Why I Want My Daughter To Feel Entitled

Entitlement – it’s pretty much a parenting curse word…a bullet to dodge, a badge of shame to bear.

Not for me.

Entitlement is a parenting goal of mine; it is something to aim at and tirelessly work towards.

I want my daughter to feel entitled to love and be loved.

I want my daughter to feel entitled to respect.

I want my daughter to feel entitled to dream.

When I state these wants of mine, I feel utterly confused that anybody would frown upon this concept of entitlement for our children.  Our children, who we created and birthed...why wouldn’t we want the best for them?

Most of the whisperings out there, which condemn this idea of entitlement, do so under the guise of ‘selfishness’.  These whispers warn us of a generation of children growing up feeling as if they are above common standards…a generation ultimately refusing to jump through society’s hoops.

Here’s the thing, I know too many hoop-jumpers (hell, I used to be one myself!) to know that for most, hoop-jumping does not leave a person feeling fulfilled.  The cup of a hoop-jumper is almost never full.  And what’s the 101 of airplane safety?  Put on your own mask first.

Because when our cups our empty, we’ve not got anything left to give.

So let’s turn this around.  What if our children felt entitled to happiness, choice and hope?  What if our children’s cups were filling up, or in some cases even overflowing?  Wouldn’t these well-rounded and fulfilled human beings have more capacity to lend a hand to another…to help out a neighbour with her mask, so to speak?

Because if we are hurting, we are more likely to lash out in our pain.  Whereas if we are content, empowered and feel entitled to life…we are more likely to give, to offer, to make a difference.

So many moms reminisce about the first time that they cradled their baby in their arms.  So many moms wish for entitlement for their child in those first moments and it is my personal belief that the vast majority of moms never, ever, lose sight of that dream.  The issue is, there comes a point in our mommy-ing where what other people are saying starts to ring a little louder in our ears.  Perhaps sleep deprivation has caught up with us, or perhaps we are making a huge transition such as returning to work, but these whisperings often seem to get louder when we are at our most vulnerable.

If we are told often enough that having an entitled child is a bad thing, there is every chance that we will start believing it.

So let me say this, and perhaps my voice is quiet and isolated, but at least it’s out there…I hope for a generation of entitled children...

I hope that our children feel entitled to fair treatment; with logical and real reasons supporting everyday rules and limits.

I hope that our children feel entitled to body autonomy; empowered to make safe and healthy choices for their own bodies, and not be afraid to voice them.

I hope that our children feel entitled to happiness; to accept it without guilt when it arrives.

I hope that our children feel entitled to sadness; to accept it without shame when it floats by.

I hope that our children feel entitled to play often and freely; unapologetically and without structural targets and moderated scales of assessment.

Most of all, I hope that our children feel entitled to life; precious, fleeting and powerful.

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  1. Totally agree with you! It's because the world is full of unhappy people that so much of taking happiness away from others takes place. I see this in my work with vulnerable disengaged teenagers and actually in my own behaviour when I'm not feeling at my best x

  2. 100% LOVE this!!! I am a peaceful, non-violent parent who teaches my children that their bodies are their own, I respect them, I do not spank or shame or ignore them. It took me some 30 years to learn that I myself had the RIGHT to be safe from violence and abuse. I have the RIGHT to be treated kindly by those I have in my life. I have the RIGHT to pursue my own happiness, as long as it doesn't harm anybody else, of course. Too many of us are abusing (yes, spanking is abuse, shaming, yelling, all of it - abuse) our children, and claiming it's the "best way" to raise proper humans. Yet science shows time and time again that these things damage children's brains, resulting in the opposite behavior you were trying to achieve. Children are HUMANS, and as such, they have certain RIGHTS!! Just because you think you turned out fine, some of us are aiming for more than just "fine". And it's true, the happier and more at peace you are in your own life, the MORE likely you are to reach out your hand to help others. The world needs more compassionate people, less critics.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful article. I have done this with my three children who are now wonderful, caring adults. I can't imagine treating my children any other way. Why wouldn't we want to treat them with total respect, unconditional love? Just look at them as amazing human beings who are entitled to everything good in life. And enjoy!