For years we have been telling our children that it's all about them. Get good grades! We will reward you. Get bad grades! It's not your fault, it's the teachers fault. Going though a divorce? Here let me get you a cell phone. Spending less time at home? Here is a video game. Not good enough to play on the team? Well that's the coaches fault.
When we reward our children for going through tough times, when we over protect them from the pain of a divorce or rejection, do more harm than good. These children will grow up without the ability to cope with life coupled with unrealistic expectations. When we send the message that they deserve things for facing adversity we also teach them how to become co-dependent on someone or something.
At the turn of the 20th century our country went through the Great Depression WWI and WWII. It wasn't easy. When times were tough, the whole family suffered. But for their hard work and resolve, they were rewarded with the fruits of their labor later. Delayed gratification. But as time went on and culture demanded that the individual, not the family, become the most important thing - the focus shifted from character building to temper tantrum management.
So what can we do?
Teach your children that life isn't fair. Is hasn't ever been and it isn't ever going to be.
Teach your children that Jesus is fair. That placing their faith in and giving their life to Jesus not only gives them eternal life, but it also invites His presence and power into their everyday life.
Teach your children to be givers. Discourage, "What do I get out of it." and encourage, "What can I give."
Teach your children a strong work ethic. No matter what they are doing, they do it as unto the Lord.
Take away the video games but only if you replace that time with you.
Teach your children real teamwork. So we place them on sports teams But in a world that over glorifies the "star" player on a team with millions of dollars it's hard to get them understand that there is no "I" in team.