A lot of critics of the millennial generation believe those born between the '80s and '90s as being entitled, spoiled, and the "me generation." With the instant gratification modern technology like smartphones, the internet, and social media can provide, it might seem like Generation Y is used to getting everything they want in a short amount of time. Obviously this isn't necessarily true and it seems millennial parents have an uphill battle to prove this isn't the case, especially with their kids. Thankfully there are children's books that teach your child not to be entitled.
A false sense that the world owes you something isn't a new thing at all. Yet it appears that topics like entitlement, empathy, and privilege have finally gotten the attention they deserve in modern society. Gone are the days of turning a blind eye to unkind behavior and not discussing real issues in polite conversation. Being able to understand the different ways in which people experience the world around them has become an increasingly necessary skill for parents to teach their children.
So if you're looking to teach your child how to be self-aware, empathetic, and patient check out these children's books that help kids understand entitlement.
1. 'Thing-Thing' by Carly Fagan
Thing-Thing tells the story of spoiled birthday boy Archibald who has everything, and his parents who have run out of ideas of presents to buy him. When his father brings home Thing-Thing, a hodgepodge of a stuffed animal, Archibald doesn't appreciate it and throws the toy out the high-rise hotel window. Don't worry, Thing-Thing finally finds a child who isn't entitled and the colorful imagery beautifully highlight emotions and appreciation.
2. 'Oops, Sorry!: A First Book Of Manners' by Richard Morgan
A story perfect for toddlers and early readers, Oops Sorry! is a simple picture-book which addresses entitlement in an easy to understand format. Since young children love to read along and shout out answers, this book is perfect for engaging them and teaching about appreciation, manners, and kindness in a simple way.
3. 'How To Speak Politely And Why' by Munro Leaf
4. 'Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners' by Laurie Keller
A fun play on words, Do Unto Otters teaches children about the Golden Rule. Otters, rabbits, and owls learn how to coexist and share their common living space without being selfish or rude. This book is especially great because it touches on privilege, diversity, and entitlement in a light-hearted way.
5. 'The Sneetches and Other Stories' by Dr. Seuss
Always one for subtlety slipping big messages into small children's books, Dr. Seuss does it again with The Sneetches and Other Stories. The two groups of Sneetches are separated by who does or doesn't have a star on their belly, with the Plain Bellies being treated as inferior. This story highlights, privilege, discrimination, and even racism while teaching children to share in things equally, regardless of physical appearances.
6. 'Maddi's Fridge' by Lois Brandt
Though Maddi and Sofia are best friends and alike in most every way, there is one major difference between them: Maddi's fridge is practically empty. Teaching children about poverty, hunger issues, and how to appreciate what you have Maddi's Fridge goes a step further by also providing easy to understand tips on how to help combat hunger in their own neighborhood.
7. 'Rude Cakes' by Rowboat Watkins
It's all in the name, really. Rude Cakes is entitled, rude, and has little regard for others, until the arrival of a cyclops changes Rude Cakes' perspective. What's particularly special about this book is that it provides plenty of conversation-starters for you and your child to discuss entitlement, how to avoid behaving like Rude Cakes, and why it's important to always be considerate.
8. 'Will Powers: Where There's A Will, There's A Way' by Coy Bowles
Perfect for elementary-aged children, Will Powers emphasizes the value of hard work over entitlement. Teaching children that you always feel better when you've achieved something on your own, without it be handed to you, is the primary life lesson in this colorful and fast-paced story.
9. 'The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge' by Tim Huff
Though the topic of homelessness can be a bit difficult to discuss with children, it's one worth explaining, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge teaches readers about those who are homeless in a way that both highlights being grateful for what you have and also offers opportunities to make a difference in your own neighborhood.
10. 'Sorry, I Forgot to Ask!' by Julia Cook
In Sorry, I Forgot to Ask!, the concept of permission, autonomy, consent, and entitlement are all covered in an age-appropriate way. The story's main character, RJ, just can't seem to help himself from partaking in whatever he wants, but he eventually learns the consequences of such behavior in a heartwarming ending.
11. 'Last Stop On Market Street' by Matt de la Peña
12. 'Those Shoes' by Maribeth Boelts
Practically everyone had the childhood experience of wanting a trendy item because all the other kids had one. So Those Shoes will especially hit home for parents and kids who had to go without the coveted object, which, in this case, is a pair of shoes. This story gives solid life lessons about entitlement, inclusion, sacrifice, and generosity.
13. 'This Is The Rope: A Story From The Great Migration' by Jacqueline Woodson
For any family who has lived a fortunate life and children who are not familiar with the struggles of immigration and poverty, This Is the Rope provides a beautiful depiction of how a simple rope can mean so much to so many. This is sure to start many conversations between you and your child about appreciating what you have and not taking privilege for granted.
14. 'Tight Times' by Barbara Shook Hazen
In Tight Times, the author offers an unflinching portrayal of the family dynamics and how everyday life unfolds when times are tight. This story takes on poignant significance especially if your child can identify with the main character longing for things his family simply can't afford.
15. 'Stand In My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy' by Bob Sornson
Often times, teaching a child how not to be entitled starts with explain empathy. If a kid can understand and appreciate the struggles of others, than it stands to reason they would begin to grow an appreciation for what they have. Stand In My Shoes teaches this in a simple, beautifully illustrated way.