Struggle Builds Character: Raising Kids to Be EMPOWERED, Not ENTITLED

I want my kids to have what they want. I don’t want my kids to struggle. I want my kids to be happy.

I confess, I am a recovering entitlement enabler.

Struggle is a good character builder.

Struggle builds empathy. Struggle encourages humility. Challenges create opportunities to problem solve, be stretched, and be creative. Challenges and struggles build strong leaders and increase confidence.


The message I want to communicate to my kids is that they are capable of managing the difficult times and of earning the things they desire. In this space, my kids will experience the joy and satisfaction of success and accomplishment.  They will find contentment. Thankfulness and gratefulness will blossom. They will build the muscles of tenacity and perseverance.


Ultimately my hope is that they will seek the Lord and trust Him in the times where they must wait and wrestle through life.

Compare these two lists:

Entitled kids say:

  • The world owes me, just because I exist.
  • I deserve this because I want it.
  • I desire to be served.
  • Power, prestige, and possessions are of utmost importance.
  • If I fail it’s your fault.
  • I will do what I need to  get ahead.
  • I am suspicious of your motives.
  • I’m more important than any one else in the room.
  • I want all the credit.

Empowered kids say:

  • I exist to make the world a better place by following God’s plan for me.
  • I deserve nothing. I am saved by grace.
  • I desire to serve others.
  • Loving God and loving others is of utmost importance.
  • If I fail, it’s my responsibility and I will learn from this.
  • I will challenge myself and uplift others at the same time.
  • I believe the best about you.
  • Promoting and encouraging others is the focus.
  • Sharing credit and giving credit to others for success is critical.

I will always want my kids to have things go well for them. That is in my mama DNA. But, I am learning some of the best ways for that to occur is in the waiting, struggles, and failures.

My name is Lori Wildenberg, and I am a recovering entitlement enabler.

This Thanksgiving the Wildenberg Gang is going to switch it up. Every year we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. We say the same things year after year. Blah Blah Blah. This year will be different. We are going to focus on the struggles of the past year. We will thank God for them and for the things He is teaching us in those struggles.

Have a happy and thank-filled Thanksgiving.

If you liked this post you may want to hop over to my Eternal Moments blog and read this related post: Ten Ways to Raise a Selfish Child.

Love does not envy.
1 Corinthians 13:4c

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Lori Wildenberg
Lori Wildenberg is passionate about helping families build connections that last a life time. She is a licensed parent-family educator and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. She has written 4 parenting books with Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home published by New Hope as her most recent. She is a parent consultant, national speaker, and lead Mentor Mom over at the Moms Together Facebook Community Page. Lori is a contributor to a number of on-line magazines. Every Monday you can find her blogging about faith and family at Mostly, Lori is wife to Tom and mom of four. The Wildenbergs' home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori's world is a hike with her hubby, four kids plus a daughter-in-love, and Murphy the family labradoodle.