If you find yourself constantly saying “no” to a million little frivolous things that your child asks you for (or worse, saying “yes” but wishing you wouldn’t) – if you have to nag your children to pick up their toys and belongings and treat them with respect constantly – if it seems like your children have no appreciation for hard work or earning the things they want or you feel they have become instant gratification junkies who feel entitled to anything they can dream of – then this book I’m reviewing may be just up your alley!
Richard and Linda Eyre are the proud parents of nine children – they have truly seen it all and they have become parenting experts and the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Teaching Your Children Values as well as authors of numerous other books on parenting. Their newest book, The Entitlement Trap aims to help parents “raise responsible children in an age of instant gratification and avoid the entitlement trap.”
Here’s a description of this book from goodreads.com:
Parents complain about children growing up without responsibility—and then dole out huge hassle-free allowances. Linda and Richard Eyre’s The Entitlement Trap is designed to bridge that logical chasm by instituting a family economy that will teach self-sufficiency instead of self-gratification. Initially your kids might groan that this system is demeaning, but according to the authors, they might thank you later. Think of it as an investment.
My husband and I often complain about the sense of entitlement that we see in young kids and even our peers – the instant gratification cycle is a vicious one that truthfully we battle with in our own lives, never mind our parenting lives. America in particular has created a society where it is easy to have the things we want without really working for it – and it’s easy to feel jealous or disgruntled at the idea of waiting to get something you really want, even when you know that you should be working hard for the things you own!
But what example are we setting for our children and are our parenting practices setting them up for a responsible future or are we unknowingly adding to the problem by doting on them too much? I honestly wasn’t sure so this book was very intriguing to me.
The basic idea of this book is to create a family banking system where your children (starting at about the age of 8) begin to truly work for the allowance money that they earn – in a way that has them keep track of the work they are doing and either reap the rewards of their efforts or suffer the consequences of their idleness or forgetfulness. The big emphasis here is that the kids learn to keep track of their chores themselves and understand what their work earns – how many chores they need to do to afford the video game or new pair of jeans they want. Parents should encourage kids but try not to interfere or hold their hand through the process.
I like this concept a lot and although my kids are still too young to really implement something like this with them, I do see it as being a good (common sense improved upon) idea – if we can teach our kids to manage their money at a young age while the stakes are small, then they will be better prepared for when the stakes are larger. And as a fringe benefit, the Eyre’s have found children seem to appreciate the things they have earned far more than the things they are given!
I also really liked their “Gunny Bag” idea to help kids learn to pick up their things so that the Gunny Bag doesn’t come out and eat all their favorite toys! This sounds like a fun idea for younger children that I am thinking about trying out with my kids.
That said, concerning the actual process of reading this book – I will admit that I found the book tedious and repetitive at times. I think this is true for most non-fiction as repetition does help to drive home important concepts and nonfiction is bound to be drier than fiction for sure – they do have a lot of testimonials and personal anecdotes to lighten up the book, but even these became rather lengthy after awhile. Basically, I think the book could have been shorter than it was while still getting across all their best ideas – but I am glad to have read it for the useful ideas and information that I found.
I’d recommend this to parents of kids between 8-16 who are looking for a way to better teach said kids responsibility and real life monetary skills.