What Is Teen Entitlement?
Just out of curiosity, I thought I would look up the word “entitlement” to see if kids today fall into the teen entitlement category. Listen to this definition: the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. It’s the idea that you deserve everything for doing nothing. Uh, yeah. We might have something here.
I have noticed many teens have a distorted idea of what they deserve or think they should get just because they exist. I wish it were not so, but this is the world our kids live in today. It’s probably the worst its ever been.
Parents Create Teen Entitlement
Some of this entitlement is created by our kids and the media, but most teen entitlement is created by us, the parents. Yep, we have to share some of this blame. We give in to our kids with every want and whim to keep them happy.
I must admit, I am guilty of giving into my kids more than I should at times. I regretted it later. There is a fine balance between meeting their needs and being excessive. It is hard to always know which side you fall on.
Considering how tight my husband is, I am thankful we did not fall into some of the traps we saw other parents fall into. Unfortunately, we did make a few mistakes along the way. Maybe you can learn from us. As I look back, I have noticed 3 distinct areas in high school where we were hit by teen entitlement type situations:
1. Teen Entitlement in Sports
Teen entitlement shows up on the field. Some teens think they should have everything handed to them so it is easier to compete. It’s what everybody does. (Heard that before?)
What happened to go old-fashioned hard work and fun? All of this extra “help” has made the playing field uneven and extraordinarily competitive at a young age.
I know because we experienced this in baseball.
My son competed with kids who had played club sports since they were young (8 years old). They received private lessons regularly, and they had the best equipment on the market. My son only played club 2 years in high school, and it showed. There was a big gap.
He still played some and had fun, but it was a struggle at times just to keep up with Jones’. I find it ridiculous that kids can’t just play a sport for fun anymore. It is all about college scholarships and going professional. Realistically, only a small percent ever go to college and play all 4 years on a full scholarship.
Looking back, we dumped thousands of dollars into a sport that brought very little reward. My son did learn to be a team player, and he made some good friends. I am just shocked at the price we paid to do it. I realize every kid is different and this may not be your experience.
Just know that whatever sport your child does pick, be ready to possibly invest thousands of dollars into club sports, travel, equipment, and private lessons to compete. Dave Ramsey gives some good tips on the high cost of sports.
2. Teen Entitlement To Clothes
Girls are given access to their parent’s credit cards, and they spend almost whatever they want. It is teen entitlement at its finest. High dollar purses, jewelry, shoes, and clothes are just part of the everyday teenage girl’s life now. The competition to look and dress like Hollywood has permeated their lives due to social media, TV, and movies.
There is so much pressure to wear the latest and greatest.
I remember my daughter came home from church one day nearly in tears because she didn’t wear the right shoes everyone else had on at the time. I felt horrible about it. But I didn’t go right out to get the perfect $100 shoes so she could fit in. For me, that felt too excessive. It was a struggle to know how much to spend so she would fit in, but not spend too much that she would lose reality in the real world and become entitled.
In her earlier years, we had a few meltdowns in the dressing room at the mall. Thank heavens that is over! She finally figured out how to look cute and pay a reasonable price. Through the years my daughter and son have learned to budget their money and make good choices. They still have a boo-boo (bounced check) every now and then. Overall, they are practicing how to be a good manager.
3. Teen Entitlement at Dances
This is the absolute worst of teen entitlement. Gag me with a spoon! I am not sure where to begin with this one because it has become so ridiculous. It wasn’t as bad for my son as it was for my daughter, but the cost adds up to either gender.
Here is a picture of my daughter’s mum. I made it myself which cut the cost in half. It helped that I was one of the people working in our mum store during Homecoming.
Yes, I know it is ridiculous. All of the mums look like this. This is TEXAS, ya’ll. All of the money from our mum store goes back to the school for equipment, computers, etc. It is a great fundraiser. Just know that by the time you are done paying for everything, it can easily add up to $1,000 per person for the weekend, if you do not watch it.
I was surprised at the real cost of Prom to do professional hair, make-up, nails, and spray tan. (I didn’t even do all that professionally for my wedding). We gave our daughter a budget, and she worked with us to find the best deals. She did her hair and make-up herself or got a friend to help her. She loved getting her nails done. Her choice.
I remember one Black and White dance she found a black dress at Forever 21 that was about $20. She rocked it with some great jewelry and shoes. It looked as beautiful as the other girls. It became a funny, little secret between us. I bet you can’t tell which dress is the $20 dress.
Start Teaching Your Kids How to Budget
Start teaching your kids the value of a dollar early so that when high school comes they are not demanding or throwing tantrums. Stick to your guns when they start whining and moaning about how you are the only one who has given them perimeters. I promise you are not the only one. There are lots of us out there who are trying to watch what we spend.
I recommend you give your teen an allowance to help teach how to spend money and be prepared when he/she goes to college and has to manage it alone. There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to take part in all the activities such as sports, shopping, or dances. Just do it for less.
Help them realize this is a privilege.
They can even earn some of the money. (God forbid). It helped that my kids were mostly (cough, mostly) willing to cooperate with us because we started early on training them. We held them to a standard. We did not want brats.
I think my kids knew deep down that the dollars thrown at some of these frivolous things were silly. They didn’t need to buy every little thing out there. Tell me what you have experienced with entitlement. What have you found that helps your kids stay in reality?
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