In This Age of Entitlement

Gimmie, gimmie somethin’ for nothin’!

We are living in an era where we expect to have our cake and eat it too, but we don’t want to mess up our pretty kitchens with the flour it takes to bake the cake.  This entitled attitude permeates society from the government to the playground.  The ice-cream cone we are sure we deserve at ten suddenly becomes the MRI we know the government owes us at forty.

This isn’t about healthcare, it’s about our attitudes.  Where did we suddenly get the idea that we deserve ‘it’, whatever the ‘it’ might be at the time?

Is it because we work hard?  I know that hundreds of thousands of men and women worked hard to birth our country and never got to enjoy the rewards of their work.  They died working hard.  They sowed so another could reap their harvest.  The opportunity to work was reward enough.

Are we teaching that to our children?

I fear we, and I am certainly included in we, give our children more possessions than they have the ability to maintain or enjoy.  We require little of them and expect less.  We unknowingly foster a selfish and self-centered attitude in them.  From the moment we give birth, the center of our entire world shifts to please and coddle our newborn; however, our world doesn’t right itself on its’ axis until they are eighteen, or twenty-one, or now maybe twenty-six.  Instead of insisting that our children conform to our lifestyles and the reality we worked so hard to achieve, we transform our lives and schedules to revolve solely around our offspring’s desires, moods, and whims.  They cannot help but act as if the world revolves around them.  Clearly it does.

I’ve heard that we live in a ‘child-centric’ society and I believe it.  I am just not certain we are doing our children any favors.

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26 thoughts on “In This Age of Entitlement

  1. Hat Chick

    I am late commenting on this post, but baby, you have hit a big one with me. I have a 20-something that I hired and he expected to make $60K yr right out of college. Of course, all I can afford to pay him is $10/hr. He complains because it’s not enough but he manages to go to Subway for lunch and carries an i-phone. He argues constantly with everything I tell him….I am the boss, so you have to do what I say. That’s how it works. He quit when he didn’t get what he wanted.

    I am really worried for future generations.

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  3. Marytoo

    I am convinced that the more one sacrifices for another, whether it is your own child or someone else, the less they appreciate and the more they expect. This errant thought just entered my head as a sort of example . . . In Texas there is a law that when the school bus stops allllllll the cars on the road stop, and the kids skip (or just leisurely take their time) acroxx the street without even a look. Now I am all in favor of driving carefully, but are we really doing our children a favor when we teach them that all traffic will come to a standstill before their darling little toes even step off the curb? It seems to me that they might be better served if we taught them how to croxx the street safely. Just a thought…

  4. caprik

    A well thought out and written rant. Tantrum Thursday!

    You are so right, we do our children a disservice.

    Entitlement is a DISEASE in our country.

  5. Bonnie Riffle

    You are SO EXACTLY RIGHT! Think about all the children who will grow up, go out into the world and be in for a shock when they realize nothing is free. They will really only “get it” when Mom and Dad completely stop helping them. I’m sure that there are a lot of parents who still help their children financially way into their 20’s and 30’s. My children are 11 and 8 and I am really trying to let them know that life is not perfect, there will probably be as many dissapointments as their are happy times, and how fortunate they are compared to children who sleep on a dirt floor and go to bed hungry every night. Sometimes when I see spoiled teens on tv, I think to myself, that kid needs dropped off in the slums of India for a month, then they can really see how tough life can actually be.

  6. LJ

    You are right on here! Fortunately (though I did not like it at the time) my mother never let me feel entitled. EVER! So I have it intertwined in my parenting style, like it or not.
    That and making a practice of not letting a ‘no’ become a yes. Make sure it is a ‘no’ in your head before you respond- and stick with the no. Because then they know a ‘no’ is a NO.

  7. David

    Ouch! That’s a little convicting! And so true! Combine these attitudes with the increasing divorce rate and it’s one bad recipe. So many kids have two homes; mom’s home and dad’s home. I can tell you first hand that that just makes it all the more difficult. Especially when they’re teenagers. If things don’t go your way over here, you just go over there. And then back again, if things over there aren’t the way you thought they would be. And it gives a single parent very little control, especially if the other parent is more interested in gaining their children’s approval than in doing what’s truly best for them. And then there are their friends. It seems every kid has at least one friend whose parents give them everything they want and let them do everything they want. Ah oh, I think you got me wound up!

  8. robinaltman

    Oh, no! You’ve been watching my home videos, haven’t you? Sheesh. I’m so embarrassed.

    I think about this all the time. Tonight, Kevin (age 17) is on the computer playing some dumb game with elfs and wizards. He has the physics SAT subtest coming up in a couple of weeks. I offered to do problems with him and he said, “No thanks. I have Mr. M coming over Sunday for 2 hours.” Hmmmm…. I pay for Mr. M. What unbelievable opportunity this kid has. I wonder if he’ll take advantage of it, or just be a passive baby chick with his mouth open, waiting for life to feed him. And I birthed this baby chick. Another hmmmmm…..

  9. Erin Frost

    Like others above, I agree–we’re not doing the next generation any favors by acting this way. One of the first places it shows is in social function at school. From third grade (my husband teaches it) to college seniors (that’s me), this is a generational problem that will be a major issue in the future. If only people understood how many of the world’s problems informed parenting could solve.

    On the other hand, I’m not a parent. Forgive me for lurking and adding my two cents. What I really wanted to say was: Right on!

  10. debbie york

    Every parent’s dream is for their children to be more successful than they were, but today’s children won’t have that opportunity unless they learn that success is built on work. How sad that by giving them everything they are depriving them of that all important life lesson.
    P.S. Once again, you’ve made me stop and thing and you know how much I hate thinking!

  11. Michelle at Graceful

    I agree with you 100 percent. My husband and I have had this conversation often — not that it stops us from spoiling our kids. And just tonight I sat down with my 5-year-old to have a talk about gratefulness — I had brought him home a tiny $1 gift from Target (those little “sponge” pills that blow up into animals when you put them into water), and he ended up having a complete meltdown when I wouldn’t let him do all the sponges in one night. At one point he blurted, “I have the worst life ever!” We had a chat about being thankful for what he does get, how some kids don’t even have a cozy bed or dinner on the table, never mind cute spongy animals, and how that spoiled attitude won’t encourage me to bring him home little gifts in the future. Not sure he got it. I think it’s a message that bears repeating…and repeating!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today when Jo was guest posting!

  12. Mom

    Now you know why I made you and FringeBrother get jobs while in high school and buy your own things with your own hard earned money! I guess you learned the lesson!!!

  13. Alyson (New England Living)

    I agree! One thing I won’t do is let my kids’ activities overtake my life and I don’t give them stuff without them working for it, except on Christmas and birthdays. I think everyone is overly concerned with giving their kids oppurtunities. Yes, we need to give them oppurtunites, but moderation is needed here. In Connecticut, I feel a bit like a freak because I won’t put my kids in hundreds of summer camps and lessons, but that’s ok with me. I’ve always been a bit of a freak! 😉

  14. Debra

    Amen again, sister! Society seems to be heading toward making the children first in our lives. God should be first of course, but the spouse should come next and then the kids. 🙂

  15. Tina

    Amen! Thanks for sharing this, I couldn’t agree more! I found you from comments over at PW. Look forward to reading more:)

  16. Jill

    We’re not doing our children any favors. In fact, we’re crippling them for life. Someday they will wake up and discover that the world doesn’t actually revolve around them. Great thought-provoking post!

  17. Rebekah @ It Only Gets Better

    I’ve always hated that attitude of “gimme” and I am so guilty of it myself. The pot calling the kettle black. And I’m not helping matters when I go ahead and clean my kids’ rooms instead of making them do it. At the time, it seems easier just to do it myself but, like you said, I’m not doing them or myself or their future spouses any favors by not teaching them responsibility.


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