What’s the worst word someone could use to describe your child?
There are a slew of cringe worthy adjectives to choose from, but Entitled would be it for me. Spoiled brat 2016 style. I’m on a mission to parent against this ugly trait running rampant in this me, myself and I generation that we are raising.
Boarding our flight home from Honolulu recently, I witnessed a braced face daughter kick her mother out of the exit row seat she was sitting in next to her husband. This teenager made it clear that she did not want to sit back “there” by herself. Trying to avert an escalating scene, the Mom succumbed and said, “fine- I guess I’ll just go sit in your seat.” “Yes, and take your bag with you Mom,” darling daughter said, as there was never a doubt in her mind that she wouldn’t be victorious.
Oh no she did not.
Oh yes she did.
Dad just sat there stone faced, silently staring straight ahead waiting for yet another Mother-Daughter scuffle to subside. Daughter wins. Family and society lose.
I wanted to yell down the aisle, oh no Momma. You can’t. Come back and regain what is yours. Witnessing this entitled exchange frightened me too as there was something very familiar to it.
We cannot give this type of power to our kids. They must know that sometimes their place is in the back of the plane because they are a child and we are an adult. We get tired and don’t want to fight the good fight because we are worn out by the kids who are power players in our family. I know. I find myself in the battle a lot. But, we have to send our daughter’s pretty behind to the rear of the aircraft because she is not in charge. When we give up our seat to keep her quiet and happy, we create entitlement. And I know none of us set out with that parenting goal in mind.
And Dad what about you? What makes you feel that taking a non existent presence is helpful to either of your women? Your role is to lead and teach. There is nothing disrespectful in helping your daughter to see that her Mother belongs next to you and not her.
Our kids were appalled that they had to be in middle seats, in different rows for the long flight home. I, too, feel much better when we are all sitting closely knit next to one another but sometimes that’s not the way the cookie crumbles and we have to go with the flow without complaint. Their reactions to their boarding passes made me realize that I need to purposefully book them into uncomfortable situations more often.
There is a difference between graciously offering a prime seat to our child and them demanding that we give it up for them. As parents, we need to tune in to the difference.
How do we raise kids in a privileged world without feeling entitled?
Let’s start by telling them to hike it on back to 30B and enjoy the ride.