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A Generation of Entitled Perfectionists?

As a child of the late 70’s and 80’s, my childhood was spent running around outside, performing lip-syncing concerts for my neighbors to the pop beats of Debbie Gibson and Michael Jackson, and collecting more jelly bracelets than I could count.

Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake were among the must-have toys, and while I remember my childhood fondly, was it really an era of “simpler times” and innocence for children?

A Generation of Entitled Perfectionists Faith Along the Way

 

While we might have been able to sit up front in the car from early on and there was no such thing as organic food, the answer is no.

Since the 1960s, when prayer was taken out of school and traditional family roles started changing, there has been a slight erosion of each generation of children. With each passing one, kids now know more about the world around them and innocence is lost earlier than ever before.

Today there’s an epidemic among kids and young adults in this modern age. 

It’s the sickness of entitlement and perfectionist syndrome, and it’s rampant.

As an educator for 15 years, I can see that this heart-issue is spreading like wildfire, threatening the attitudes and minds of our future leaders.

The trend of children today

Children are often raised entitled; believing that they are owed “something and everything” from the world around them.

They believe they’re entitled to the finer things in life: technology, vacations, clothes, eating out, and constant entertainment.

Working hard for something is a foreign concept, and many suffer from a poisonous attitude against work.

Ironically, children expect good grades, to be the best at their sport, and to be the center of attention, even if they don’t deserve it.

In an age of selfies and status updates, children tend to be narcissists, believing that life revolves around them.

The source

The root of the problem seems to be two-fold, a progression of society away from biblical principles and parents who condone such behavior.

Society encourages children to want more and to expect that the finer things in life are coming to them, regardless of the cost.  According to a modern society, Mom and Dad should provide luxury items, and sacrifice regardless of the expense so children can have the latest technology and material possessions.

Parents fuel the fire by not putting boundaries, not saying no, or not having children work towards earning things, such a cell phone.

Also, many parents encourage the mind-set that life revolves around the children, and are not teaching the life lesson about serving others.

Children also see parents going to bat for them against teachers, coaches, and authority figures, thus demeaning the role in the child’s life, and fostering an attitude of disrespect.

If a child isn’t held accountable by mom and dad for actions and responsibilities, there will be no respect for those in authority.

Generation Quote

Is there a solution?

I wish I could say I had the answer to this all figured out and families would desire change.

But I do believe with boundaries placed within the home, there can be change within a family, which sparks change in a community, and is contagious.

Parents can…

– Say no to children at an early age

– Teach children God’s Word and how to walk according to His promises

– Don’t be afraid to have the family make changes and go against the norms of society

– Surround your family with friends who do the same

– Encourage children to be others focused, not selfish

– Make children earn material goods, and limit possessions as teachable moments about life

– Show respect, as parents, to all authority figures, even when you disagree, and encourage your child to do the same

– Don’t expect perfection

Is all hope lost?

Is the modern generation of children is all doom and gloom or is there is hope for the future leaders of our world?

Yes, the hope for this fallen world is Jesus.

When God gets a hold of a family, He is faithful to provide strength and courage to stand against the norm.

He is the way that parents can steer their children against the grains of a sick society and raise children who are godly, and to stand firm for Him.

Change is possible, and right now, there are families who are going against the norms of the world and doing things differently no matter the cost.

I’ve seen a family in my school offer free gas and breakfast to strangers on Christmas morning in lieu of gifts.

I’ve seen a 3rd grade girl start a Younique business with her mom to raise money for Food for the Poor. {Visit her Food for the Poor page here}.

I’ve seen the high school senior stand up for her faith, be bold in witness, yet recognized by her peers in the Senior Superlatives, voted Most Dependable.

I’ve seen a school come together for a day of service, encouraging families to step out of their comfort zone and bless those in need.

While the trend of modern day children seems grim, you don’t have to settle for kids that are part of the norm.

Parents, be bold, make changes in your house, and encourage your child to be others focused, not self-seeking. You may not be able to change the world with your course of action, but you can spark a change in your community. Together, being strong in family and strong in faith, we can make a difference.

A fabulous resource for managing and thriving as a family is the Strong Family Project Printable pack.  It’s filled with resources to help connect families and bring them closer in a world intent on breaking the bond altogether.

SFP pack cover

This subscriber only exclusive pairs perfectly with the Strong Family Project blog series that starts May 27. Written in partnership with 25 faith and family writers, this series will debut here on Faith Along the Way and run through August.

Don’t miss a minute of this wisdom filled series or the printable pack by subscribribing today!

How does your family go against the norm and protect your children from being entitled?

About Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a perfectly imperfect wife and mother, and is thankful for the saving grace of the Lord. When she’s not busy folding yet another load of laundry or comforting a crying child, she enjoys studying God’s Word, writing, and spending time with authentic friends. She's passionate about equipping women to live with intentional faith, family, home, and habits at Proverbs31Mentor.com. Join her for biblical encouragement and practical lifestyle tips to help you live on mission for the glory of God.

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29 Comments

  1. I tend to agree that most times children are overly catered to. While I do know that sometimes they have needs that trump standard convention, there does seem to be a line of common sense that is often crossed. My family and friends seem to be of like mind with me, so we don’t really run across it too much in our lives. Thanks for sharing!
    Leanne @ The Transplanted Southerner recently posted…Earth Day Activities for Older KidsMy Profile

    1. Good for you for surrounding your family with friends who don’t condone this behavior! It’s hard to parent when others around you let their children life a life of overindulgence.

  2. HERE HERE! Totally agree and we live in a fairly affluent area and the attitudes from 1st graders can be so sad. They really do think the world revolves around them (all kids do) and it’s our job as parents to do our best to steer them towards others and the cross.
    Sherri S recently posted…How to Quadruple Your Money in 1 Day with EbayMy Profile

    1. Amen, Sherri! Even my three year old thinks the world is about him, yet it is my job to show him that he’s important, but not the center of the universe. It’s so sad when parents just allow the self-centered attitudes to continue. 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing this post. As a school teacher, I have seen this time and time again, but I have to say – it starts in the home. What is taught to children will stick with them even when they go out into the world. Parents have a responsibility to nip this in the bud and their role is more influential than anything else. May God help all us mamas to do this!

    1. Yes it does! I’m a teacher, too, and it makes me so sad what some families allow! May we all as parents come to realize the impact we have on our children and their future.

    1. That is tricky, but God can change anyone’s heart, so don’t give up hope for Him. I think so much of the Christian walk is realizing our shortcomings, and allowing God to change us slowly over time.

  4. Lots and lots of truth here…. kids think they are “entitled” and we “owe them something” often times…. but we do have hope in the Lord!!!! Thank goodness right? Great article!

  5. Over dinner on Sunday we learned that my sister-in-law’s college reduced her grade because she said the word ‘no’. They say that it is too negative a word, and they need to find an alternate. No wonder the number of homeschooled children are rising. Even the unregenerate know that this is foolish, and our kids will become the spoiled entitled kids you describe above. You just need common sense to see that! I pray we are able to homeschool, and barring some extreme circumstance, I can’t imagine sending any kid away to be told yes and “you are right” all day long.

    Farin
    Farin recently posted…Telling People You’re Pregnant.. after Miscarriage(s)My Profile

    1. Wow! So interesting about the grade being reduced and such a sad state of the world we live in for sure. Thanks for weighing in.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Leah! May we pray for these children and our world!

  6. Great post and points. As a child of the 60’s & 70’s, I can totally relate. My sons were born in ’84 and ’86 and during their childhood and teen years, it wasn’t so much. We raised those boys the way we were raised and many of the families around that time had similar views. We now have a 14 year old daughter, and of course, raising her with the same principles as our sons. I have to tell ya, the differences between the attitudes of my sons classmates and now my daughter’s (a decade or so later) boggle my mind. It’s definitely a much bigger challenge now and I refuse to give in. And I’m so proud of her. She received an 8th grade graduation gift from her grandma (money) and she’s sending half of it to a missions group…. totally her idea and decision. The other half, she put in the bank to save for college.
    Patty Gale recently posted…The Scoop of What We’re Working OnMy Profile

    1. It’s so true! As a teacher I see this all the time and can’t believe this shift in children. Good for you for raising her the way you know is right, no matter what society around you does!

  7. Going against societal norms and standing up for what they believe in, is sometimes in conflict with teaching my kids respect for the authority of their teachers. They on-line schooled through Freedom Project for a couple of years and the transition back to public school (for social reasons) has been interesting. #mommymonday
    Crystal recently posted…So Surprised by E-cloth Free SampleMy Profile

    1. Great insight! I agree that children need to be taught respect and how to diplomatically disagree and when to keep quiet. I think some adults need that, too!

    1. Thank you, Heather! It’s not a popular trend, but such a crucial one to learn!

  8. I agree and I think we need to stop “helicopter parenting” & let kids learn from success and failure. They are calling the generation of people between 18 & 30 the Boomerang Generation because such a large percentage of them are moving back at home after finishing or failing college . They blame it on the global economy, but I think the truth is these kids move home because it’s easier than struggling. I remember sitting in my first rental house at 19 cooking a hot dog over a candle because I couldn’t afford my electric bill till payday. It was moments like that where I learned to work hard. I imagine I wouldn’t have gotten so far in life if my parents had just paid the bill or let me move home. Failure does make you a better person.

    1. Helicopter parenting is such a disservice to all involved. It can be hard to let children fail and experience discomfort, but life lessons and character is built in the process. Great story and good for you for standing strong!

    1. It can be so hard to point them in the opposite direction of the world, but so important!

  9. You’ve shared great wisdom for us here, Sarah Ann. You’ve identified some important causes of entitlement and perfectionism, and also offered some ways we can help our kids avoid these tendencies. I wholeheartedly believe that one of the best ways to do this is by exposing our kids to selfless service early and often!

    Thanks for linking up with us at Grace & Truth – your posts are always such an asset to our linkup! This will be my feature at Satisfaction Through Christ this week. 🙂
    Jennifer Clarke recently posted…The JESUS School of PrioritiesMy Profile

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