Sense of Entitlement Plagues Some Teenagers

A recently published testimonial from a teenager with the entitled vision of a brand new car for Christmas ... with a big red bow. Because they deserve it? Get real.

"I want a car for Christmas. I want to wake up Christmas morning and have a car in the driveway with a big red bow on it! All for me! I am a good kid with good grades and I am involved in sports. I deserve it."

This was a little excerpt from the “Teen Speak Out” section of our local Reminder News. I had to read it a few times before the reality of this message sank in. Is this kid for real? My stock answer to such neurosis is usually, “You’ll get nothing and like it.” Put this child behind the soup pots of the local food pantries or shelters. Or how about giving the gift of their time and resources to those less fortunate? Maybe by doing so, an absorbed lesson of appreciation and gratitude for the sake of being together will sink in while material possessions take a back seat.  

I began wondering why the Reminder News would publish such garbage. I understand teenagers often have a sense of entitlement, especially today, but this one takes the cake. The meaning of Christmas has seemed to conveniently slip from his/her narrow mindedness and greed. By being a good kid with good grades, involved with sports, what makes them think they deserve it? The sooner this kid realizes we, as human beings, deserve many things but have to struggle, claw and work to get them. Truth: Most teenagers don't wake up on Christmas morning to the driveway of entitlement with a big red bow.  

I think the only way of deserving such privilege is if the teenage superhero earned the money him/herself by working part-time to understand the meaning and value of a dollar. Learning and realizing that saving, with a goal, will have its rewards. Goals are also not instant, a valuable lesson with patience. When met or exceeded, a sense of accomplishment and pride always follows. But the fun doesn’t stop there, let’s candidly remind them of the additional realities of insurance premiums for teenage drivers, gas and maintenance. I’m assuming this youngster expects mom and dad to cover those expenses as well, because they deserve it.   

Maybe I’m old school, but when I was a teenager, we either drove our parents extra “beater” car or worked (and saved) to buy a used piece of crap. There were no air bags and often no working seat belts. Gas money was divvied between friends. We were happy and grateful to even have something to get us to school, work or practice. There were a few kids that drove new cars, but it was a rarity. Even then, a flashy new car in the high school parking lot was like the uninvited cashew sitting in a dish of peanuts.  How’d that get there?

Seeing such printed testimonials of “All for me!” or “I deserve it” is something I’d expect from a 4-year-old in the Lego aisle at Target. I hope this kid will one day understand and appreciate that true gifts are never wrapped.  

Bonnie Scrivener December 17, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I agree with you 100%! I worked for my first vehicle. Borrowing my parents car was a luxury, a priviledge. Have you driven thru the high school parking lot while school is in session? BMW, Lexus, Volvo...not parked in the faculty spots!! I took the bus. My Christmas gifts usually consisted of new clothes.
Jane December 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I saw the article and agree with you about the new car and our "entitled" children . I disagree with your opinion that the Reminder should not have published the statement. The Speak Out column for Teens is a very good thing to allow all to know what is on the minds of our children. This is very important. The Reminder is doing a good thing. Maybe if parents are more aware they can make changes in their parenting. .
Richard LeTourneau December 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
My brother gave me his old "beater" for making honor roll four terms in a row. I was lucky to get it. I treasured it. Most of the time I was lucky to get the gas gauge up to the empty mark. And this was when gas was twenty cents a gallon.
Christine December 18, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Great column. I love the idea of getting teenagers involved in a "soup kitchen" or anything that redirects a child to observe and participate in the ministry to the less fortunate. Poverty IS relative--even a "beater-second hand car" for a teen may seem overindulgent to a less fortunate. We are all humans, regardless of financial position, and teaching our future generation to respect another's hard work and fostering a sence of diligence in personal responsibility will be a valued lesson for productive adulthood. Thank you Cami for the reminder!
Jennifer Hunter December 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Another Valuable article, Cami.....I hope the Teenager receiving this very special gift is Knowingly Grateful and appreciative getting these wheels. Maybe the wheels will be useful doing errands for the parents...who are maybe recovering from surgery?...or some sort hinderance ?......would be interesting to hear from the parents.


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