Derek Sivers

The Me, Me, Me Epidemic - by Amy McCready

The Me, Me, Me Epidemic - by Amy McCready

ISBN: 0399184864
Date read: 2022-01-15
How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
(See my list of 320+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Good parenting advice on how to prevent or cure entitlement. Take responsibility. Pay consequences. Very verbose and full of examples.

my notes

An entitled child lacks the ability to look beyond herself, delay gratification, or work hard to achieve a goal.
They’ve rarely felt the gratification of finally getting something they’ve been working on or waiting for.
They expect things to be done for them, a path to happiness cleared and smoothed, without putting in much effort themselves.
When they’re not used to persevering through multiple frustrations, they won’t know the pride that comes from achieving hard-won, worthwhile goals.
Kids learn that they shouldn’t have to do anything they don’t want to, and they can quit whenever they want.
Friendships are self-centered, as entitled kids lack the ability to empathize and sacrifice.

We say “You’re so smart!” to make our kids feel good over the most mundane tasks.
They grow up hearing us sing their praises for unextraordinary behavior, and soon won’t exhibit good behavior, a strong work ethic or a helpful spirit without promise of a reward or accolades.

Punishment actually drives kids to think about how to get back at Mom or Dad instead of correct their behavior.
It teaches them nothing, other than to simply try harder not to get caught next time.

If you try to interrupt while I’m busy speaking with someone else, I’m not going to respond to you. After I put down the phone, I’m all ears.
It’s not okay to interrupt.
Train your kids in the behavior you expect.
Develop a nonverbal signal you can use to remind them in the moment but without giving them attention for the negative behavior. Agree on the signal.
Be respectful of your kids’ conversations and activities, too. Don’t interrupt them.

Reorganize your closets, laundry room, kitchen cabinets and refrigerator so that everything they need is simple to find, ready to use and within reach.

To get your kids making their own breakfast, doing their own laundry and more, imagine there are no adults living in the house.

Parents are often the ones who stop kids from helping, worrying about their doing it wrong or making a mess.
By doing everything for them and discouraging their efforts, we tell them, “You’ll only mess it up” or “You’re too little to be any help.”

We don’t know whether she’s more exasperated with her laces or her dad’s impatience.
Either way, she’s learned that Dad does things better and faster than she does.

If we faced doubt, impatience and the third degree every time we wanted to take on a new task, we’d probably give up, too.

Phrases or actions that say “Be careful!” or “Let me do that!” are tremendously discouraging to kids, who are, quite rightly and naturally, grasping for independence.
Next time you’re tempted to use a “don’t,” switch it to a “do.”

Too much helping hurts.
When we do for kids what they can do for themselves, we rob from them the extremely rewarding opportunities to learn from their mistakes, work toward and achieve a goal, tackle a challenge, collaborate, take pride in their work and build confidence for taking on future challenges.
They are less likely to put themselves out in the future and work through obstacles - or even leave home, where they have it so easy.

Teach kids important life skills - everything from behaving at a wedding to managing credit cards to unclogging a toilet.
By the time your kids leave your house, they should have experience with every single thing you manage for your home.
Teach them more efficient routines, and how to make a good first impression.
Don’t make your child feel guilty for not helping out before.
Explain the why behind everything
One new task (or experience, or behavior) each week.
Be creative and make it fun. (A T Rex can even be convinced to set the table).
Train kids in everything from interviewing for a job to getting the car inspected to respectfully disagreeing with an adult.
Keep a list of responsibilities he’d like to learn and alternate them with some he’s not as excited about.
Develop problem solving, resourcefulness, perseverance.

Let WHEN-THEN routines be the boss of your kids.
When you have finished dusting the living room, then you may enjoy your phone time.
When you finish your family contributions, then you can go over to Miguel’s house.
When you clean up the playroom, then we’ll have lunch.
When you finish your homework, then we’ll leave for practice.
Use something normally occurring in the future - not a special treat or reward.
When you’re dressed, your bed is made, your hair is combed and your backpack is ready and waiting by the door, then you’re welcome at the breakfast table.

Stick to the routine every day - if you allow negotiation once, your kids will feel entitled to negotiate every time.

Voice your empathy for your child and then comment on the impact your child is making.

By trying to hold all the power, we actually produce children who rebel against all our attempts

Overcontrol doesn’t work.

Turning the ten-minute job of vacuuming the stairs into a thirty-minute chore by using the tiny dust vacuum? It’s okay to gently offer, “We also have the bigger handheld vacuum if you want to use it.” But leave it at that - no need to needle him as long as he gets the job done.

When your child confronts you asking for a new type of freedom, consider three different responses: yes, no and Convince Me.
This puts the burden on your child to figure out a safe and rule-abiding way to carry out his plan.

What can you do to help yourself?
Whatever works - as long as they’re her ideas, right?
Try her plan (assuming it’s reasonable).
She’ll be more likely to comply if she came up with the solution.

We can remind our kids every day to remember their lunch box - but we’re only teaching them that they don’t need to take responsibility themselves.
Nagging, lecture: None of these methods reliably achieve good behavior and most only create a wall between parents and kids.
That’s where consequences come in.
What would happen if you didn’t complete an assignment at work - and nothing occurred?
Or what if you showed up an hour late, and no one batted an eye?
It wouldn’t take long until you realized there was absolutely no reason to put in any effort, because nothing would happen if you gave it your worst.
Teach them about real consequences safely and effectively when the stakes are still low.
Facing consequences now could save them from much bigger problems in the future.

Set up a consequential environment in the home.
Negative actions will be met with negative consequences.
Positive choices will be met with positive outcomes and negative actions will be met with negative consequences.

Watch your own actions to make sure you’re not letting children off the hook rather than allowing them to be held accountable.
Allow consequences to take place, without rescuing or diverting them.

Seek their input to get buy-in.
(“Do you have any ideas that would help you keep track of your homework every week?”)

Resist the urge to drive your point home with a “See? You didn’t wear your coat and now you’re cold!”

In a calm moment, briefly warn your child in advance what could happen if she keeps up the negative behavior.
For instance, if your nine-year-old has been bossing around her friends, you can gently let her know, “Your friends probably don’t enjoy being told how to play all the time. If you keep trying to boss them around and control what they do, they might not want to play with you anymore.”
Let the natural consequence happen.
Next time your daughter is telling her friends exactly how to dress their Barbies for the big dance, keep quiet, even if you can tell her friends are getting annoyed.
Skip the “I told you so” and offer empathy and guidance as needed.
When your daughter is bemoaning the fact that her best friend doesn’t want to come over, empathize.
Then, instead of saying “Of course she doesn’t - you always boss her around!” ask “What could you do differently the next time you have a playdate?” and role-play how respectful conversations with friends can sound.

Picky eating is likely a classic example of an entitlement issue.
Let them eat at will - no “Eat your peas!” necessary.
In fact, even commenting on good eating might produce a power struggle because it lets them know you are invested in what and how much they eat.
If you’re worried they’ll fill up on corn, serve only enough for everyone to have one serving.

Consequences: To be fair and effective, use a Logical Consequence.
Unlike Natural Consequences, the parent creates and institutes Logical Consequences.
Revealed in Advance, Otherwise your consequence will come out of the blue and feel like punishment.
Repeated Back to You.
If the intent of the consequence is to make the child suffer or pay for his mistake, he will retaliate by acting as if it doesn’t bother him at all.
The consequence wasn’t related to the original misbehavior, and as a result it feels unfair to the child.
Haphazard punishments that aren’t related to the original infraction usually result in the child turning her anger against her parents.

Give your child two choices: one focused on stopping the behavior at hand and rectifying it and another focused on the appropriate way to continue the behavior.
Structure it the same way every time so your kids know you mean business when you break out the Either-Or.
“Either you can clean the purple paint off your hands now and keep your paint on your paper or you can be done painting.”

If they still ignore you, choose for them - whichever option is easier for you to work through.
Say “I see you haven’t decided, so I will pick for you.” And then put the football away where they can’t get to it.

Begin to implement consequences of any kind, remember that they won’t be effective unless you follow through every time.

If we shame our kids with a “What were you thinking?” they’ll get defensive and it will take the emphasis off the potential learning opportunity.
Any kind of “I told you so” in word or attitude unravels the positive effects of the consequences.
When we rub it in or try to prove we were right, the child gets defensive, and her anger and blame turn toward the parent rather than on her own poor decision.

“I will vacuum bedrooms on Thursday mornings. If your floor is clear, I’ll be happy to do it for you. Otherwise, you’ll have to vacuum your own room by dinnertime that same day.”
You’re not trying to control them by nagging and yelling at them to clean up their rooms, but they’ll face the consequences of not doing it themselves (gaining an extra chore).
This tool helps reinforce the fact that while none of us can control another person, we can control our own actions and responses.

“I’ll wash anything that’s in the laundry room hamper Wednesday and Saturday mornings” or “I’ll be happy to help you with your homework as long as it’s before eight p.m., you’ve completed everything that you know how to do and you can explain to me your thought process for the questions you couldn’t figure out on your own.”

Stop rescuing your kids from the consequences of their forgetfulness and misbehaviors.
Talk about solutions (“What do you think you could do to make sure you remember it tomorrow?”)

An apology isn’t always the best way to fix a problem we’ve caused.
Go beyond saying I’m sorry to actually remedying the situation with a kid-generated act of reconciliation.
Making It Right helps them learn empathy and teaches them that their actions affect others.
Hold your child accountable even if the offense was accidental. Even oopsies need to be rectified.
Teach them that a quick apology doesn’t mean they’re off the hook.
But be sure your child plays an active role in figuring out how to reconcile.

Rewarding and praising good behavior actually decreases the likelihood we’ll see it again.
Take the emphasis off yourself. Try “You must be so proud of yourself!” rather than “I’m so proud of you!”

Point out the specific behavior that you want her to repeat in the future.
“Your laser focus really helped you get your homework done quickly today!”
Talk about what you can see. If you’ve asked your kids to tidy up the playroom and they’ve done a great job, say “Books are on the shelf, toys are in bins, the floor is clear - mission accomplished!”

Your child will love explaining her techniques as she answers “How did you manage to fit everything so nicely into your closet?”

Help your kids get into the habit of looking for things - even the littlest things - to be grateful for and also help them learn how to express their gratitude.

The more your kids hear you express your gratitude, the better they’ll be able to do so themselves.

Daily gratitude ritual (for instance, at bedtime):
Get a good look at the alternatives by serving the disadvantaged. Doing so will help build their sense of gratitude and also show them concrete ways they can make a difference. Over time they’ll develop a servant’s heart and the willingness to help people.

Random Acts of Kindness: Let them see it.
Actively model empathy by noticing the lives of others.

Teach active listening to your kids by playing a simple game.
First assign roles: you’ll need a talker and a listener
After the talker as finished, the listener will repeat what he heard and what he thought was most important.
You can also assign a watcher: the watcher pays attention to both the talker and the listener. He gives the talker constructive feedback on her ability to tell the story in an interesting and clear manner, and the listener feedback on how well he showed he was actively listening, as well as on how accurately he remembered.
A game of catch:
Come up with three what, how or do questions they can ask anyone. Examples include: “What brings you here?” “How is your day going?” “Do you have any weekend plans?”
Come up with three topics they like to talk about (hobbies, school, sports, etc.).
During the game, one child tosses the ball to another while asking a question. (“What is your favorite football team?”)
The recipient answers the question while holding the ball, and then passes the ball - along with a new question - to someone else. (“My favorite team is the Steelers because my parents grew up in Pittsburgh. What is your favorite sport to play in school?”)
During the game (and ideally in most conversations) you can never give a one-word response.
Share as much information as feels appropriate - the whole purpose of a conversation.
You can’t hold the ball for more than thirty seconds (when you’re first meeting someone).
Kids take turns talking only while holding the ball and asking a question to pass it, they get a feel for the flow of a friendly discussion.