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Christmas is a wonderful time of giving. God gave the greatest gift and so we enjoy giving gifts to one another in reflection of his love. But what happens when your child believes they deserve those gifts and an attitude of entitlement exhibits itself? Perhaps it is through a look, a few words like me, my, and mine, or even a strong demand of “what I want for Christmas.”
Proactive parenting obviously focuses on having a thankful heart to curb the above-mentioned scenario. But our precious children are born sinners, right? So when an attitude of entitlement rears its ugly head in a natural state, how do we combat it? Check out these ideas for reversing your child’s entitlement attitude– 5 ways to curb a crummy Christmas attitude in your child!
1. Write out a list of wants vs. needs.
When all you’ve heard is “I want…” and the demand behind the words is overbearing, then teaching your child to understand the difference between wants and needs is essential. My children have brought home this exercise as assigned school homework and each time, it has resulted in wonderful conversation and stimulated thought processes. Draw a line down the middle of the paper
2. Create a gratitude project.
Instead of addressing the attitude directly, announce a new project and build a way to teach the importance of giving thanks. You could decorate a JOY journal or take a nature walk and collect items for a blessings jar. Use an avenue of interest for your child to account for people, ideas, and non-tangible, as well as tangible, items for which to give thanks. If your child loves art, get out the paints. If your child plays an instrument, create some lyrics for a simple song of praise. If you want to try a hand at poetry, make a list of things you’re thankful for and rhyming words to match, then write a poem.
3. Serve together as a family.
Join a community project or church ministry and use the experience to teach lessons of gratefulness. I love the initiative our church is promoting for this month titled “HUGS,” which stands for hats, underwear, gloves, and socks. Each church member is encouraged to purchase new items from the list and bring them to church with them on a designated Sunday. The donations are collected and distributed through community channels. Designate a day as a service day and make a list of places you could serve for the day. Take cookies to the nursing home, give the trash collectors bottles of water to drink with a thank you note, or deliver Christmas cards to shut-ins.
4. Use an observatory experience to inspire a giving spirit.
Last summer my home church housed the Compassion Experience and my children were given the opportunity to see what it is like to live in another country. This opportunity resulted in a memory that inspires a giving spirit. Maybe your opportunity is to watch a missions video clip online or host a missionary for dinner. Support an orphan and have your child write a letter to this child.
5. Enjoy a daily devotional to encourage a grateful heart year round.
To work on curbing a sense of entitlement year round, this daily devotional, Every Day a Blessing, will encourage grateful hearts and attitudes no matter the season. If you sense an ongoing struggle with a sense of entitlement in your child, then investing a year to read this devotional daily is a wonderful way to work on defeating this attitude for the long haul.
I’d love to know what ways you have discovered to curb a child’s crummy attitude!
By his grace,
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