How Entitled Are You?

Here's the harsh truth: your generation is spoiled. Absolved of all failures and rewarded for mediocrity, many kids nowadays have become incredibly self-centered.
by Jillian Gatcheco   |  Apr 6, 2010
photo courtesy of The CW/Solar Entertainment/ETC
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Gimme, Gimme!
When Charles, 19, doesn't get his way, he shows it. His older sister Tina says he smashes stuff in the house to prove his point. Charles once made a deal with his mom that she'd get him a Nintendo Wii if he completed another year of college. He didn't—but she got him his Wii anyway.

Lana, 13, graduated from grade school with honors and asked for P5000 from her mom as a reward. Her mom didn't oblige and gave her something else, but it became a source of resentment.

Milo, 23, recalls what he was like growing up: "I was very bratty. I always had to go to the toy store, and I'd cry when my mom wouldn't buy what I wanted." If his mom didn't give in, Milo turned to his father, who was more indulgent.

Entitlement Generation
These case give us a peek into the way parents raise the so-called "Entitlement Generation," characterized by the impression that somebody owes you something. The youth was also described by a Fortune Magazine cover story as "all nonchalance and expectation" and "the most high-maintenance work force in the history of the world."

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A 2005 survey by Florida State University states that 55% of employees thought their young colleagues "act as if they are more deserving than others at work." Author Erika J. Chopich, PhD, agrees and says, "We have absolved (children) of all failures, and endowed them with unlimited special-ness and therefore, tragically, they cannot arrive at the simple truth that there is something greater than themselves."

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Charles didn't make the grade to stay in school, but his mom gave him his reward anyway. Lana may have proven that she worked hard to graduate with honors, but was it right for a 13-year-old to dictate what her "cash prize" should be? As for Milo, his parents' conflicting answers to his demands only reinforced his power over them.

Dr. Chopich says, "When children are raised to never know failure, they can't savor the delicacy of success." As a result, they become clueless in the real world. In a 2005 report, the Associated Press says , "Modern college grads have shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties, but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company."

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The Game of Manipulation
"Children, being emotionally immature, cannot fully comprehend the gravity of materialism," shares Rose Galvez, mother of two. "It is the parents' duty to control their child's urges to spend."

According to Occupational Therapist and professor Jeanette Soriano, parents tend to spoil their children when they feel guilty for not spending time with them. "If the situation is such, kids will get used to the idea that they can always have the best of both worlds."

The outcome manifests later on in the children's lives. Soriano cites examples of a needy wife who will throw tantrums when her husband doesn't fulfill her needs, a corrupt politician who will do anything to win an election, or a greedy businessman who thinks profit is everything.

How should parents stand their ground? Rose asserts the need to be calm when talking to kids. "You can be authoritative without screaming. The calmer you are, the more your child will respect you."

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It is also essential to stick to your word. "I had a neighbor who took her kids to the mall one time, and specifically told them they weren't buying any toys that day," narrates Rose. "When they got home, the middle child was practically gasping for air from crying because he wanted this gigantic toy robot at the store. The mom caved in and went back to the mall to buy it. Giving in like this doesn't show your child how much you love him. It only reinforces his belief that he's in control of you."

Striking a Balance
Thankfully, living in abundance doesn't always create a spoiled brat. Take the case of Anna, 22, whose parents have always been generous with her wants. "My parents made sure my siblings and I did our schoolwork and grew up knowing how to make sound decisions. Just because we had what we wanted as kids doesn't necessarily mean adverse effects as adults."

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There are also those like Milo who learn their lessons in time. "Remembering how I was as a child made me want to never be like that again. I'm not proud of it. Now I try to work hard for the things I want."

You're not solely responsible for growing up spoiled. Parents and children unintentionally feel on each other's mistakes, one party giving, the other manipulating. Now that we can spot what's wrong, it's time to make things right. The Entitlement Generation is a growing statistic you do not want to become a part of.

For Your Parents
Friendly tips for your mom and dad on raising YOU right!
by Lorie Ramirez

  • Give your kids treats when they really deserve it.
  • Schedule a special day for the two of you when you can do whatever you feel like doing. It introduces the concept of "there is a place and time for everything" and avoids unnecessary arguments on when to go to the mall.
  • Be aware of school schedules to know the best possible time to go out and have fun.
  • Do not be afraid to explain things to them. Kids are really smarter nowadays.
  • Make them feel their opinions matter.
  • Give them a budget when you shop together (i.e. P300) It's never too early to introduce the concept of saving.
  • Always give hugs and kisses.
  • Say "I love you" every chance you get.
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Jillian Gatcheco
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