Often times, I hear “if I cannot go hang out with my friends tonight, then I will intentionally fail all my classes” or “this is my phone, so you cannot tell me what to do with it” or “everyone has it so I should”, or better yet, “just give me your credit card so I can make the purchase”…and the list goes on. These are voices of entitlement and are the tactics that get a lot of our young people “their way” so to speak! And as parents, instead of managing this convoluted way of thinking, we either succumb to the pressure (aka enable the behavior) OR we respond with similar threats that may then lead to an escalation that results in angry people!
Entitlement is a trend that can be exemplified amongst children, young people and adults alike. They suggest that they have a right to everything based on their socio-economic status, gender, age and even race and will even argue that it is a well deserved right! While the individual’s harsh and challenging lives may be a factor, it does not necessarily warrant an entitlement attitude. The underlying issue with such behaviors, no matter the situation, is a lack of belief in oneself and/or just a need to feel that taking advantage of others brings joy.
Let me paint a picture of what the real consequences of ignoring or enabling entitlement are. It creates a culture of people who feel that they are entitled to whatever they want and feel they deserve it all right now. Entitled people will do anything to get what it is that they think they deserve, including causing harm to others, which sometimes unfortunately leads to the loss of lives! That can make for very difficult relationships, a lot of disappointments and most of all an unsatisfactory miserable life. Entitled people have a deeper issue that needs to be addressed; they have a drive for unfulfilled desires but do not have the right tools to make them successful. Oftentimes, this sense of defeat can be seen in multiple generations and therefore difficult to break or overcome.
I try to remind my children that hard work usually produces good results and that there are consequences for every action. I’ll for instance say, “ since I bought the phone, I can make decisions about when you can/cannot use it. And as of right now, you have not used the phone as we’d agreed upon so I am justified to take it away”. It is important that my children understand why I made the decision to take the phone away and provide options for earning their phone or whatever other privilege back. On the other hand, although it is sometimes very difficult and inconveniencing, parents need to stick to the contract as well, with no exceptions, changing the rules or even giving in to pressure☺!
We need to continue to encourage our children to understand that we choose to give them what they have, but they have a responsibility to take care of the gifts and be grateful. This will probably not be an easy change for some given their circumstances or situation and we are happy to help! We provide practical help on how to create a new worldview of empowerment and self-support! With our services we will find ways to help you and your children live a more fulfilled life despite the challenges you may have or face. At Mosaic Haven we believe that we learn through sharing experiences, so would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on entitlement, please share with us.