By Ruth E. Freeman, LCSW.
Recently, we received this message from a parent:
“I have an only child that is almost 5 years old and is very entitled. He throws temper tantrums and pushes his limits to the VERY end. He listens well to everyone except his father and me. Any ideas?”
“Entitled” children expect to “get their way” – that is to get what they want, when they want it, at least a good portion of the time.
If that is the case with your child, it is likely that his intense emotional displays cause you or your partner (or both) to periodically give in to the intense emotion. Unfortunately, your natural instinct to give in to stop the upset tends to backfire. Even if you only reward those emotional displays from time to time, that will keep them going and may lead to more intense behavior. Your attention and giving the child what they request are both enormous rewards, and you will get more of whatever behavior you reward with your attention.