"Me, Me, Me" Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

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Penguin, 2015 - Family & Relationships - 321 pages
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Whenever Amy McCready mentions the 'entitlement epidemic' to a group of parents, she is inevitably met with eye rolls, nodding heads, and loaded comments about affected children. It seems everywhere one looks there are preschoolers who only behave in the grocery store for a treat, narcissistic teenagers posting selfies across all forms of social media, and adult children living off their parents. Parenting expert Amy McCready reveals in this book that the solution is to help kids develop healthy attitudes in life. By setting up limits with consequences, and training them in responsible behavior and decision-making, parents can rid their homes of the entitlement epidemic and raise confident, resilient, and successful children. Whether parents are starting from scratch with a young toddler or navigating the teen years, they will find in this book proven strategies to effectively quell entitled attitudes in their children. 'If there's one thing parents need to teach their kids - well beyond getting into college or finding a job - it's how to be humble, contributing citizens of the world. If you're a weary parent trying to do just that, you'll find encouragement and practical know-how in the clear and enjoyable pages of this book.' Daniel H. Pink, New York Times-bestselling author of Drive- The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us 'Do you cave in to your kids' demands even when you know it's a bad idea? Do you rescue your kids when they forget things? Do you find yourself 'over-contributing' to your child's school project so he can meet the deadline? Most parents do these things because they can't figure out what else to do in the heat of the moment. Amy McCready shows parents why this kind of parenting raises kids who don't learn from experience, don't take responsibility, and are no fun to live with! She describes exactly what parents can do and say to set appropriate limits and help kids develop resilience.' Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids 'Every time Amy McCready has been a guest on Today I have found myself agreeing with absolutely everything she says. She's a no-nonsense, commonsense communicator, and The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemicoffers parents great wisdom and practical advice.' Kathie Lee Gifford 'The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic is probably the most important parenting book of the decade. Ms. McCready brilliantly helps us turn from unhealthy parenting to great parenting in a simple, fun and workable manner.' Meg Meeker, M.D., bestselling author of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters and cohost of James Dobson's Family Talk radio show 'Amy McCready never fails to share the strategies parents need to empower their kids, empower themselves, and know that they are giving their children the very best start in a complicated world. The 'Me, Me, Me' Epidemic is a must-read for every parent who wants to raise great kids without raising their voice.' Michele Borba, Ed.D., educational psychologist and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions 'This book immediately motivated me to stop doing things for my children that they can do for themselves. My eyes were opened to the many ways my children could contribute to the family and become prepared to thrive in the real world.' Rachel Macy Stafford, New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama

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The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

Parenting expert McCready (If I Have to Tell You One More Time) has noticed a disturbing trend: an “epidemic” of entitled children who are demanding and spoiled. Parents, she asserts, spend too much ... Read full review

THE ME, ME, ME EPIDEMIC: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

User Review  - Kirkus

A guide to stopping the helicoptering, lawn-mowing, and overindulging that can lead to entitled, self-centered thinking in children. Everybody knows one or is one: the helicopter parent, always ... Read full review


The Great GiveIn
Theyre Not Helpless
Creating a Consequential Environment
Great Reasonable Expectations
UnCentering Their Universe
Its Okay Not to Be Special

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About the author (2015)


What do we see when we look at our kids? We see an imagination capable of turning your great-grandmother''s delicate candlestick into a lightsaber to vanquish enemies from the living room. An energy that drags us on a wild-goose chase all over the house and yard looking for a minuscule ballet slipper charm. And a determination that pesters us for days to let them attend an out-of-state concert, and pay for it, too. And yet, beyond the chaos, the griping and the power struggles, we see potential. And that''s why I wrote this book. I know that inside each of our precious children is the potential for something amazing: a confident adult who has the drive and ability to make her corner of the planet a better place.

You''re reading this book--and I wrote it--because there''s a force that can rob from our kids not only their imagination, energy and determination, but also their ability to live rich, fulfilling lives. It''s the force of entitlement, the idea that life owes us something, and it''s wreaking havoc on our kids'' generation. Children of all ages feel entitled to receive the best of what life has to offer without working for it, to have their whims catered to by their parents and a path paved for success. They believe the world revolves around them--who wouldn''t, when everywhere you turn you see a selfie? Over-entitled kids become over-entitled adults with the same childish attitudes, only on a greater scale. It''s a big problem, because kids who feel entitled to call the shots all the time are unable to handle it when things don''t go their way (like in the real world). What''s more, they''re just plain hard to live with!

But entitlement is not the end of your kids'' story. Imagine a home in which kids take responsibility, contribute to the family, work hard, give back, manage their own finances and feel grateful for what they have. These kids are happy and confident and will be well prepared for whatever adulthood has in store. This is the potential you see in your children--and this can be their future.

Whether you''re in the trenches of the entitlement epidemic, with kids who will barely lift their feet so you can vacuum under them, or trying to ward it off to begin with, I''m glad you''re reading this book. I''ve waded through the entitlement trenches with my own two sons and I know firsthand the challenges we parents face. And along the way, I''ve compiled thirty-five proven tools that really work to stop the entitlement train in its tracks. Your family can put an end to entitlement, too, no matter how many treats it currently takes for your kids to get through the store without pitching a fit. You can make a very real difference in a matter of days by applying even just a few of the tools and strategies you''ll find in these pages.

The Un-Entitler Toolbox strategies throughout this book will give you the confidence, know-how and even the words to say as you rid your home of the entitled behaviors that are not only driving you nuts but also giving you cause for concern about your offspring''s future. Misbehaviors and entitled attitudes ("I can have what I want when I want it!") will melt away, as kids of all ages learn to pitch in around the house, solve their disagreements respectfully, take responsibility for their actions and even put down their smartphones once in a while. This dream is within your reach, and your kids will be better off for it.

The tools you use will bring out your kids'' very best behavior (no more chore wars, homework battles and sassy attitudes) and help them develop the responsibility, resilience and respectfulness they need for a successful adult life. You''ll do it all while you extinguish the entitlement epidemic and make your home a haven of peace in a world of entitled attitudes.

Let''s un-entitle our kids. Help them imagine new worlds (without expecting a team of workers to come in and build it for them), take on their own responsibility (without needing their hand held every step of the way) and put that determination to use serving others rather than expecting to be served. Then, and only then, will our kids unlock their potential to become their very best--without feeling entitled to it.


It''s the evening before Natasha''s high school graduation--and Natasha couldn''t be more miserable. She''s in her bedroom, crying tears of raw emotion over the fact that she''s out of her favorite hair gel. Her mother is too busy writing Natasha''s name in icing on six dozen cupcakes for her graduation party to rush out to the store tonight to get more. Her mom should have decorated them earlier! Still leaking tears, Natasha reenters the kitchen to let her mom know that she just has to have that special hair gel or her hair will be a huge frizzy mess and she''ll look like a total dork on her big day. After a few lame suggestions, her mom leaves the cupcakes and goes upstairs to try to squeeze out one last palmful of her own drugstore-brand styling gel and then puts away the mess of cosmetics Natasha has left out on the counter.

Natasha wanders off and texts her boyfriend to pick her up, but he''s busy with his friends. The jerk. He just saw his friends yesterday. Maybe she''ll threaten to dump him again--that''ll make him shape up. Sometimes she wonders why she even has a boyfriend. She finds her dad and remembers that she needs to ask him for extra money so she can buy a couple of new swimsuits and sandals for the season. He sees the evidence of her tears and forks over the cash. It''s not as much as she wanted, though, so he promises to put the rest on his credit card, which has been busy lately thanks to another recent purchase: a brand-new car as Natasha''s graduation present. It''s supposed to be a secret, but Natasha overheard her dad on the phone with the dealer earlier in the day. "It had better be a convertible," she thinks.

Of course, Natasha is proud to be graduating tomorrow. After all, she managed to stay awake in most of her classes, thanks to her smartphone. Her homework took a lot of effort, but the tutor her parents hired for her was able to complete it just fine. Soon Natasha will be out in the real world, and when she wasn''t pitching a fit over having to empty the dishwasher and watch her little brother in the same afternoon, and for only $20, she was excited. Finally, she''d be an adult--able to party every night, not just Thursday through Saturday. Her parents have talked to her about enrolling in the community college and getting a job, but Natasha thinks a gap year is a good idea and no one is hiring where she wants to work. She actually inquired at both places--a clothing store and a makeup store--but her parents aren''t getting off her back. Natasha knows they''ll cool it in a week or two; it''s just this business about graduation that''s getting them all riled up.

Natasha sighs. If she can''t have her hair gel tonight, maybe she should work on her mom about letting her spend next weekend at Amber''s parents'' beach house. All her friends are going, and it wouldn''t be fair for Natasha not to go, too. Besides, Natasha is eighteen and done with school--it''s time for her to call the shots in her own life. And what a life it will be! If she could just get her boyfriend to pay attention to her, her parents to give her what she wants and a convertible, she''ll finally be happy. Look out world, here comes Natasha.


Look out world indeed. Natasha, in case you couldn''t guess, is a classic example of an entitled child. She lacks the ability to look beyond herself, delay gratification or work hard to achieve a goal. Nobody likes to see this in a child of any age, and it can be heartbreaking for parents when they realize their child is floundering when it''s time to leave the nest. And while Natasha probably doesn''t live at your house, some of this tale of the over-entitled may ring a little truer than you''d like. If so, you''re in good company. Most first-world parents struggle with some kind of entitlement issues among their kids.

While we might feel jealous of the kids who actually do get new cars for graduation--and a free ride in other areas of life, too--we can also feel sorry for them. If the free-car lifestyle pervades their schooling, work, relationships and leisure time, chances are they''ve rarely felt the thrill of accomplishment after giving it their best effort, the gratitude of a friend who received their much-needed help for nothing in return, the gratification of finally getting something they''ve been working or waiting for or the contentment that comes from being happy in the moment. Entitlement does more than drive parents crazy. It also robs kids of the ability to realize the best of what life has for them, while they instead chase impossible dreams.

Entitlement is certainly a big problem. In fact, it''s epidemic.

The Entitlement Epidemic

You couldn''t afford your own makeup this month because thirteen-year-old Johnny''s fluorescent orange must-have sneakers cost your entire discretionary budget. You keep a spare McDonald''s bag on hand so you can pretend to three-year-old Emma that her peanut-butter sandwich was made under the golden arches. And in order to get eight-year-old Daryl into bed, you have to let him fall asleep in front of the television, and carry him there.

Since when do parents jump through hoops at all costs to keep children happy? Since when do kids get to call the shots? The truth is kids everywhere--from toddlers to teens--are ruling the roost, and they''re not about to abandon their posts without a fight.

Entitlement happens in every family--including mine. Every one of us feels entitled to something on some level--whether it''s a stuffed animal we''ve slept with since birth, our smartphone or simply a goo

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