A growing sense of entitlement

Who is really to blame for the spoiled acts of children?

McKenna Baxter and Noelle Helmlinger

     A family of four sits around a glowing Christmas tree. The children are opening their last few gifts, adding them to the mountain of presents behind them. Upon tearing off the wrapping paper on the last gift, a brand new iPad, they start searching around the room. The parents laugh, asking ‘What are you looking for?’

     ‘We are looking for the rest of our presents. Santa brought more, right?,

     This sort of behavior does not just appear overnight. After their toddler years, children take notice of more things in stores and advertisements for fancy new toys on the television. On weekly excursions to the supermarket, a child may ask his mother for a treat. ‘A few candies would not hurt,’ His mother says to herself as she walks to the register. The next week, the child may remember the treats he was given the previous week, and may ask for more candies. If the request is declined, the risk of a temper tantrum is present, followed by a seemingly unending chorus of whining.

     Boston Magazine states that, “as teenage years follow, the child may become lazy and easily-angered.” Even older kids can act spoiled, saying things such as ‘It is not the right color!’, or ‘My little sister got more!’

     Boston Magazine also stated that “children who are coddled will likely feel the same entitlement in their teenage years and subsequent adulthood.” They will often seek out fault in their friends and put their wants first.

     Parents believe they are doing good by giving their children everything they could possibly want and shielding them from the harsh realities of the world. In truth, they are making the children believe everything is going to be handed to them on a silver platter, and the kids will be in for a rude awakening when they find themselves thousands of dollars in debt.

     The biggest problem is that these effects extend beyond typical spoiled behavior. Bruce J. McIntosh, M.D., author of the journal “Pediatrics,” says that people who were spoiled as children can become insensitive to the needs of others. As a result, they may never learn that relationships require effort on both ends, and may eventually find themselves friendless or facing a nasty divorce.

     So how can Battlefield students help their siblings and themselves avoid spoiled adult syndrome? The first step is to decline any unneeded help. If students always rely on others, they will not learn to do things on their own. Taking help when they need it is not a problem; everyone needs help at some point, but a student should make sure that they really need the assistance, otherwise it will promote laziness. Secondly, helping out with even the simplest of tasks around the house can teach a student responsibility, and will give them experience they will need for later in life. It is much easier to survive alone in a college dorm when they understand basic chores and can fend for themselves.

    Kyle Canestra, a sophomore at Battlefield High School, believes that parents are to blame for the behavioral problems in the children of today. Canestra says that if the parents were to say ‘No’ more often, it could slowly put a stop to increased consumerism in children. “It is the parents’ fault for the most part since they raised their child that way, though it is not uncommon for them to do so.”

     Kristin Johnson, a freshman at Battlefield, thinks that parents could also play a key role in helping children become less dependent.  “Give them the ‘there are kids in Africa’ talk.  It is ridiculous that kids act like that,” says Johnson.  “I would also talk to my parents and ask them for help,” Johnson adds.

     Brandie Provenzano, an English teacher at Battlefield and mother of three boys, also places the blame on the parents of society. Provenzano says that kids must earn what they want to learn value.  “If every parent in the neighborhood buys their kid a $30 videogame, it makes it harder for me to tell my kids no,” says Provenzano. “If the parents fall into that trap, they will end up feeding the beast. It makes it harder for other parents to say no,” Provenzano adds.  Spoiled children may get lots of gifts and special treatment from family, but they also get their social problems and dependency from their parents, too.