What are today's parents doing to create a generation of entitled youth?
I think a lot of parents tend to take the attitude that other people are always to blame. No one wants to take accountability or accept that their child may cause trouble etc. For example, my oldest son had a bully in 3rd grade that chased him around the playground with a pair of scissors and threatened to stab him. Granted they were blunt scissors and so wouldn't have hurt him, but the parents of this child threw a fit because surely the other children provoked him etc. He never got in trouble and was left to his shenanigans
Fast forward to 8th grade where this kid everyone was afraid to discipline got suspended for threatening a kid again - this time with an actual weapon (pocket knife) when he could actually hurt them. I wasn't there, but I bet they had an excuse for that too. Throughout the past several years his behavior has spiraled and he always gets away with it, because someone always shifts blame or sweeps it under the rug etc. If they'd have disciplined this boy the first time, both teachers and the parents, rather than make excuses for him, he may not have felt entitled to bully others to get his own way.
I know on the couple of instances where I received a call from school, I did not just assume my sons innocence and I asked for all sides of the story, taking the opportunity to teach my son how to correct his behavior in the future. My son has never done anything as serious as this kid, but still, I stop it and make him own whatever he does and correct it. The fact he knows we enforce rules and expect certain behavior also deters him from doing things without thinking because he doesn't want the consequences of no video games, being grounded whatever...
Too many parents want to make excuses and blame anyone and everyone but their little cherubs. The result is a bunch of future adults who can't work together or "play" nicely with others - because they will always have a cop-out and someone to blame when things don't go their way.
ChristinS has it right. Parents defend their kids against other authority figures nowadays. In some weird way, I think that they think feel they are protecting their children. Children can never be disciplined as it is a form of abuse. They never learn right from wrong because if someone tries to teach them that then the parent states that their child is being singled out and punished unjustly. It really is sad.
I think parents find it hard to say no nowadays. For example, some parents think it's easier to give in and say yes to every want and desire a child has. I saw a mother at a store the other day telling her child that they were going to leave if he didn't stay seated in the cart, but then rewarded him with a new toy from the toy aisle because he wouldn't stop asking her for it.
The world isn't full of yes when children become adults. There will be times when they can't have their own way and the child won't know how to deal with it.
It's hard. I know. I'm a mom. My children think money grows on trees in the back yard. They often ask why I don't plant some! LOL I show them what's important in life. They can do without the Polly Pocket dance stage and the latest transformer toys. I have to tell them no because I can't compete with the world and the things in it. (This wasn't always true as I wasn't always this broke. I spoiled my children for years. They are learning now that stuff isn't everything.)
They don't have the best of everything, but they do have the best of mom! Growing up, I rarely had name brands. My grandmother taught me how to stretch a dollar and now I'm teaching my children how to do the same. (I think that's why I did spoil them at first, to make up for what I thought I lacked in my youth.)
My teenage step-children were also going through an entitlement phase. I brought them to store and gave them each $20. They bought everything they wanted for themselves. We then drove to the city homeless shelter and donated everything to families there facing financial crisis who had nowhere to go. It was a wake up call for them.
That's one of these big myths being propagated these days just because more and more people are taking to it, that kids have a sense of entitlement these days. When hasn't that been the case? Every generation has petitioned society in some way. Then why don't these other ones have the stigma of being entitled? Like the women's suffrage movements and the baby boomers. All gimme gimme gimme!
Then if you ask me that group from 1776 had a pretty strong sense of entitlement because the very backbone document for our culture speaks of "inalienable rights" as in...being entitled to certain things. So whatever generation is being unfairly judged by the misfits of the past as being entitled, ARE actually entitled. Misgivings over the fact don't change the fact that they have a stake in something. If there are any overt, demanding tendencies on their part, it's because their is a sense of deprivation and lack in key areas where society has been unable to implement a better way of life. That's because the entire 20th Century stunk!!!
If you ask me entitlement is a mislabel for today's youth. Their main issue seems to be being more co-opted by mass media and a bad educational system rather than less, less aware of it, discriminating, and able to think critically, more susceptible to group think, more willing to be politically polarized than ever, less able to radically change anything. It's as if all of the positive momentum of the past just stopped and now they are just waiting around for somebody to push the button.
BUT, they are just getting started!
Very good question. Unfortunately, it's one that I am passionate about.
I think there are many answers and not just one. Please note I am not including ALL children in the following statements.
1) We've become a society of instant gratification.
2) Too much media influence and kids not being shown what a healthy role model is. Too much TV!
3) No discipline. (It isn't politically correct).
4) Not taught to respect authority.
5) They've caught the material girl syndrome (from their parents sometimes, but media too).
6) Faith is missing.
7) Parents are missing in action so they guilt parent. Or they are the "fun" parent in the divorce competing with the other.
8) They don't learn the value of the dollar.
9) Serving others - programs like Candy Stripers disappeared (too risky for law suits now probably).
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