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In which i comment on kids today

This morning I was at the gym getting ready for my spinning class when I saw a friend of mine who actually reads my blog.  I say that because honestly, very few of my friends actually read my blog.  Oh, they’ll look at it occasionally but I’ve always found it somewhat ironic that the people who read it are the people who don’t actually know me that well.

 

At any rate, she had sent me an email after last week telling me that she really had enjoyed my last two posts.  Those two posts were “Effortless Perfection” and “Wisdom that I tell my kids.”  I explained that I certainly couldn’t take any credit for the “Effortless Perfection” post as I had received it via email from my daughter but that after I read it, I had felt it should be mandatory reading because look what we’re doing to our girls!

 

In regard to the wisdom that I impart to my children, I was puzzled.  Isn’t that stuff ordinary?  Don’t all moms tell their kids that shit happens; that bad stuff happens to good people?  That in fact, life is NOT FAIR and you’d be crazy not to recognize that?

 

She replied to me that “no”, she doesn’t think that all people do tell their kids that.  That she is actually concerned that her daughter, who just turned 20, doesn’t even recognize that.  She said she was wondering if it was too late to hammer some facts into her.

 

I thought about that and said that this generation, my kids generation, is worrisome in that regard.  They all seem to think that they’ll just work hard and get out of college and get some fantastic job and live a splendid life.  I understand it to some extent.  My kids have had to work their Asses off in school for as long as I can remember.  In school, when you put something in you ordinarily get something back.   In school, you reap what you sow.

 

Unfortunately, real life is not so kind.  Just because you work hard and you’re smart and/or kind doesn’t mean that life will be so easy.  These kids seem to think they’re going to waltz right out of college and get some terrific, high paying job that is going to support them in the style to which they’ve become accustomed.  Not so.

 

My kids used to tell me they wanted to be like me when they grew up.  Except “the me” that they knew was a stay at home mom who drove them everywhere and virtually catered to their every whim.  Swim meets, field hockey tournaments, football games; I was always there.  Weekends away, vacations; we had a great life.

 

And yet, I didn’t start out that way.  I had a job after college.  I only got two weeks off and X amount of sick days.  I had to work even if I wasn’t feeling well or in the mood.  I sometimes wonder if any of these kids know what it’s like to struggle.  Sure they had to work their Asses off in school, but truly struggling isn’t the same thing.  There is a sense of “entitlement” out there and it’s worrisome, truly worrisome.

 

Kevin and I discuss all the time what happens to these kids when they run into “life.”  Just yesterday Keely came home so we could buy some clothing for her summer job.  She needed “business attire” and wasn’t completely sure what that entailed.  Rather than just going and buying it down in Durham, she came home and we did it together.

 

Normally, I would say that it’s awesome that my daughter wants to do something like that with me except; did she do it because she wanted to be with me? Or was she just not equipped to do it by herself?  You see there’s a huge difference there.

 

Because of this generation of helicopter parents, which I truly don’t consider myself, kids are almost incapable of handling the most simple of life’s tasks.  Sure they can integrate some numbers or do compound formulas in Physics, but can they call the doctor and make a simple appointment?  Can they get the electricity turned on in their apartment?  Yesterday, we had a discussion about both of these questions.

 

Keely was rejected for a medication refill and needed to make a doctors appointment.  I said, “You do it.” She said, “Why can’t you? You’re not doing anything?”  Well first of all, I was doing something; it was just something she didn’t give a shit about.  And second of all, I don’t know her schedule so I made her do it and lo and behold they’ve managed to squeeze her in on Thursday.  I never could have done that because I DIDN’T KNOW HER SCHEDULE.

 

So there you are, sometimes you have to have a little TOUGH LOVE, even if you think you’ve raised your children to be capable.  Keely said “I hated doing that” and I replied, “Nobody likes calling and handling bullshit details like appointments and bills and stuff.  It just needs to be done.”

 

I suppose the process of growing up never ends.  After all, look at me! I still don’t like handling paperwork and all that crap.  And yet, I do it.

 

I’m just saying…

 

 

 

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25 Comments

  1. Vivi
    May 13, 2011

    As a mom of current high school teenagers, I couldn’t agree more with everything you have written. Very well done, Lynn.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      Thanks…i worry about this generation

  2. Tex
    May 13, 2011

    Lynn, my two teenage daughters are exactly what you are describing here. They can’t do anything for themselves…or should I say I usually don’t let them do anything for themselves! I guess it’s time for me to ‘let go’, and let them struggle a little. I don’t remember my mom doing everything for me, and I turned out pretty well adjusted, and tough as nails.
    Every time I say ‘you do it’, they give me some rant and rave about how they ‘don’t know how’, or ‘I don’t know what to say’…etc.
    It’s time for them and me to grow up I guess:)

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      I know…yesterday the debit card stopped working and I said “call the bank.” the reply was I don’t know how..

      I said “the numbers right there, figure it out!”. Good grief

  3. Jen
    May 13, 2011

    I completely agree. Just wrote a post about how so many kids going into college can’t write properly. We don’t want to make our kids do anything they don’t want to do. It’s disabling them. And, it’s scary. Life is hard sometimes. They need to realize that before they find themselves completely helpless.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      My kids can wrote and do academics…it’s writing checks, calling the bank, making reservations…that are the problem

  4. Jenn
    May 13, 2011

    To be perfectly honest, I think to some extent, it is just just the generation of teens and early 20’s that feel this way, but also a good chunk of my (I am 35) generation that feels this entitlement. The rising amount of debt suggests that we all want the lifestyles of our parents. Not the lifestyles they had at our age but the lifestyle they have now, after working for x number of years and earning it.

    I see alot of this in my husband and I have to reign him in frequently. He had to have this large house (which he bought before we got together) but had his parents help him pay for it. Things like that. Now I feel like I have to teach him, and our kids, how to be fiscally responsible, live within our means, and save for the things we want.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      It’s probably what happens when kids are raised in flush times and things are so good…I’m working on it now with mine. Good luck

  5. Ashley
    May 13, 2011

    Interestingly, I was one of the kids who wasn’t forced to do a whole lot of stuff for myself when I was growing up. But when I went off to college it was sort of expected that I would figure it out. For economic reasons, I lived with my parents when I was in graduate school, but two months after finishing school I packed up and moved 6 hours away to a large city to my first apartment.

    I had to figure out a lot of stuff like turning on the electricity, getting a driver’s license in a new state etc all on my own. It never occurred to me to ask my parents to do the stuff for me- although I did ask them the best way to find out what I needed to do. I managed.

    My point is, I don’t remember my parents actually instilling this independence in me. Maybe I learned it from observing them over the course of a number of moves when I was growing up. Maybe they taught it to me in ways I never picked up on. Maybe I came by some part of it naturally. I don’t know. But I’m sure glad I learned it.
    Ashley recently posted..Something BorrowedMy Profile

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      well, i have one kid who seems to figure it out and one kid who is either too lazy or can’t seem to…but, we’re working on it.

  6. Jessica
    May 13, 2011

    i think there are many sheltered children out there who are going to get hit with a ton of bricks when they enter the real world. I have cousins on both side of my family that have no idea what is in store for them because their parents have always done everything for them. I don’t do that with my kids. I try to make my kids work for things. Great post.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      good for you…my kids often spent so much time studying that chores were honestly out of the question. We’re headed in the right direction but they all seem to think they’ll just waltz out of college into a great job.

  7. Lady Estrogen
    May 13, 2011

    That ‘sense of entitlement’ you refer to is one of the reasons I wanted to bang my head against the wall on an hourly basis when I was teaching high school.
    It’s scary and sad.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      I can’t imagine what’s going to happen when expectations and the real world collide. Guess we’ll just have to see.

  8. Tex
    May 13, 2011

    Well, I am an ‘older parent’ that had kids at an older than usual age. I was also lucky enough to be able to be a stay at home mom for 16 yrs. I guess I felt like it was my duty/job to ‘mother’ my girls, and I guess both they and I got used to it! It is hard for me to ‘let go’ and let them to grow up. They will have to do it eventually, for the rest of their lives, so I guess while they are still here at home, I still feel that I have to take care of them. I do encourage them to do things for themselves, and they do for the most part. When they struggle with something, I do help them out, but try to teach them what to do as I do it.
    I think I need therapy:)

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      I doubt you need therapy. I think it’s a common struggle. Kids are so OVERLOADED with stuff that we tend to do what we can to make their lives easier…and yet, in the long run we actually cushion them too much. I know i did…however, they’re working their way through it..albeit slowly

  9. Cara
    May 13, 2011

    I am really glad that my parents insisted that I learn to do things myself when I was in high school. I was expected to call and make appointments to take care of my car, learn to do the wash and iron, etc. My parents sort of approached it as a learning activity the first time, and after that it was pretty much – this is how it is. That served me well. I am proud to say that I am indeed capable of calling my own bank/insurance company/etc.

    About the entitlement stuff, I have to admit that the word bothers me some. I think because there is a difference between entitlement and expectation. Some kids are entitled. They think that they are owed things. Others (myself included when I first graduated from college) more just had an expectation that this was how the world worked, because that was how we had seen it work. We never grew up with knowledge of a recession (I was too young to remember the recession in the 80s and teh dot-com bubble bursting was very short lived), our parents had money, credit was easy to get, houses were easy to get, jobs were easy to get, and we didn’t really know people who were struggling. So we went into the world assuming that it would stay like that.

    Of course, it didn’t, and now a ton of us are waking up to the fact that the things that we were told for years by parents, educators, etc (if you do well in school you will get a good job, the economy will always go up, lay-offs are a thing of the past) were wrong. I think right now we are in a transition period where kids still in college/grad school are still in the pre-recession mindset while recent grads are only too aware of the fundamentally changed landscape around us. In a couple of years, my guess is that kids will have it drilled into their heads that they aren’t guaranteed jobs, the economy is fickle, and don’t count on a company for anything.

    Anyway, I think you’re very right that parents need to teach kids basic skills of independence, and some teens and 20-somethings are very entitled, but others are just dealing with expectations that the world can no longer meet. Hopefully one good thing to come from this recession will be parents teaching kids real independence.

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      Great, great comment. I guess you’re right when you say the expectations are quite high. Thanks for giving your perspective.

  10. Misfit Mommy
    May 13, 2011

    My sister is the POSTER CHILD for this particular post. She’ll be turning 30 in the summer (yes, she’s waaay younger than me!) and mommy is still paying her rent, cleaning her apartment and doing her laundry. I decided to stay out of it a long time ago (co-dependent much, ladies?) But that situation definitely HAS given me a really ugly example of what NOT to do. Also, my sister will not be living with me when mum kicks the bucket….
    Misfit Mommy recently posted..Technical DifficultiesMy Profile

    • Lynn
      May 13, 2011

      Yeah…we are doing out kids a grave injustice by enabling this type of situation. I don’t blame you for being pissed.

      • Bubby
        June 24, 2011

        You know what, I’m very much inlicned to agree.

  11. Kenna Ray
    May 14, 2011

    As a college professor, I can tell you that too many parents are not teaching their children the tough realities of life. I’m often shocked by students who think that they can disregard all of the policies and then just smile at you to get what they want. It’s obvious that they’ve never been told no.

    • Lynn
      May 14, 2011

      I know what you mean…there is a lack of scruples. If that Wall Street thing taught kids a lesson, it was that there aren’t consequences. It’s a problem!!

  12. Name *
    May 15, 2011

    So completely true! My own kids don’t even like to answer the phone at home because they don’t know what to say beyond “Hello”.
    Name * recently posted..Cultivating the ManscapeMy Profile

    • Lynn
      May 15, 2011

      I know right? But I’m working on it!

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