No one likes to think they’re entitled. It’s kind of an ugly word. It carries a lot of shame and judgment. Yet I know that I’ve been entitled for a number of reasons that are not accessible to the vast majority of human being in the world. Let’s just start with race, clean water, medical care, home, and nourishment.

Then there’s another level of entitlement that goes beyond the norm. An recent article paints a clearer picture of entitled parents who expect they and their children ought to be treated with particular, and often annoying, deference. It’s: 7 Signs You Were Raised By An Entitled Parent, by Caroline Bologna, senior reporter at Huffpost. I’ve used her material to make it more readily consumable.  Ms. Bologna’s cites Susan Groner, parenting mentor and Becky Stuempfig, a licensed marriage and family therapist as her primary sources.

In it Becky Stuempfig states: Being an ‘entitled’ person refers to someone who feels they should have things or get to do things without having to work for it.

SusanGroner notes that many child-rearers among us believe they and their families deserve special treatment, favors, and anything they deem the “best” because they are somehow superior to others by virtue of their economic or social position ― or “just because.”

So let’s get to 7 signs of entitled parents.  If you see yourself or your parents here, just remember: awareness is the road to healing.

  1. Entitled parents make unreasonable demands. They…
  • Go right to the top instead of dealing with the person at hand.
  • Believe that criticizing the child is a criticism of the parent.
  • Believe rules don’t apply to them and demand special attention.
  • Expect special treatment at restaurants, stores, their children’s school, and extracurricular activities.

    2. They believe the world owes them. They…
  • Seem to have ‘a chip on their shoulder’.
  • Complain about “unfair treatment” to store or restaurant managers, teachers, principals, and coaches.
  • May storm out of social scenes or youth sporting events due to feeling like their child is not being treated correctly.
  • Engage in yelling, incessant complaining online, sending harsh emails or posting rants.
  • Don’t care that they embarrass and shame their children by their behavior.

    3. They show no concern for others or their needs.  They…
  • Are disconnected from others outside of themselves.
  • Lack empathy, compassion, or sensitivity toward others.
  • Do not apologize or make amends for their behavior when others call them out.
  • Surround themselves with people they deem worthy or who share their worldview.
  • Rarely refer to people as ‘we’.

    4. They’re obsessed with accomplishments and status. They…
  • Mention family status and tangible accomplishments frequently.
  • Exaggerate unrealistically their children’s achievements to the child’s detriment.
  • Pressure their children contributing to the child’s self-doubt and low self-esteem.
  • Will never accept that their child is at fault for anything and insist they be treated as the smartest, most talented child by teachers, principals, coaches, and directors.
  • Will go to extraordinary lengths, even commit crimes, to assure their children gain entry into top-performing schools even if their credentials do not merit admission. (The 2019 college admission bribery scandal is an illustration of this.)

    5. They don’t really enjoy their life.  They…
  • Believe the opposite is true, even if they are in a good position in life.
  • Are self-pitying and victim-prone due to “bad circumstances.”
  • Spoil their children materially with the latest and greatest technology, clothes, vacations, cars, etc.
  • Never have enough of anything.

    6. They don’t have healthy boundaries.  They…
  • Treat their child as an extension of themself.
  • Link their importance to their child’s even if it destroys the child’s self-esteem.
  • Are stingy with their children and their children’s needs because their needs come first. ‘I’ will be used in conversations about anything.

    7. They lack gratitude.  They…
  • Have trouble living in the moment and being grateful for what they have.
  • Label anyone who questions their position as ‘bad’.
  • See gratitude as limiting their possibilities for more.

If any of the above characteristics are reminiscent of your parents or peers, know that entitlement is not necessarily a permanent condition, nor does it have to be your genetic fate. We’re all human and have our entitled tendencies from time to time, but expressing gratitude for the positive things in your life is a meaningful first step for combatting this kind of destructive negativity.

Thank you! If you want a private conversation with me, I welcome the opportunity to learn more from you.  Please arrange a time to talk using this link on my calendar.

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