Earlier today I was text messaging a friend of mine. We were having a very important discussion on lipstick shades and those with maximum stay-ability. I had been browsing through the MAC cosmetics store and found a perfect color… and so did my 9 year old daughter. It was a metallic purple and she just had to have it. It was $18. No freaking way.
First, I’m not uptight about makeup and dress-ups. It’s fun and little girls like to dress up now and then, and I’m perfectly okay with that. She has a few lip glosses and she and I make beaded bracelets together. But on the whole, she’s actually quite a tomboy (5 brothers). She has a baseball cap that she never removes except for family portraits, and only then at the threat of death. She loves tarantulas and snakes and hanging out with the boys… and lipstick.
So when I told her no way would I even entertain such an expenditure, she got pissy and pouty fast. I was so unfair.
I also relayed this portion of the shopping trip to my friend and she said, “They must be putting entitlement in the cereal.” Oh my gosh, YES.
I’m not the first or even 10,000th person to write about this “phenomenon,” so I won’t provide links to studies or online help programs for managing entitled children. Instead, I’ll just rant about my own 😉.
When I was growing up, Al Gore had not yet invented the internet the way we know it today. Very few people had pagers, and if you did, you obviously were dealing drugs in high school. My mom had a cell phone the size of a Smart Car and it cost a small fortune to make a one minute emergency call. I drove the ugliest car a teen could be doomed to drive, and only because the school was too far for my dad to conveniently take me and my mom to fetch me. But they were strict. I always thought they were way too strict. I was grounded all the time. And I don’t mean “go to your room filled with a stereo, TV, game systems, personal phone line and think about what you did”… I’m talking exile from the universe. For weeks. And after enough screwing up, I lost the privilege of driving the ugly car and walked to and from school. And then, they hand delivered me to a “get your act together program” a thousand miles away. And yes, it all seemed awful. But I certainly didn’t mouth off to my dad about how unfair he was. All hell would have been unleashed!!
I have a friend in the city I’m currently visiting. He worked his butt off and owns a very well known hair studio in the area. I get my hair cut at the cheapest places possible every two years, but ironically just had it cut last month. I wasn’t due, but my 9 year old certainly was. So we went in, she asked about purple highlights, and I agreed. She was SO excited. The man worked for hours on her hair… coloring, washing, cutting and drying. Then he took pictures for his social media page. It really looked amazing. The price tag nearly killed me but it was already purple, so…
Immediately she wanted to throw it all up in that God awful baseball cap. I said no!! Leave it down for at least the day! Oh the go to hell looks I got… The stomping, the tears, the pathetic attempts at negotiating. It was enough to make me march her back to the salon and strip every spot of purple from her hair AND toss that cap in the trash. But no… we took her and her cousin to an indoor jump place instead (It is the cousin’s 10th birthday….). Did this improve moods? Nope. Just sulking, fiery eyes and demands for the cap.
My 13 year old has major entitlement issues. He actually told me it is unfair that he shares a bathroom when I don’t. My head spun on that one.
Truly, I could go on and on and on… But it’s not just the idea that kids feel they are owed everything, it’s a lack of gratitude. And some very serious flaws in my parenting that I need to quickly find and remedy before I contribute 7 more entitled young adults to an already me – driven world. A frightening world in which everyone is special and unique for no obvious reason other than they exist. Everyone is a unicorn. Or those who truly are underprivileged, should be given everything because they have nothing. And those who don’t want to work? Well, they should get something too… or hop from job to job until one “feels right” and they are appreciated for their awesomeness.
I don’t have a solution, except the aforementioned one. But I am growing increasingly resentful of this behavior and am close to stripping my kids’ worlds bare: bed, clothes, food. Oh, and MAYBE I’ll give them a ride to school.