Where does the sense of entitlement come from?

Old 07-19-2007, 08:58 AM
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Where does the sense of entitlement come from?

I have really been wondering lately about "entitlement". I know a fairly large number of young people, and a good portion of them seem to feel entitled to things... as if the world owes them something. I realize this isn't just pervasive in young people, some older ones have it too, but it's still quite puzzling to me.

Where does that thought process come from? When did it become socially acceptable to NOT work hard, to NOT have to earn something, but rather to walk in and expect things to be handed over? To "buy now and pay later" ... or not at all. To start a job and leave after a few months because you weren't immediately promoted to middle management?

I have one son who has figured out that he is in charge of his life and his future. He knows he has to work awhile before he'll be made a manager. He has to learn the company's way of doing things. He realizes he'll have to start out in a smaller apartment or perhaps an older home and then grow into something bigger and better. He seems to have a clue about how the world works.

BUT I know other kids his age (young 20s) who think they should already have a new car and a nice house like their parents have. Maybe it's because they've never known a world without microwaves, cell phones, vcrs, call waiting etc.

I don't know the answers. I just have the questions.

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Old 07-19-2007, 09:27 AM
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It comes from the way they were raised. We were the generation where most moms had to work full-time. We had more money and so we spent it on our kids in order to make up for the guilt of not being there full-time. When you work, you come home exhausted and it is so easy to just give in to the demands than to fight. When you are away from your children all day, you don't want to be the meanie that says no, no and no. Also society as a whole has changed. Look at what our children are bombarded with everyday. I don't remember being a kid and needing designer everything. Nowadays it is so common. So I guess the blame can be spread around Hugs, Marle
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:27 AM
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I've pondered that question for a long time, myself. I truly don't get it.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:40 AM
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Two daughters over 40 and one will be 40. I worked a full time job. I trred to teach & show them -hikes in the woods, fishing, musuems, etc. Now-appears kids sit in front of a TV or a computer. Children should earn their speniding money-not just have it handed to them. This generations is scarey to me-but I was scarey to my parents also. I thought we were bad-6 neighbors and myself going to the drive-in movies=with an asprin bottle full of booze. Parents need to make time for their children -PERIOD! Show and teach them the wonders of the world!!!!
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:51 AM
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I agree it amazes me the sense of entitlement PEOPLE have - I find it not only with a certain age group but in a lot of ways all people.

With parents: "my child Deserves to play on the team because I paid my money." regardless if the child attends practice, is a good-sport or knows how to play the game.
With teenagers: "where's my college fund? I want this new car, I need living expenses" - Your paycheck - hello that's your college fund - why should parents pay for something that the child is going to benefit from. Why should the parents take out a second mortgage on their home to pay for "Jr's" college?
With Professional Athletes: "I'm a star, so the rules don't apply to me. You owe me billions of dollars, because I have a talent to play a game."
Drivers-No consideration for other people on the road - I pay taxes - so I can run this traffic light - after all I have been sitting here in traffic for 2 cycles because this interesection is so busy - I don't care if my light is red - I'm still going - It's my right.

Ok - so let me tell you how I really feel -
Maybe I'm a little passionate about this - oops - I shall step off my "Soap Box"!!

Just my opinion - Take what ya like & leave the rest!!
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:52 AM
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I asked myself that very same question when my daughter's first car had to be some fancy new mustang. I just sat there in awe. My first car was an AMC Gremlin and i had to work my tail off at a part time job after school to save the money.

My kids also want to know what an 80 year old is driving around in a corvette for. My answer........"He probably paid his dues, put his kids through college and now it's his turn to finally have something he's always wanted."

I don't know the answer to your question, but if you find it, let me know.
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Old 07-19-2007, 10:58 AM
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Loves, My first car was a '63 Corvair which cost me $75. My daughter's was a 2003Jeep Liberty that cost $17,000. But I could have said no. I didn't, but now I am driving that car and she has some POS that the boyfriend bought for her. She started at the top with no working for it. Now she is starting at the bottom, the way it should be. Marle
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:12 AM
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I don't know all the reasons why, Cats. I did everything in my power to make sure my kids learned the value of hard work. I do think alot of it is plain old immature behavior and there are some studies to prove that adolescence begins earlier and lasts right up to age 30 for 'my kids' generation.

Kids, perhaps rightly so- realize that the world revolves around them. Maybe a person who grows up being valued and loved...provided for etc...but not spoiled, could still possibly feel entitled? This whole topic just screams of codendency to me, but I'm not about to take the blame for it! I've come too far in my recovery for that one.

jmho...Alot of what has been taught as building self esteem in young children...does nothing of the sort. I gave stickers out to my young students _only_ when their own behavior or decisions merited it. They didn't get one for just being cute! That's what hugs and smiles are for.
I agree that ownership of things both real and non-tangible should be earned.
It's certainly something to think about.
Thanks for a great thread, Cats.
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:31 PM
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Loves, I had to laugh. I had a gremlin also. It was turquoise blue. GADS. Neither of my sons would be caught dead in one, unless of course it became "retro" and somehow regained some coolness.

Thanks for the input guys... like I said, I don't have the answers, just questions. I do know that I am not supporting anyone anymore... they can work hard and earn their stuff like I have.

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Old 07-19-2007, 01:03 PM
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i want it NOW! it's really bad where we live - the kids around here have everything...

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Old 07-19-2007, 02:16 PM
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People in this country are incredibly wealthy, by global standards, but most folks still sit on the pity pot and claim they're poor because they can't afford a big house or an H3 or a $200 pair of shoes or an iPhone. Whining about how unfair life is has definitely replaced sweat & creativity, in terms of getting the things we want in life.

Sadly, all the kids I know who are like this were clearly taught it by being handed everything by their parents. Money, cars, phones, insurance, college all grew on trees out back of the house, and then they complained about having to walk back there and pick 'em themselves.... Material things are how most parents say "I love you" so that's what kids take into adulthood. It's not the case 100% of the time, but often. And the poor kids? They STILL have a sense of entitlement -- "I didn't have it when I was growing up so I'm d*** well gonna have it now, no matter what it takes!" Welcome to the new generation.

There are some good books out there written by the Wall Street Journal types that talk about how to instill a sense of 'what money's worth' in kids. I think there's even a family column in that paper nowadays. Maybe it'll be something that catches on some day, like trying to teach kids to love themselves has caught on over time.

Hope so...
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, I agree with everyone---it depends on how you were raised. It seems like these days a lot of kids are just handed stuff. Some of it has to do with the "keepin' up with the Joneses" mentality---Ex: if the boy down the street's parents bought him a new car, then by golly my kid can have one too so I can prove to the world that I have money and I am important!!
It all comes down to the unfortunate virtual value we place on material objects. Which, in reality, have no intrinsic value at all.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:41 PM
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Ill Tell You Whose Fault It Is, Mine. When I Was A Kid, You Were To Speak When Spoken To, Children Were To Be Seen And Not Heard. We Sat At The Kids Table At Christmas And Thanksgiving And We Got Fed After All The Adult Men Had Been Seated. If I Wanted A New Toy Or Gadget I Had To Mow Yards Rake Leaves Pick Blackberries Etc To Get It. By The Way After I Had Earned Enough To Get What I Wanted I Was Given The Old Would'nt Be Better If You Saved That Money For A Rainy Day. When I Was A Teenager I Worked Three Jobs Saving Money For Colledge And When I Started I Had My Savings And My Student Loans. Now, I Guess Because Each Generation Wants Their Children To Have More Than They Did, We Give More, Rude Children Interrupt Converstions Merely To Be The Center Of Attention, They Eat First At Gatherings, And Have To Be Dragged Kicking And Screaming Out Of Wal Mart If God Forbid They Don't Get The Toy That Day. For Gods Sake I See 10 Year Olds Walking Around With Cell Phones That Their Idiot Parents Bought For Them Because Cindy Down The Street Has One. Idiot Parents Renting Limos For School Dances. You Cant Blame Them, Why Do For Theirself, When They Know Well Do It For Them. Theyre Not All That Lazy, Just Smarter Than We Are.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:51 PM
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I just wanna know how the parents afford it....
I sure cant
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:45 AM
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What I see is a media BLITZ that says...

THIS is the standard
EVERYONE has one
YOU are "less than"

When I grew up - we all had about the same, not too much space between the low-middle-top.

Today - a 16 year old drives a brand new BMR to school for his 16th birthday. BRAND NEW!!! What parent thinks that is a. OK and b. appropriate?

I think it is the perception of what is "standard". Just as back in the Depression, everyone went a little hungry... but there were few resentments, because EVERYONE was a little hungry... and in my day, we had beater cars.. but there were few resentments because EVERYONE had a beater car.

Today - there are MANY resentments... and that sense of being "left out" and "not good enough".

Why does the media portray life that way? ... that is the mystery to me.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:32 AM
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OK I didn't have time to read all the other replies yet, but i am guessing maybe it is a few things.

TV and popular culture may be one thing. We are long past the days of "Good Times" and "Sanford and son" and "All in the Family".

It seems like our media pushes material lifestyles on us-that everyone has to have expensive cars, etc. Who cares about the environment or if we will run out of oil? Everyone on TV has a lifestyle richer that most people I know. And look at music videos.

Look at how material things are marketed at kids before they can even talk!

Most kids have a TV in thier room now.

The parents grew up as baby boomers who want their kids to have everything-the economy has changed. When I was a kid, we had one TV in the house, nobody cared about what brand of clothes anyone wore, there were no video games or Nikes or whatever. Kids did not get killed for the clothes they wore.

Sometimes adults even instill these values on thier kids and make them brand-name concious at 4 yrs old! (I am not saying that you do!).

Life just pushes all this crap on us that makes people feel like a loser if we don't have this, this, and that.

At the bottom line I think that in our culture there the gap between the haves and have-nots is becoming wider and that is making more tension. Where i grew up, everyone was borderline poor and we didn't think that much about who had what-because we were all about the same, anyway.
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:15 PM
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Well...since I don't have kids I can only speculate and go by what my friends say who have very young children.

I'll give you a very very small example of a recent conversation I had with a friend.

My friend was looking into buying a new bed and mattress for her daughter since she has out grown her toddler bed and asked what I thought about some of the bedding she was looking at for this new bed and mattress. Of course she was looking at the matching sets with the pretty print that came in a set like a bed in a bag type deal. She complained about how insanely expensive everything was. First I asked if she tried Target because you could get something pretty for a cheaper price. She said the fabric is not soft enough. So, that was not an option. I said, well, you know she won't know any different. If you just bought the bed sheets separately and used the comforter she already has then you would probably save about 1/2 the money and you'll be able to buy better quality bed sheets. She said that the whole point of getting the set is because every piece has the pretty print and it all matches. I said, I'm just going by the fact that when I was little my parents didn't have money to buy matching sets and in the end it didn't really matter anyway because it's just something to sleep on. She said, well that's the thing. I didn't have all of those things either so I just want my daughter to be able to have what I didn't have. (sigh... Not much more I could've said after that. I knew it would be a dead end. But also in a way I could understand her thought process there.)

To sum this up.....
It makes us happy to be able to give to our loved ones what we are not given or were not given not realizing that in doing so we are not giving them the chance to go through the hardships and humbleness which is what made us appreciate what we have given ourselves through hard work and perseverance. But I also think this is a double edged sword because you want your kids to feel somewhat entitled but you want that entitlement to be the driving force for them to strive for that "good life" and not just settle for what's enough. And I also think that the "working parent's guilt" has a big hand in constant gifting and giving in to unwanted behavior. But that part has already been covered in the other posts.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:54 PM
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It is my belief that this sense of entitlement is personal, not universal and not always a characteristic of youth. I have seen adults who felt that they deserved everything without having to pay dues.

In my counseling session this afternoon I stated that my AS had a sense of entitlement, so this thread is an interesting follow-up to that conversation. I tried to think about myself when I was young. I WANTED the name brands, but didn't get them unless they were hand-me-downs from my affluent cousins. I felt entitled, but I did not receive. I didn't even ask for things that I thought cost too much. When I went to college and had a little charge account at a downtown store, I bought myself clothing that my parents would have thought was much too pricey.

My three children are so different . . . my older daughter would have been considered lazy, but she was talented in her thinking and writing. She didn't care about name brands. She dressed like the outsider and she did not demand money or material things. When she was given her first car at age 17, she was estatic to have her uncle's 12 year old Maverick.

Middle child, this daughter inherited a work ethic from her father's side of the family that would make your head spin. She worked hard for grades and for the finer things she wanted. She didn't ask for material goods. If she wanted something she worked for it. She paid for her first car and it was a clunker. She was and is still very practical.

Baby of the family, my AS inherited my wants and but not my initiative. He always felt entitled. It was as though he was programmed differently from the beginning. He not only felt entitled to material things, he also felt that he didn't need to contribute to work around the house. He stretched the limits and even asked for social opportunities that the older children would not have considered requesting.

Another thought (a rare experience at my age) . . .
Exposure to television warrants some of the blame for everyone, young and old, feeling entitled. If you want it, buy it! Use your plastic fantastic. We are victims of advertising and pop culture.
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:33 PM
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Ohhhh, Lake.....I hafta speak up here. I bought a cell phone for my grandson who is 12, but the kids phones only have 4 preprogrammed buttons, and I have programmed them with #'s of adults he can reach if he needs something. I hafta say, the phone was more for me than him, as I can always reach him without having to get in the car and scour the neighborhood for him. So he really cannot call his friends on it if he wanted

I also hafta confess, I'm outta practice raising kids, so it gives me a sense of security knowing I can get ahold of him anywhere.

Probably the wrong thing, but hey....I didn't ask for this JOB!!! LOL!!!
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:31 PM
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omgosh, I can't believe I will be buying a cell phone for my granddaughter! What has this world become? But, after raising boys I wish I had one for them back then.
Shoot, they have those sattelite chips you can install in your body for 24/7whereabouts tracking.

I believe the values have changed so much in 50 years. The media has no values.
You watch, as bad as TV movies are, with sex and violence, and cuss words, it WILL get worse.
I hate to see what the entertainment world will be like in 20 more years.
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