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Podcast: How to Avoid Raising Entitled Children

Learn three thoughtful tips to help raise grateful and less-entitled children.

teenager working in bicycle shop

Podcast Transcript

Host: Dave Specht, National Development Manager for Family Dynamics, Wells Fargo Private Bank


In the past couple of years, the news media have vilified the Millennial generation as entitled and spoiled. I would like to dispel that myth and share a few ways that parents can raise grateful and well-adjusted young adults.

I’m Dave Specht, the Family Dynamics National Development Manager for Wells Fargo Private Bank, and I’m your host for Your Financial Journey, a podcast series that explores questions that families of wealth commonly face.

We’ve all known and heard about kids who feel entitled to get whatever they want without working for it or earning it. While it’s easy to blame the media or outside influences, entitlement typically begins with the parents.

For families of wealth, the parents or the generation that creates the wealth is where entitlement begins, not the children who inherit it. The parents pride themselves on being independent, full of grit, and self-made. Many celebrate their frugality or ingenuity and connect those attributes with their ability to accumulate wealth. These parents have worked hard and often feel they deserve the right to give their children whatever they want, and sometimes they decide their children should never have to go without like they did. Many do not expect their kids to finance their own education or work menial jobs.

However, by not allowing their children to make sacrifices to pay their own way or experience the stress of having to pay for things, like a cell phone or gas for the car, the parents can create an unintentional sense of entitlement in those children. And while parents may be well-intentioned, the work ethic, frugality, and grit that made them who they are may not necessarily transition to their children along with the wealth. So what are some things we can do as parents to raise grateful and less-entitled children?

  1. Be thoughtful in how you provide for your children financially. If you create outsized expectations that can be maintained only by gifts from you, are you comfortable with that?
  2. Raise your children in gratitude. Model gratitude in how you talk and how you help others who are less fortunate than you. Where there is gratitude, entitlement can’t survive.
  3. If you want to do nice things for your children, talk about your reasons for doing it with them. Take the opportunity to be explicit with sharing your values and expectations for them. Define for them what success and happiness mean to you, beyond the money.

Entitlement creeps in when we aren’t thoughtful about the expectations that our choices may be creating for our children. Be thoughtful and aware of the choices you make with your children, and they in turn will become your greatest treasure.

To learn more about how Wells Fargo Private Bank’s Family Dynamics Team can help you develop a thriving next generation, contact your financial professional at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

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This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.


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