Sunday, July 6, 2014

Entitled? To what?

Okay, let me start with the links so you can see what I've said before, if you are so inclined. There are a few...

On Fairness
On Lowered Expectations
On Tiger Moms
On Bullies
On Zero Tolerance 
On These Kids Today

And now one more. Just because I have found myself posting it as a comment more and more lately.

When people talk about young adults you hear "entitled" come up more and more. And then the discussion about the "everybody gets a trophy" comment gets posted. And everyone nods along.

Except I don't. I point out that every generation thinks the one behind it is spoiled and selfish and entitled. It's only when you get older that you forget that's the truth. I'm sure you remember some uncle or friend of the family ranting about "These kids today, so spoiled!" Because we were.

Seriously. Compared to my parents I led a freaking soft life. They were both raised on working farms. Not easy for anyone. Didn't matter that they were kids, they worked the farm. So my fast food and then cashiering jobs starting in my teens didn't even come close to being the same.

But here is the big truth. It's not our kid's fault that they are soft and spoiled and entitled.

It's not.

It's ours.

Or actually it's our parent's.

And theirs.

But not our kids.

Don't believe me? Oh good...story time!

These past few weeks I have been helping C out in his move to Bend. It's meant driving 3 hours there and 3 hours back more than a few times. The day he signed his lease I waited for the guy to come hook up his cable and internet so C could get back to work. Then I did a quick Target and grocery run so he had a few supplies waiting when he got home. On the 4th of July Brent and I went down with a carload of things and then spent the day down there picking up and putting together some cheap furniture for him (that he paid for) so he wouldn't have to sit in an empty apartment. This Friday we will take another load down to him, pick him up and bring him home for the weekend then take him and the last of his stuff back down on Sunday.

So is he spoiled and entitled?


Because I chose to do that. He didn't expect it. He was grateful for the help but he didn't expect it. And the main reason I chose to? Because my parents didn't.

Now obviously being 3 driving hours away makes it easier than being 25 hours away, but still. They didn't help. Brent's folks did. They gave us as much of their old stuff as they could (I still have a few of their old dishes) and Ann took the time off work to drive with me across country and help me find our first apartment. I appreciated it greatly and never forgot how much of a difference it made. So when the time came for C to move out and set up his new place I chose to do things differently than my parents did. Because I knew what it meant to me.

And that's why I am telling you if kids today are soft and spoiled and entitled it's not them, it's us, and our parents before us.

The things you change as a parent are the things that didn't work for you growing up. You keep the things you liked. In those blogs up there I talked about how C never won a game he didn't legitimately win. That works for me. Competition and drive are good things. The desire to be the best you can be is a good thing. I also talked about the appropriateness of rules. I tried to instill in C the difference between a good rule and a bad one. And that sometimes even if it's a bad rule you have to follow it, until you get in to a position to change it.

The reason these kids today think they can get away with everything is because YOU let them. And why do you let them? Because you felt like your parents were too strict with you. So you changed the way you parent to fix that. And now you want to say, Oh these kids today...No, it's you. And your response to not liking how you were raised. And you were raised in direct response to how your parents were raised. It's a cycle.

My parents were both very touchy feely. Because their parents weren't. No hugs. No pats on the head. No contact. So my parents thought that was awful and changed it. I liked it and kept it so C got and gets hugs and shoulder rubs and touched when we talk. My parents also spanked, I can remember the last time I was spanked and I was plenty old enough to have been reasoned with instead of  hit. I don't think that's okay so C didn't. My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic. I saw my folks drink a small handful of times each year. My parents are very religious. I don't agree with it so I raised C without.

Every parenting choice they made they made either because they agreed or disagreed with the way they were raised. Same with Brent and I. We took things from our upbringings that we thought worked and kept them and the things we absolutely did not like we changed.

Which is where we get kids today who never lose a game. Who always get a trophy. Who think if someone is mean to them they were bullied. Who think if you have a problem at school the way to handle it is by going to the media instead of the principal or school board. Who don't play dodgeball or have to get picked for a team.

It's on us. We did that. Because we didn't like losing, so we don't want our kids to. We didn't like our parents telling us to get over it when the school said no. We didn't like being picked last so we decided to protect our kids from the hurt. We did it. Why? Maybe because our parents didn't. And their parents were even harsher. So they mellowed, then we mellowed even more, and now we think our kids are awful. BUT WE DID IT.

You can't blame a kid for not losing well when you never taught him how.

You can't blame a kid for being entitled when you've handed them everything they've ever wanted.

You can't blame a kid for not knowing how to work if you never made them.

And you have to actually ask yourself, why you didn't. And the answer is generally because you felt like it was the wrong thing when you were growing up. My kid learned how to lose, because I thought it was important. My kid didn't work during school because we wanted him to focus on school, not a job. The only job he held was volunteer work at the Nature Camp during the summer. School was his job. Is he entitled? Maybe. But I don't think so. He knows he was lucky, he knows he was born in to a decent cushy life. But he also knows it was Dad's money not his. Did it work? He kept his grades up in school. He has a job. He knows he will have to work hard there to make an impression to keep that job. Seems like it to me.

As I always say, if you think today's kids are all rotten, entitled, jerks you need to hang around with better kids.

And remember when you are bitching about these kids today you are really bitching about yourself and those adults from yesterday. So get over yourself, you entitled, whiny little twerp.

Seriously...these adults today...

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