Tag Archives: entitlement

When Helicopter Parenting Crashes and Burns

In the wake of the recent college admissions scandal, my concern is with the students who are waking up to a whole new vision of themselves. Many of them from fifty known families—so far—apparently knew none of what their parents were up to—until now.

Some received a sports scholarship in a sport never played using photoshopped headshots; some had their SAT and ACT tests corrected by paid off proctors; some even had their tests taken for them. Coaches at the elites took huge amounts of money from an agent of a falsified non-profit who took even more from parents desperate to give their children a prestigious resume and a bumper sticker for their cars. The illegal non-profit allowed the parents to deduct their payments as donations.

Imagine what it must feel like to be that college student oblivious to what got you accepted? What happens to any trust you have in your parents—or any trust you thought they had in you? And then to find out your parents are under arrest for their illegal conduct. How could you not feel inadequate in your parents’ eyes knowing what they did to get you in? How must it feel to assume you deserved admittance only to learn oodles of money was your ticket?

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Entitlement: The By-Product of Indulgent Parenting

“These kids today” are the words out of every older generation referring to the generation about to replace them. It’s hard to accept change. Every generation thinks they are better than the next and the youth are messing everything up and doing it all wrong.

What do the following have in common?

  • Kids with no manners or courtesy
  • Lack of awareness of the consequences of behavior
  • Resistance to rules and dismissal of the law
  • Addictive video gaming

Call me a member of the older generation, but here’s how I see it: Baby boomers were born and raised in post WWII during an economic recovery and unprecedented prosperity. They (we) got to do more of what we wanted than our parents did. We also learned to distrust government during the Nixon-Vietnam War years. We actively demonstrated, thumbed our noses at the establishment and were the first to step out of the footprints of our parents to set our own way. The establishment included our parents. Most of us didn’t like the way we were brought up to be obedient and were determined to do it differently.

So here we were, in limbo, raising the next generation. We wanted to do it differently but didn’t know what that meant other than the opposite of strict obedience, remaining silent, doing for others and never for ourselves. After all, obedience backfired on our parents. They raised a whole generation who turned disobedient.

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Are You Raising Your Boys to be Men or Misogynists?

Last summer two teenaged football players in Steubenville, Ohio got a 16 year old girl beyond drunk, carried her from party to party, and repeatedly raped and abused her in front of many consenting friends. So “cool” was this, they joked and bragged about it in texts and on the web. They were recently tried and convicted, and the verdict has divided a small football-mania town, many of whom are furious at losing their star football players.

How we raise our boys has all to do with how entitled they feel as they grow to manhood—how entitled they feel to hold power over girls and weaker boys, how entitled they feel to do as they please. Our culture is steeped in male entitlement, so we must work hard to support our sons in ways that our culture does not.

One of my proudest moments in my son’s life came when he was playing soccer against another town. My son was goalie and that day every ball sailed past him into the net. When the boys switched sides at half-time, a boy from the other team taunted him with, “You suck as goalie.” My son came back with, “Yeah, I guess I’m having a bad day.” Many parents would have felt embarrassed, wishing he had retaliated, even punched the other kid. I was proud that he was not ashamed of his temporary weakness. I was proud that he didn’t see his poor performance as a failure. I was proud that he knew how to deflect a hurtful comment and stand down a bullyish remark while standing incredibly tall. The wind was knocked out of the other boy’s bravado. My son came out the stronger of the two.

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