I have been a lot more strict. Still loving, and I still play with them and happily joke around with them, but when the shoe drops, it drops hard.
And yes on the entitlement stuff. Now DD8 has her savings and I make sure she buys her snacks with her savings. I help her out, but I no longer just buy her stuff. I set up a budget for my family (S) and now if it's not in the budget, she doesn't get it. Period. I'm transparent with it and tell her how much is in the budget for kids and how we're allocating it, but I'm really worried that she'll grow up entitled like STBXWW. A similar dynamic is in place for DS10, I'm much more consistent with him which I think has helped his special needs.
I don't know if empathy has changed. The special needs stuff gives you lots of it anyway but maybe if DS10 was typical it would have increased as well. I do worry a lot more about what they're feeling and thinking, and we try to reason and work through the feelings in ways I didn't before.
So far other parents have mostly complimented me on my parenting, so I'm fairly confident I'm not being too hard on them. But I was always the "laid back parent". No more. Now I see 5, 10 years into their future for every decision I have to make.
It kind of sucks. But it's good. We are temporary guardians of these beautiful creatures, and we'll have to send them off sooner than we like. So we better prepare them. I want them to be happy and have fun, but be prepared.