Let us share a little insider story with you about the new book we have coming out this fall called "The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning, and Ownership."
We originally planned to write it for the LDS audience only, and it was going to be a book about the stewardship we have over our children and about how kids have to first learn to feel ownership and responsibility for things to prepare them to later understand the greater principle of stewardship.
But the more we got into it, the more we realized that the biggest problem parents have, throughout the world, in the church and outside it, is the sense of entitlement that their kids feel. Today's kids think they are entitled to the latest technology, to name-brand clothes, to going anywhere their friends go and having anything their friends have. And they don't think they should have to work for any of it.
And the problem is growing everywhere!
When today's parents were kids, there was more motivation and more incentive and more working going on — more of a sense of responsibility and less of a sense of entitlement.
Much of that is gone today, and the more we thought about it, the more we concluded that the book should be written for all parents and focus on ways of giving kids a sense of ownership (of their spending money, of their toys, of their clothes — and then of their choices, their values and their goals.)
Then we decided that we could have a postscript about how stewardship is an even higher form of truth and of motivation than ownership and that parents should view themselves as stewards over their children.
But while we wrote the book for the parents of the world, we deep down wrote it especially for the parents of the church, who we think should be an ensign and an example to the world.
We earnestly believe that parents in the church are, in many cases, among the very best parents in the world. Our beliefs about the eternal nature and premortal origin of our children cause us to respect them and value them above all else. We think that parents in the church are often models and examples for other parents, and we believe that LDS parents can be a leading part of a cause or a movement to strengthen families everywhere. We can do this first by setting the example in our own homes and second by being open and courageous in encouraging other parents to prioritize their children over everything else and in sharing the joy we receive through the pursuit of a family-oriented lifestyle.
While we live "in the world," we do not have to be "of the world." The society and culture all around us are oriented to material things and to a mentality of entitlement and instant gratification. But in our own homes, we can create a culture of a responsible work ethic and of a family economy where kids earn their own money and thus feel ownership of it and of the things they buy with it.
The Eyres are the founders of Joy Schools and of valuesparenting.com and the authors of numerous bestselling books on marriage, parenting and family. Their mission statement, developed while presiding over the England London South Mission, is "FORTIFY FAMILIES by celebrating commitment, popularizing parenting, bolstering balance and validating values."
Their newest book, now available in stores and online, is "5 Spiritual Solutions for Everyday Parenting Challenges," and their blog can be found at http://www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or www.valuesparenting.com.