I’m no longer in the business of raising kids – capable, grateful, or otherwise – but I decided to take a look at The Me, Me, Me Epidemic by Amy McCready because its subtitle described a problem and proposed a solution to an issue that concerns me – “A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World.”
I remember being exposed to the concept of “entitled” decades ago in the context of upper-class people living their lives with an expectation of better-than-deserved treatment. At that time, my criticism was that this feeling of entitlement was self-fulfilling – i.e., entitled people received better than deserved treatment. In the social world, people often defer to the snobby elite, and in the work world, management favors those narcissists who think highly of themselves. McCready’s book, however, examines this feeling of entitlement, not as something that benefits a person, but rather as something that is corrosive to the soul of a person, something that should be avoided at all cost.
McCready begins the book by describing various symptoms of entitlement in kids, and I was struck by the number of them that applied to my kids. Just reading the Chapter titles alone had me saying yes, yes, and yes:
- Kids Rule but should they?
- The Great Give in;
- They’re Not Helpless;
- Creating a Consequential Environment;
- Reasonable Expectations;
- The Praise Problem;
- Money and Sense;
- Keeping up with the Kardashians, Joneses, and Facebook;
- Un-centering their Universe; and
- It’s OK Not to be Special.
Ultimately, there is no magic bullet for this problem. The solutions are obvious to anyone with common sense. The problem is that parents may know the right thing to do, but they don’t have the energy to stay with the program. As Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of all of us.”
Maybe things would be better if there was a stay-at-home parent.