Breaking the ‘Entitled’ Generation

You’ve heard it before, this current generation is entitled. They want things immediately as they’ve grown up with access to virtually anything due to enhanced technology. I’ve watched first-hand some graduate college expecting the best shift and more money compared to the baby boomer or Gen X that has no degree but has decades of experience. Have you heard something similar? 

Do you agree?

We should hold a diploma as an end all, be-all when it comes to jobs (think: what if the degree has NOTHING to do with the job but the business simply requests a bachelor’s?) Do you agree that we were too hard on previous generations of kids? Do you think participation trophies are setting up our children for reality or fantasy? 

What can YOU do about it?

Simple…

CHANGE THE WAY YOU OPERATE AND YOUR CHILDREN OPERATE. 
I know I said it’s simple, and some of you probably scoffed, rolled your eyes and are moving the cursor to exit this page, however, those that are still here, hang with me for just a minute. 


As a mother of 4 and in a home with ONE military income, I understand far too well financial strain. It’s not that I CAN’T work (as I have most my life) it’s that right now, in this season of life, I NEED to be home with my kids and navigate these new unknowns (specialty appointments, physical/mental/occupational/speech therapy, surgeries and more.) 

Why does any of that matter?


BECAUSE IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN TO!

I know some have it worse and some have it better and I’m not trying to play that sh!t in one hand and sh!t in another to see who has it worse… I am negating and removing that from the entire equation!

 
Yes, you read that right… THOSE POINTS ARE MOOT! Do you know what actually matters?

Your Circle of Control

I can control myself, yes. I also am raising 4 little humans with this hot guy that I may have married (shh don’t let his ego get too big) and what I choose to do, not to do, expect and hold accountable is all being instilled in these tiny humans. I have always said…

“I’m not raising children. I’m raising tiny adults.”

 
LET THEM BE LITTLE!!!!!

Ok Karen, glad you only got that out of everything I wrote above, you can click the X now and move on, but for those who can see where I’m going keep hanging in there I have some super easy and budget-friendly ways to help the next generation be kind, grateful and NOT ENTITLED


I let my kids, be kids. I do not let them run around and be little a$$holes though. (Look, if you’re sensitive to me sprinkling in curse words you may wanna find a new blog cause I sprinkle that sh!t like i’m in a preschool art class left unattended.) 

How do you prevent them from being little a$$holes?

 
1. Give them an example. 

Exhibit A:    The behavior I may be working on is their ability to self-reflect and recognize what they own. If you knew me when my children were all very young (4 kids in 4 years,) then you have probably heard me say “You know, I’m hearing a lot of ‘I want’s’ and not enough ‘thank you’s’… maybe we should be grateful for what we have.” I said this so often and had mixed reactions, ironically enough, depending on the generation of the person who overheard me saying it at the store. It set a clear expectation for my child though on what behavior was not okay and how to move forward. 

My Johnny acts like the exorcist at even the mention of the word ‘no.’ Alright, first of all, go read the paragraph above, I didn’t say NO. I mean, literally that word wasn’t said. Second, you and Johnny sound a lot like me and my kids. The tantrum stages. Ya know, when you carry the kid like a surfboard wailing as though the child has just had their arm ripped off by a shark? Ooh, or what about when they throw themselves on the floor and thrash about like a little baby trout trying to get back into the water all the while screaming as though they’ve been set on fire?! Gahh, those are the memories that cure my baby fever. Haha. 


Seriously though, same concept.  

Give them an example


Exhibit B: (Proactive) Anytime you know you’ll be somewhere, or in a situation, that little Johnny will likely become a beast of a toddler/child, sit down and explain your expectations in an age appropriate manner. “Johnny, we’re going to the store for things we need, not things we want.” When Johnny asks for something pose the question “Is that a ‘need’ or ‘want’?” Also, make sure you’re explaining why these tantrums are not okay. They don’t recognize that screaming in such a manner can alarm adults around them to think they’re in imminent danger. This is a HUGE DEAL TO ME (And I feel like all my anixety, PTSD, etc mental health people can relate!)

 
I, by no means, have perfect children; most of this is stuff I didn’t figure out until I was on kid 3 or kid 4, haha, but nevertheless screaming at an INSANE level is unacceptable unless they are in immediate danger. I also do not take ‘tattle tales’ for anything outside of the 3 B’s aka (bleeding, barfing or broken) because there is just too many kids and I am tired. 


Exhibit B: (Reactive) This one is one of my favoritess cause I’m a whopping 4’9” so it was always fun to see the reactions of spectators. I spent much of my early years as a mother pregnant. If my kid was on the floor, chances are there was no way I would make it down there and back up without waddling like a turtle on it’s back. This is when I legit would pick my child up by their wrists essentially and hold them literally just enough off the floor that their feet wouldn’t reach. 

Karen!


Calm the F#ck down, I am not abusing my child, in fact, I’m restraining them and preventing them from actually causing damage to themselves on the tile floor or wherever else.

Once my child was done thrashing and realized they weren’t getting the reaction they wanted they would stop and kind of look at me with the face of like “well crap.” I would then repeat my expectations and explain why the way they behaved wasn’t okay. 

2. Manners Matter!


Yes sir/ma’am, no sir/ma’am, please, thank you, etc. are all expectations in the South, but honestly, should be everywhere. If a child’s name is called in the house I was raised in and they replied ‘what?’ to an adult, that was considered rude and disrespectful. As the child, we responded with ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir’? Obviously circumstantial on whom called you. This holds true in my household, however, I also try and lead by example to my children by giving them that same respect. I am not a fan of ‘do as i say, not as i do‘ parent despite that being a heavy part of my up-bringing. 

I believe you can teach children respect while giving them respect.


Holding doors, pulling out chairs, opening car doors… basic chivalry. It’s not dead. It’s just been covered with a heavy layer of ‘equality’… calm down George. I’m not saying women/men/they/them/him/their/etc. are not equal, I’m simply saying it’s a kind gesture to open the car door for someone you care about. It’s an action that is SIMPLE and FREE

3. Gratitude is everything!


Tommy’s an active duty marine, so often he is thanked for his service, or the kids and I are thanked. That’s great and I’m getting less awkward after 13 years on accepting that gratitude, haha. I am still very quick to have my children show their gratitude to others. I don’t care if you’re the pizza delivery guy, a United States Marine, a wrestling coach, the doctor who ordered a vicious strep test, a teacher or the checkout lady at the local grocery store. Showing gratitude should be as second-nature as breathing. This has to start early and be instilled early. 

How to retain these behaviors


My children are currently 7-11 years old. I can simply say, “Excuse me?” and they will correct their verbiage (most of the time–don’t ask about preteens right now) with a “thank you.” “yes sir” “no ma’am” etc. I promise it takes work and it’s really just holding them accountable to what your expectations are that you hope to change in the future generation. 


So remember how I said it was a moot point earlier about us being able to afford gratitude, I 100% meant that. It doesn’t cost a single penny to tell someone thank you, to be kind and open the door for them, or to smile as they compliment your outfit. Don’t overthink this. I had been running through my head how can I show my kids how important it is to say thank you and of course the “do as i say, not as i do” mentality terrified me yet again and I was adamant to breakthrough that with this generation.

Thus began ‘Thank You’ Notes – 7 ways

  1. Thank you note to everyone on the cheer squad with a positive affirmation.
  2. Thank you handmade turkey’s to all the staff members who helped us at our resort over the Holidays
  3. Thank you handwritten letters to all the staff members who helped us at our resort for pre-deployment leave
  4. Emails that took maybe 30 minutes to put together naming specifically and calling out specifically all the positives and requesting it be routed all the way up because once you work in corporate America you know that people complain way more than compliment so I was adamant they received recognition from higher levels at the very least for doing their jobs well
  5. Homemade thank you cards made for staff members who run organizations that make their ability to do their extracurricular activities happen
  6. Homemade poster card thanking the bus driver and apologizing for being the house with ‘that baby Jameson’ who always gets to get on the bus first before the girls since he had to climb in it from day 1. (Little man over there) 
  7. Walking up and PERSONALLY thanking each and every coach and/or family member when leaving a practice or event


This last one is one that some people are like ‘no it’s okay I promise’… but listen, I know you feel awkward. Remember, I said I am only just now starting to get LESS awkward about the gratitude bestowed on our family for being a military family. But please recognize I want my children to realize that it’s not just the Marine, the military spouse, the military kids, the police officer, etc. that sacrifices. Gratitude should not feel awkward! We all sacrifice in our own ways and sometimes that means you don’t eat dinner as a family cause the coach is at practice, or maybe you don’t get to enjoy a movie night because you’re too busy setting up an event for the kids to continue doing something they love.

Regardless, the gratitude needs to be expressed

 
I know I will not raise perfect children. I know my children are really good at screwing up, just like me. I also know that I’m busting my a$$ as their mother to ensure that I set them up for success. I will be damned if my children come across as entitled at any point in their life. Trust me, I WILL BE THAT MOM, who flies out to whoop my adult child’s butt for being ungrateful… ok really I wouldn’t fly I would drive but still, you know what I mean!


So regardless of how old your kids are, how much money you make, what your occupation is, etc. There is ALWAYS something/someone to show gratitude to. Pen/paper is a staple that MOST have and can easily make handwritten notes thanking people by name for what they’ve done. Heck, my kids have literally made turkey’s out of paper plates with their hands.

 
As adults, try and make it a point to not only verbally thank those around you but to take that extra step to fill out the survey, speak to the manager, or send the email. I will be posting some of my emails that I have sent in other posts so make sure to subscribe to see what I’m talking about. 

What’s your favorite way to fight the entitled attitude and instill a gratitude for the future generation?