As my 15-year-old jumped out of the car to start her day at school she asked, “can you get the laundry done today?” SAY WHAT? I replied in a harsh tone, “did you sort your laundry?” “No, but can you at least do the lights?” I fumed on the ride back home. Justine knows perfectly well if she sorts her laundry, it gets done.
When I arrived home, my 13-year-old son sauntered down the stairs and proclaimed his hunger. He had the day off school and missed the normal routine of Dad providing breakfast before he headed off to work. As I sorted Justine’s laundry, I told Jack he could put a waffle in the toaster for himself. “Nah, that’s too much work, I’ll just have cereal.” Reeeaaaalllly?
I wondered what we had done to ourselves. These are the teenagers we have raised. Where did we go wrong?
I entertained the idea of leaving Justine’s laundry for her to do herself after school and Jack, Jack could just eat that cereal.
Then, I remembered what I say to my husband most mornings as I kiss him good-bye.
“Love and Joy! Remember to have Love and Joy in your heart!”
As a Vice Principal, Steve is met with overwhelming amounts of hate.
I had recently read that hate only aggravates hate but love is the answer to hate.
Love and Joy, Bridget! Love and Joy! Your daughter is disgusted that the laundry isn’t done, you can meet her with disgust or you can meet her with love.
It took a shift in attitude but I chose love! After all, I do LOVE my children!
In relaying the morning with my husband that evening, his response was, “a little entitlement is going on around here, eh”?
Oh no! There’s that word. The word that conjures up thoughts of those living the good life off others’ backs.
Have we raised entitled teens? I feared for their futures.
I feared the same way I did when friends caught wind of the fact that our children slept in our room most nights. I would commonly hear;
“You know, you’ll never be able to get them to sleep in their own rooms.”
“It’s not good for them to sleep with you.”
“They’ll be in high school and still in your bed.”
I had to know if my teenagers were entitled.
I looked up the definition of entitlement and here’s what I found:
Believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Sometimes, though, people feel they are entitled to special treatment because they think they are more worthy than others. This usage of entitled came from the mid 15th century, when it referred to giving someone the title of an estate or property.
Feeling that you have a right to the good things in life without necessarily having to work for them.
Having been the recipient of leaders (yes, LEADERS, in my volunteer life) expecting special privileges, my heart sank. My kids can’t act like that.
What do I do?
I searched further. Certainly my kids can’t be entitled.
What are signs of teen entitlement?
1) Entitled Teens Don’t take no for an answer.
They want what they want and they want it now. No delayed gratification here. Entitled teens expect to ask and receive pronto.
It’s crazy, really. The teens think it’s okay to ask me to wash their clothes and then just EXPECT me to do it? What in the world are they thinking?
Reality Check: I’m home, I can do the laundry. I’m happy my teenagers care enough to wear clean clothes!
I want to say YES to my teens as often as I possibly can. They understand when there must be a no.
2) The world revolves around Entitled Teens.
They are the important ones in every situation.
Yep! These silly teenagers expect food on the table every single morning. Oh, and lunch and dinner too. The nerve!
Reality Check: Sure, there will be times when those teenagers can make a meal for themselves, or even a family dinner but seriously, it’s our job to feed our children!
Our teenagers ARE important! We want to make them FEEL important in our home where they should feel safe, confident, and secure.
3) Entitled Teens won’t do chores and work for what they want.
It’s quite amusing how things become less important when you have to put a little sweat into getting it.
Seriously! These kids have the opportunity to earn a whole dollar for vacuuming the car. What’s their problem? Vacuuming the car 50 times in order to get that video game seems impossible?
Reality Check: Perhaps the pay scale is a little low? Maybe there should be more opportunities?
It’s okay if they choose not to work for what they want. They are learning the trade-off of time versus money and that ‘things’ just might not be as important as their time. Hey, if YouTube videos are more important than earning a buck or two, what can I say?
4) Entitled Teens expect to be rescued.
The forgotten lunch, the homework assignment sitting on the table or PE clothes that escaped Monday. We’ve all been there!
Like, we’re just supposed to drop everything and hand deliver their lunch? Oh my goodness!
Reality Check: If you’re available, why not? You would want your spouse to do the same for you! Hand delivering a forgotten item isn’t the end of the world. Especially if it only happens a few times a year.
I am honored the teens know they can text me with their needs! They aren’t afraid to ask and they understand if it just can’t happen once in a while.
5) Entitled Teens are not thankful.
What? You give them a ride to school every single morning and they don’t even say thank you? We provide a roof over their heads, food to eat, clothing to wear (although, apparently, not always clean), straight teeth, AND provide taxi service on top of it all.
Ungrateful little twerps!
Reality Check: Ummm, they are our kids. It’s our job to take care of them!
We should LOVE being a part of our teenagers’ lives! They will often show gratefulness through actions. Do you need more?
Our teenagers deserve a little entitlement in our homes. Where else are they going to get it?
Let’s let our kids be kids and not rush them into adulthood for fear of the future.
Let’s catch them doing good things and give out lots of high fives!
After all, our kids no longer camp out in our bedroom. Sometimes I wish they would (on the floor, in their own space, they ARE taller than me)! I miss those days!
Wouldn’t you know? Justine came home from school and folded the towels without any prodding. She even put them away! I’ll take that as a sign she was grateful I had done her laundry!
The evening could have been much different had I chosen to meet the attitude. Alright, in all fairness, the girl probably didn’t have an attitude when asking me to do her laundry. She was simply asking a question and I, feeling guilty for not doing the laundry, took it the wrong way. That’s full disclosure right there!
Our teens are entitled to special treatment and the good things in life! Work will come soon enough.
Love and Joy!