The other day I had a mini vent, about the kids helping around the house or more to the fact that they don’t for the most part or more specifically not as much as I would like them to, or think they should. That night I went to bed thinking about entitlement, and have been thinking about it every day since then, and am giving myself some much needed down time to write on the topic. Or as much down time as can be had when one has responsibilities, and that is a whole other topic. For the purpose of this post I will be using the following names, mainly because they were the main ones in English primers in the 70’s classroom, as generics for all children (including ours)/adults; Jane, Dick, Harry, Tom, and Sally. All of my examples come either from pure fiction/Hollywood or from snippets of family behavior I see around me. Before I get to much further into this, I am not a perfect parent, I have tried my best, and fully expect our kids to write some type of ‘mommy dearest’ memoir later in life. So there it is out in the open I am not the best, and I could never pass for June Cleaver.

Let’s start with the definition according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

M-W: Definition of ENTITLEMENT
1 a : the state or condition of being entitled : right
b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2: a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a
program
3: belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

How does one have the right to be entitled to anything, just because Dick was born to an affluent family while maybe Tom was born to a very poor hard working family, does this automatically entitle Dick to be considered better or more deserving of special privileges. Dick and his family might think so, and perhaps some of their peers. What happens then at school say they both attend a very exclusive school, Tom works hard in all of his subjects and the teachers only give him grades in the B range because they don’t think he is capable of better. Meanwhile Dick feels that he doesn’t have to do his work and hires someone, maybe even Tom to do all his work for him, yet he never earns anything lower than an A- even though they, the teachers, know he did not do the work. We all know from reading this hypothesis that Dick is not entitled to those grades, we also know that this is a popular fiction topic for Hollywood teen movies. Yet there are some people who are born into family’s that are very affluent who have behaved in this fashion, or more currently we see this attitude portrayed by select athletes in various sports. Who for whatever reason got it into their head that because they are big names all of a sudden they can do whatever they want.

How does this pertain to my vent/rant of the other day. Our children, Harry and Jane, were born into a modern era when there are tv’s, phones, cell phones, computers, and video games in almost every home. In an era where in spite of almost 68,000 parenting offerings on Amazon and popular TV shows like Super Nanny there seems to be a general lower expectation on children at home and an ever growing trend towards keeping them children longer, and therefore in my ever so unprofessional opinion it seems like todays children and teens have an attitude of entitlement towards having/receiving almost everything they think they need.

In some cases it’s parents unsure of how to raise children because they grew up in a home where both parents worked or raised by a single parent who worked full time. Some of these former children may have been latch key children and practically raised themselves. So they do the best they can, and raise their children either the same way they were raised or in some other fashion that they think is best. While others from this group, may have gone to a daycare/after school program/relatives home and therefore been supervised and had continuous adult role models of some type around. This group of parent is not necessarily any better or worse off than any other type of parent, they just had a few more role models +/- to learn from.

In other cases parents grew up in lower income family’s were everyone including the children had to work hard to help support the family, these parents usually go one of 3 directions; a) they make their children earn everything, they are always being tough their children; b)the b parent goes in the total opposite direction, they give their children almost everything because they want their kids to have happy childhood memories and to not have to work or worry like they did; c) my last parent type in this speculation is the parent who has come the closest to blending the previous two types, they give their children more, but they also make their children earn a certain amount of what they get.

In the end it doesn’t really matter the parenting style or early life influences. You ask any parent and they all say the same thing “we’re just trying to do what we think is right/best” another popular phrase I hear a lot is “we’re just trying to provide a better life for our children”. Were someone to time travel they would probably hear those same 2 sentences uttered through out history.

Getting back to our, Harry and Jane, DH & I are a small mix of several different parenting types who quite literally are trying to do our best to raise our kids in a rapidly changing world, trying to prepare them for a future that we know nothing about. Just as our parents did the best they could while trying their best to prepare us to live in a world/future that they knew nothing about.

I guess what I’m saying is that if our children seem to have a certain sense of entitlement about them, perhaps it is because we as parents have unwittingly set the stage for it.

Advertisements