Entitled

[deleted account] ( 26 moms have responded )

Just curious what breeds an entitled child, or that sense of entitlement that we so frequently hear about nowadays. Let's chat...

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Jane - posted on 07/03/2011

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I do know that I did my best to treat both of our children the same. However, the end results are quite different. I won't say that my daughter has as few things as I had when I was growing up, but she has learned that if you want new clothes, some of the old need to be given to charity. She has also been doing her own laundry since she was 10. She has also learned not to spend money she doesn't have, to save up for things she wants, and to be generous with her time and abilities to help others. Many of her friends do come from wealthy families, but somehow my daughter seems to value the person more than the person's possessions.

She is about to learn a hard lesson, however. She was warned about it many times, that there is enough money in her college fund for four years at a state university or two years at a private school. Yet she failed to apply for scholarships, and she turned down an academic scholarship to Baylor University because she didn't want to live in Waco. She also turned down 5 separate sports scholarships at various schools. Instead she chose to attend a very good but private university that offered her no scholarships.

She has one year left to figure out what she is going to do. She has gotten a summer job, but needs to think seriously about part-time work during school as well as grants and loans.

My son (almost 17), OTOH, feels entitled to everything. He demands the latest this or that, even though he knows the answer: save your money and you can buy it yourself. We fight every day about him being hungry outside of meal times. I have plenty of things he can make himself, but he wants me to provide it all. He demands that I bring him something to drink, and when I ask "What is wrong with your legs?" responds with curse words. He knows my daughter's first car was an elderly VW with problems, but he still thinks he is going to get a brand new diesel F350 dually. And he hasn't even passed his written exams for driving! And all of this in spite of the fact that he knows we lost half our income when my husband died, an that I have gone back to school online so I can get a job.

I do think that kids feel entitled for more than one reason. One is the way they are raised. Too much stuff can create a sense of entitlement, but so can not getting anything at all, including parental love and attention. Watching television and seeing what is possible with enough money can do it, even though their own family does not have that kind of money. Not having to help out at home, growing up as a sort of parasite with no responsibilities, and a sense of being "special" all contribute. But sometimes, there seems to be an innate something that makes one child react one way to circumstances, and another child to react completely differently.

In my son's case in particular, seeing very poor friends being handed $100 just because the dad just got paid seems to have contributed. He doesn't understand that the family has no car or medical insurance because the dad spends what he has as soon as he gets it. And somehow he seems to believe that my daughter gets everything without working for it. But she works very hard for everything she gets.

So I believe that there is no one cause, and that while most causes are external, some are due to some aspect of the child's personality. However, a very big part of it is just having too much stuff and seeing other people having too much stuff.

[deleted account]

Our generation is the first to be brought up with mass psychology. I think we have this idea, which we get from the culture of psychoanalysis, that we would be perfect if not for the deficiencies in our upbringing, and we try to make up for it by making sure our children turn out perfect by hyper-parenting.



Then it's also mass consumerism. Advertisers prey on and foster that feeling of perfectionism. Parents are encouraged to buy and buy for their kids. (Maybe it's also a way of relieving their guilt for working too many hours or not spending enough meaningful time with their kids?)



The funny thing is, I really do believe children are born perfect -- or innocent at the very least. But designer clothes, a gluten-free diet**, the latest "educational" doo-hickey, and perfect goodie-bags at their 1st birthday parties don't make perfect little geniuses.



**I realize some people really are allergic to gluten. But Christ on a stick, food intolerance doesn't explain every weird behavior under the Sun.

Jenni - posted on 06/30/2011

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Juleah, I think that covered it all! Great post!
One of the things that is very important in my household is my children start helping out around the house as soon as they are able. We all share chores. They help me with laundry, dishes, dusting (communial chores). They are expected to clean up their own rooms and toys. It isn't an option in my house. You clean up your own toys when you make a mess or we don't go outside to play. They're usually pretty good about it. My son threw a bit of a fit about it this morning though! We go play outside every morning when my daughter takes her first nap.

He was emptying out all the contents of his toybox (just for fun). I reminded him that he would have to clean it up after. He said ok. About 30 mins before we were going to go outside I told him it's time to tidy up your room so we can go outside. He started whinning about it and balking it. He asked me to help and I told him: "Remember I said if you emptied out all your toys you would have to clean them up? You made the mess, so you have to clean it up." He threw a bit of a fit but eventually realized we weren't going outside until he did. So he cleaned up every last toy and was so proud of himself when he told me he did. I inspected his room and told him I was very impressed with what a good job he did. And then we went outside to play.
I have to earn my free time. I have to finish some of my chores before I earn some time on COM. lol

JuLeah - posted on 06/30/2011

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Okay, well, this is my opinion ... Why do kids feel entitled? We raise them to feel that way.

I see little ones given so much so often. A little toy here, a fun little thing here, a buck here ... it is all based on the, 'you're so cute ... I love you ... you deserve it’ idea.
I hear kids ALL the time in the store, “Mama can I have ….” And most of the time, they get what they are after. Even if Mom has made an effort to explain “it’s not in the budget” the kids says, “Pleeaaassseeee”

They get a color book for walking in the store and not whining. They get crayons because in their box at home the blue one is broken.
Each year they get brand new school supplies, even if most every thing they need could be rounded up from all the extras they already have.
They get a new beach ball and buckets because they are going to the beach and only have their toys from last year. Yes, their toys from last year include a ball and bucket, but not in the color they want this year.
They get gifts for attending another child's birthday party
They get new clothes even when they have so many outfits they need a second dresser to hold them all. I know a kid with three dressers and one kid with a full second bedroom.
The holidays are obscene ... birthdays are unreal

And what do these little people do to contribute to the family, community in which they belong? Not a thing.

They watch TV, they play, they hang with friends ...
Adults swap their lives around to accommodate play dates, and soccer, and school plays
I watch adults skip lunch at work cause their kid forgot their homework again and they need to run home and get it for them … let the child deal with the consequence of forgetting and maybe learn a valuable life lesson … never
I watch adults spend far beyond their means so their little one can play ... can do ... can have ....

And what do these little folk do to make the world a better place?
How are they needed by their families? What do they contribute? What is their value?
In days gone by, if the children didn't help, the family didn't eat.

If a child had new clothes, odds are she/he helped to make them or helped to buy them

They valued their shoes if they had just the one pair. I see parents today that spend money they do not have to buy their child a 3rd coat cause the kid lost the first two.
We buy them ipods, and cell phones, and computers …. It is understood by most teens they will receive a new car on their 16th
I watched one parent cancel her own birthday plans cause her kid wanted a last minute sleep over with four of her friends ....
They fail a class and parents blame themselves, yell at the teacher, and make whatever consequence for that failed grade go away ... I watched a family member scream until her son ( who received 4 D's and 2 F's) was allowed back on the baseball team .... this family member blamed the school for her sons' poor marks
Kids get trophies for participation in youth sports… what’s that about?
And what is it that kids actually do in order to receive all of this?
Not a damn thing .... they are responsible for nothing, accountable not at all. No one depends on them. They are not asked to be, or allowed to be self sufficient.
We nag them to wear a coat till they lack the common sense to put one on unless we are there.
I have a teen in my life who has been complaining she is out of conditioner for several days. For several days a bottle of conditioner has been sitting on the kitchen counter for her, but taking it up to the bathroom is “not her job”. I ask you, “How will this kid make it in the world?”
I know a teen that will go hungry if no one is around to make him food and there are not chips or something he can grab.
If they fail a test, they can do extra credit, they can retake the same test as many times as needed until they pass ....
If they fail to get started on a big project and don't have it done in time, they get an extension ... if the teacher doesn’t grant that, they are yelled at by the parent ... the rules are ALWASY bent for them, or ignored, or broken ... consequence are not theirs, rules don’t apply ... they are given anything they want for the asking, not asked for anything in return ....
These kids are not bad kids, or brats. They have simply never been asked to think of others, never been taught empathy, never had to struggle for anything, never felt the pride of earning or achieving …. They are frustrated, angry, depressed. They are not needed by society, not valued … just given stuff.

What do they feel entitled?????

We raise them to feel entitled.

Nikki - posted on 06/29/2011

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A yes parent, no structure, no discipline, giving in to every demand of the child to empower them. Yes I am all for empowering children and building self esteem but there needs to be a balance between empowerment, compassion and empathy.

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Stifler's - posted on 07/03/2011

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I think it'll make for an attention seeking child even though lots of people think that if you ignore them and don't pick them up when they cry they'll learn to be independent.

[deleted account]

So, does no one agree with my theory that ignoring a child/denying love and attention, will also make for an entitled child?

I'm sorry....I wish I could find the article that I was referencing.

Stifler's - posted on 07/02/2011

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Enablers. Child does something/gets in trouble... parents pay for it/bail them out constantly. My sister stole like $2000 worth of scratchies and money from her first job and my parents bailed her out. Now she uses their entire tank of fuel when she borrow their car and then asks for money to fill it up while they are on holidays visiting me so my dad's like "she does this all the time.. blah blah".. I'm just like.. don't complain to me... just cut her off.

Jesse - posted on 07/01/2011

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I have to say that I agree with what almost everyone is saying on here about parents giving their children everything. As much as I hate to say it, I see this a lot with my younger brothers. One is 19, the other is 11. Growing up, our mom was always in and out of rehabs and thus in and out of the house. So, when she was home, it almost seemed as if she wanted to do everything for us because of a sense of guilt. However, the 19 year old and I grew up with our Nana raising us for a majority of the time while our mom was away. Nana was born at the end of the Great Depression into a very poor farm family and the one thing that was definitely instilled into my mind from a young age is that if there is something that YOU want, you save up YOUR money to pay for it.
That being said, she had passed away when our youngest brother was only 8 months old and he never learned a lot of the values that we did growing up. He believes that he should have all of these hi-tech gadgets because all of his friends do. My father bought him a new x-box 360 because his other one stopped working without a second thought. It bothered the crap out of me because I was always taught to work for something that I really wanted. So, in my opinion, a lot of it does have to do with the way the child is raised. Sorry about the ts but it REALLY bothers me when kids believe that they are entitled to something when really, they're not.

Jaime - posted on 06/30/2011

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JuLeah, I think you took the words out of my mouth....you've said it perfectly! I love kids and I don't for one minute think that they somehow learn on their own to feel entitled. I want Gray to enjoy having and doing things because it makes him feel good about himiself, not because he feels entitled.

[deleted account]

ah, the joys of being broke and having multiple children. certainly makes it easier to expect the kids to help as soon as they can and we certainly can't buy them most things they want. I think people find financial comfort overrated, just look at all the lessons you can teach your kid without even trying by just being poor.

Jenn - posted on 06/30/2011

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Oh yeah...I make my kids pit it on their birthday or Christmas list with the understanding that they will not get everything on the list so by the time that celebration comes around, they have zeroed in on one thing they are most excited about and are soooo happy when they get it. Not sure if this will always work but it did last weekend for my daughters bday! She and her new barbie pool are inseparable! Ha ;)

Jenni - posted on 06/30/2011

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Haha, I'm famous for telling my children when we're grocery shopping: "No we can't get that, it's not on sale."

We also never get treats for them on shopping trips or go overboard with christmas and holidays. We're the same as Ashley... my kids don't ask for things in stores because we don't buy them toys or treats unless it's a special occasion. They may say "Oh wow look mommy, look at that!" but I always reply: "That IS really nice! That might be a good idea for your birthday, huh?"

Jenn - posted on 06/30/2011

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Well said, Juleah! Very thought provoking and true. I was not raised with a sense of entitlement but by the time my little brother came along, he was and the result is an irresponsible, spoiled, self-involved 30 yr old brat! I refuse to do that to my children. My husband and I work to teach our children that the world is more than just their little life bubble. Every action has a reaction and so forth. Quite q task but an absolutely necessary one. My jaw dropped when my sister gave her 3 yr old her iPhone to use as an iPod. Seriously.

[deleted account]

Thanks. You're so cute, Shannin. I feel that way about several of the moms in this community. SO wise.

I'm 34.

Shannintipton - posted on 06/30/2011

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Dana how old are you? If you don't mind me asking. You are soooo wise. All this stuff you say makes perfect sense but it only occurs to me AFTER I hear you say it. I am soon to be 46 and don't know jack shit about raising kids. They sure have taught me a lot.

[deleted account]

"Maybe they see everyone else having things they don't have and feel they're deserving of a piece of that pie. But have no idea how to achieve it because they were never taught. Did that make sense?"

Yep. That's how I see it. I think it requires thinking outside the box, but it makes more sense to me then a parent who provides everything for their child, including love. When you deny a child THE most basic human emotion, they're likely to act in ways that don't necessarily make sense to us.

Don't get me wrong -- spoiling a child stupid with material things isn't right either, but....

Jenni - posted on 06/30/2011

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I could see that. Maybe they see everyone else having things they don't have and feel they're deserving of a piece of that pie. But have no idea how to achieve it because they were never taught. Did that make sense?



Children shouldn't be expected to know how to do things for themselves or to figure everything out on their own. They should be taught the proper way and then expected to try it for themselves.

I just keep thinking of how my SD always wants to do things and learn how to do things for herself. She has the "I Do It" mentality.

Whereas my son wants me to help him with everything! I have to put his pants on for him after he pottys. I have to put his shoes on his feet. I have to find his cup for him. Find his bunny for him. Which was fine for awhile until I realized a theme. He wasn't wanting to do *anything* for himself. So lately, I've been really encouraging him to learn to do these things for himself. He's been throwing fits about it. But has been getting way better and is learning how to put his own pants back on, or his velcro shoes on (all things my SD learned a year earlier than him). I think I was babying him too much. So we're working on it! It's slowly getting better, I really don't want him to be overly co-dependent.

Constance - posted on 06/30/2011

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Dana I can see that as well. I have known people who were ignored but only got attention when they did something wrong. As they got older they had this thought that because they were treated badly as a child were entitled to be catered to as adults.
There is a fine line between doing too much and not doing enough.

[deleted account]

I read somewhere (and I cannot for the life of me remember where) that ignoring your children and depriving them of necessary love and affection, will create that sense of entitlement. Any thoughts? I really do need to find that article.

[deleted account]

Ya, it's hard for me too, Shannin. I'm the type of person that would rather just clean up a mess than sit and wait and try and be encouraging while watching them clean it up.

It's hard for me.

Constance - posted on 06/29/2011

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Giving a child everything they want when they want. They don't have to work for anythinghey just get wat they want.
My kids people want to say they are spoiled but they work for everything they have and even when they get it they still have to keep up with what they did to get it. or they lose it.
Look at that show On VH1 Your Cut Off! Those girls think they are entitled because they where born with a silver spoon up their butts. Never having to do anything for themselves. Most of thm are very intelligent but spoiled.

Shannintipton - posted on 06/29/2011

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I need to work on that. Letting them do things for themselves. I am so use to being on autopilot that I need to stop and let them do it for themselves. Plus it gives me a break. LOL

Lissa - posted on 06/29/2011

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What Nikki said :)
If you give them everything they want, when they want it. If they never have to work towards or earn anything. If they never have to be part of the team that is a family to work towards common goals. If you show them that they are the centre of the earth and nobody else matters that is what they will grow up to believe.

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