You have heard of it...and I'm pretty sure this generation of kiddos is called, "the entitlement generation." I see it in the classroom and with families a great deal. There are exceptions, that is always true. However, how confident are you that you and your children aren't falling into this trap? Enter a book titled, "The Entitlement Trap."
My sister told me about it. I have not read it, but my sister has and she has tried it with her kids. When they were visiting I saw how it worked...and, guess what...it worked to my benefit because Evan was asking if he could do the dishes. What the...????. I reluctantly said, "uuhhmmmm, sure" because I felt like it was a trick. I may or may not read it, there is always a turn-a-bout and you have to be willing to enter for the long haul. Needless to say, it has made me think. A quick insert...when cute Evan asked to do the dishes, I not only hesitated because I was taken aback, I also knew that it was Chases job at that time and deep down I thought, "if Chase doesn't have to do it, he's basically getting away with murder and Evan is taking advantage of this quality learning opp while Chase is playing video games...how does that make my child look?!?" Hahaha, my point is, we all want our kids to be successful and we don't want to be the ones responsible if they aren't (but, what does it mean to be successful anyway?) :)
I am writing about it because it DOES start at home and when you pay attention to it (for me it's easy since I am around kids all day) you really see how deeply routed this concept is and how it relates to everyday issues. Try to observe it around your kids, their friends, your friends' kids, step-children, extra-curricular activities, sports teams, etc...you will see what I mean. Is this a huge problem? I don't know, hard to tell, and it actually depends on YOU! I do know that my goal as a parent is to model effective habits, admit those nasty habits we can work on, and provide opportunities for our kids to learn in order for them to live a life conducive to their happiness. Plus, think of how much stress it can cause on the family.
Here's a quick test: have you ever... (this is my version of "you might be a redneck")
-heard a child say, "that's not fair?" I have heard this so many times and I honestly cringe everytime, because...good luck with that. Sometimes parent's take it as you have to do the same thing for each of your kids. Not true. Children are so different and naturally, require different things. The fairness comes in when you provide the same consideration for each.
-asked a child to pick something up (clean up something) and they say, "it's not mine"
-gotten a response (excuse) such as, "you never said" or anything, really, that begins with "YOU." Meaning it's your fault they didn't accomplish something.
-heard your child claim ownership, like, "that's mine" in reference to a seat, toy, food, video game, phone, etc. For example there is this seat at the dinner table that everyone wants to sit in because you can see the TV and you don't have to share arm space with anyone. So, our oldest seems to think it's "his." If either of the other two boys try, they get a beat down. Sidenote: it is NOT yours. Pretty much everything in this house is a "gift". A little something about gifts...you don't earn them. That is why it's called a gift. Kinda like grace (NO, not the Grace that died 20 yrs ago). God's Grace:)
-witnessed your child throw a fit if they don't get to watch a certain TV show or they don't get to use YOUR computer. Or, throw a fit when they don't get what they want in general.
-heard your child complain about having to eat something, will only eat certain things (allergies don't count), or get upset when you won't make/get them something else?
-argued with your children about whose turn it was or had to defend why the sibling didn't have to do it or why the sibling got to do it. This is a classic at our house...the old, "I do everything and you don't make them do anything." Hilarious
-had a child ask for money (or an item) and be totally bent out of shape if they don't get it?
-found yourself disciplining a child and they don't take ownership for their actions because others were doing it too? ONE OF MY BIGGEST PEEVES! For many reasons. I can handle inappropriate behaviors, I can re-direct and guide kids all day long...but I don't deal well when they place blame on anyone but themselves.
-heard someone say, in reference to kids/Halloween/trick or treating, "they earned it!" OK you may or may not know how much I dislike halloween but I actually hear that at least once a year...everytime I crap my pants and have to contain myself from going complete bat shit crazy on them. Seems a bit drastic, I know, but what exactly did they earn? Really? Must be hard going door to door begging for candy. Ask any vacuum salesman if the "earned it" simply because they go door to door. Why aren't we buying more vacuum's, cleaners, pest control...is it because they didn't dress up?
-heard a disgruntled mom/dad/kid on a sports team? I realize there are extenuating circumstances for some of these, but for the most part...it's an entitlement factor. Playing time, positions, praise, cuts, and my favorite...a complaint about another person's child. You can even throw in the treat factor after the game, Im serious. Fortunately my kids are all too old for treats...but it got to the point where I was like, "how about I go get you a blue go-gurt and granola bar with chocolate chips and we skip the whole game all together?"
*Basically, if your child rules the roost and you find yourself giving in, accomodating, and inconveniencing everything else to please them or make-up for your own insecurities...you are enabling them to be "entitled."
Do not be confused with consciencly choosing to provide a service or gift to your child because you want to. I love doing things for my kids that make them happy and I know they will enjoy. But when it's simply "expected" from them and disappointment accrues when they don't get it...that falls under the entitlement category.
In the end, it's not a good sense of reality and will not benefit anyone.