Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hand it Over!

A Generation of Entitlement?

  Is it just me, or does this generation of teens seem to think they are entitled to everything?  Where did we go wrong? 

  I grew up in a household with one working parent.  My step-father went off to work and my mother stayed home to raise me.  The only time that I know my mother did work was after my father passed when I was 2 ½ years old, she had no choice then.  She remarried later on, and didn’t have to work again.  I know I didn’t feel entitled to anything.  I understood the concept of working for what you have and/or for what you want.  Even though the family finances were not told to me, I knew bills were being paid and there was such a thing as a mortgage that had to be paid monthly in order to keep the roof over our heads.  My step-father worked to provide all of these things. 

  I too, have worked since the age of sixteen, knowing that is how life goes.  If you want to get ahead, if you want to be able to provide for yourself and buy what you wanted, you had to earn money.   I have taught my children, by example that you must earn what you want in life, things don’t get handed over.  Their father and I both worked but me more so after the divorce.  Is that the key?   Divorce wasn’t common in my generation.  In all the people that I can recall from my years as a child, I can only think of one divorced couple, maybe two.  I know none of my friends had this “entitlement” attitude.  Could the popularity of divorce have brought on this way of thinking?

  I know I have always tried to provide the latest technology to my children when I could, and my ex-husband would do the same.  It’s sad to admit, but it almost seemed like a competition.  Those who bought the coolest items for the children would win their affection.  I know we aren’t the only ones that play this twisted little game either.  I hear it time and time again amongst my divorced friends.  Why are we trying to win over our children?  They are our children and don’t need to be shown anything but love affection and discipline.  They only things we need to provide are the basic needs; shelter and utilities.  Time and time again, we go overboard at Christmas and other holidays to make sure we are the shining parent.  Is this how these teens gained this arrogance?

I know I am not the only parent that suffers from the affliction of entitled teens.  I see it in other families as well.  They too, are divorced families.  I do believe we created a monster!  It looks like the old lawn mower is going to have to be fixed.  This mom is tired of providing gift after gift like it’s expected of her!  A gift is something that should be cherished, something for which to be grateful, not expected.  I think the next time I hear, “When are you getting me this?”  I am going to ask, “When did you last mow the lawn?”  or “When did you do the dishes, laundry, etc.?”.  It’s time I started to make my children understand the concept of a dollar and how far it does not go any longer.  I thought I already had done that, letting them in on our finances and showing them the bills.  I thought I was providing an education that my parents never provided me, actual proof that yes, you have to work for money.  This mom is no longer handing over money when they ask for it; they are going to earn it.  I may not be able to change the entire generation that feels entitled, but by golly, I am sure going to work on my kids!

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