Self-Entitled Generation: A Willy Wonka Perspective

willy wonka, self entitlement, spoiled teens, materialism, generation y, selfishGabriele is a 17-year-old aspiring writer from Jacksonville, FL.  She loves the wit of Charles Dickens, the smell of sharpened pencils, and the charm of coffee shops. She lives her life by a Benjamin Franklin quote: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write the things worth reading or do the things worth writing.”

 

They’re everywhere.

You’ll try to hide in your inconvenient convenient stores and in your pretty, overpriced supermarkets. But they’ll be there. You’ll try to hide in your sort-of healthy picked restaurants and your used-to-be charming coffee shops. But they’ll be there. You’ll try to hide in little Junior’s pewee games and grown-up Cindy’s seventh birthday extravaganza. But they’ll be there.

And you know—you must know—that you certainly can’t hide in your house.
But you try. You wastefully bubble your bathtub and soak to Celine’s That’s The Way It Is. You mindlessly search for the item that was never lost. Your façade of sickness is so impressively real that they leave you alone, if only for a second.

But you knew it wouldn’t last long. You finally succumb to their cajoling puppy eyes and their sniffled apologies and their obnoxious self-deprecation sprinkled with just a smidge of selfish ennui.

And you’re not the only one.

It is a constant struggle to live with a self-entitled teenager who thrives in unity with his “self-entitled generation,” a land where all teenagers come together to Want, Mooch, and Deserve.

Though the reasons behind this egocentric behavior vary from teen to teen, there are three main reasons why a teenager feels he is entitled to the world around him.  I used the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to help clarify these reasons as well as what to do to help your teenager become less selfish and more selfless.

1. It happens every time. They all become blueberries.

Here we have a prime example of a parent neglecting to discipline his child. A brief refresher: Girl wants gum. Willy Wonka says no. Girl wants it anyway. Dad tells girl not to do anything stupid. Girl rolls her eyes. Girl eats gum. Willy Wonka tells her to stop. Girl doesn’t listen. Girl eats gum. Dad encourages her (What’s for dessert, baby?). Girl eats gum. Girl turns into a blueberry. Dad blames Willy Wonka. Girl eats gum. End scene.

The moral of the story? Discipline your teenagers or they’ll end up blueberries. They’ll think they can do whatever they want because they’re immune to consequences. Every adult that gives a teenager a command simply relays a suggestion because the teens are free to do whatever. And since they can do whatever they want, they can also have whatever they want, right?

2. And if I don’t get the things I am after, I’m going to screeeeeeEEEEAAAM!

Ah yes, Veruca Salt. Spoiled, impatient, and a bad egg. The father in this situation gives his daughter whatever she asks for because she whines, complains and throws a fit until she gets what she wants NOW. His intentions are good. He wants to make his daughter happy and give her a better life than he had, but the way he executes it turns her into a self-entitled child. Remember that your teenager will never be happy with materialistic things. There’s always going to be someone who has something better, and he will always search for something else. He will continue to want more and more. Also remember that it’s okay to take something away that you paid for. If you paid for his cell phone, and he does not deserve the privilege to have one, then it’s yours to take. Help your teenager to understand that if he wants something, he can work for it and get it. That doesn’t mean you can’t give your teenager gifts, but that shouldn’t be the focus of your relationship.

3. Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame. You know exactly who’s to blame…

Your teenager may be self-entitled because you’re enabling him to be. Don’t be a helicopter parent—a parent who constantly hovers over his children and solves all of his problems, who allows his teenager to mooch off of him and take advantage of situations. There will come a day (if the day hasn’t already passed) when your teenager will have to stand on his own two feet. If his parents constantly bail him out of everything, he may expect the world to do the same. See what happens when you let your teenager own up to his own actions and responsibilities while still offering him the support he needs.

You can’t hide, but you can help. Through caring discipline and a little bit of tough love, your teenager may learn to appreciate what he has. The sooner it starts, the easier it will be.

Oh, and one more thing.
Don’t buy into our self-entitled charade. In reality, we know you’re in control.
And that’s what scares us.

 

Photo by bigdeadbat from Flickr

How to Teach Kids to Take Care of Their Bedroom

organization skills, cleaning, responsibility, discipline Kim Gellman, owner, Mom of two, founder of artisticsensations.com, a website for parents who want quality bedding, furniture & room decor products for their kids at any age.

The importance of organization is a skill that is perfected with time. Bringing in virtues such as patience, diligence and responsibility, learning to account for our own belongings is an important step towards maturing into adulthood.

 

The process of instilling responsibility and organization within children is a considerable task for parents, one that begins in the home. Although cleaning a bedroom may seem like a lonely or even disciplinary chore for children, using the time as an opportunity to bond and encourage teamwork will surely relieve the stress.

 

While kids are expected to keep their rooms both clean and tidy, parents should arrange their bedroom furniture in a manner that will help promote and maintain an organized atmosphere. A smart bedroom layout is one that promotes storage and coordination to its maximum level of efficiency. Shelving is an excellent way to store knickknacks, odd pieces and a number of other accessories that would otherwise clutter the floor, dresser or nightstand. Taking into account the height or children, parents must be sure to use storage units of an appropriate height and accessibility to enable children to organize on their own.

 

As one the biggest and most visible focal points of a bedroom, encouraging children to make their bed on a daily basis will go a long way towards maintaining a clean image. Making a bed will ensure that there are no stray pillows or sheets draped around the room, and the clean sheets will give kids a flat surface to prepare and organize other parts of the room.

 

Creating a schedule and clearly defining a clean room is the next step in the process. Children may feel overwhelmed or uncertain where to start cleaning, and in such cases, it’s important to tackle one task at a time. Start with a simple objects like clothing. Picking up dirty and scattered clothing and putting it in its appropriate clothing hamper will often uncover hidden toys or junk that was otherwise covered up or hidden. Taking the process a few steps further, tackle similar tasks in groups, such as cleaning up toys or trash next.

 

The final step towards ensuring a consistently clean room is to encourage children to take pride in their bedroom. Working an a decorating project such as refinishing a dresser, building a shelf, or painting a picture with your children will give them something to respect and take pride in. Doing so will go a long way towards personalizing and customizing their bedroom, thereby making the room more comfortable and inviting, as well as a better reflection of your child’s unique personality.

 

 

Kim Gellman  has been decorating kids rooms for over 15 years.Some people think of a bedroom as nothing more than a place to sleep. Kim Gellman sees a place where children can express their creativity and let their imaginations run wild. Through her online store, ArtisticSensations.com, kids – and their parents – can discover designer décor to dress up the bedroom of their dreams. When she was pregnant with her first child, she felt there  were limited choices in her hometown of St. Louis. She wanted a nursery with a combination of funky and traditional and could not find them and, so artisticsensations.com was born.

Today, Artistic Sensations features designer bedding, furniture and room décor from 50 different artists and companies, offering the hottest trends for girls and boys of all ages.
By mastering the art of customer service and creating a strong network via social media, Gellman has built her business by building long-lasting relationships with vendors and customers, all while raising two active boys.

Number One Teacher

Christina is a 13 year old from Fanwood, New Jersey that enjoys flirting, reading, and can’t live without internet. She’s crazy, have no modesty, but somehow, still likable. Her favorite subject is English since she likes to show off her writing skills.

Did you ever have that teacher, the kind that made you laugh but learn at the same time, the kind thathelped make school just a bit less complicated and more fun? I have. My seventh grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. P, was one of those. He was a tall guy, as most of his students guessed, was probably in his early thirties. What made him stand out against the rest of the adults in the school was that he understood that how the student’s were feeling and took it into consideration. He also managed to get us interested about what most of us thought was a very snooze worthy subject.

As we talked in class, he would occasionally throw in some witty comment, dorky jokes, or just a funny opinion. It helped the teens that sat before him understand that adults humor and theirs wasn’t very different, and that made him very relatable and comfortable to be around. We, the students, felt comfortable to talk to him, therefore, we were more likely to express our honest opinion on a subject. Because we could bring ourselves to ask more questions, we understood what we were learning more clearly.

But the teacher wasn’t always about fun. He made it clear from the first day that we would have to earn the fun we get in class. By that, everyone had to pass the class and behave respectfully. He gave us weekly pop quizzes that somehow always managed to catch us off guard. They were real hard too. They required you to really dig into your brain to remember the materials you had learned in the past days. If you didn’t do well on one of those quizzes, it really brought your grade down. That was the reason I went home every day and reviewed over every material and notes I took on that day, so the next day, I was as prepared as I could be.

So that is what a great teacher in my opinion is supposed to be. One that can balance humor, fun, and discipline at the same time. One that can keep you on your toes every day. One that inspires you to study daily. Now you know what a great teacher in my opinion is, what’s yours?

Digitally Grounded: Discipline in a Technological Era

Mom: “Go to your room!”

Kid: “Yes, please!”

‘Go to your room’ was a phrase that used to instill in a child a sense of dread, upset and most importantly regret over their misbehavior. However, with the advent of cell phones, iPads, Gameboys, laptops, Kindles and other portable technological devices, to kids ‘going to your room’ sounds like a really fun idea.

Parents are now having a crisis of discipline because when they try to set-up consequences for bad behavior, they cannot find ways that work. Parents tell their child they are grounded, but then kids actually welcome this punishment because staying at home all weekend sounds like a good option. Kids can actually be more social at home–on Facebook and chat, than if they go out with a few friends. In an extremely irritating way, grounding is now actually not discouraging bad behavior, but encouraging social isolation and screen obsession for young people.

How can parents address this problem? I think we have to begin conversations about digital grounding.

What is Digital Grounding?

Digital Grounding is when parents take away electronic devices either completely or partially from their children. This can range from banning Facebook for a week to taking away a cell phone for social use or even no TV or video games for two weeks.

How Can Parents Digitally Ground?

There is no one way to do this and I am not a proponent of digital grounding for all families. I think it can be useful when the ‘crime’ has to do with technology. For example, if a teenager visits websites that are not allowed or sneaks online after hours, then taking away the internet is a fitting consequence. The point of digital grounding is to teach kids to feel remorse about bad behavior, not to make them miserable.

What is Good About Digitally Grounding?

With regular grounding parents are unknowingly pushing their kids to be more socially isolated and connected to their devices. Typically “You’re grounded!” means a child has to stay home and not see friends for a few days or weeks. Technology is making our children already more socially illiterate and having the consequence of devaluing in person relationships. Digital grounding actually means that kids have to build offline relationships and takes a break from their technology.

We have to think about how consequences for teenagers needs to change and how parents should make sure their discipline not only discourages kids to misbehave or break rules again, but also encourages general life behavior we support.

Punishment and Rewards: Which is Better for the Typical Teen? [Teen Article]

Tyler is a 16-year-old from Denver, CO. She enjoys reading and traveling, one day she would like to pursue a career in Business Management.

Punishing and rewarding teens

Take a typical situation. Every once in a while at my school, teenagers are given a standard multiple-choice test. Across the room teenagers are trying their best to look composed, sharpening their pencils, or are going over key ideas in their heads. But if you look closer, you will see a kid who is on the verge of a panic attack because he is horrified about the idea of failing and bringing home that inevitable progress report to his parents. Two seats from him, you will see a girl bragging as she gushes about the new designer handbag her parents promised they will get her if she does well on the exam.

Something is wrong with both of these parental structures. Some teenagers are born to the parents who will give them harsh punishments if they do not abide by the rules. Other teenagers are showered with rewards when they simply do the right thing. The question is this. Who is living the better life?

A parent has the option of giving their teen something every time they do something right. Sure, the parent is pleased that the teen is doing what they asked and the teenager is ecstatic because he or she finally got something that he wanted. However, taking this approach for a teen to follow the rules is not always healthy. This doesn’t mean that teenagers should never be given presents. Teenagers love being acknowledged when they have done something right when they are working hard, and it will push them to work harder. But would they still strive to do the right thing if the parents weren’t buying them a new thing every time? If the answer is no, in my opinion it has gotten to the point where the teenager literally has to be bribed every time, and it has gone too far.

Teenagers should be old enough to make the right decision on his or her own. Hence, this serves as a roadblock for a teenager to reach higher levels of maturity. How good can it be doing the teen if in the back of his mind, all he is asking himself is, “what’s in it for me?” They will start to lose a sense of doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing. This addicting habit can have other setbacks such as creating an egotistical teen. A teenager could begin to stomp their feet every time they do not have a shiny prize awaiting them when they did something “good.” Or they could become unwilling to help others out of the goodness of their heart.

There is also a different side of the story. There are the teenagers who are terrified of making a mistake because of the harsh punishments that they will receive from their parents. Nothing will make a teenager more distraught over a situation if they know that they will get grounded or something taken away from him if things do not go as planned. This creates a lot of unneeded stress and makes the teenage years even harder than they already are. The teenager is trying hard enough, the added pressure is not always necessary. We’re going to have a misstep every once in a while. Having parents breathing down a teenager’s neck only escalates the situation. Making a teenager fearful of making a mistake can lead to insecurity issues and can make them lead an unhappy life. This is able to push the teenager farther away from their parents because they will feel afraid to approach them.

So who is living the better life? The teenager afraid of making a mistake or the teenager who always has his or her hand reached out for a reward? The answer is all of the teenagers in the middle. For instance, if you want your child to get good grades, teach him or her the importance of striving in school in order to have him benefit later in life. Don’t terrify him about failing and don’t bribe him with incentives.

He or she will learn on his own about making good marks, helping around the house, being responsible, etc. They’ll live a happier life and the parent will have an easier time coaching them right from wrong. Bribery and blackmailing will only make a parent and teen situation worse. For disciplinary actions to work, there has to be a healthy relationship without parents giving in to the obvious choices.

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