Friday, March 28, 2014

Are We Raising An Ungrateful Generation?

     The other day I got into an argument with my youngest teenager. He was complaining about our family's strapped financial situation and was quick to point an accusatory finger at me. He understands that I'm a struggling writer trying to earn a buck, but he couldn't resist asking when I was going to get a REAL job. The argument quickly turned sour and I wondered why I felt the need to defend my reasons to a belligerent teenager.
   
     His worst jab was yet to come when he questioned what I'd done for him and for our family. His question cut to the bone. I stared at him in disbelief and swallowed hard against the lump forming in my throat.
 
      I raised four children while working three in-home jobs to help support the family. I sacrificed a writing career because I was too busy wiping noses, changing diapers and breast feeding babies at all hours of the night with minimal amounts of sleep.
   
     What have I done for you, Son? Cooked thousands of dinners, packed your lunches, folded your laundry, cleaned your home, volunteered in your school classrooms, helped with your homework, read bedtime stories, chased away the monsters you thought lurked in your room at night, dried your tears, drove you to choir practice, to church, to school and to your friend's homes.  I sat up all night with you when you had fevers, stayed by your side after your hip surgery, stood up to the teachers who lost faith in you and spent a small fortune enrolling you in a new school for a better education. I made sure you had a roof over your head, clean clothes in your closet and a full belly every night.
   
     There are too many teenagers out there today like my son who are wondering what their parents have done for them. They're crossing boundaries I never dreamed of stepping over in my youth. Older values have given way to self-centeredness and greed in a throwaway society. Social networks and the anonymity behind a computer screen have enabled our children to forget their manners. Disrespect for authoritative figures is being reinforced by popular television programs that degrade adults.
   
     I grew up in a different generation where acts of kindness were rewarded with gratitude and love rather than monetary compensation. If we wanted something special, we earned it through diligence and hard work. Parents and the boundaries they set were respected. Broken rules were followed by strict consequences rather than empty threats.
   
     Our generation survived just fine without the convenience of cell phones, computers and high speed internet. We didn't need video games and 500 channels on cable TV to keep us entertained----we were too busy playing dodgeball in the streets with our neighbors until dusk. Whether our families were rich or poor, we appreciated the food on the table and the clothes on our back. People were judged on their merits and behavior, not by the designer labels they wore or the size of their bank accounts.
 
      In fifty years society has progressed to a generation that feels entitled to the latest in material acquisitions. People no longer have the patience to wait for what they want by working towards their goals. They have abandoned simplicity in favor of extravagance. This is not the world our children and grandchildren should be raised in.
   
     I've never regretted the decision to put my career on hold to stay home with my children. At times we suffered from it financially, but I'm proud of the fact that my children grew up without having everything handed to them on a silver platter. They understand the value of a dollar and the importance of a good work ethic. My youngest has yet to test his independence, but I'm hoping he'll appreciate all that we've done and be thankful for the little things that will one day be the big things in life.
   
     What have I done for you, Son? I've been there for you whenever you needed me. Loved you unconditionally. Helped you navigate your way through adolescence and teenage angst. Spoiled you with hugs and praise rather than a trip to the shopping mall. Taught you to be independent, to take pride in your work and become the man I always knew you could be.
   
     Our family may not have had much while you were growing up, but what we did have was an abundance of laughter and love. You can't put a price tag on that, and you'll be a wealthier man because of it.  




*** The other websites where you can find more Menopausal Mother blog features this week:
http://humoroutcasts.com/2014/deliver-the-liver
http://midlifeboulevard.com/menopausal-acne/
   

128 comments:

  1. You are right. I have this, and other conversations with my teen, almost daily. And he seems to have gotten worse, though nothing has changed. I almost wonder if they really DO feel that way, or it's just the only way they know how to lash out. I have seen my nieces & nephews go through it and come out the other side, so hopefully it's a "stage" of sorts. Just like our parents gave us the "I walked to school, uphill BOTH WAYS" speech :) You're an amazing mom, he will get it. Someday. Maybe not for awhile, but he will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so. Maybe it's just me but he seems a little bit more belligerent than the others were at this age. I see it in other his his age and know a lot of moms struggling with this issue. I asked my mom if I was this bad and she said I wasn't, but agreed that each generation is getting worse. Kinda depressing…..

      Delete
    2. It is. Everything is getting easier, it raises expectations I guess.

      Delete
  2. AMEN! Self-entitlement has become the norm and it makes parenting even harder when your elementary aged children's peers are filled with it! People forget that the American Dream is the OPPORTUNITY to work hard for anything you desire. It is NOT a handout. I keep telling my kids that. Second graders with iPhones. Are you kidding me???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said this perfectly! I too, am shocked that these little kids have cell phones. The excuse the parents use is that it enables them to keep tabs on their child. Seriously???? They're only seven years old!!!!

      Delete
  3. I see parents breaking their backs to keep their kids in style and their kids have such a feeling of entitlement like this is the way it's supposed to be. In this economy, reality is going to hit home at some point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! My older kids realized it real quick when they went out into the world themselves and paid their own bills, etc. They were a little surprised at how much it costs just to LIVE. I think they are way more appreciative now, and I'm very proud of them. Just gotta work on the youngest one now…..

      Delete
  4. I've not had any of my kids complain about what I've done for them (not yet anyway). What worries me even more is their lack of initiative. Lack of wanting/knowing what to do to get ahead in life (even if it's the next grade in school!). Then I wonder if it's my fault :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder the same about myself and it makes me feel as though I have somehow failed him.

      Delete
  5. My son has never said this directly, but since dad has the "job" he has made mention that dad buys the stuff. When he says it, I make it clear that without him, I could not do all of those things you list above. We are all a team and as a team we have to work together to make things work. He just hit double digits, I hope he understands it by the time he's a teen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so too, but peer pressure is a powerful thing. It's especial hard if your son's friends have all the latest and most expensive gadgets and clothes---then he'll start asking why he doesn't have the same. Just like our parents said about our generation, they don't truly appreciate what they have until they become adults themselves and have to function on their own in the real world.

      Delete
  6. You totally nailed it, Marcia! I feel it's getting harder to stick to those values because we pamper ourselves, too. At least I do. Chocolate and wine, you know.

    It's interesting what generation's perpective you take. This week I stepped down from my charity board member position. Along with all of my team mates, except the chief, go figure. Anyway, a former president (she's amost 90yo these days) held a speech. This is what she said:

    In our days we did good things and remained silent.
    Later it became "do good and talk about it"
    Seems like today it's "do good and make money with it"

    Hmmm, not what I appreciated hearing after giving my time and busting my a** for the past couple of years - but from her perspective, our working conditions were super easy. They didn't have computers and printers, they didn't have email, their audience had less money, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but she was right---not about you because no doubt you put your heart and soul into it. She was referring to the new generation in general and it's true. We live in a "ME" society where almost everyone wants something for nothing. Sad times indeed.

      Delete
  7. I'm sharing this! I have to say though, that as a single parent raising kids who had virtually nothing, I'm proud of the people my kids have become. Your son will look back and realize that all the sacrifices you made were for him and his siblings and he'll appreciate everything you've done for him. My "baby" will be 30 this year. All my kids have families of their own, and they know how it feels to raise children. Once kids get past the selfish, self-centered stage and see beyond their own little worlds, they begin to understand life a little more. Give him time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so correct. My older three have become very appreciative now that they are on their own. Glad to hear yours are the same way! <3

      Delete
  8. I don't have kids, but my heart goes out to you. I know how much parents do to help their kids and am sad that some kids just can't see that. Hope one day he does.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Carol. He's just a bit slower to mature than the others were.

      Delete
  9. I have no idea how to raise a grateful child - maybe feed them rice every night for dinner and that's it? I really don't know. My kids think they're entitled. I thought I was entitled. I was very ungrateful as a kid/teen. It didn't change until I went to college. My dad lost his job and I suddenly had to pay for some of my schooling. I loved college, I didn't want to lose it. I started to be thankful for every penny I find on the ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things happen for a reason, right? And now I know you are a good parent, Kate. I think your humor brings your family closer and that's a beautiful thing.

      Delete
  10. Amen, Marcia! I can't stand this entitlement generation. I'm constantly on my daughter to take the time to send thank you notes ... to be gracious, because nobody owes any of us anything. This is a generation raised on the pop psychology misconceptionth at self esteem can be accomplished with lip service. We've praised our children to the point of giving them false self-esteem that is not based on their accomplishments ... the whole "everybody gets a trophy" mentality.

    My daughter was once in a softball little league and missed half the games, because she didn't feel like going. At the end of the season, I never picked up her trophy, because I felt it hadn't been earned. I honestly don't know how to begin undoing the damage done to this entitled generation. The best we can do is be the best moms we can be and hope they "get it." ... if not now, then when they are parents themselves!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love everything you said here, Parri, and I think what you did about the trophy was good parenting! These kids need to learn. I hate the fact that they are rewarded for only doing mediocre work, too. My son never studies in school and yet somehow is pulling off the grades. I feel like the teachers pass out A's like candy because they just don't want to be bothered.

      Delete
  11. I agree. My children are the same. They don't see all that we do and just want more and more and then when they get the more they don't appreciate it and it usually ends up broken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh God yes! They break their cell phone doing something stupid and expect us to pick up the tab! My son kept getting flats on his bike and at first we paid for the replacements, but after three times when I found out he was doing stunts on the bike, I told him he had to earn the new tire by doing extra chores around the house. Funny…..the tire doesn't seem to get as flat as it used to…...

      Delete
  12. We are most definitely amongst the "entitlement generation" I feel your pain. I, often, heard the same accusatory tones from my son. Felt compelled to give the same arguments, often received the "well that's what moms are SUPPOSED to do." Only in the military did he learn the benefit of left overs, a home cooked meal and someone else doing his laundry. He gets it now. Your son will too someday. Hang in there momma!! :) but then I only have one under my belt, I have 2 to go :) Fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes---that's what I always hear: "You're a MOM, you're SUPPOSED to do it." I bet being in the military was a HUGE wake-up call for your son! I'm happy for you that things changed. I've seen the lovely pictures of the two of you together and you look so happy….so maybe there IS hope for me!!

      Delete
  13. Wow. This is something I have heard numerous times in my house, and it stings. Success doesn't come overnight...something perhaps this generation doesn't quite get. A "real" job with 9 to 5 hours means I can't get them to practice, I can't go to all their games, I can't pick up that "something" that they needed so badly but forgot to tell me until the last minute. It can be really frustrating. But then again, there are moments when I do feel like they get it, and once they have kids of their own, I hope it will be ingrained in them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You raised a good point---if I was working full time, how would I be able to do all those little things on the side for them? It gives me a bigger appreciation for the working moms out there---I honestly don't know how they do it all and I totally respect their ability to do so.

      Delete
  14. AMEN SISTER! I was also a stay at home mom and have had the same argument with my children at times. Even now that they are grown and married I get frustrated with them sometimes. They think at their young age they should have the big house and new cars. I try to explain that these will come with hard work and time. My husband and I started out in a two room apartment and no car. What we have now we worked very hard for but in the generation of here and now this concept makes no sense to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True! My husband's car is 15 yrs. old and mine is 11. Our kids drive better cars than we do but I have to admit---they paid for the cars themselves. When I tried to talk them into getting older cars for a cheaper price, they wanted nothing to do with that idea, hahaha.

      Delete
  15. Once my son volunteered me to do something for his fourth grade class, explaining that "she's not doing anything else". This is the sweetest guy in the world, always was, who simply had no clue what went into being his mother. Kids, especially teenagers just don't see the whole of our lives until they begin to relate to it as adults themselves, or see more of the picture from further away. Was his statement cutting and myopic? Yes, absolutely. And it warrants a discussion at a different time, when things cool off; not so that he'll "get you" but because there's a life lesson here about lashing out at ANYONE in such a manner, without taking a moment to consider how it might hurt them. Be good to yourself today, and don't buy this. Your post describes that as a parent you did more than many, and if they aren't affirming right now, probably your kids are going to mirror your same standards and priorities when they're older. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautifully said and so very true. Thank you for this, Susan.

      Delete
  16. Oh Marcia, once again, I feel ya! I haven't had that happen to me yet, but I'm sure it will. Jacob is only 14, so I see it looming. My son, as I've mentioned before, is my last one in the nest. The girls, are 29 and 21, so I'm on my final one. I remember the girls going through moments of lashing out at us as parents. It's tough! As you know, once they get out on their own, and eventually have kids of their own, it's all about apologies and recognition. It just takes them time to get to that point where the me me me! goes away. I also feel bad that my desire to earn a college degree is causing us financial strain, but I tell myself it will pay off eventually, and I only have one more year and it's done! I'm supposed to return to the working world in 2015, so I'm holding on, telling myself I DO contribute, and leaving it at that. Thank goodness my husband is supportive, and so far, my son is. He's become such an amazing young man. I really dread that point where he wants to separate himself from his folks and starts acting up. I pray it's not too tough. I think your son was just lashing out, and felt 'big enough' to express his feelings, however misguided they may be. He loves you, I'm sure, just going through growing pains. It's a shame it takes us gals so long to claim our right to pursue our dreams, as well. You keep on writing, Marcia. You make the sun shine for so many of us. Thanks for stickin in there, even when it's tough. Hugs and mama love to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my, you just made me teary-eyed. Yes, I have been feeling horribly guilty and wondering if I should just put the writing aside and get a "real" job as my boy suggested. But I have put this dream off for 27 years….and I don't think it's fair that I should wait any longer because who knows how much time I have left on this earth???

      Delete
  17. I am so there!! My boys are 18 and 21. They have seen us save for vacations, volunteer for school, teams, shelters etc.... We both come from not much but love and have worked for all the things my children so easily take for granted! I always talk to my husband about it. I tried hard, was not a helicopter parent, more of the "sink or swim" type and they still don't get it. I call it the instant gratification generation and just like you it makes me sad.
    How can such good boys be sometimes such horrible people??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel your pain. My older three have matured enough to be appreciative. But they still want the finer, expensive things and sometimes get into debt because they don't want to have to wait to own those things. Your boys are still young, too. Give them a few more years and hopefully they will change once they're on their own.

      Delete
  18. Marcia, this is amazing. So very well put. I tried to write something on this subject, but didn't come close to nailing it the way you have. It's such a huge issue - and where to begin? We as parents wonder where we've gone wrong, and I'm sure fingers are pointing at Gen X and our inability to parent. But the world we're raising our children in is so much more complicated than in the past. We are the pioneer parents of a technological generation. Where's the "how to" book for that? There are layers upon layers of additional issues that come with it all. The media not only teaches kids a lack of respect, but it tries to guilt parents who try to parent traditionally. We're starting to second guess whether we're hurting little Junior's feelings if we scold him and God forbid we should spank them. The world has become a so kid-centric that it seems to favor the rights/needs/desires of children over those of adults. Thanks for writing this. It's a very important dialogue to have and it's a comfort to know we're not alone on those days when we're scratching our heads wondering where we went wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, I think you SHOULD write a post about this because you just nailed the issue right here in this comment! I never thought of it as us being the "Pioneer parents of a technological generation" but that statement is SO TRUE! Well said, Linda, <3

      Delete
    2. Love that too!! Kid-centric is right!

      Delete
  19. nail...head...you hit it! great post xo, jess
    www.dreamingofleaving.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Jess! It felt good to write about it and get it off my chest!

      Delete
  20. Amazing post - and brutally honest. Sometime it is so hard to tell the truth of what is going on inside our homes because it leaves us naked. My kids are 10 and 8 and we have moments of expectations, these moments are sure to grow exponentially as they get older. I may have to print off this piece so that I can have such an eloquent response when my kids ask the same thing - because I have no doubt that they will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They probably will----but it sounds like you'll be ready for it when the time comes!

      Delete
  21. Loved this, Marcia. I have so been here! I was raised by the generation that had lived (and died) in WW2. They had such appreciation for EVERYTHING! They taught me appreciation. This new generation has never had to do without. Oh, they get it eventually, when they've lived . . . out there. Loved your response. Sharing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Diane. I have always known that you and I are on the same page with this! <3

      Delete
  22. I understand where you're coming from and do agree with a lot of what you're saying. But looking back I have to admit that my teen years were filled with narcissism and entitlement as well. And I crossed boundaries my parents wouldn't dream of crossing as well.

    Whether the behaviors of this generation that you and I are dealing with is representative of a moral shift or not is yet to be seen. If this is where their growth stagnates then yes. If they continue along the path of their own evolution, as we did, then it's just a stage. An unpleasant one to be on the other side of, but maybe a necessary stage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so---only time will tell. The problem is the media---it really promotes the entitlement message along with the disrespect of authority, playing adults as idiots and kids as the heroes. I remember when I was young, the only shows geared towards my age group were clean shows like The Brady Bunch. Now we have MTV's reality shows and stupid things like the Kardashians, Sweet Sixteen and Honey Boo Boo. It's discouraging.

      Delete
  23. We've been pretty lucky with our kids. Usually if they wanted something large they either had to help pay for it
    (like our sons first laptop) or it would
    be a Christmas gift or a hand me
    down. When a friend sent nice
    clothes to the girl I told her she could
    Have new kmart or used Amercan Eagle. The boy worked summer jobs since he was 15 (and the girl starts this summer) and I think spending their own money heightens their awareness.

    Or at least if they have felt entitled they have been smart enough to keep it to themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are raising your kids right, Momma! Sounds like they'll be fine adults because they are appreciative!

      Delete
  24. Great post and I 100th that Amen Sista. I am scared to think what our society will be in 20 years. Entitled little asses is what we are raising. My husband and I were speaking about this very same subject the other day. I am cracking the whip on my 4 year old toddler becasue I do not want her to think that everything is just handed to her. No manners, no respect and just a plain rude society is what I see on a daily basis. It is sad......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When she gets a little older, maybe have her do volunteer work at a homeless shelter---that always wakes up a teenager real quick. Thinking it's time I do that with my youngest son.

      Delete
  25. My instinct is that your son is mostly an irritating teenager. My kids are grown and both of them have grown to appreciate how really good they had it growing up, since I stayed at home and they wanted for nothing. There was a sense of entitlement - to a degree - when they were younger, but I think you'll find that they will evolve into adults who have learned from your example.There's nothing like the real world to shake up a person's sense of self-importance.

    I do think our (collective) kids and their contemporaries have more of a sense of entitlement because we were so focused on them growing up, but I don't think that means they won't work hard in life. Children learn what they live.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I'm hoping----that we have set a good example for our children. They knew all too well what it was like to go without, and when each of them went off to college, they went a little crazy with their money. Now they know how to budget and save, so I am grateful for that. I'm just wondering if maybe we have spoiled the last one since he is the youngest….perhaps that's why he expects so much. But it doesn't help that all his friends have two working parents and more material "things" than we ever had. I think he has been easily impressed and influenced by that.

      Delete
  26. OMG, Mama . . . I experienced the same thing last night and that will be my post this weekend. I'm still digesting it and want to read through your post again to gain some insight. My gut feeling is just irrational teen hormones, but there is a sense of entitlement which is pissing me off.

    Much love to you--you are a great Mom! Check out Hot Mess Mom for more insight on bad parent vs good mom if you haven't already. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will do! Let me know when your post is up too----would love to read it! ;-)

      Delete
  27. Well said! Teenagers can say some cruel things at times, and I feel the energy of your reaction in response to his gross unfairness. It's as if they suffer some selective memory bias, erasing the millions of positive actions we've done for them. I trust (hope) it is just a passing phase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's EXACTLY what it feels like----I'm shocked that he never once stopped to consider all the things a mother does for her child----and how much time in a day it takes to DO all those things. He writes it off as what a mother is EXPECTED to do. Gawd, I hope he outgrows this awful stage…...

      Delete
  28. It's not you, it's him. It cuts like a knife when you hear their ungrateful, selfish words, but you laid the foundation and it's there even though it's covered in teen tude. I've been writing a similar post that will make you feel better. Marcia, our kids can say a bunch of crap, but one thing they can never say is they're not loved. You know you do the best you can and always have, which is pretty darn great. Love to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for these kind words. I also like what you called this sucky period----"teen tudes." That's perfect. You have a lot of kids too, so I knew you would understand how I feel. Let me know when you get your post up. <3

      Delete
  29. Great post! I'm astonished at all that kids have today....high tech computers, tv's, cell phones, gaming devices, designer clothes, new cars and they seem to just expect it. Growing up if we wanted something expensive we had to get a job and save up for those things. The generation today seems to place too much importance on materialistic things. They don't understand the value of money or things. My family always said no one truly appreciates what they have until they have to work for it themselves. And when they do get out into the real world and have to live on their own they realize just how good they had it at home. Your sons words must have hurt terrible but you are a good mother and he will realize that one day soon! And maybe he can get a small part time job to buy what he wants. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Well, he did just get a small job a few weeks ago so I think he is starting to see how it really is out there---he has already complained about being bored at work. I hope that once he is an adult and has kids of his own, he will appreciate everything his parents did for him. Only time will tell.

      Delete
  30. My kids are ungrateful at times, but I take every opportunity to remind them how fortunate they are to have what they have. I think they realize that, but sometimes adolescence rears its ugly head and they say things like your son said. Then they get an earful from the mom who "never does anything for them!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He certainly did get an earful---but he sure didn't want to read this post, LOL.

      Delete
  31. Hallelujah! You wrote perfectly what I've been wanting to write for quite some time now! A post like this has been screaming inside of me for months to be written (because of my 16-year-old step-son and his unappreciative attitude) - and I've made several attempts to write it, but could just never get it right. YOU ABSOLUTELY DID, Marcia and I applaud and thank you! I'll be sharing this post everywhere! You nailed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwww…you are so sweet, thank you! I hope it helps---hey, maybe you should have your step-son read it to get a better grasp of all that you do for him!

      Delete
  32. So well written! He will not truly understand till he is living on his own and maybe one day it will hit him when his teenager says the same thing to him. He will understand that you unconditionally sacrificed for your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karmic retribution, in a way, right? We'll have to wait and see in maybe about…..eight years….

      Delete
  33. Wow Marcia. This literally gave me chills TWICE. I can't tell you how many times my husband and I have discussed this....but you put it into words so perfectly. I was also nodding my head like crazy when reading Elleroy's comment. so so true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth. After talking to my son, I knew this was something I needed to blog about.

      Delete
  34. So perfectly well put. If I said those things to my parents I would have been beaten to a pulp. My parents also were hard working people and gave us a nice home, food, clothes, and the occassional summer vacation that my dad drove us too. We also were not rich by any standard, and not fancy at all, but back then we knew better than to bite the hand that feeds. It was called respect, love, and acceptance of what we had. As you, we played ball in the streets until it was too dark to see, rode our bicycles everywhere, and I worked a job as a teen to make extra spending cash. We didn't have all the electronic gadgets and internet of today. I see it all the time around me as children are spoiled. They get jealous of what their friends have and what they see on the media.

    Hopefully, he is going through a phase that you can strike up as being a foolish teen as we all were at one time. As I have grown older I truly appreciate what my parents did for me. You're a good parent so just keep doing what you have always done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Phil. I'm hoping it's a phase, too. Yes, it bothers me to see what kids his age have and how much their parents spoil them. It's disgusting, really. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't give him whatever he wanted "just because."

      Delete
  35. I don't know if you've ever heard it, but reading this brought back a memory of an old country song that my Dad used to play while we were growing up. You may want to google it if you're not familiar with it. No Charge, by Melba Montgomery. This song is spot on to what you are saying.
    Barbara @ www.allmylivesnow.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you shared this, Barbara---I'm going to check it out!

      Delete
  36. I read this on my way to work on the phone, I couldn't comment... Oh... yes children have come to a place where they feel entitled, It makes me so crazy when children forget to be thankful for what they have and when they think it is okay to judge us for our choices. This post hit a nerve... because I never ever would have thought about talking to my parents the way some children talk to their parents today... including my own children. (Valentina does not get too far, since one I am 50 and two I have survived her sister growing up... lol )

    But seriously, I am with you... I love you post with the list that could go on that you have done for your children, we all have done for our children, they tend to forget. Since everything is so instant these days...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true----they have zero patience---they want everything NOW and expect it to be given freely. It makes me crazy. I know I had a selfish side as a kid, but even I knew I had to work for stuff that I wanted, which included polishing my Mom's silverware and washing & waxing their cars just so I could buy myself a new pair of jeans or dinner out with the girls!

      Delete
  37. Funny I should come here and read this today as I have been toying with writing a post about ungrateful children myself and this has convinced me to do just that. Oh yeah and I remember the song Barbara is talking about "No Charge" I so loved that song when I was younger like late teens early 20's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a great song and says it all so well! Hey, if you write that post, let me know so I can hop over and read it!

      Delete
  38. Oh my. Well, Mr. Sharper-Than-A-Serpent's-Tooth has now had his narcissistic temper tantrum immortalized forever on the Internet. Never to disappear, even if you took the post down in a few days. By then it would be mirrored all over the place.

    If it's any consolation to you, Marcia, this argument and his self-absorption wasn't invented with Facebook. Parents and thankless children have been around since the beginning of time, and a kid's lack of appreciation for their parents (particularly when they can't have all the Kewl Stuff all the other kids have) has been around since God was a child. I remember having fights with my mom over how she treated me as her "slave" and blah blah blah...although I don't think I ever accused her of not doing enough. If I had, they'd have had to wipe me off the sidewalks with a mop. :P

    If your son lives long enough (i.e., you don't feed him to the alligators first!) as he gets older he will appreciate what you did for him and his siblings. That's small consolation now when his snotty ass is mouthing off to you and completely forgetting that our solar system revolves around the sun, and not his overprivileged bunghole (and if he thinks he's underprivileged because he doesn't have a lot of stupid s**t from the mall that he doesn't need, maybe it's time to take him to see Blood Diamonds or something similar to see kids with REAL problems.) (Let's just file this under #whiteboyproblems)

    Of course the very worst curse of all, Marcia is..."I hope you have a kid who's JUST LIKE YOU!"

    That'll learn 'im!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You betcha, and I LIVE for that day. As they say….karma is a B.I.T.C.H.

      Delete
  39. Wow, you nailed it. I was talking with a neighbor who teaches (taught) Math at a local community college up here. He told me the following story: He had written a problem on the board and asked a male student what "X" equaled? The student replied " I don't know what the F*** "X" equals, my neighbor replied, I will explain it again and tell me, but clean up your language". The male student replied go F** yourself, my neighbor then told the student to get his stuff and get out of the class, the male students girlfriend who was sitting next to him starting laughing, my neighbor said she could leave too, both students left. As the professor(my Neighbor) was leaving that day, another young professor early 20's (psychology) told my neighbor that he was wrong and should have handled it different, as this is not the way to respond to this generation. He smiles and kept walk to the deans office, where the dean told him the basic same thing, that he should have ignored the students and that this is a different generation. My neighbor told the dean, that he could no longer teach as he disagreed with the "New Generation" rules. How sad is this, what are our grand kids going to go through. I know when I was growing up kids fought, but always respected their elders, this generation for the most part, does not know the meaning of respect....Jackie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This story is a perfect example of what is happening in the world, Jackie. So many of these kids have learned that this is acceptable behavior---that's the way it is on the majority of the shows they watch. I agree with your neighbor---I would have told the student to leave. Sadly, the parents most likely blamed the teacher as well.

      Delete
  40. I've known a lot of teenagers lately who share that attitude. In fact I know a lot of CHILDREN that already have that attitude! I'm starting to think kids really do have too much now. When I was a kid my family struggle financially, and my parents had some personal issues they were struggling with, so life could be turbulous. But when we had good things, like a new toy, a trip to the beach, or a sleepover with a friend, it was really special and we appreciated it. Today there is nothing you can give kids that will impress them, nothing you can take away that will bother them, and they have no reason to respect adults because they are certain THEY know everything already... and if they don't know something, they just have to consult the Internet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! Nowadays kids appreciate things…..for about 30 minutes, and then they get bored and move onto the next best thing. And they always want what the other kids have. What really gets me is the designer label thing---they have to have the expensive shoes, purses etc. I never understood that because where I grew up, we didn't even know what a designer label was! We all bought our clothes at the same stores, so it never mattered.

      Delete
  41. Lady, you are really making me think. I'm going to work extra hard to withhold things from my kids just so they don't turn into entitled brats. We went to Disney this past weekend and at Epcot when my husband and I wanted to go into the World Showcase my son complained about how he didn't waaaaant to go into the World Showcase because it's booooooooooring. I almost strangled him on the spot. We haven't even discussed designer clothes, yet. I still buy my kids' clothes from Once Upon a Child and Goodwill. :-/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep up the good work! I bought my kid's clothes from Salvation Army and thrift stores. When they are that young, they don't know the difference anyway! Just teach them that if they want something they have to EARN it. Nothing comes free in this life.

      Delete
  42. You did it again, Marcia. You totally said so much of how I feel about my husband's two kids (19 and 16) that he had before me and also so much of what I'm afraid for for my own son. My dad grew up in a wealthy family but his parents put him on a train to college with $30 in his pocket (which was more back then) and he made it. He's NEVER given us too much and we've always worked for everything. I do find myself at times wanting to give the world to my son because I was not blessed with him until I was 40 and it's so EASY to just give him what he wants, but I KNOW that I shouldn't and that I'm not doing him any favors. He's got some issues (as you know) but I plan on making sure we don't just go "look at toys" when he wants to all the time once he can get that he has to WORK for them. I loved this post, and you totally nailed it. Thank you for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you liked it, Kristi! I already know what an incredible mother you are, so I have no doubt your little boy will be as thoughtful and kind-hearted as you are when he grows up! <3

      Delete
  43. Even though your son was upset, I bet he doesn't realize how badly his words cut you to the quick. Not at all making excuses for him, but I think every child thinks ungrateful thoughts at some point during their years of stretching, the difference to us is we never SAID it to our parents, teachers, etc. We respected those boundaries. I think society as a whole blurs those boundaries and makes it harder for everyone. Fortunately, the one thing that hasn't changed is kids grow up and look back and do appreciate all they had... it just takes awhile. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right----I definitely had those negative thoughts about my parents and teachers, but I NEVER would have uttered a word about it to their face. I can only hope that once my boy matures that he will come to his senses.

      Delete
  44. Hi Marsha! This conversation with your son reminds me of many I had with my teenage boy. I couldn't believe the stuff he would think about. I guess peer pressure is so hard and unrelenting these days that our kids just explode under it. He used to make me feel so bad. I love the way you counted up the ways you supported and helped him over the years. So much more positive than sitting in the corner licking your wounds (like I did way too many times).

    We owe it to our children to be there for them with all the love and support we can muster. The limo, vacations and parties the in Hamptons? That's your job buddy. Just don't forget your Mom when you go out and get them!
    Big Hug and a Big Glass of Wine to you my Sister. Sure! I'll have one too :)
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adore you, Ceil. You aways make me smile. Thank you so much for these encouraging words. I would love to share a glass of wine with you one day! :-)

      Delete
  45. NAILED IT!!!! Oh you are SO RIGHT!!!! Even with my kids at their young ages I immediately reprimand their 'entitlement'- it's everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Correct! Keep doing what you're doing Mama and your kids will turn out just fine!

    ReplyDelete
  47. My kids certainly don't get what it means to work for something-it's all right now now NOW! I constantly worry what they will be like when they grow up. Thank you for writing this! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are doing a great job with them, Sarah. I know you don't give then whatever they want, whenever they want it. They might grumble a bit as teens but I think so far you are doing a fine job with your beautiful children! <3

      Delete
  48. Hey, Marcia, It's Courtney...I've got nothing to add, here, as I'm simply stopping by to glean some of your wisdom (as I always aim to do...)

    Since my son is just 30-months-old now, I can't even begin to predict how I might handle myself if or when this scenario plays out our in our home. This post made me cry. Not only am I a mother, but a SAHM at that. I'm just so sorry you had to hear these words.

    I just don't know what to say...picturing my son saying these things to me -- just the mere thought -- I don't know of anything at this moment that could cut so deep.

    I just want to come over and give you a hug, Marcia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and I shared this on FB, touting this as one of the best things I've ever read. (And I mean it.)

      Delete
    2. Wow! You just brought a big ol' smile to my face---thank you SOOOO much for this! Hold that baby of yours close to your heart----these are precious times for you. I loved having a baby in my arms! XO

      Delete
  49. Are you sure it wasn't my daughter you were talking to? It is scary isn't it? I am hoping they will one day appreciate us as we do our own parents but I often wonder if that day will come!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm praying that it does. My older children seem to feel more appreciative. The youngest son DEFINITELY needs to do some maturing, and then hopefully will be more appreciative.

      Delete
  50. I love it, Marcia--both the sentiment and that you have an outlet in which to speak it. Right on, and keep up the awesome writing and the dream. Your son will realize, in time, all that you've done for him and the family, and then I'm sure an apology is forthcoming. Trust me; I've apologized to my mom millions of times. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhhhhhh….you give me hope, Shay. Thank you!

      Delete
  51. Oh my days MM. If he reacted like that in my mothers house, the front-door would have been opened and he would quickly find himself on the other side of it. Don't despair, you've raised your kids well and one day in the future, he'll understand what life is really like. And he better have a good answer by then, because I'm sure his own kids will have the same thing to say to him one day, when they are not getting their own way.
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend, and spoil him with a few more hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My mother never would have put up with this kind of talk, either. I think I was in kind of a state of shock, to be honest with you. He knows I wrote this….and he has been a little nicer since then…..LOL.

      Delete
  52. You, my friend, deserve a medal for this!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have always been honest with my kids about finances, when I could or couldn't afford something, so they have had a fairly good sense of money since they were young. When I have "extra" money, we treat ourselves to what we want; when I don't, we stick to the basics. My kids are now 15 and 13 and, so far, I haven't really had issues with entitlement and I'm so very grateful for it. Of course, we have a few years to go…… I know that your son will come around like your older kids did. You'll get through it together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love what you said here---we'll "get through it together." Thank you, Kathy! XO

      Delete
  54. I will give an opposing view point. It sounds like your teenage son is going through a stage of development typical of teens. They think they know it all and should have it all without working. Do all teens go through this stage? No, but I think it is more common in the youngest child who saw their older siblings get things and not realize the work behind it. I know my younger sister thought she was "entitled" to a car without the knowledge that I never expected it, but was surprised when I got one from my parents. She saw things happen and never had to question receiving them. Oh, did I mention this was 25 years ago?

    I think there are some children who have the entitlement mentality that manifests long before the teen years and continues into adulthood. Where did they get it? Their parents; parents quick to give their children everything without question or without it being earned. Parents who are also helicopter parents and charge into a school, in front of the child, demanding a grade be changed because Johnny deserves better. I'd like to think these children are in the minority.

    Does social media and television play a role? Perhaps, but I don't think it plays a big role. I know that my parents always counteracted the messages I got...in the 80s there was a lot of entitlement and materialism messages. They made it clear that I had to work for what I wanted and let me know what they did for us (not in a martyr-like way either).

    I hope I'm right on this because I don't want my girls thinking in this manner when they reach their teens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you are raising them right. Another problem I see is peer pressure. If they have friends whose parents spoil them, then they want to know why THEY don't have all the good stuff, too. We have never had much, and we raised our kids not to expect much. I'm hoping that with this child (since my others were not like this) that he will wise up when he matures. more.

      Delete
  55. My mother would have slapped me across the face (and rightfully so) if I said something like that to her.

    It's appalling how kids, teens, and even young adults just expect things to happen without working for it. It took me 8 years of hard work for me to find my career path, and these noobs just expect it to be exactly what they want immediately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true!!! It bothers me that even trying to raise them NOT to be materialistic and always expecting things, they still do!!!

      Delete
  56. I agree with what you've said here. My children are tweens yet all three think about money and what they should get/are entitled to, differently. I have one spender and two savers.

    I have one son who is constantly asking for something and another who won't ask for what he wants because it's too expensive (even when he's making his Christmas list! For example: he chose a so-so $20 NFL team sweatshirt vs the $40 one he LOVED because he didn't think we should spend that much.)

    My daughter grabs her wallet each and every time she heads out the door and wouldn't even think of asking me for money.

    So I think some behavior is intrinsic, some is learned and as parents we can only hope they learn lessons that will balance out their behavior teaching them to be grateful and to work hard and that there may even be sacrifice involved in getting what they want.

    I think as kids mature they begin to understand a bit more how their parents provide for them and with that maturity comes gratitude. I think very few kids have a developed gratitude meter...it comes in spurts with understanding and maturity. I think your son, and my "entitled" son will at some point come to the realization of all they have and understand how we provided for them. I hope so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Stephanie! One more year and I'm hoping my youngest leaves the nest. I will be very interested to see how well he functions in the "real world" !!!!

      Delete
  57. Replies
    1. So…..I see we are on the same page….

      Delete
    2. Hi!!! I found you via probablycrafting's blog! I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at this post! My oldest is a tween and it's either I want to hug her or hurl her across the room and then I have a 4 yo so you can only imagine the chaos that ensues in this house. But my daughter also feels that she is entitled to so much but doesn't keep her room clean (without being told a million times), is mean to her sister....you get the message! Nice to know I'm not alone in the nuthouse!

      Delete
    3. Oh wow, you do have your hands full! But you are not alone. I'm not sure why it is it takes them forever to clean up their room or bathroom. My son has weekly chores but I have to constantly remind him to get to it. Very frustrating!

      Delete
  58. I read this and think about your son making a similar argument to his own children in the future. The Nostalgia Filter is a powerful thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It may be awful to say but I have always heard is that a parent's best revenge is when their children have children of their own. I can't wait!

      Delete
  59. Marcia - When you mentioned that lump in your throat, I could feel it FOR you. Doing your very best with all you have to put your children at the root of your efforts for all those years, and, even if your son didn't truly mean what he said, the words still sting, knowing all you've done for him. It hurts to read it because I just want to give you a hug, but it also makes me proud of you for sticking to your guns. Your children will all know the wealth that you've given to them through the values you've taught and you're right, it truly is priceless. I have young ones, only 8 and 6, but I can see small comments here and there that have potential to bud, with age, into resentful comments such as you mentioned. I'll continue to do all I can to raise them as though it was 1955, regardless of what's going on in society. That's why these communities are so powerful-women can remember that they're not alone and they're not crazy, and that it's ok to get discouraged because we can keep on going. Thank you for your honesty and your heart. Courtney (@thebrowngirlwithlonghair) posted this on FB so I had to check it out. So glad I did :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to come over and read the post. Everything you said here is so wonderful and kind---thank you. It sounds like you're on the right track with your children---keep doing what you're doing---being an awesome mom---and I'm betting your kids will be just fine. <3

      Delete
  60. I'm a 27 year old pregnant woman and I'm about to have my first baby. :) Yay!

    Except, I've seen how laziness has literally rocked the younger generation and I'm petrified that the same will happen to my children.

    My cousin once came to me and ask me for $20.00 to borrow. He was 16 at the time. As I work online, and could afford it, I told him that was the last time he was just going to "expect" me to give him money.

    If he wanted $20.00 he could come and WORK FOR IT - $10.00 per hour.

    He said it was "too much effort" and he'd just go ask someone else.

    That is the case of him getting absolutely everything he has ever wanted at the expense of others.

    My folks were the polar opposite. It was never "my money" or my moms money or my dads money. It was OUR money.

    Yes, since the age of 21 I was giving money to my folks to help with bills or whatever I could help with.

    I'm still striving to do that at 27. The way I see it is this - my folks gave me an amazing childhood and tried their damndest to get me everything I wanted (within their means). I owe them millions, upon millions of dollars and I would sacrifice "shiny things" for myself if it meant a little bit more luxury for them.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    As to why this is happening, I probably have an insight, as most others do. There are a lot of parents out there that "buy" their childrens love, or at least try to mend some things through it. In Serbia, where the average salary is around $500. You see children walking around with $100 shoes. Kids, babies of 10-12 years old.

    They are not being taught the "value" of money. I started working at a fairly young age - so when I earned my first $100.00 I learnt the value of it. To this day my mother calls me a "penny pincher" because I'm always saying no to more "expensive items" without some arm twisting.

    In Serbia, at least, it's about peer pressure. How can I possibly be cool without these swank new shoes, or an iPhone 5, or whatever.

    I remember primary school and high school and it was BRUTAL. And that was without cell phones and laptops and ipads and all the junk you can get nowadays where kids "show off".

    Please don't feel bad <3

    I love this article and will definitely be coming back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love everything you said here and totally agree with you! It sounds like your parents did a fantastic job raising you and I'm betting you are going to be an even better mother. :-)

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  61. Oh... I wish I had time to read all the comments! You've voiced the opinions of so many of us. Not to judge other parents who shower their kids with everything and helicopter over them 24/7, but I wonder how their adult lives will be. I already know of one young man who is struggling. At 27, he has discovered that life is hard when you don't prepare for it with work and independence. Fortunately, he is now trying to "fix" his life. I hope he can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope he can, too. Thanks for stopping by for the read!

      Delete
  62. While I do agree that kids these days are more entitled, they are TAUGHT that by their PARENTS. I know its hard to accept the idea that possibly its your fault, but 90% of the parents who complain about this, it is their fault. Take the plank out of your own eye before trying to remove their splinter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are sadly mistaken in this case. I have four kids and NONE of them were spoiled. They had to pay their own way for EVERYTHING they own through hard work. The reason this conversation occurred with my son is due to the fact that he hangs around a circle of other boys who have the newest cell phones, new cars, new speed boats, etc. and they these "toys" were given freely to these boys---none had jobs. My son questioned why so man of his friends got whatever they wanted and why he had NONE of those things. When I told him did not believe in spoiling our kids and that we would never have that kind of money anyway, that's when he asked why I wasn't working a "regular" job like his friends mothers did. This is a totally understandable reaction from a teen his age----because this is the sad mindset of many, MANY teens in America. You'll be happy to know that since this article was written, my son ha a full time job and also attends school full time. He is learning the value of a dollar and whenever he needs new clothes or anything else, he pays for it with his own hard earned money. I'd say I did a damn fine job raising four spectacular children.

      Delete