Talk About It Tuesday {Changing the Entitlement Generation}

This is a very different type of post for my blog.  I'm thinking about making it a weekly series {Talk About It Tuesday}, but I'm not sure yet.  Let me know what you think.  It would be one day to bring up a topic related to education {or children} and open it up for discussion. 

Today's topic....The Entitlement Generation.

I saw this wonderful blog post being shared on Facebook this weekend called 9 Things We Should Get Rid of To Help Our Kids and I loved every single word of it. 

It really hit home to me because a couple of days ago I had JUST been talking about "The Entitlement Generation" with a friend of mine. 

It makes me very, very, very sad to see this generation.  You know it, too.  The kids who, when given something special at school, ask "Can I get more?" or "Is that all we get?"

Or, the kids who destroy the things that you spent your hard-earned money on to make the classroom a warm, inviting, and fun environment for them.  But, they don't even think about it because "you can get another one."

They have no sense of what things cost, or how hard one has to work to earn money.  Everything has been handed to them...and I mean everything.  2nd graders with iPhones and iPads??

My favorite parts of the post were, #3 The Birthday Party Goody Bag Mentality - this is SO true!!!  Birthdays are about GIVING.  You know, to the birthday boy/girl.  It should be THEIR special day! Those adorable little goody bags that we spend hours slaving over (thanks, Pinterest!) are really creating an "everyone deserves something special, even though it's not even OUR birthday" kind of thinking.  Don't worry, I'm guilty too.

But when I got to #4 Making Our Day-Week-Month - Our World - About Our Kids....well, that hit the nail on the head for me.  And, it reminded me of another article that I had read YEARS ago that intrigued me.

I have no idea where that article is, but I did find one similar.  The original article that I read years ago made such an impact on talked about why America has so many children diagnosed with ADHD and European countries (such as France) do not.  {See this ARTICLE for a view on how ADHD is diagnosed differently in theses two countries.}

The gist of it was that American parents make their children the CENTER of their world, while French parents teach their children to be a PART of their world.  It starts as babies.  Instead of instant gratification, French parents let their babies "cry it out" after four months of age.  As toddlers, if they're out shopping and they pick up a treat, the child must wait until snack time (4pm) to have the treat.  Through the small moments, from babies throughout childhood, children are taught patience.  They are taught to entertain themselves, to wait things out, to adhere to routines.  Meanwhile, American children are learning to be entitled, to need instant gratification, and are filled with anxiety.

Here's the similar article that I found....I'll still be on the lookout for that original one, because it had a lot of research listed to back it up.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think this is a cultural norm that we can "fix?"

Has anyone ever read this book?
Summary:  After becoming used to the stereotype of screaming, ill-tempered children, an American mother living in Paris was amazed at how well-behaved French children were. In this book she explains how parents can make their lives less stressful by taking some pointers from the French art of child-rearing.

"I'm criticizing myself. I'm, I think, maybe the more extreme example of an American parent," Druckerman says. "So, I guess the book is really a memoir. It's my own story of how I partially became converted to some French ways of doing things but also held on to the things that I like about America."

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  1. I've been contemplating the topic of "entitled children" for several years. It fascinates me! You brought up such important points and I love the articles you shared! I think perhaps we have a lot to learn from the French in regard to raising children.

  2. We refer to it as "learned helplessness" the students do not even want to try to solve the problem, etc, but wait for you to supply the answers. Then parents accuse us of pushing their children too hard. In my day it was practiced or exploring to find the answer.

  3. Entitled and RUDE. This group I have this year will talk back to me all the time. Today, I was telling them not to talk in the halls and one replied, "But you are talking." OMG!

  4. I am right there with Elaine. I was beginning to think it was just me; my management tactics, my lack of patience, my parenting vs. the parenting (or lack thereof) of my students. But this post has really struck a chord with me, and I am all about you making this a weekly (monthly, whatever you decide!) series! Generation Entitlement: I love it! I hadn't heard anyone else use that though my colleagues and I have been throwing that word around for a couple of years. Looking forward to more insight, suggestions, advice,etc. You're onto something here, Amanda!

  5. Entitlement, learned helplessness, rudeness - YES to all of that! I have never had so many students that expect me to repeat directions twenty times until they decide to finally listen, and then some still try to wait it out until someone gives them the answer. I have FIFTH graders who have tantrums and pout if they don't get their way. But don't try to hold them accountable for anything, because then you have to deal with the parents who believe that their angels would NEVER do anything wrong.

  6. I totally agree with ALL of the above!!! It's funny you blogged about this because I just got done writing about this topic in my teacher of the year essay I had to write. One of the questions was "what do you think one problem in public education is and how can we address it?" I am only 28 and the way kids are raised now days and the level of entitlement I have seen just as I have grown up is CRAZY! It truly scares me to think where we as a society are headed and when will it change? If at all? I try so hard everyday to hopefully help curve the trend a bit by teaching my kids in my class using the ways I was taught growing up, hoping it will counteract the teaching or nonteaching they are getting at home ha!
    The Blessed OCDiva

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this topic in such a public forum since it often goes unnoticed by so many. I talk about this concept all the time with my fiance; the idea of "entitled" children in this generation. Since we both don't have kids yet, and are always thinking about the 'right' approach to child-rearing (and of course my career involving these young people), we both agree that it's become an epidemic in our country. I can say that it doesn't matter the socio-economic background or if your child goes to a high-achieving school, it appears as if this generation is being told that they're all special and deserving of our praise...and it only gets worse because now it's bleeding into our schools.

    I remember when I went to school, and granted it wasn't too long ago, we didn't have star students, reward chests, classroom stores, reward systems, etc. I get the use of some behavior management tools but it's getting out of hand. This also brings me to PBIS training. I totally understand the principle behind the framework and do believe that it's a system that works in schools that need that kind of intervention. However, where is the line drawn that we should just hold our kids to the same expectations and that not everything needs to be rewarded? What happened to children needing to fail in order to grow and pick themselves back up or assume responsibility? It's a shame but I'm hoping that there will be a shift in the right direction.

    Just my two cents :)

  8. Oh, how true it is! My kids are almost grown now but I HATED birthday parties. I couldn't understand why WE had to give everyone a present. Wasn't the party and food enough? The other things that really got my goat were snack and trophies. Every sport had trophies no matter what (really?) and the snack...Even at night? Can't they just eat dinner when they get home? Can't parents bring their own healthy snack for after practice or the game? I mean really! Well, we are to blame. Myself included since I went along moaning and groaning. I hope it stops. Kids need to learn how to be patient and how to fail gracefully and learn from it. No trophies for everyone...please.

    That's MY 2 cents.

  9. This post definitely speaks the truth! My teaching partners and I were just discussing the other day that things this "entitlement" issue seems to be getting worse. So much so that it's "not fun" to give out personal gifts or do nice things for the kids because so many of them seem unappreciative! But, we still do things for the kids who do appreciate the small things ;) I'm going to have to read everything you posted! I'm glad others are seeing this problem as well as it's not just in our community.

    My Shoe String Life


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