There was a recent court case in Texas where a 16 year old boy got drunk, got behind the wheel of a car and ended up causing an accident that left four people dead and two with severe injuries. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit and he also had valium in his system.  A true tragedy, for the people that lost their lives and for a boy whose actions have drastically altered the course of his future.
6 ways to help your son think about someone other than himself


During the trial, a psychologist testifying for the defense cited “affluenza” as a reason that the young man should not face jail time for his actions.  The formal definition of this syndrome is “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation”.  This defense was somewhat successful as the young man was sentenced to 10 years of probation and will not likely face any jail time for this crime.

I am personally appalled that we live in a culture that could consider affluence an excuse for such egregious wrongdoing.  Then, I think of the fact that we are the most affluent society in the world.  We have “first world” problems, as they have been coined.  This is the world our sons are growing up in. And it saddens and frightens me.

So, what is a mama to do? How do we combat the idol of materialism and privilege that has seeped into the marrow of our culture? How do we keep our sons focused on the things in this world that are truly important rather than the allure of self indulgence, the need to fit in and the sense of entitlement our kids seem to be acquiring at a younger and younger age?

Here are six ways to disinfect your sons of the entitlement bug:

  • Create opportunities for your sons to serve others. I firmly believe that the best way for kids to grasp how blessed they are is to serve the less fortunate.  This can be accomplished through various things like sponsoring a child through Compassion International or a similar charity, volunteering at a nursing home or soup kitchen or going on a missions trip as a family.  Make serving as natural as shopping in your family.
  • Teach the concept of sacrificial giving.  The Great Commandment in Scripture should be our guide.AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.  Mark 12: 30-31The Bible doesn’t say buy yourself the coolest Jordans and give your neighbor your hand me down shoes.  If we love our neighbor AS WE LOVE OURSELVES, then we will give them nothing less than our best.  Do our sons see us model this in our day to day lives? Do we give others our best?  Or are we stingy with our love, with our giving; holding back our best for our own benefit?  If giving doesn’t cost us something, it’s not true giving.
  • Define the difference between wants and needs.  Our boys don’t need the newest game console because “everyone” at school has one.  It is okay to tell your children “no” or “not right now” when the virus of entitlement is flaring.  We are doing our sons a favor if we teach them from a young age that happiness and contentment have little to do with instant gratification and tangible items and everything to do with the intangible condition of our heart and priorities.
  • Make sure your sons understand the value of a dollar.  Stuff costs money.  Money must be earned.  We cripple our kids as they enter the brutal realities of the working world if we have raised them to not understand the correlation between hard work and money.  We do our boys a disservice by handing them money whenever they ask for it. When our boys entered middle school, clothes shopping for school became torturous for myself and my sons. We didn’t agree on anything and each of them had their own style and flair.  So, we gave them each an envelope with a set amount of cash.  They had to buy school shoes and then they were allowed to spend the rest on whatever they wanted to wear for the upcoming school year. And, that money stretched further when they were in control of it. They quickly saw how far {or not} that money would go towards what they wanted to buy. It was a joy to see them make decisions based on a budget and with the younger two in high school we still employ this each year.
  • Give credit and praise to the One whom our provision comes from.  Yes, our boys need to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and that they need to work for what they have. But, they also need to be reminded that Dad has a job because God provide one for him.  We have a house, car, food on the table because God has provided for our needs.  Philippians 4:19 says that “God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ’s glory”.  God is our provider and deserves the praise for what we have.
  • Enforce the connection between choices and consequences.  The boy I mentioned in the beginning of the article has not apologized or expressed remorse for his actions according to the prosecutor and the families of the victims.  This breaks my heart because it implies that he has not grasped the ramifications of his choice to drink underage and get behind the wheel of a car.  Our sons must learn that while we still love them when they make mistakes, that mistakes have natural consequences.  If we protect our sons from the natural consequences of their actions, the line between right and wrong becomes muddied.

Our sons take their cue from us, their moms {and dads}.  Not from what we say or lecture but by what we do, the way we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. If we don’t want to raise spoiled boys that grow into spoiled and entitled men, then we need to make a conscious decision to put stuff in its proper place.  Avoid the temptation to keep up with the Joneses and focus your attention on being the family that God desires you to be.  Commit to combatting the entitlement bug in  your family.  You will feel much better when you do.

How do you battle entitlement in your sons?