When I was growing up my parents always threw out stories of how tough they had it when they were growing up. They had to walk five miles up hill both ways to school or they had to practice in 100 degree heat with no water breaks. The list goes on and on and my siblings and I would just roll our eyes and ignore them. But now that I am a parent I am starting to see that they may have been speaking the truth – a little exaggerated but it got the point across that things are not as they were when they were growing up. Today, as I raise my children, I hear myself telling the same over inflated stories because I see a whole different world from when I was a kid. I don’t know if it is because the divorce rate is so much higher today than it was when I was growing up or if it is because there are more two parent working families but it seems like parenting today is fueled by guilt. I have never experienced so many spoiled, undisciplined children who have this sense of entitlement for doing absolutely nothing. I know kids who have a 52″ flat screen TV in their bedroom. I know 10 year olds who have $500 cell phones that can do everything but cook your dinner. I know kids who have diamond earrings, designer bags, and $50 haircuts. Whatever they want they get. What do they learn from this? They learn that there is no need to work hard for anything when everything is just handed to you if you whine a little bit.
If my dad had to practice in 100 degree heat with no break can you imagine the horror stories our children will have to tell their children. Their horror stories would be more like this, “Can you believe we had to play a whole game and no one brought a halftime snack?” or “I can’t believe I didn’t get a trophy for coming in 5th place!” I cringe when I get the dreaded “snack list”. I noticed that as my children started getting involved in activities that there always seemed to be a snack involved. There is a snack for soccer, snack for girl scouts, and snack for piano lessons. It seems like whatever you sign your kid up for there is inevitably a snack list to follow. Most of these activities last about an hour yet they still want a parent to provide snacks to the children (and sometimes for the siblings who didn’t do a damn thing). My child can certainly go one hour without a snack and if they can’t I will give them a cracker but why do I have to feed the whole team? And some of these parents do not understand the meaning of “snack”. A snack is a piece of cheese or an apple. A “snack” is not an eight course meal. I remember one mother brought carrots, licorice, and a bag of goldfish for a snack. I don’t know what she calls it in her house but in my house we call that “lunch”. And don’t forget the pop! In our house pop is a treat that you may have on occasion but I know of households where kids can drink pop like water (and we wonder why childhood obesity is an epidemic?)
My other pet peeves about modern day child rearing are the participation trophy, the professional photographer for every insignificant sports league, and not keeping score. My kids have been keeping score since they came out of my belly. Their whole life revolves around numbers and ultimately who has the largest. They know if daddy wins or loses by the score of the game. If daddy scores more points than the other guy he is in a good mood and if daddy scores fewer points than the other guy he is in a bad mood. If daddy loses a lot we have to sell the house. A lot of losses means goodbye to old friends, a new school, and a life turned upside down. Even kids that are not brought up in a sports related household figure this out early – parents cheer when their team scores a goal or basket and say nasty words when the other team scores. That is life and kids need to learn that not everyone wins. They need to be taught that the harder you work the better your chance to succeed, therefore, I don’t think it is wrong to keep score at children’s games.
I can fathom a guess that the person who invented the participation trophy was the kid who always got picked last in dodgeball. When I was growing up, if you didn’t get in first place then you didn’t get a trophy. It means you are the loser and they are the winner. I assume millions of parents all over the world complained that their little boy/girl was upset when they didn’t get a trophy. Of course, we can’t have any child upset thus the participation trophy was born. And not only does everyone get a trophy but we also make the parents form a tunnel after every game for the kids to run through because we are here to have “fun”. And if that is not enough, do we have to hire a professional photographer to capture a portrait of every team our child has been a part of. Really? I don’t need a professional picture of my four year old YMCA’s soccer team. They had a total of eight practices and eight games. I don’t need a $30 framed picture and keychain with the team picture on it. We are raising a bunch of entitled crybabies.
Top Ten Indications That Your Child May Be Spoiled
- You cook one meal for your three year old, one meal for your 7 year old, and one meal for your eleven year old.
- Your kid has a better phone than you.
- You can’t get your cars in the garage because it is full of your kids toys.
- You tell your kids, “we are going out to eat” and they exclaim, “not again.”
- You live 50 feet from the bus stop but you drive your kids to school.
- Your child cries if she doesn’t get what she wants and she is in eighth grade.
- When your child says, “I want it” and when asked what is the magic word they say, “now.”
- You are the first to complain to the coach when your child, who is picking daisies in the outfield doesn’t get as much playing time as the clean-up hitter.
- Your six year old daughter has had a mani and pedi.
- Your child has told you to “shut up” and they still have their front teeth.