Instilling Work Ethic in an Entitled World

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Episode Summary

We live in an entitled world and must be purposeful in our parenting so that our children do not take on the heart attitudes so prevalent in the culture. Entitlement competes against God’s purpose for our lives, which is, to be honest, hard workers who glorify God. Tune in as we share tips on instilling work ethic in your kids when the world around you is embracing and instilling entitlement.

Courageous parenting is not just about what we are teaching our children today it’s about the purpose of teaching them the right things today and equipping our kids for when they are launched into the world!

Today we are going to be talking about instilling work ethic in an entitled world. 

What is an entitled world? Well, if you take a look at the culture today and what it was like ten, twenty or thirty years ago, you can see that the younger generations are becoming more and more entitled, believing that they are owed something without working for it. 

Entitlement used to be referred to as being spoiled but over the years it has become normalized and more and more people believe that they should have things whether they deserve it or not. 

This is a growing challenge and this entitlement attitude is going to become worse and worse, which is why it is so incredibly important as parents that we instill a work ethic in our families!

So, today we are going to talk about practical ways you can instill work ethic in your family and dangerous pitfalls to be aware of along the way that could potentially cause your children to have entitlement attitudes. 

As parents, no matter what generation we are from, we need to be humble and take responsibility for our children and if they are entitled we need to recognize where we didn’t make the mark instead of blame-shifting. It can be easy to blame school, friends or other influences for your child’s shortcomings but the reality is this, you are responsible for who you allow your children to interact with. You are responsible for placing good influences in their lives so that they are not lead astray by the world. 

Now, your children will grow older, you will not always have the same amount of authority in their lives. They are fully responsible for their salvation and how they choose to live, and nothing you do as a parent can guarantee their salvation, however, as parents we are called to raise our children in the Lord and guide them, and to a certain degree, we are responsible for how our children live. 

Socialism is a growing topic in our world and some countries are seriously considering it. If it ever happened everyone would be given the same amount of money every month whether they did anything for it or not and what that would create in a lot of people is entitlement because whether they deserve it or not, they will be given money every month. Now if you are raised to have work ethic and understand that entitlement is wrong then you may not become entitled amongst a potential socialist country.

Now think about it, socialism is becoming more and more of a hot topic and you quite possibly might be raising children that will be living in socialism in their future. If you do not teach your children to have work ethic and to understand entitlement and if you do not prepare them for an uncertain, evil world then you could be leaving them defenseless when they live in a world that is different than what we have now. It is futile to believe that things won’t change, we need to prepare our children and equip them so that they can live according to God’s word and not fall into the snare of the devil. 

It is our human nature to disdain from work, pain, struggle or anything that causes us to be uncomfortable or tired. This goes into every area of our lives! We live in a culture that says when things get hard you should just pop a pill and numb yourself to the discomfort, stress, or anxiety. We live in a world that tries so hard to avoid pain and suffering and take the easy way out of situations instead of doing what God calls us to which is stopping, reflecting, praying and asking God our deliverer for his guidance, his strength, and his encouragement. 

God never said that life would be easy, he places trials and hard times in our lives so that we can learn and grow but more than that because he wants the glory! When life is painless and everything seems effortless it becomes far to easy to stop relying on God because we are deceived into believing that we don’t need him anymore! When we pop a pill to escape the pain, or when we institute socialism we are potentially removing God’s purpose for our lives, which is to glorify Him in the good and the bad times. 

1 timothy 5:8 says “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Instilling Work Ethic in an Entitled World

  1. Signs Your Kids are Entitled

  2. How You as a Parent Reinforce Entitlement

  3. Ideas for Teaching Work Ethic

1. Signs Your Kids are Entitled

  • A sign that your children may be entitled if they don’t take care of their things. Some examples of this may be leaving their bike out in the rain and then it rusts, or neglecting their pets.
  • A sign that your children may be entitled is if they do not respect the value of something. This could take form in a few different ways, they may be constantly asking for new things because they are not thankful for what they have and they don’t understand that it costs something and if it costs something mom and dad have to work for it. Another example of this may be that they don’t respect other people’s things if they are drawing on their desk at school or not being respectful of other people’s homes there are so many other examples of a child not respecting the value of things. 
  • A sign that your children may be entitled is if they have a lack of respect for authority, they have an independent spirit, they think they can do what they want and have what they want. 
  • A sign that your children may be entitled is if they think that they deserve what everyone else has. If their friend has a cool toy do they think they should have it too?
  • It is important as parents that we are aware when our children could potentially be weak in the sin of covetousness and wanting what other people have because the bible says very clearly throughout the bible and in the ten commandments that we are not to covet and this is something that we need to train out of our child because it is a natural human desire to want what other people have. 
  • In Philippians 2:14-15 it says “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”
  • We live in a crooked generation so we need to be aware of the ways that our generation is crooked today and be introspective, realistic and honest about how the generation has made an impression or influenced our kid’s hearts and our hearts which leads us to our next point.


2. How You as a Parent Reinforce Entitlement

  • One way that you may be reinforcing entitlement is if you put your kids on a sports team where they celebrate mediocrity and give everyone a trophy. If this happens, and it’s happened with us before what we do is we educate our children afterward and say “the way that should have happened is only the top few people should have gotten trophies” and the only reason they gave everyone a trophy is because they didn’t want anyone to feel bad. But for kids, they must learn how to lose well. Knowing how to lose well is equally as important as winning well, and part of losing well is rejoicing with other people when they are winning and you may not be doing as well as they are. 
  • The bible says in Romans 12:15 to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. And it’s not even about losing as much as it is about rejoicing for your teammate who made a goal and you didn’t and then identifying in yourself areas that you can improve and then working towards it! Because now they have something to strive for and motivation to improve and grow, but if everyone gets the same reward what’s the point of working hard? What is there to work for? 
  • Another way that you as parents might be reinforcing entitlement is by our example. Are you modeling for your children how you want them to act? Do you have an entitlement attitude? Do you respect authority? Do you allow people to speak into your life or are you disrespectful and if someone calls you out on your sin to you take it or ignore it? Do you humbly take correction? 
  • Another way that you as parents might be reinforcing entitlement is by your language about work. Do your children see you value the importance of working hard or do they see you complaining about it? Do your children witness you complaining about how much your spouse works? 
  • Another way that you as parents might be reinforcing entitlement is if you believe that you are too good for certain kinds of work. Is your ego so big that you won’t do the dishes, laundry or pull the weeds in your backyard? If you do, then this will without a doubt seep into your children and they will resist certain jobs just because they feel like it will hurt their ego. If we are trying to get out of doing things because of laziness or because we think we are too good for it then there is something there in our hearts that needs to be confronted, whether it be pride or laziness. 
  • Another way that you as parents might be reinforcing entitlement is by doing everything for your kids! Do you have your kids contribute to what we call the family team? Or do you do all the laundry, dishes, cleaning and everything else? Your children will only spend thirty percent of their lives with you, this is why it is so important that we talk about these topics because it is your responsibility as parents to equip your children for the other ninety percent of their lives! If you do everything for your children then what are you teaching them? 
  • Proverbs 10:4 says “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”


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3. Ideas for Teaching Work Ethic

  • One of our biggest efforts towards teaching our children work ethic was planting a vineyard, we decided that we wanted a family project that the whole family could be involved in, so we planted a vineyard. We also had animals, pets are a great way to teach your children responsibility. 
  • One question that we get pretty frequently is “what do you do when you give your child a responsibility and they do it for a while but over time the start slacking?” let’s use an example. You have a dog and your child is responsible for feeding it and taking care of it, but they start slacking, most of the time the parents will end up picking up the slack because they know that if the dog doesn’t get taken care of it will start acting up and potentially have health problems. But this is the wrong approach. What needs to happen in this situation is you need to sit your child down and have a serious conversation and tell them that if they don’t take care of the dog there will be serious consequences and you might even need to place the dog in a home that will take good care of it. This goes for any situation, even if it’s just the dishes or a household chore if you pick up the slack from your children they will become entitled and rely on you to do everything for them. You need to be clear with your child and place serious consequences on the table if they don’t yield to your authority and follow through. 
  • When you pick up the slack for your kids, you are teaching them that your word is worthless, because you told them to do something and you did it for them instead. 
  • We have a rule in our house, and there is a certain word that we’re not allowed to say, we consider it to be equal to that of a swear word and it is “can’t” we do not allow our children to say that they can’t do something. It’s okay for things to be hard and need help but to say that you can’t do something is one, extremely defeating, and two it allows the child to give up and a lot of time lack integrity. A lot of times kids will say that they can’t do something before they even try and for us, a big part of it is the lack of integrity behind the word. 
  • Now, there are legitimate things that certain people cannot do. But they can find a different way to say it because we do not want our children saying that they can’t do something. 
  • Colossians 3:23 says “And whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
  • When your children grow older and get jobs they must know who they are working for, and it’s not the manager at a coffee shop! They are working for God, not Man. They will not understand who they are working for unless they are taught from the beginning in your home. Like, who are we sweeping the floors for? We are doing it unto the Lord, we are doing it in a manner that is glorifying to God, and that needs to be the motivation, it can’t be to please mom, dad, or the manager at a coffee shop. Because if the motivation is to please Man then that means there is or was performance-based parenting in the home. And it’s not about performance, it’s about the heart and if the heart is to please God then naturally you will do your best and the results will be good. 
  • Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without complaining and disputing”
  • A problem that a lot of parents have is that their kids do halfway jobs and they don’t follow through. This is a very common problem and something that needs to be addressed from an early age. God expects our best from us, and that doesn’t mean that we need to do the best work. It just means that we need to work our hardest to do the best we possibly can and to grow. Just because someone does better at something than you do doesn’t mean that you have failed. You have failed when you stop caring and don’t give your all to God. 
  • Doing all things unto the Lord is a convicting truth that needs to be implanted in our children’s minds. They should be giving their best always because that is what God expects and because they want to please their heavenly father.
  • We live in an entitled world, and our kids are the future, our children are going to be controlling politics in the future, so all the little examples that we have given you about how you can teach your children work ethic and how you might be reinforcing entitlement, all these things will affect the future and what our world looks like in twenty to thirty years. 


Scripture In This Episode:

1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Philippians 2:14-15 – Do all things without complaining and disputing,that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”

Romans 12:15 – “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Proverbs 10:4 – He who has a slack hand becomes poor,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

Colossians 3:23 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,”

Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing”


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Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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