everything, without enforcing gratitude.
You might feel tempted to give your child everything they want, but by doing so, you may end up with an ungrateful child. When kids don’t receive everything they want – they learn to be grateful for what they have. And even something as simple as making them a list of chores to complete for an allowance can go a long way.
5. Not introducing them to volunteer work.
If you’ve never been in dire circumstances, it can be hard to relate. But, when you volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, you get to see and empathize with others firsthand. Baxley says, “I urge parents to work untiringly to alleviate the suffering of our neighbors, to wrangle our egos, and to honor the sacredness of every human being.”