One hand out she gave us was by a bishop in our stake (Mark Ogletree, PhD) who specializes in MFT and Parenting Solutions (among other things). The article was called "These Beggars are Choosers" and was pretty much about the rising generations' entitlement problems and how parents enable children and give them too much. The whole thing was just packed with great stuff. (I promise, I won't normally quote so much, rather I'll talk about what I learned, but I just thought this was too good not to put up!)
The whole article is pretty awesome, and I wish I could find it online to link, but I couldn't. It's in Family Times Volume 3, Issue 12. Here are some examples of the great info in the article:
"Unfortunately, such a couple [independent, responsible and self-sufficient] is now the exception rather than the rule. More common is an experience I had in my counseling office not too long ago. I was visiting with a distraught middle-aged mother. She was worried about how she and her husband were going to pay for their son's rent and living expenses--mind you, their son had just been married the week before. This perplexed mother did not know how she and her husband were going to support two households. Why would this couple be footing the bill for their newly married son and his wife? Then, the mother shared that she was equally concerned that they had to rent a trailer for the newlyweds to transport their gifts and other belongings from TX to UT. Renting the trailer wasn't going to be cheap. Once again, I was bewildered that the parents were paying the way for these newlyweds. Then, the nail in the coffin was when the mother added, "I am also concerned that they will be driving all through the night to travel back to UT, but, they are adults, so I guess I can't say anything." Because I didn't want to offend this mother, I decided not to correct her on the spot. However, if I was more bold, I supposed I could have said something like, 'excuse me...Adults? what do you mean adults? These are grown kids just playing house!" In fact, they are just kids in grown up bodies! Just to set the record straight, an adult doesn't mooch off their parents; an adult is someone who can financially back up their decisions and pay their own way. An adult is someone who can stand, independednt of their parents. Simply put, and adult is someone who can process the consequences of their choices."He notes some alarming trends such as:
- teenage boy who doesn't mow the lawn because the dad doesn't think he can make it look nice (so they have a lawn service come)
- 21 yr old who lives in parents home, eats their food, refuses to go to school, go on a mission, or work. He has retired, and ironically, has never worked a day of his life.
- Kids who want to work but parents won't let them because there's no need since they're rich.
- Parents who cover for their children so they don't have to bear the full consewuences of their mistakes.
- Teens who stay up till 2-3 AM and/or sleep in until noon or later.
Enabling Parenting Quiz
- Do you often rescue your children and bale them out of trouble and responsibility?
- Do you practically do everything for your children [chores, projects, scouting, young women's] and don't expect anything in return?
- Do you not expect your children to have chores, work, or be respectful at home?
- Do you often defend your children, feeling like they can do no wrong?
- Do you believe that your children's problems are someone else's fault?
- Do your children believe they are entitled to have rights?
- Do your children believe that they are entitled to success without any effort?
- Are you more concerned with political correctness rather than teaching standards, values, and beliefs?
- Do you buy your children something every time you walk into a store?
- Do you let your children come and go as they please, having set no limits or boundaries?
- Do you let your children sit inside day after day, watching TV, playing Video games, and complaining that there is "nothing to do."
"Elder Maxwell has voiced this concern when he said, 'A few of our wonderful youth and young adults in the Church are unstretched. They have almost a free pass. Perks are provided, including cars, complete with fuel and insurance--all paid for by parents who sometimes listen in vain for a few courteous and appreciative words. What is thus taken for granted....Tends to underwrite selfishness and a sense of entitlement.'" (Neal A. Maxwell, BYU Devotional, January 1999)
So what do we need to do as parents?
- For those of you who have children living at home, I would give them a daily does of Vitamin "N". Just tell them "No."
- Give your children responsibilities. They need to work; they need to have chores, they need to help around the house; they need to pick weeds. Children will never become responsible adults if they do not learn responsibility in their childhood. No child should have a cell phone who is not helping to pay for the monthly fees, or working for the privilege.
- Have children pay for some of their activities. If they drive, they can help with gas. if they have a cell phone, they better ante up each month; etc.
- Get rid of teenage retirement in your home! If I can't retire until 65, I'll be danged if my kids can do it at 13!
What about those who have adult children? Do the same rules apply?Absolutely! If you have a 22 year old son or daughter who has retired before you have, then you had better make some changes! I am aware of parents who are paying the entire way for their college-aged children who are fully capable of working their way through school. If you are paying for everything in your adult child's life, please reconsider. Your child is being robbed of the experiences of growth and development.
What I learned about myself:
You know, my parents did a whole lot of things right! My mom was occasionally chided by her contemporaries and professors for having so many kids (7), but she knew she was raising producers and not just moochers! We learned to work hard, set and achieve goals, and to produce results.
I also realized that I do "rescue" Dean more than I should. I know, he's only 18 months. That's part of my problem. I'm an inexperienced mom who's trying to figure out what kids are and aren't capable of for their age. I decided after attending the class, that I needed to stop going to nursery with Dean for the first hour. I didn't go today, and Matt said it was one of Dean's best days in nursery! I'm sure not all weeks will be this great for him, but goodness, the kid needs to learn that I'm not going to be at his disposal 24/7 like I am right now. In 8 short weeks he's going to have to share me with another little being.
I also realized that I should say "no" more often than I do. I need to practice saying things like, "No, Dean, you can't play with the [toothpaste, hair gel, glasses, sink, lotion, CD player, soap, etc.]." Sometimes I don't say no because I want to avoid a fight, a tantrum, or I'm tired of stopping him or redirecting him all day long. However, the better I get at saying no now, the better I'll be at holding boundaries later when they're deliberately pushing the line on more important issues.