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I had a chance to learn about a new book that will be coming out soon from Richard and Linda Eyre called The Entitlement Trap.  I was really interested in this book because I have enjoyed one of their previous volumes “How to Teach Your Children Responsibility”.  They have a whole line of parenting books on various subjects and I really enjoy their straightforward and consistent approach to parenting.  

If I remember correctly, they are the parents of nine (I think) children, so they’ve had plenty of opportunities for trial and error.  They have a great website called that has a wealth of great information.  I particularly like that they have three different areas on their website, one for very young children, one for elementary school kids, and one for teens.  I like that because so much of the parenting resource is aimed at much younger kids, but the parents of teens face just as many challenges, maybe even more.  

In addition to their books, they have programs, free articles, really a wealth of info over there.  I kind of got stuck over there when I was researching for this post because I was fascinated by reading some of their ideas and found several I’d like to implement.  

I’m really looking forward to The Entitlement Trap also because despite my best efforts, my teen aged son (will be 13 next week – yikes!) has turned into this little bundle of entitlement.  He can hardly eat a bite of food without some type of entertainment in his face, asks me almost daily for a cell phone, and is continually being reprimanded for entertaining himself with games/TV/Facebook when he is supposed to be doing his chores, getting ready for bed, or doing his homework.  

It’s turned into quite the challenge at our house lately, but I know perfectly well who is to blame and it isn’t him.  It definitely is me.  I created this environment for him and now I need to rein it in and help him get things back under control.  So I definitely will be interested in checking out this book – I think it can make a big difference at our house.  And in the meantime to go review the one I already have on Responsibility! 

In the meantime, here is a little info from the authors and a link where you can pre-order the book. 

“After elaborating and explaining something that we all know–namely that our children feel more entitled and are more spoiled than any other generation of kids in history–this book tells parents what to do about it!

Unknowingly, most parents are contributing to their kids’ sense of entitlement by giving them too much and expecting too little of them.  “Allowances” are usually part of the problem.  Kids queue up like a welfare line each week and demand their money.  Since they did nothing to earn the money, they don’t perceive ownership of it, or of the things they buy with it.  The same applies to the toys and gadgets and clothes that we give them.  They gave up nothing for it, so they take no pride in it.

Unfortunately, its not only their “stuff” that they feel no ownership in or pride for–it is also their goals, their choices, and even their values.  If they don’t think of them as “theirs” (often because we have just thrust it all on them) they are unmotivated and without incentive!

To change all that is the goal of this book!  Young kids are both flattered and instructed by having real responsibility and by being paid for what they actually do rather than given handouts.

The Entitlement Trap gives parents a detailed blueprint of how to establish a “family economy” wherein kids earn, budget, save, and give money and where they buy their own things and become truly responsible for them.  It involves an interest-paying family bank complete with checkbooks and a pegboard or on-line system of keeping track of task accomplishment.

As Stephen Covey says in the forward, “In the first half of the book, you will learn how to make your kids economically savvy and financially independent. . . . In the second half, you will learn that the family economic model is just the framework and the metaphor for lessons even more important.”

The second half goes on to apply the same ownership principles to kids’ grades and education, to their choices and goals, and perhaps most importantly to their values.  Once our children accept and perceive real ownership of all these things, their motivation and incentive grows exponentially, and our job of teaching them responsibility begins to feel possible!


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2 Comments on The Entitlement Trap – book discussion

  1. Wow Adrian, that book sounds like just what i need!
    Thanks for posting this.
    Oh and I hope you enjoyed your SITS day – sorry i was a bit late to the party!

  2. Visiting from SITS…

    Good post. Really thought-provoking. I am definitely interested in reading the book but I’m also a little leery of saying the sense of entitlement comes from “parents giving them too much and expecting too little of them.” I think it’s more complicated than that.

    Like many of my friends and family, I grew up with my parents giving me all my stuff. I didn’t have to give up something to get my clothes, toys, etc. But I was not an entitled kid. And I am not an entitled adult. Neither are my friends and family who grew up the same way.

    So why DO today’s kids seem to feel entitled when we seem to be raising them they way we were raised? I think it’s the culture they are growing up in. We didn’t have the bombardment of media that kids have now. Growing up, if one of our friends had a new toy, that’s probably how we found out about it. Or maybe from a commercial on TV. But now kids see more and more sophisticated and targeted ads everywhere: TV, video games, iPads, iPods, even watching PBS (Chuck E. Cheese sponsors PBS which drives me CRAZY!)

    Whew. I don’t think I ever left such a long comment before! Sorry for blathering. But you really got me thinking…

    Subscribing to your blog now!

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