Are Our Children at the Core of the Next Entitlement Demographic?

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There’s nothing that tugs at a parent’s heart like the hollow face of a hungry child. On the other hand, there’s nothing that makes a parent’s eyeballs distend, roll backwards, and practically dislocate themselves, like witnessing the antics of a child who feels a little hungry, complains about it, and expects a custom-made meal to be delivered on the spot.

The child, in this example, is mine.

Yesterday, my husband, son, and I hooked up to play a late afternoon front nine (keep in mind that I didn’t know what “front nine” meant until I was about thirty years old) on our neighborhood course (also keep in mind that, growing up, the closest thing our family had to a neighborhood course was, well…nothing). As we repeatedly made our way from the rough to the fairway, into a sand trap, and over the green, my twelve year-old son, Taylor, began to shank his drives. The more balls he shanked, the testier he got, the testier he got, the more he shanked. Why the male gender has failed to acknowledge the symbiotic relationship between these two variables is beyond me. But he’s young and I digress.

Even though his facial expression is familiar, that’s not my son. Image via sportsillustrated.com

Exhausted by a transition from summer to middle school that pushes him out the door every day by 6:45 a.m., frustrated, and possibly a bit disinterested, he stood on the green ignoring a view that could have inspired the creation of the earth itself and asked a simple question.

This is the view my son couldn’t see. Image via ccatcastlepines.com

“Where’s the beverage cart?”

“I don’t know. It’s late in the day, but I’m sure it’ll be around soon,” I said.

“I can’t believe it isn’t here. This is ridiculous,” he replied, grabbing his ball from the fairway and storming toward the next hole (keep in mind that if I had pulled a move like that on my mother, she would have coldcocked me before I had the chance to take a step…by the time I staggered up from my face plant into a bunker, stunned and babbling course etiquette backwards, she would have finished the hole and moved on, with or without me).

That’s not my mom. That’s a vampire. Image via http://www.reasonforchange.com

At the time, my reaction to his mini-outburst was much less measured than I’d like to admit, but I can say in retrospect that he was having a moment. We all have them. Even Oprah. In fact, I have about a dozen an hour on that fateful day each month when standing anywhere within my peripheral vision holds the equivalent danger as juggling molten-hot machetes on a tightrope (keep in mind that if you mess with me on the Tuesday before the Thursday, you’re taking a risk that’s not worth the reward). As the saying goes, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Image via mszigzag.typepad.com

In hindsight, Taylor was as within his rights to complain as any kid invited to walk a beautiful golf course with his parents could be, which is to say, not at all.

And that’s where I have a problem.

My problem rests on the premise that even though he knew it wasn’t right to lose his temper, he didn’t know that the reason he lost it, contextually, was wrong.

The math breaks down like this: every time we play golf, we walk the course. Every time we walk the course, the beverage cart comes around at about hole five or six. Every time the beverage cart rolls up, Taylor gets a snack, often something more spectacular than anything he could ever pull from our pantry. Every time he gets a snack, we sign the bill.

My husband likes the beverage cart too. Image via golfdigest.com

We do this because we want him to experience things that we didn’t as kids. All parents hope their children have more than they did growing up. By popular definition, “success” is another way of saying “Congratulations, you’ve achieved the American Dream.” The words are practically interchangeable in our culture, even if they sometimes sound hollow.

But I’m finding that for a generation of children being raised today, “have more” doesn’t necessarily mean “do more”, and that’s not good (keep in mind, that our kids will most likely need to “do” a lot more than we did to get ahead when they’re adults).

What did Taylor do to earn a one-on-one trip to the golf course with Mom and Dad? Nothing. Yesterday, that’s pretty much how he treated it. Like nothing. The instant gratification he derives from getting a snack-on-demand wasn’t there, and because of that, he lost sight of the things around him that are much more important.

In many respects, our children are growing up in a world that we never knew existed when we were kids, because it didn’t. Where we played with blocks, our toddlers manipulate touch screens. Remember the days when your Dad schlepped you to the library so you could spend an hour deciphering the Dewey Decimal system to look through an ancient card catalogue and find the one book in the entire city on yellow-bellied marmots for a report? Taylor doesn’t, but he can pull up more images of that nasty rodent than you’d ever want to scroll through on his phone. Do you channel the Von Trapp family and sing songs with your children in the car? Me neither, because my kids’ headphones are shoved so far into their ear canals that they automatically de-wax themselves pushing them in and back out.

The Dewey Decimal System is almost as old as Joan Rivers. Almost. Image via http://www.afterelton.com

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. With the best of intentions, we damage our children. Keeping that thought in mind, I can’t help but wonder if parents who are willing to give their kids anything also take away something critical that means everything. Do I fall into that category? Sometimes. There are things I do well when it comes to raising my children to become responsible adults, but today I’m focusing on what I do wrong.

As the debate around our nation’s entitlement state roars down a bloated, bipartisan road toward a November 6 collision with itself, perhaps, instead of simply targeting the entitlements already being given, we should also focus on how we ensure that our children avoid this path. Does the current road need repair? Yes, but future generations can get a better start if they walk down a street that begins with chores and ends with education. Or begins with education and ends with validation. Or begins with validation and ends with communication. Or maybe our kids should just take out the trash.

If life’s about the journey, our children had better develop strong calves. Image via media.knownew.com

As humans, we’re a complicated mixture of nature and nurture, and it’s the combination of the two that makes us who we are to become. Yesterday? Taylor wasn’t the kid I wanted him to be, but most of the time, he is. He now understands (more fully than he’d like) that a trip to the golf course is earned, not given. I’m not writing this to embarrass him, rather, I’m putting this out there to call attention to myself, with the hope that through my children’s eyes, I learn the exact lessons I’m supposed to teach.

56 responses »

  1. Another great post, Stacie. Always so well-written and insightful. And I can relate to this topic. My children have much more than either my husband or I did growing up, and we have frequent discussions on the topic. One of my many parenting goals is to not raise children who act entitled or who are oblivious to the fact of how good they have things. I’m sure my kids are sick of hearing about the topic, too. I guess the best we can do as parents is be aware of the issue, make children work for their rewards, have them participate in helping others, and consistently point out entitled behaviors and set consequences for them. And we can’t do everything for our kids. We have to let them fend for themselves sometimes, so that they can be independent by the time they get to college. The same was done for me, and I should do no less for my children.

  2. With the direction our national debt is taking us, I think you’re spot on when you said our kids will have to “do more” when they’re grownups to have the lifestyle they’re accustomed to. They have so much more than we did as children, and I know I struggle with ways to help them appreciate it. But I also want them to have opportunities that I never did. Le sigh. We do the best we can and hope we strike the right balance, eh?

    • Right. As parents, we’re walking a fine line right now, so I agree, the more we can do to ensure that our kids are self-sufficient, the better. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Beth. I hope you’re well!

  3. Lovely post, Stacie. As a kid, I used to hate the ‘you-have-things-handed-to-you-on-a-platter’ speech my parents gave. I mean who doesn’t?
    There’s no doubt that the current generation always does way better than the previous one and so on. But, I believe each generation has its own battles. While it is important that parents instill the value of hard work, I think letting them develop the motivation to want good things and thus appreciate their value would help too. As always, I think a bit of both is needed.

    BTW I am unable to see the first picture on this post. Is it just me?

    • Aparna,

      Thanks for your well-thought comments. I agree with you, balance is one of the keys to raising our kids.

      As for the pic, it’s showing up on my end, so I’m not sure if it’s just you or if anyone reading has the same issue. It’s a photo of Tiger Woods with an annoyed look on his face, so you’re not really missing a lot. =)

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts,
      Stacie

  4. Can’t remember where I heard this – “Give your children enough that they can do something, but not too much that they do nothing.” I struggle with finding that right balance, too. And as an aside, I do miss the card catalogues – wish our kids can have that experience.

    • I just wish my kids could experience the frustration I went through trying to understand the Dewey Decimal system. Maybe if they had to use card catalogues, they’d appreciate their iPads more… =)

      Thanks for commenting, Stella. Hope you’re well!

  5. Perfect blog for my day today, Stacie. I had a bad send off with one of my children who shall remain unnamed (male 10 year old) who was acting like an entitled spoiled brat. I’ve been feeling bad all morning wondering if I was too hard on him. Now I feel I may not have been hard enough! Thank you for absolving me of my guilt with a little common sense and some humor.

    • LC,

      I’m happy to absolve your guilt about anything and everything, because I carry every day too. If he’s anything like mine, your son will have forgotten about the entire incident about 10 minutes after it happened.

      Great to see you here and other than your guilty feelings, hope you are well!

      Stacie

  6. Hi Stacie,

    One thing my kids Catholic school years have been good for is drilling into their heads the importance of service. I am no bible quoter, but there is that that thing about “to those whom much is given, much is expected”, or something like that. Nothing like volunteering with the sick, the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless to take ’em down a notch and get their feet planted firmly on the ground…

    xo Chris

  7. Your article makes me wish that I could get a “do over” with my now 50ish sons. Not for them (they are quite decent adults) but for me.

  8. Great thoughts! I’m always looking for ways to get through to my kids to appreciate all they have. When my oldest was eight, he complained he wanted to use my tub because his (the one that is in HIS bathroom that is attached to HIS room!!) is too small!!!! My jaw dropped and the soap box was mounted in lightning speed. A trip to help the truly needy is on the books.

    • Great point. In line with your son, my daughters recently asked, in all seriousness, why they had to share a bathroom. Life is comprised of the things you know, and to your comment, my kids need to know more about how big the world truly is. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  9. OK! I was a little tough on you as you were growing up but look how you turned out!! I suppose my evil ways and dad’s forever waiting up for you proved a point. I was tough. He was the watchdog. And you are correct in your thinking. You have great comparative information. And you are correct in another way. The world will not be ready for mediocrity…..but he’s only 12!!!!!!!! Having played golf with him on your CC course, we could picture his every move and expression. But he’s our grandson, our only one….and even though you really cannot give him slack, we can….Gaga and I can…..so press on. Be the enforcer. He’ll thank you someday. And we’ll be the good guys for now.
    Love you much,
    Mom (and Gaga)

  10. My children are younger than yours, but we these discussions as well… And I’m pretty sure they fly right over my children’s heads. “You’re hungry because you chose not to eat your dinner. In other parts of the world, people are hungry because there is no dinner.”

    They are growing up in a totally different world though where most of the time, things come fast and easy. My kids barely have the patience for me to find Smurfs on the DVR versus what we all did. Wait until Saturday morning at 9:00. I don’t remember my parents ever buying us extras because extras would have required extra money (which was nonexistent). However, even if I refuse to buy stuff for my kids, my kid’s grandparents will buy it. (And they’ll also hand it to my kids when I’m not there, which would make taking it back a little cruel.) It’s not just that though. I was a little afraid of my parents, but with that fear came respect. There are a lot of different factors, but each generation does seem to get a little more… soft. And nowhere is it more obvious than the schools.

    I see it all the time, people wanting more for less, especially when it comes to grades. “Professor, this is soooo hard, can’t you just make it easier?” I really want to throttle my classmates sometimes. How about this? YOU are going into healthcare. YOU are going to be making decisions that could be life or death. How about shutting up about how hard the class is and actually learning the material so that you can be a decent healthcare provider? Then again, I’m getting older and crabbier with each progressing year. (Sorry for the novel.)

  11. Good for you girl.. Self awareness saves the world when nothing else does. I actually love when these realizations “hit” me because it makes me WANT to improve and change. If its too subtle a “hit” I ignore it indefinitely. hehe

    Reminds me of a video I watched this morning, spoken word performance from a guy who loves Jesus but hates religion (holla!). What you’re saying was so similar. We create our problems (and often times we defend them) but ignore our core realities.

    • So well said, Anastasia. I do a pretty good job (I think) of making my kids do chores, earn privileges, etc., but in the world we live in, pretty good isn’t enough. I need to make them more aware of what they have by showing them, firsthand, what other people don’t. But not this morning. This morning I need to drink A LOT of caffeine. =)

  12. Probably also worth reminding said son, as well as ourselves, that not only is his sense of entitlement out of whack with how we grew up, but also that the snack he munches down would be the difference between life and death for tens of thousands of children around the world – every single day. In the time it takes him to trudge from one hole to the next fifty or so children will starve to death. Of course most of them are black or yellow, and comfortably far away and out of sight, so they don’t impinge on our consciousness quite as much as perhaps they should. Perhaps there’s a way to get our kids to see them, as we don’t seem to.

    • Very eloquently stated, Yolly. I feel like I do a decent job of giving, and that my kids see the donations we make to various charities. But to your point, what they DON’T see is who we’re giving to. Life is what you know it to be, and they need to know better and firsthand about how deeply rounded (and divided) our world is.
      Thanks, as always, for your amazing comment.

  13. This post conjures up many thoughts in my head. It gave me an opportunity to ponder the path of my own children and my “success” at teaching them the things I want them to learn. I am unfortunately not nearly as eloquent as you and am not able to capture my thoughts in clearly understandable words. I do believe that as a generation of parents we often coddle our children and expect others to do so as well. We give them things we didn’t have because we can not because they need them or earned them. Maybe our parents didn’t give us all those things because they knew we didn’t need them or hadn’t earned them. There is clearly a balance between entitlement and coddling and raising children that understand the world is bigger than them and their needs and that they actually must work hard to get the things they want. I hope that they learn that it is often the hard work that gives “things” value not the things themselves. One of the many things our rv trips has taught me is that what our children want most is our attention. I spent last night with my parents and Mrs. Coburn. We talked about just these issues. We also talked about how they let us go to Florida on spring break of our senior year in high school with absolutely no adult supervision – not sure if they thought they were “giving” us something their parents couldn’t give them or if they were just simply insane.

    • You are a very eloquent writer, Susan, so don’t sell yourself short!

      I think you strike the perfect balance with your RV trips. The kids get to be with you guys for a concentrated amount of time, see parts of the country that most kids don’t get to, pitch in with the process of taking care of six people on the road…the list goes on and on.

      Maybe we need to rent an RV next summer and join you guys. I’ve heard the Oregon coast is spectacular…like New Zealand, then onto Sequoia National Park in CA to see the Redwoods and back.

      As for spring break? Are parents were nuts, but we will probably make the same choice and hope they make it back in one piece.

      Miss you. Thanks for reading and commenting. It warms my heart when I see you here.
      =)

  14. Word, Stacie.

    I’m so guilty of this very parental failing, and I know it, but it’s a tough thing to make right. Perhaps we’re getting better, gradually, but I’m not always so sure. Not to delegate our responsibility as parents, but the teachers at our Catholic schools are not like those of yesteryear. What used to be stern nuns who took no crap from anyone is now sweet pretty young ladies – then again, I’ve seen our sixth grader’s sweet pretty young teacher assert her classroom authority with aplomb. Actually, I’ve consistently been impressed with the teachers our girls have had, so maybe never mind about that. Anyway, as poor as I think I am in this realm of not entitling our children, I’ve seen way worse in other families – and way better. Those folks are inspiring, and I try to pal up with them to absorb some of their fabulousness. It’s maybe a dying art, but not dead yet. That you and I and others are aware of it and making attempts attests to that. I hope, anyway.

    Whoa – sorry about the tangent. Terrific posted thoughts, Stacie, as usual.

    • Sid,
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I agree with you, as a parent I can always do better, and I too gravitate toward others who I think are doing well. Maybe some of their grace and wisdom will rub off on me. I sincerely appreciate yours.
      =)
      Stacie

  15. I would jump up and down and shout “yes!” at this post if Hubs wouldn’t automatically assume that I was having some sort of internet orgasm. Society would be so much better if you ran it, Stacie…except for that one day a month when you should hand the reigns to Carrie.

    • Kellie,

      Why don’t YOU run the world and I’ll be your assistant? I would so much rather be Prince Harry than William. Those pics from The Wynn in Las Vegas looked awesome. Carrie would make a perfect Secretary of State, btw.

      Thanks, as always for stopping by and leaving a comment that makes me laugh out loud.

      Humbly Yours,
      Stacie

  16. So many similarities in kids these days. It makes one wonder what happened that changed the course of it all. Was it the tv perhaps? When I was a kid I could make 30 things with an empty box including bedroom furniture because I didn’t have any bedroom furniture. My kids will leave an empty box sit in their room for a year until I finally get fed up and take it out, but not without telling them the whole way out of their room how I used to make bedroom furniture out of a box! They have too much and are spoiled like many kids around. My experience is that overabundance leads to a lack of caring about their things. They are overwhelmed and overstimulated by stuff. I once heard a parent say they wanted their kids to grow up poor so they would appreciate the things they had. This family intentionally chose a low income life. But when I grew up I always wished I was one of the rich kids and of course wanted that for my kids so they wouldn’t have to worry about basic necessities of life. What this produced however is that sometimes my nine year old reminds me of Veruca Salt. She wants it and she wants it NOW. The best of intentions seem to have gone south. I wonder what this generation will be like when they grow up and have kids of their own? A great post Stacie!

    • Thanks for such a thoughtful comment, Laura. It seems like most parents today struggle with how much is too much, and instilling the values in them that seemed to come to us naturally to us. I think you’re right: the TV, video games, and technology in general somehow makes our jobs harder. It’s a lot easier to turn on the television than figure out what to do with a cardboard box, which is really too bad.

  17. If that’s all the sense of entitlement your son displays, believe me, you’re lucky. I was a royal pain in the ass. Whenever my mom made eggplant, she had to make something else just for me. Really. And she did all this after an eight-hour workday and a two-hour commute. All she asked for was that I open my schoolbooks at least once before an exam. On family vacations, I would groan about walking long distances for sight-seeing, preferring instead to just watch TV in the hotel room. And then I became a teenager!
    To your original point, I think kids are a little entitled, but soon they will be telling their kids how hard life was in 2012. While kids should enjoy better conditions than their parents, they should be told about what the parents gave up to achieve those things.
    As a kid (sometimes even today) I enjoyed concrete things: food, movies, games, computers etc. Appreciating the beauty of nature and treating quality time with family as a blessing are a lot to expect from a tender mind. They grow into that stuff. I know. I am still in the process. And when Taylor is in his thirties, he will look back on these things fondly.
    Nice post.

  18. As I read this I couldn’t help thinking of my own two sons, who are now adults. I couldn’t help thinking back to their childhood and their occasional slide into ‘entitlement’ syndrome and brat bad. They are in their 30’s now, so they were on the front end of computers, Nintendo and all the other toys of this generations children. They were nonetheless quite spoiled in so many ways, with two sets of parents who in the early days had very different parenting philosophies they played us like concert violinists, or dueling banjos; it took several years for all the adults in the room to agree to a set of rules for their upbringing. I was the constant though, I was the bad cop of the bunch which likely explains why at the end of the day I ended up with physical custody of them although I was not their biological parent.

    I look at my two grown sons today, one who has a son of his own and think what will he do to instill thankfulness. Then I realize, he is already doing it. Doing the same things we did. Spending time, teaching, holding and hugging, talking and exposing to more than games. Yes, soon my grandson will be in school and around his peers, it will be worse then. But I believe children ultimately are defined by what we tell them and show them, the time we spend with them.

    • This comment gave me goosebumps, Valentine. That you won custody without being a biological parent (whether it was through a court system or by choice) proves that you were doing something very, very right.

      I love your wisdom and I’ll keep coming back to hear more. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. =)

      • It helped that their biological mom wanted me to retain custody through my divorce from their father (long story). My wife-in-law and I remain good friends and loving co-parents to two amazing young men. Our relationship has spanned 28 years. If you look in my “family” category you will find a entry about us (all of us).

  19. Dear (great parent) Gemini Girl, I know nothing about Golf, but that beverage cart looks great!… where was I? Oh yeah, parenting. Well, I’ll say it again, it is my firm belief that our children learn the most from us through observation. Not long talks, not sit-down heart-to-hearts, but simply by you (the parent) putting your money where your mouth is and walking the talk. You want your kids to be responsible? Be responsible. You want your kids to be good and kind to others? Be good and kind to others. You want your kids to deal crack? Deal crack. You get the drift. You are their number one guide. Act like you want them to act when they become adults, and you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they will turn out great… just like you did!

    That said, question: is your driveway really that steep? If yes, well then advantage Mom; just tell Mr. “I want my refreshing drink now” that his skinny butt will be pushing the garbage cart up that driveway FOREVER if he don’t smarten up. And he if so much as smirks at you, tell him about his soon-to-be new best buddy, Sisyphus. 😉

    • Dear Phillipe,

      I wish I had a way to reciprocate your kind, thoughtful comments. As soon as you start writing in an open forum, I’ll be first in line.

      You make great points. I read a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal this morning that got me thinking about my own childhood, and where my major influences came from. It was exactly as you note: watching and learning from my parents without even being cognizant that I was taking in life lessons. I’ll strive for that, although I have a tough road to follow.

      Speaking of tough road, I found that pic on the internet. It isn’t my driveway or my son, but I love the visual!

      Stay well and thanks for stopping by and leaving me with something to think about!

      Stacie

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443819404577635352783638934.html

  20. I love the idea of earning things. We just celebrated our son Lukas’s birthday yesterday. The entire day revolved around it (last time on that). First, Mom made brownies (Lukas did help). Then, we had 10 boys for bowling/pizza and the seemingly requisite sugared water – (something that somehow has the word ‘treat’ attached to it – even though it is a silent killer). Then we shlepped them back to our house for brownies/ice cream (more silent killers) and capture the flag in the alley. After all this, Lukas opened presents and (finally), the boys went home. The boys had fun. Was it earned, though? Was there any connection between ‘I deserve this because it is my birthday’ and ‘boy it sure was a lot of time and effort for Mom and Dad – and I appreciate that they dedicated their Sunday to my party’??? Probably not – definitely not. At age 11, this is ‘just the way it is’ – because Mom and Dad set the standard when Lukas was three years old.

    Changing subjects. I often mention to my wife Carol that when I was a kid, my parents did not attend my tennis matches. These were after school high school meets. They certainly did not sit around during my practices and take notes. This is the state of affairs in today’s parent/child tennis world. There are apps now that allow one to track forehand and backhand errors, winners, first and second serve percentages and so forth. This tennis app is perfectly symbolic of what parenting has become in 2012. Go to any junior tennis tournament in Colorado and you will see grown ups with iPads busily fingering in stats on each point. The inevitable question becomes: what is Junior going to do when Mom and Dad are not there to tell him or her to remember to split step after every shot, or keep his or her head up on the serve? We have very simply lost our minds. I predict an extreme new mental illness when today’s kids finally leave home (if they can manage that feat) – Post Traumatic Over Parenting Syndrome (PTOPS). What will we do with ourselves?

    Author Bill Bryson tells a funny story about growing up in the 50’s – about how kids were locked out of the house at 8 AM and not allowed back in until 6 PM (Summer and weekends). They were on their own all day – they had to use their imagination to find things to do – and they had real interaction with their friends – as opposed to time around detached, anti-productive, voyeuristic electronica. And importantly, it was not Mom and Dad’s job to entertain them, or watch them practice sports. I can’t help but ask – did they have it right? Great piece, Stacy. Cheers to you.

    • I love this thoughtful comment, Tim. Your description of parents’ involvement in your junior tennis career sounds a lot like the way my parents handled tournaments. They got me to and from the courts, but everything I did (or didn’t do) out there was on me. Period. No private coach, no stats, nothing…just a gentle reminder every now and then to go out and practice.

      I read an article today in the WSJ that speaks directly to your point, so much so, that it’s inspiration for another post. I think you’ll like it:

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443819404577635352783638934.html

  21. One day I will join the ranks of parenthood and I would like to think that I will instill in my children many of life’s lessons and principles that I’ve learned along the way. With everything so readily available to kids these days it cannot be easy to create a balance of providing a good life, while not creating a sense of entitlement. With that in mind, I think I’ll force my kids to use a card catalogue instead of a computer to search for books. Only probably is that I’ll probably have to take them to my old haunts in the Library of Congress to actually find a card catalogue. 🙂

    • Good point, Jed. If you ever want to borrow three to practice, just let me know. I’ll be sure to loan them to you when they’re all in middle/high school, so you can get the hormone drama on top of trying to teach them life lessons. Thanks for commenting, hope all is well!

  22. I think one of my biggest challenges as a parent is to teach my daughter the value of things, as opposed to just the cost. You are right, so much is just expected, and I think that this B-S sense of entitlement that defines the current generation of young Americans is just nauseating. I can still remember the look on the face of a student from El Salvador who was living with my parents for a while, as my sister and I told our kids that they HAD to eat at least most of their dinners before getting desert… and how that must have seemed like the biggest shock to this young man, who often only had one meal per day and was lucky if his parents could afford school. I find that “encouraging” (read: forcing) Isabella to give when nothing will be gained — volunteering, babysitting for free, etc — is a good way to remind her that life is not about her. She is about life. Good read Stacie, as always!

    • Thanks for the awesome comment, Laura. Your voice is wise, reasonable, and thoughtful. Can I cry on your shoulder when I’ve got three in high school at the same time? Better yet, maybe we can share a cyber-cocktail.
      =)

  23. Pingback: Learning to Say No: How to Raise Responsible Children | Therapy Stew

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