5 Simple Ways to Raise an Entitlement-Free Child

Many parents feel compelled to provide their kids with "ideal" childhoods. They try to create a world in which children are constantly entertained, rescued from unpleasant situations, and handed whatever they want in order to assure their continual happiness.

But children who grow up getting their every desire miss out on the joy of giving, the sense of accomplishment that comes with effort, and the resilience that develops when we are forced to bounce back from disappointments.

This roundup of tips will not only challenge entitlement and nurture compassion, but ultimately also will make our children happier and more successful – and in turn make the world a better place.

How to Guard Against Raising a "Rescuer"

We don't want our children to start seeing the world as divided into "givers" and "receivers." To avoid this, remind your children that everyone needs help at times, that all of us have something to offer others – and that the world is simply a better place when we help one another out. These tips can help you raise kind, giving children while avoiding the sense of "rescuing" that can be an unintended consequence of serving others.

Growing Up Digital

Managing screen time is challenging because electronic media can be so alluring -- and even habit forming. We recommend creating a family media plan to help the adults and kids in the house develop a healthy digital diet. Meanwhile, you'll be providing opportunities for critically important (and continuing) conversations with your children about how to handle a technological onslaught that will only grow.

Build Empathy and More with Play

Play is a critical way to acquire knowledge, build imagination, enhance mental and physical health, and practice social skills. Just as important, research indicates that play can help children develop empathy and compassion.


Praise Worthy? Tips for Effective Praise

To praise or not to praise? I wouldn't blame parents for being confused. We've been getting lots of messages about praising children, many of them seemingly contradictory. If you don't praise your kids, they'll lack self-esteem!

The Benefits of Being Curious

Studies suggest that curious personalities are associated with humor, playfulness, life satisfaction, good relationships and open-mindedness. Not surprisingly, curiosity also encourages life-long learning. (Some studies even indicate that curiosity, along with hard work, might be as important as intelligence to academic performance.) Another reason to encourage curiosity is that it's deeply intertwined with kindness and empathy. Here are ways to nurture curiosity in your children while teaching them compassion at the same time.

Live Kind: Compassion as a Way of Life

Random acts of kindness can be wonderful...and fun, but DGT's goal is to help families put an intentional, thoughtful and daily focus on compassion and giving. And that's more important than you might think. Harvard researchers found that a large majority of middle and high-school students believe (and are sure their parents and teachers agree) that personal success is more important than being a caring person. Is this really the message we want to convey to our children? You can counter this by sharing the kindness message with your children each day.


5 Myths about Raising Happy Kids

All parents want their children to be happy. But too often we misdirect our energies as we try to ensure our children will lead blissful, fulfilled lives. Despite a spate of recent research, it's still not clear what "happiness" is, much less how to guarantee it for ourselves or our kids. Here's what you should and shouldn't do to raise a contented kid.


Beyond "Please" and "Thank You"

Of course good manners matter.  However, kindness goes much deeper – and is ultimately more significant – than things like writing thank-you notes or keeping elbows off the table.

Embracing Failure

Embracing Failure

Kindness and courage are common topics in this newsletter, but failure deserves attention, too. I agree with researchers that accepting failure can lead to growth. And when parents view failure as an opportunity to be embraced rather than something to be avoided, kids will be more willing to take on new challenges and will develop the strength to cope. Here are strategies for helping you and your kids meet any disappointments that come your way.

Girl Power - Nurture an Undaunted Daughter

Girl Power - Nurture an Undaunted Daughter

Young girls are bombarded with media that undermines self-image and self-confidence. How do we balance raising an independent and assertive girl with one who is empathetic and kind? Here are my favorite tips for empowering your daughter to become a compassionate change maker.

For Kinder Kids, Mind the Manners

For Kinder Kids, Mind the Manners

Emily Post, the queen of etiquette, famously said: "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." At their core, manners are simply about caring for others. Teaching good manners requires patience, persistence and practice, but it's worth the effort.


Make It Fun for Kids to Give Back

Make It Fun for Kids to Give Back

Summer is for family and fun, but that doesn't mean that kindness and service need to take a holiday. These lazy days provide all sorts of opportunities to keep exercising that kindness muscle and remind little ones that there is great joy in giving. These eight activities will help you create a memorable, heart-filled summer.


6 Tips for Raising Kids Who Don't Cheat

6 Tips for Raising Kids Who Don't Cheat

According to researchers, the number of students who cheat at school has risen dramatically in the last 50 years. One survey found that an astounding 95% of high school students admitted to some kind of cheating. Here are tips to help keep your children focused on integrity and combat the pressure to achieve at any cost.



Coming Together for Good

Coming Together for Good

Making service a group endeavor not only means more fun, but it "puts kindness on the calendar" so doing good is more likely to become part of your routine. No need to start big. Make your first community effort bite-sized, and see how it goes. Then, if it works for everyone, plan to spend more regular time with family, friends and neighbors serving others. Here are a few ideas for getting started.




Making a Food Drive Really Count

Making a Food Drive Really Count

Food drives can play a critical role in keeping shelves stocked for those in need. However, despite good intentions, too many of us respond to our school, business or faith group food drive by quickly scanning our kitchen for old canned goods to toss into the donation bin. I'd like to suggest a different approach.

Making a Difference for Refugees

It's not always easy to talk to children about challenging situations in the news. It should be done in a way that is honest -- but also makes children feel protected and empowered. Here are some tips.


The Surprising Power of Chores

Surprising research says that doing chores, beginning at age 3 or 4, is actually a proven predictor of adult success. It teaches responsibility, competence, perseverance, the value of hard work -- and the idea that in a family we help one another out. 


A Charity to Call Your Own

Consider marking the new school year by choosing one local charity to "adopt" for the year. It could be a homeless shelter, an environmental organization, a care facility, an arts group or an early-childhood program. By next summer your whole family will have become conversant on the issues, had fun together, met some wonderful people and made your community better.