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In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, raising well-rounded and respectful children is a top priority for many parents. However, sometimes the language we use can unintentionally contribute to the development of entitled attitudes. Let’s explore eight common phrases parents often say that may accidentally raise entitled children, and provides alternatives to promote healthier mindsets.

For parents seeking additional guidance on effective communication and child-rearing, books like How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish provide invaluable insights.

1. “You’re so smart!”

Praising intelligence can create a fixed mindset, making children believe their abilities are inherent and cannot be improved. Instead, focus on their effort and hard work: “I can see you put a lot of effort into solving that problem!”

2. “You deserve the best!”

While it’s essential to encourage self-worth, this phrase may instill a sense of entitlement. Try saying, “You’ve worked hard, and you should be proud of your accomplishments!” to promote gratitude and humility.

3. “I’ll do it for you.”

Constantly doing things for your child can make them feel entitled to others’ help. Encourage independence and problem-solving skills by saying, “Why don’t you give it a try? I’m here to help if you need me.”

Another helpful resource is Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck, which delves into the importance of fostering a growth mindset in children.

4. “You always get what you want.”

This phrase can reinforce the idea that children should expect to have their desires fulfilled. Instead, teach them the value of patience and compromise: “Sometimes, we can’t have everything we want, but we can work together to find a solution.”

5. “I’m sorry you’re upset.”

Apologizing for your child’s emotions may lead them to believe that their feelings are more important than others’. Encourage empathy by saying, “I understand you’re upset, but let’s try to see things from the other person’s perspective.”

6. “You’re the best at everything!”

Constantly praising your child can create unrealistic expectations and entitlement. Opt for specific praise, such as, “You did a great job practicing and improving your soccer skills!”

7. “You don’t have to share.”

While it’s okay for children to have personal belongings, it’s crucial to teach them the value of sharing. Encourage generosity by saying, “It’s important to share and take turns so that everyone can enjoy playing together.”

8. “They’re just jealous.”

This phrase can make your child feel entitled to success and dismiss the feelings of others. Instead, foster empathy and self-reflection: “Not everyone will agree with us, but it’s essential to respect their opinions and learn from them.”

Finally, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson offers strategies for nurturing emotional intelligence and resilience.

As parents, our words have a significant impact on shaping our children’s attitudes and beliefs. By being mindful of the phrases we use and replacing them with healthier alternatives, we can encourage the development of well-rounded, empathetic, and respectful individuals.