What Really Happens When We Give Kids Everything They Want

“I want it.

Why?

Because everyone else has it.”

(Or does it.  Or wears it.)

It’s a conversation we’ve had countless times in our house. It doesn’t matter what it’s about–the newest technology, the latest fad, the most popular shoes- it’s treacherous ground to add it to our want list so we can be like everyone else.

These five dangerous words are turning homes upside down. When we give our children everything they want (because everyone else has it), it speeds up their childhood: We have six year olds addicted to technology, carrying around their own ipods and iphones without limitations; eleven year old sons playing bloody battles of Assassin’s Creed over the Internet with strangers instead of playing ball outside; And 13 year old daughters shopping at Victoria’s Secret, wearing angel wings across their bums, looking far older than they are.

But worse than losing a generation of children, this choice breeds a nasty virus. Because maybe if we keep giving them everything they want, they might just drive a new car intoxicated and kill four people and be diagnosed with affluenza.

What Really Happens When We Give Kids Everything They Want

The psychologist testifying for the 16 year old boy who did just that, defined affluenza as this: children who have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, and make excuses for poor behavior because parents have not set proper boundaries.

And when you write a little post about the warning signs of entitlement and it’s shared nearly 800,000 times, perhaps we’re all a little scared of our kids catching the same bug.

“I am an RN working on a psych unit, and I see everyday the effects of entitlement. I see adults in their 20′s and 30′s who always had everything they ever wanted given to them while growing up, and now they just don’t get it. They are unemployed, either living with parents or with one friend or relative after another, or on the street. Having been given everything they ever wanted without working for it while growing up, they don’t feel that they should work for anything now. They were raised to think they could do no wrong, but instead of growing up to have high self-esteem, they have grown up unable to function. They cannot take disappointment of any kind. So we have a generation of kids that don’t want to work and can’t function as adults. Because they have no coping skills of any kind to deal with life, they become depressed and often turn to drugs and/or alcohol to feel better. Then, they end up on our unit, depressed, suicidal, and addicted,” a comment on this post.

Why are we saying yes to our children too early, too soon and pulling in the boundaries? I’m not sure, but I think it starts here:

  1. We don’t understand the future implications of giving them everything they want right now
  2. We want them to have the life we didn’t
  3. We are afraid to tell our children no because we know there will be backlash or because we think they will feel loved if we say yes.
  4. We want them to fit in with their peers because it’s hard to be different.
  5. We feel it’s often easier just to give in
  6. We struggle with a bit of affluenza ourselves

This excellent article shares the symptoms of this nasty virus:

To conquer the affluenza virus, though, one must first recognize it within himself and ask why and from where it comes. Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you frequently buy things you do not really need?

When shopping, are you unable to control how much you spend?

Do you envy the lifestyles of the rich and famous?

Do you feel bad when your neighbors have things you do not?

Do you measure yourself by what others have?

Do you ever use shopping as a means of escape?

Do you use your possessions to impress others?

Do you compare your possessions with what your peers have? If so, do you experience a feeling of superiority that yours are better?

Do you speak often about the things you want?

Do you find yourself complaining about the things you want but cannot afford?

Do you think of spending your money more often than saving it?

Do you often think your life would be more complete if you had more money and possessions?

“Jesus, speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.” Luke 12:15

So what’s the cure? 

Maybe it starts with the little word no. We aren’t going to buy, get, do that just because others are. It’s okay to want things, but there’s a big difference in getting something because you love it and getting it because you want to be loved.

Maybe it starts with deciding why you do what you do. Don’t let the culture lead your family. Because it certainly will. I heard this week the most popular word among teens in 2013 was twerking. Do we really want society guiding our children?

Maybe it starts with reality–no, not everyone has, does, gets ____ (fill in the blank). We’ve discovered other people who don’t have ____(fill in the blank), but we’ve had to look for them and pray them into our lives. The world will tell you (and your kids) you’re completely alone. But that’s a lie. There are other families swimming upstream against our society and affluenza.

Maybe it starts with a dab of old fashioned failure (I love what this teacher said below).

“Some parents don’t wish their kids to fail. I admit I want my children to. I want them to fail, so they can learn how to get back up. I want them to not get every gift they want on their Christmas list, so they can appreciate what they have and work for what they don’t. Lastly I hope all of them get at least one or two teachers they hate. That way they will learn that in the real world, they will have to work with people (and bosses) they may not like,” a teacher who left a comment on this post.

Maybe it starts with exposing them to how the majority of the world lives. Affluenza is a first world problem. Hunger is a real world problem. Give them an opportunity to serve others.

Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I really don’t think our kids want the latest technology or the hottest name brand as much as they want something else. Oh, they think they do. And they will beg and plead (and drive us crazy) for it. But deep down, they are hungry for something deeper that satisfies and lasts a lot longer than just stuff. Giving them firm boundaries, love and perspective is exactly what we can offer them.


Comments

    • Bob says

      The Jones may have all the new tech and “CRAP” but they also have $73,000 in credit card debt, new car payments, and a mortage! All will of it will be paid back when they are 107 years old too!

      piece of advice..save your money and invest it in yourself and grow it for retirement…and remember you can retire before age 65 and or maybe make your own small business instead.

        • Jill says

          A small business is not a “terrible financial decision” to make if the decision is made with realistic expectations. So many people see others starting small businesses and being successful and say “If s/he can do it, so can I”. Those people don’t realize the blood, sweat and tears that make a small business successful. It goes to hard work.

          • says

            A small Business is a WONDERRFUL choice to make. A great way to stay out of debt, save for the future and create your own financial independence. Best of all it allows you to be home with your family and give them the gift of time rather than things…. Best thing I ever did :)

          • Julie P says

            A small business may be a wonderful choice, but that person is right, as far as financial risks, its a huge one. So, if your goal is to live simply and without debt, opening a small business of any kind is not the best choice to make. Even all of the blood, sweat and tears in the world cannot always save a business. Additionally, it is wonderful that your small business afforded you time with your family, but that has not been my experience. Launching a business is time consuming, especially when you cannot afford to hire employees and your time is often consumed by business decisions 24/7, especially in the beginning.

        • Pam says

          It really depends on the business. I run a small home daycare and what I save in daycare costs (for my 3 kids) more than makes up for my lower income. No travel expenses, no fancy work clothes, no going out for lunch with co-workers…etc. Do the math, a small home business can be the best decision you ever made.

          Aside from money, I spend all day with my toddler and spend lunch times and before/after with my older kids. I see them all the time when they’re not in school. I see parents missing so many firsts and I pity them because I don’t miss a thing.

          Add it all up and it’s not even a question.

          • irene says

            I agree with the home daycare. it more then pays for it self in many areas. you can stay within your ratio and all the money is yours, or you can have extra children and pay help. best of all you get to enjoy the children, see their smiles, recycle and get creative with things you already use, priceless in more then just cost.

          • RichR says

            Hey kids…. take this conversation outside… has nothing to do with the article… go on LinkedIn and figure out your business plans.

          • Rich says

            Ha.. I agree…. talk about going off on a tangent… How about we remind them about “setting boudries”….. to the conversation at hand.

    • Nick says

      I`m not the best at sports, i`m not rich, i`m not popular but I don’t care! I love my family so much. i`m grateful for what I have. I don’t care about the latest technologies or cloths and I don’t judge people who don’t. Well what i`m basically trying to say is that i`m not nearly perfect, but I don’t care. I might get upset about not being this or getting that from time to time, but when I really think about it I have all that I could want :)

      Nick.

      • Jackson says

        That’s great Nick! Unfortunately for me, the things I want or rather, the people I want to be with will never come back…I got a lot of money from insurance, but if I could choose, I would always choose to be with my mom than to get a big sum of money.

  1. says

    I was a child of affluenza mostly because my parents were trying to make up for not being around which of course is what I wanted more than anything. It did not do anything good for me, just the opposite like you said. Fortunately God and His grace swept in and redeemed me but oh my goodness the pain it took. Thank God for His grace!

  2. says

    This is so good. We are selling our home (to downsize) and in the process getting rid of just about everything. And not just our kid toys, but stuff that my husband and I own too. At first my kids were really upset about it (because why would we ever give away our stuff?!?) but now when they see that their parents aren’t clinging to these things, aren’t considering our wants above all else, it helps them do the same.

    I remember my parents always telling me “monkey see, monkey do”. If we want to change how our kids see the world, we have to change how we parents see the world. When my 6yo daighter’s friends have iPods and she wants one, that is one world view. I can easily think “this is how it’s done, this is what kids need now.” But it’s not. Kids need love and not stuff. Instead of the iPod (which my daughter seriously did ask for for Christmas) we gave her books and an engineering toy. Because monkey see, monkey do – her world view (as well as mine) needs to be changed to reflect what our family values – hard work and education.

  3. says

    Love this! Yes, it definitely starts with us, the parents, modelling how/what it means to live simply and taking it a step further and model to our kids what it means to give generously. Not an easy thing to do, but I believe this is God’s heart for Christ-following families.

    Your family is an inspiration, Kristen! Yours is one of the small number of blogs where I read every. single. post. Thank you! Your faithfulness is an encouragement.

  4. Tara says

    And it starts even when they are toddlers begging for (fill in the blank) and we hand it to them instead of teaching them that they can’t have everything they want.

  5. Abbie says

    Thanks for this encouragement this morning! Sometimes, it feels like the fight of a lifetime to keep our minds on things above and practice contentment in a world that is NEVER content. It is the greatest, most important battle because allowing God to have this victory in us will also be allowing Him to use us as parents to teach the next generation…

  6. Erin H. says

    Our kids have been desiring a trip to a local water park resort for a couple of years. We wanted to wait until they were all a little older, so this year we gave them a group gift for Christmas – a weekend at the water park. They knew this was going to be their Christmas gift (meaning no presents under the tree), and they knew we would not go until January when the prices were more reasonable. On Christmas morning they each had a new stuffed animal and a stocking. Their dad and I were so pleased to see that their Christmas morning was just as exciting this year as in years past when there were presents piled under the tree. Stuffed animals are always a hit around here (and they were quite inexpensive), and a few 99 cent Hot Wheels and a little candy (not to mention the new toothbrush) in the stocking were just enough to have something new to play with and enjoy We were so pleased with our children’s response both in being grateful for what they were given and for knowing that the joy of Christmas isn’t about presents. And before you think that they were able to be excited because they knew about the water park, their ages are 9, 7, 5 and 5…so while they knew, they weren’t reasoning with themselves on Christmas morning.

    • Mel says

      I know this is completely besides the point of this blog, but waiting two years for a water park seems a little excessive. I know that some people are less fortunate, but that’s overboard. There is such a thing as over indulgence as well as under indulgence. America has seen some rough times, but this isn’t the depression. I think every child deserves some nice things to open under the tree as long as it’s not over-the-top. Not trying to offend anyone, but that’s just my opinion. I am a single mother of a 10 and 12 year old and work hard for all we have, as well as for things for them (with zero child support).

      • Leo says

        I think the wait was not for financial reasons… The parents just wanted the kids to be a little bit older so they could enjoy the park.

      • RichR says

        Hey Mel… Maybe we will all chip in and buy you some books for Christmas.. so you learn how to read. And who the hell are you to determine what a stranger can and cant afford?! Should we point that you’re a single mom… and MAYBE that was YOUR FAULT?!.. This is a positive article and the people above sound like that have an amazing family.. Quit patting yourself on the back and stay on point.

  7. Andrea Burke says

    I am still fighting the ideas my children have –that giving our grandchildren everything and keeping up with friends is the right way. One person I know has read the book “The Five Love Languages”, so everything they buy for their kids is showing love, and they buy expensive things over and over for no reason and pay for expensive lessons to keep up with the peers. I hate that idea, and it comes from the chapter on ‘Gifts’. The idea is that giving gifts to family especially children is the way to show love, engender bonding and create positive behavior and that they will adhere to any rules (if there are any) and the kids don’t have to work for anything-so they will stay home! I think this person misinterpreted that love language when it comes to children.
    Certainly, giving gifts is a way to show love, but appropriately!! We don’t give gifts every day and every week and every month to try to keep our kids happy with technology and happy that they have everything their peers have, or more than their peers have. Please, people and especially grownups and parents: gift when it’s appropriate–holidays, birthdays, graduations, promotions, awards, but don’t give expensive gifts for no occasion–kids learn what they see their parents and family members do. A small gift, such as a special food, meal, candy bar, or special act of kindness shows appreciation for one another, but keep the expensive gifts for a real bona fide big meaningful occasion!

    • Heather says

      If the person who read that book really read it, they would remember the part about no child has gifts alone for a love language. It has to be balanced out with another love language that they have a strong affinity for. A love language can never be just gifts. You can’t love someone fully just by giving gifts.

  8. says

    Wonderful message, and a great reminder. We do OK in this area, like my son only got one item from his Christmas list…but that was because he asked for stuff like $500 cash and a time machine :) We enjoy what we have and help our oldest son tithe and give away his money…we’re “on it,” but can always improve, so thank you!

    • cindy says

      its fine for the step mom and dad to think like that…that the children only should get one gift for christmas this year, but what about the grandmas, aunts, and friends that give them WAY more than they need>

  9. says

    I learned a lot from this series called Loving our Kids on Purpose by Danny Silk. It was a lot of information to absorb, and most I am still sorting through, but the one thing he mentioned is that parents have become frightened of their child(ren)’s reactions. Because we want to control them — and if we say no….what will happen? Oh no!!
    But instead we should always know what WE are going to do in a situation, and NOT try and control them in the situation. Eventually teaching them to control their own responses as well. Not sure I explained that very well, but I think it’s true. I have seen many parents give in because they don’t want to see their child cry. or they don’t want a temper tantrum. or they just don’t have any confidence in their parenting. They are afraid of their children.
    When on earth did this happen? and why?

  10. mary says

    It’s hard to say no when you have children who are sick and will.never be able to do for themselves as adults. Both of my boys have Duhenne Muscular Dystrophy. s a genetic disease that causes muscle loss and weakness, leaving them wheelchair bound and unable to do basic func with tions. Its hard to watch my oldest struggle with every day task as his mucles are to week to do. Like opening a drink bottle. Sometimes I feel as.if I am the only one who tells him no. His father and I are divorced and his father mo longer sees him but his grand parents on his fathers side give him any and every thing he wants, so do my parents and so do my husbands parents. Im so tired of arguing with him.as he tries to talk or argue me in to giving him what he wants he is only 8! I dont like to spank him so he stays.grounded a lot. Did I mention he has great grands who do the same as well. I feel as if im fighting a loosing battle. I try my best to not raze a spoild child, but from day one others have tried to buy his love and he expects the same out of me. I just can’t do it.

  11. Mark says

    What your children really want and need from you is your time, not more stuff. Your time is much more precious to them. Put down the blogs, Facebook, emails, phone, Twitter, news, TV, internet, whatever, and pay attention to them. Play with them. Go do something with them. Take a walk together. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Your time is more valuable to them now and in the future than some more stuff.

  12. Jennifer says

    I couldn’t agree more. Although I feel like at times we are the only parents who say no. We have already begun at 5yrs old to teach her value of money. When she gets spending money she has to save some in her piggy bank and some she is allowed to go to the store and go shopping. She has to make hard choices in what she really really wants because she is only allowed to buy what she can afford with her spending money. This has taught her that money isn’t endless and that if you want something you need to save up and work for it. This year my husband and I exchanged very small gifts because of just purchasing a new house but she did want daddy to have a present from her so we picked out a small gift that would mean a lot to him and she actually offered to pay for half with her own “monies” because she had been saving.

    It is an uphill battle at times when the “I wants” come for both her and us as parents. But we remind ourselves that things don’t buy love or happiness. My husband and I always say to each other that when we are old and can’t do any thing anymore it will be the memories that keep you happy and will mean the most not the things that you have acquired.

  13. Diane Clemens says

    That is hard but maybe you can balance it by the rule something come new something else is given away to another child. No matter the cost. Maybe grandparents will get it when they see things they have bought be given to maybe a homeless shelter. You can to it Stay strong..

  14. happyhippykid says

    I came from kind of a salty background living with my dad and recently my mom has been trying to make it up to me by paying for nearly everything I want/need. To a person like me it’s honestly really disheartening because she’s missed out on my teen years but now she’s trying to smother me to a degree. I’m still just her little girl. She’s has made it so that I’m basically totally dependent on her. It makes me glad I was raised with the will to support myself because I see my step siblings struggle with the same issues described in this article. I plan on working towards owning my own land and being self sustaining to some degree. I want to see my own hands work hard for what I have. I think a lot of people are missing that desire these days, and I will always thank my mom for helping me get out of my dad’s, in college, and back on my feet. Kids who are always handed everything cannot grow from their mistakes, nor to they possess motivation or gratitude.

  15. Sanjiv D. says

    To be honest, we can’t say we follow this all the time but definitely try most of the time but improvement is always good. Very powerful article…and very good one. More peo People need to understand and follow as much as they can.
    Thank you.

  16. Kara says

    I agree with so much of your post, but the quote from the R.N. bothered me. Depression, suicide, and addiction are not caused by giving your kids too much stuff. Entitlement is an mindset. Depression is not.

    • catherine says

      There are different types of depression. Some are definitely not caused by lifestyle or mind sets or anything we do and are much more physical illnesses. But others are almost self inflicted, or caused by a lack of proper development mentioned in the quote from the RN. Real self centred, egotistical attitudes absolutely cause depression. As the article mentions, people who were completely spoilt in childhood do not have the get up and go that give most of us the inspiration for life. They don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the tough times, in fact they can’t handle anyone or anything telling them ‘no’. They have no problem solving skills or maturity in planning for the future, its all about now. They are also emotionally immature and are unable to handle their feelings which leads to relationship problems, not just with their partners but with every family member including their own children. If all of that doesn’t lead to some depression, I don’t know what would!
      I remember years ago my Grandma talking about someone who was feeling very low and she said that their problem was that they were too self centred. At the time I was quite suprised and thought about it a lot, but I think in my Grandma’s day they were a lot more aware and wiser then than we are now.

  17. Denise Miller says

    Great article, however, this was just given a name (affuenza) which has not been included in the dictionary spell check as of today. This is just another injustice excuse for those certain people, that have been getting away with doing wrong things all of their life, since the beginning of time, and you know who you are. Well make the parents or pay, if that’s the case.

  18. says

    Debbie Silver’s book, Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up: Teaching Kids to Succeed addresses this problem from the standpoint of both teachers and parents. Mixed with research it is a compilation of anecdotes, helpful hints, sample dialogues, and a fresh look at how important the actions and words of adult are. It is available from any bookstore.

    • Ember says

      The above book is amazing! As a teacher and parent, it has changed my life. I have been teaching JH for 16 years and have 3 children–8,10,12–at home. This book was a breath of fresh air for me! If you ever get the chance to go hear Debbie Silver in person, it is well worth your time! I have had the joy of listening to her several times at TMSA Conference and she always speaks the truth with love!

  19. Robert Soileau says

    II was a welfare child, I had to go to work at 11 years old to help keep the lights on in the house, i lived with my mother becaused my parents were divorced, I appreciate everthing that I have because I earned it. I own my own home vechile’s and married 15 years. I have a half brother that my father had which this story applies to his soon is to be 18 and I literally have to go over there and beat him to take a bath. I’m not a doctor but I really beleive he has digital dimension. I boy is sick and is in need of professional help. If anyone can help me to help him, by all means help me save a life.

  20. Dale Monteer says

    I can really relate to this article. I was raised very poor in a very strong family environment, which instilled a very distinct work ethic and sense of right and wrong, which I have converted into a very successful military career (retired) and even a master’s degree. Kids today simply don’t understand the value of setting goals, planning, and execution. There is no one to blame for failure except yourself. When they get done blaming everyone for their problems, nothing is solved, the problem is still there, and the solution is still right in front of their faces. They’ll think about it briefly, then begin the blame cycle again. It truly befuddles me.

    • jeff says

      I guess you are talking about average moderately privileged youth when you generalize this way? I think what you’re saying makes sense but does it really apply to all people of various backgrounds? And maybe its more about having a disadvantage, not that someone else stopped them from achieving it outright. In that way you’re right, there is no blame. But there is influence. As a result of my studies in neuroscience, I’m very familiar with the fact that our personalities and behavior are constantly pull by external factors, many of which are still considered very complex and often still eluding our full understanding.

  21. says

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    I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know
    such detailed about my difficulty. You are wonderful!
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  22. Tammy says

    I was raised with no money in our house. My sister who is ten years older than me and that allowed my parents to give her much more than I ever was able to have. As an adult though I do believe that she was given an injustice. I have worked all my adult life for everything I have. My sister on the other hand is now 37 and still depends on my Mom for everything including doing her budgeting. I do firmly believe that I ended up getting the better deal in this situation. Thanks Mom and Dad for being poor when I was growing up you saved me from a cruel world where you think everything should be handed to you and you don’t have to work for what you really want

      • Randy says

        Just because she mentioned the word bible you guys shut out the article? All the writer did was mention quotes from it.
        I bet if they said “a psychologist or a behavior scientist once said” and then the same quote you’d be ok with it.

      • Cari says

        So two references to a historical document completely discredit the entire article? That’s too bad. Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, the Bible is at the least an acknowledged literary work. I believe that referencing other works lent more credibility and interest to the article, more than if she had simply voiced her personal opinion. :)

  23. Anonymous says

    There is a gaping hole in your arguments; you have experienced a problem, read something that seems as though it is directly connected, and then tried to slam the two things together, justifying your personal attitude to your parenting whilst pandering to your audience in the same, obvious, irritating way that day-time television and news programs do.
    Case-in-point: the true centrepiece of your argument is “technology is bad for children.”
    I won’t deny it- there are side-effects to kids having constant access to technology. I myself am flandering around in an attempt to stop myself from watching a particular website that hosts a group of film and media critics, when I am supposed to be doing homework. But for parents to constantly and stubbornly write technology off as this horrible thing that our kids “don’t need” (this is very untrue- in the real world that you mentioned, they need to be comfortable with technology, which is a skill especially useful in obtaining employment) has always seemed to me very selfish.
    The other people and articles that you referenced (besides the bible, which was written far too long ago to be truly relevant in such a discussion, and which does not apply to non-christians in the first place) spoke about unrestricted access to getting what we want, they spoke about parents setting up boundaries and goals to encourage kids to work for things. Growing up, I sort of did get whatever I wanted, but there were conditions. I had to wait for my parents to have enough money, I had to wait for a birthday, I had a stint doing chores for five dollars a week, and later on as a teen, for fifty dollars a month. I’ve been a slow developer, getting my first job at seventeen, true, but my brother was raised the exact same way, and he jumped into a job as soon as he could find somewhere to take him. And both of us have always understood that sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some.
    So, having technology or other choice items of the decade because everyone else has them is not the same thing as not having boundaries present in your life so you can learn to work to overcome them.
    There is one reason and one reason only why a whole generation of kids wants the exact same stuff; it saps away individuality, not childhood, and even then I don’t think that “everyone else has it” is the reason a child wants something so much as a good excuse. Stuff doesn’t really shape who we are, so even if your child is asking for something purely because everyone else has it, it’s an indication of the relationships they’ve formed much more than a sign that you should not get your child that thing. Plenty of the things kids want, they want because they look like fun, they could spend hours enjoying them, especially things like iPads and iPods.
    And, for the parents proudly proclaiming that they refused to buy their kid an iPod and gave them something like a book instead, that’s kind of selfish and despicable too. Does your child even like reading? iPad applications, even its access to the internet are educational in so many more ways than just reading. If your child wants to think and grow, they will find a way. If they’re happy in ignorant bliss, they’ll enjoy mindless entertainment and nothing you do will make them appreciate books. That’s all there is to it.
    The meaning of childhood as you know it is dead. Sorry to say it, hope you’re not too sad. It happens. It happens in every new culture, generation and century. Stuff doesn’t make them grow up faster. It just makes them grow up different, and so many of the problems of my generation, I’d have to say arise from a miscommunication between the children growing up in our world and their parents who just don’t want to accept that times and situations have changed.

  24. mike says

    Amazing most of the comments condemn technology either outright or as gifts but every single one of us read this on a technological device and we probobly read it during the time that should of been spent enjoying their children for who they are.
    If you want to change their world teach by example, throw away your cell phones(smart and dum alike) tablets computers laptops gaming systems televisions etc. if they can live without having it so can you after all, the world they are growing up in is the one you are creating and that is the tech world. They are smart enough to know that what they don’t know will hurt them, you’ll retire fine but they will be forced to succeed in that world or fail YOUR CHOICE and playing ball or reading a paper printed book over an e type won’t help them.
    The problem isn’t with the tech it’s with the parent’s who don’t understand them and teach the wrong lessons.
    The story is about affluence not tech vs non-tech world and which is better perhaps we should stay on point and teach by example

    • catherine says

      The people making the last two comments seem to have got the idea that this article is saying technology is the problem here and is bad. I didn’t get that at when reading this article. I understood it to be saying that giving your child WHATEVER they want is causing the mentioned problems and is bad. Technology maybe or may not be what the child wants. The only mention of technology in this article was as an example.
      Like everything else, technology is a problem if no boundaries are put in place, technology itself isn’t a problem and is not talked of as a problem here.

  25. D.L.G.W. says

    We all need to have failures in order for us to develop coping skills which creates a will to work and achieve.
    This article is spot on, but I see the same results in children not just from parents giving every material object they’re children desire.
    I also see it in the way parents constantly devote every moment of attention on their children, to the point that the children are in control of what the family does. The decisions about what the adults can do is entirely decided by the kids in an unconscious process as the parents are always catering to the children. A lot of Parents don’t do anything for themselves anymore, “oh, I can’t go out tonight with my friends for adult time, my daughter/son will be upset if I go out without them.”
    I think this teaches children to be narcissistic and not be able to function unless constantly hovered over, not a skill for the real world. It teaches the child that they are the only important person in the world and only their desires are important. They are unable to see that others need to have their interests fulfilled and are unable to show respect for other people.

  26. sandy says

    I was a 22year old mother and never regretted anything I choose to do. I spent as much time as possible with my daughter, worked hard and fell down many times…getting laid off from my previous job 5 times in a year, getting far behind in my bills etc…My daughter saw me struggle but we never went hungry and I firmly believe what we went through together made us strong and appreciate the money and savings I have today since I started my own company. Now we live a comfortable life style. My daughter appreciates me and works with me to help build our small cleaning company during summer vacation and he days off of school. All this to say that I struggled alot and now living with less stress because opening a small business! It worked for us…and belive me…If I can do it…Anyone can! My daughter made me strong! My daughter knows the real world…She will eat this world alive. Technology or not. Its so important to have family time and get out into the fresh air! Just do it and stop complaining about it! Kids will follow your lead.

  27. unkown says

    My mom had very little money when me and my brothers were growing up so didnt have evrything we wanted…my brothers started stealing and doing drugs and r mainly on welfare i own a small business with my husband ….so the not giving ur kids whatever they want is false it depends on the child

  28. paula says

    This article is great. It also goes to what shows that they want to watch …..Disney XD and all the crazy cartoons that out there now. If you watch any of the PG movies that are out there they have a lot of adult humor in them. These kids are treated like adults without the repercussions of being an adult yet they have the marketing power of adults without having a job like an adult. The reason why twerking is such a popular word is because Hannah Montana, who they have watched for hours n hours since they were toddlers, is now queen of twerking. There are a lot of reasons for parental guilt. There are a lot of kids who have been ignored and put aside their whole lives.

  29. Barb says

    I watched my nephew spoil his kids growing up. They got everything they ever asked for. His oldest turned out to be a great young man. Very smart kid, straight A student. Is graduating from College this year. He works. But the middle son has turned out to be a drug addict. He has never had a job in his life. Always had everything given to him. In high school he got hooked on Heroin. My nephew put him in rehab twice. Thought he was doing good but then he relapsed and was hooked on Meth. He is now for the third time in a different rehab in a different state and is still in the facility. He seems to be doing very well. We are all praying this time he actually stays off the drugs. He never finished high school but is currently getting his GED in the facility. He is a very good football player. My nephew wants to put him in college football but needs to get him through this addiction. Then the third is his daughter which is in high school and has never had a job. She is dating a kid that we all have a feeling is doing drugs. So, yes do not give your children everything they want. Make them work for what they want. Give them a good education. They don’t need all these fancy things. They need your love and support….. My nephew was just very lucky with his first child.

  30. Bonnie says

    While I agree that giving your children everything they ever wanted can breed a whole host of problems, I believe their a fine line to walk, and a parental obligation to balance these things out. While just handing everything to a child can teach them to be dependent on others, not understanding the value of them having those things can be just as detrimental. Let’s look at technology….giving your child the latest technology gift just because everyone has it, can be bad. But so can not providing them with that technology. Let’s face it, technology is where the world is, and has been going for years!!!! Not providing your child with that technology can set them back behind their peers by a long shot when it comes to education (look at all of the courses now online), finding a job (most jobs these days require some sort of technological skill set), heck most job applications these days are submitted online. A better stance would be…make them work for it, earn half, something. Then as a parent, make sure you do your part to ensure that technology is used for the right reasons. If you are not technically savvy, take some online courses, set parental controls, set boundaries for time they can use it,require them to make you a FB friend so you can see what their social skills are becoming, their interests, their friends, etc. Set rules that can display the consequences of misuse of that technology. Then, engage your child in real world community efforts…volunteer time at a food bank, reading to the elderly, helping others understand technology…give back in some way! This will help them appreciate what they have, and teach them about a world bigger than themselves. Your child should be part of the “earning equation”, you should be part of the “learning equation”.

  31. Leila Lorenzo says

    If drugs are so easily available and cheap people will try them and get hooked, no matter how their parents raised them.

    The ‘give your kids what they want’ attitude comes from the ‘give myself what I want’ attitude. A culture so obsessed with buying things and the false highs of shopping is going to create adults and children like this, who feel lost because they are not feeling as happy as they are being told they should, by the tv etc… It is just an empty consumer culture.

    However, some parents have brains and won’t bring their kids up to value shopping more than anything else in life… Hopefully.

    I used to have a theory of why me and most of my friends were brought up in this very spoilt, free way with next to no boundaries… I concluded that our parents were rebelling against the very Victorian way they had been brought up. They just wanted us to feel free and happy, and they thought if they did this we’d be filled with confidence and then we could conquer the world, in a way that they never did… Unfortunately what happened to us was that we valued our happiness more than anything else… Which actually does not make someone happy, it just makes them self centred, with a sort of lost and lonely feeling. It’s the problem with the current western culture, it’s all about the self, self satisfaction and of course spending money.

    It would have been much better for our generation to be just forced to work hard at school, forced to work in jobs at a very early age and also forced to do voluntary work. I wish I had been disciplined, punished for not achieving and just generally focused on in a way that I think has been lost now.

    I worked in Singapore recently with kids, that kind of parenting is still vibrant over there, the kids are high achievers. From my experience of working with parents and kids there, I now feel like everything that kids do and achieve is all down to the parents input…

    BUT if you’re living in a society full of drink and drugs and the government pays people to be unemployed and sick if their drug addicts, then there is too much attraction to the negative way of life for people who are curious. It’s just a dangerous place to live.

    L

  32. Voice of Dissent says

    I was raised with a great deal of love and discipline, yet became an alcoholic and bulimic (recovering for 28 years). I worked hard to earn everything I had throughout my childhood and adolescence. I almost never watched TV. I got straight As in school. But I stole from and lied to my parents. I was raised right but I was an awful, ungratful child. My husband and I have now raised two teenagers. We raised them with love and discipline. We have invested a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that they were exposed to many sources of inspiration and avenues to explore, but they have had to work hard to earn what they have. They have not been spoiled. They are both wonderful young men and very difficult people with a lot left to learn, not so different from me, not so different from my husband. I am not sure that they will be happy or successful adults. Why do people on this post seem to think they can solve the world’s problems with pat answers? What works in one culture really requires the whole culture. As the child of immigrants, I can tell you that transplanting the culture doesn’t work. We all do the best we can and hope it is the right stuff and enough of it.

  33. Denise says

    I cannot believe how bang on this article is. My ex husband fits the description that the RN that works in psych floor gave near the beginning of the post. and I mean he fits it to a T. Like she was his nurse. He was given everything he wanted to make up for the fact that his parents didn’t pay attention to him. It continued into his adolescence and adulthood. By the time he was 25 he had been on various meds for depression and by the time he was 31 he had attempted suicide, spent time in psych ward, had ECT done 2 times and by the time he was 36 he was addicted to heroin. I feel sorry for him. What bothers me most is that he does the exact same thing to our son and I am the big mean monster that doesn’t give my son everything he wants. By the time my son was 4.5 years old he had received from his grandmother remote control cars he wasn’t physically ready to play with, a ride on kids tractor (the kind you plug in to charge). Now at the age of 8, he’s on his 3rd DSI (now the 3DS); his dad gave him an old iphone that has no phone capability; a Wii U and also a Tablet. What the heck does this child have to look forward to??? And no matter what he gets, he just….wants….more.

  34. Timbre says

    I feel that your article is very well written. I am glad to see someone put it writing the way you have. THANK YOU!

    What adds even more difficulty is that many children are now growing up in two different homes with two sets of values. One of the biggest struggles for many parents has been that one won’t give in and give their children everything they want, but the other will. Then the same parent not giving in has to be the bad guy when these things are abused or misused. I completely agree with everything in your article except one, these days you can’t just let your kids go outside to play ball, or find neighbor hood kids to play with, because one, there is a pedophile on every other street corner and two, the other children they choose to play with, may not have been raised with the parents who instill morals and values in their kids. Sometimes allowing them to play a video game while you cook dinner is juts safer until they can be socialized with the right kind of people.

    My children are almost grown now and the struggle with today’s technology is a very daunting one. Luckily I am educated in technology and I am active in their lives, therefor they don’t get away with much.

  35. Sulujo says

    I went through the same thing with video game systems. They will pu you in always the latest and greatest. Putt foot down n

  36. Sulujo says

    New systems. We have one that’s it. I am not buying multiple for one stupid game. Go play it somewhere else. Earn it yourself. I am not here to be your friend.

  37. Kathy says

    This post says it all, I’ve never been so moved and validated in my views. Give a person a fish and they’ll eat for a day, teach them to fish and they’ll eat for a life time. We do our children no favors when we give them everything they want and compare ourselves to society. We need to build character and integrity, work ethic, service to others and values based on something other than material things. Pick yourself up by the boot straps and learn no one owes you anything, stop being self-centered and give to others, grow in education and wisdom to find your purpose. Nothing is more repulsive than a 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years of age that has entitlement issues.

  38. Kaeli says

    Wow. Age-old questions are presented and discussed here. I see issues of peer-pressure, society undergoing generational technology changes, parents’ struggles for balance in teaching and loving their children, financial struggles, and lots of psychological struggles relating childhood to adult behavior. As a mother, I appreciate the original blog as a reminder of factors to consider when buying “stuff” for my 3-year old. Thank you for that. I also appreciate all of your individual contributions and stories in this civil discourse forum. Thank you for that.

    In this busy, stimulating and demanding society, my husband and I are trying to teach and show our son our ultimate important and true values. It’s so very difficult to find balance, teach balance, and even more difficult to hold that balance. I welcome reminders. Reminders help me get back on the balance track. Bless you all! (In the God sence or non God sence, your choice).

  39. says

    I’m a mom and a high school teacher, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    One word I’ve heard educators and experts use is “resilience.” It’s a life skill, and it’s one you only learn when things don’t go your way, whether it’s getting an F on that test you didn’t study enough for or having to wait until your birthday for that toy you really really want.

    I also think that we as parents need to examine how we respond to our kids’ “failures.” Do we chew them up for the F on the test, or do we acknowledge we’re disappointed and then train our focus on helping our kids learn from it and move on? We need to help them see beyond this particular moment in time and grow from the experiences.

    Thanks for a great post.

  40. jonathan Gardner says

    I just read this and a baby-boomer and I had everything given to me .before this afflueza was named.
    I am bi-polar now.Anyway I finally had enough stuff in my life.I was trying to fill the voids in my life.
    with clothes and more clothes and booze and food.I went through a trust fund in 30 years time
    It was supposed to last till I died..Thru poor choices and people taking advantage of me.
    I was busy trying to fix my friends as a Christian.So now I live in a res care on social security.
    and no more . I get three meals a day and a room to sleep in . and clothes on my back.
    and a church who really cares about me.I think we get it from game shows which promise
    a life of riches and trips to Timbucto. Really how many trips can you take ,or spin the wheel
    with Vanna ,or The Price is Right for you.YOu see God Is my riches and the one hes promised
    in the after life

  41. Jim says

    It is important to teach children the motivation to earn money and not be satisfied with what they have. It is only with money can one have the power to sustainably finance institutions/foundations which can seek and endorse further good for our society.

    e.g. Steve Waugh, Glen McGrath and Ricky Ponting do enormous good for Indian orphans, breast cancer, and sick Aussie kids because they have earned enough money to sustain their own foundations. Don’t let your kids be satisfied with what they have!

    Please note none of the above have their foundations do their work in the name of god!

  42. says

    I totally agree with this article. Up until a few years ago I was that child/grown-up that’d never failed at anything, until I started my own business in my 20s and started failing that is. I got depressed and couldn’t cope with the disappointment and constant failures. I had to learn that failure was part of life and to pick myself up, but I admit I had an entitlement mentality – because everyone had told me I was smart and would do awesome things in my life, I expected the world to just take note and for me to just miraculously succeed. I couldn’t understand why my parents who are both entrepreneurs refused to fund my company and wouldn’t step in to help me with all the failures even when I begged. All they did was offer advise and I secretly resented them. Fast forward a few years later and I’m grateful I failed so often and that my parents didn’t fund me because I found my own way and have learned to think creatively, manage my finances and find viable business models. As I enter my 30s I can truly say I am grateful and have often told my friends that when I have kids I won’t give them everything even if I can because failure is important for growth.

  43. Vipin says

    Thanks for your guidance, we at home try to follow most of it but were consufed many a times are we doing it right/ wrong? good this article boosted our moral…the important thing which i always feel is well spend quality time with you kid is which is most important and which most of us i felt miss it and to make for it we tend to do things which you mentioned in this article…..

    Regards
    Vipin

  44. jackie says

    Parents is the cause of children being out of control cuse the spoil them rather try to raise your kid being independ -if you have the worlds money great but still you can teach them to be wise be safe an independ ,one day when they don’t have anything they rather kill them self or stay on street because they stressing an depress

  45. Beth says

    The entitlement comes from guilt. Parents are dumping their kids in daycare 12 hrs a day and so giving their kids everything they want when they’re at home to make up for it. Kids never hear no these days because daycare isn’t allowed to say it, and they’re being taught at school that everyone is a winner without even trying because apparently it’s not ok for them not to lose. Have a think about what they are being shown and taught on a daily basis – girls aren’t allowed to have pink because of the “gender neutral” people despite the fact they might actually like pink. The worlds gone crazy and then we question why kids are growing up to br self absorbed and entitled. Really? It’s not that hard of an answer if you think about it for 5 seconds

  46. says

    Great post, Kristen. I couldn’t agree more – with all of it. Interestingly though, as my family and I have been on a journey of intentional downward mobility over the past 4 years or so – simplifying, both wanting and needing less and less, and seeking Jesus more and more – we have come up against the other tactic of the enemy trying to divide and defeat our house… being tempted to say no too much. It is so much easier to give in to our own inner control freaks and just forcibly impose our “more experienced wisdom” on our kids and then get frustrated when they don’t joyfully hold things loosely and let things go upon our saying no to a request. Or, another manifestation is that we see our kids being incredibly generous and willing to give away anything they own to someone in need, but they then fall to the other side of the coin and lack care and stewardship over what they do own. Things are often left around and broken in my house. We have really been challenged to take the time to really dialogue with the kids about this stuff, hear them out, help them discern their own hearts, point them to the Lord on all issues, guiding them to the dynamic tension between His paradoxical truth of caring much for possessions yet caring not at all for them at the same time, and teaching them to turn and listen to the Spirit in all matters, as we ourselves are learning to do. And sometimes, that means saying yes to things our kids ask for when on our own hearts (for both my husband and I, gift giving is our absolute least love language, but it’s a pretty big one for at least a couple of our 5 kids at this stage of their lives) would rather say no. It’s tempting to think life would be better with a simple, one-size-fits-all handbook, but the handbook we have been given makes it pretty clear that there’s give and take and multiple angles to so many issues, that we need to listen to Him and filter through His Word. A continual journey of learning and growing, no doubt! :)

  47. says

    Can someone explain to me why it’s a bad thing that the “most popular word” among teens is a type of dance style? Cause as far as I can tell, kids getting into physical activity and enjoying dance is a good thing.

  48. says

    This couldn’t have been timed any better! My 15 year old wants $450 for drivers ed – tomorrow. Two problems: one, lack of money as we plan a trip to Haiti next month. Two, quite frankly, said teenager has been a turd lately thinking she can get whatever she wants and treat us however she feels like. I do fall into the trap/part about fitting in with peers so I was ready to reconfigure the bank account to write a check regardless of the two problems. Thank you for the kick in the pants that a “no” might be better in the long run.

  49. Andy says

    I will probably give my daughter anything she wants as long as i believe she has earned it. I understand that in our society we have gotten carried away with materialistic things but I am still a strong believer that If they work hard and are humble, you can teach your kids true appreciation for all that modern life has to offer. And most of the time, after my daughters have done all the work and made the sacrifices, they realize what they did it for in the first place really wasn’t worth it. My motto when it comes to parenting ” catch a fish feed them for a day, teach them how to fish feed for life.” Thank you for reading.

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    裸眼にアイプチだけの場合と、アイプチ無しで黒コンってどっちが可愛くなるんだろうね 結構外国産のカラコンで目が酷いことになってる画像もtwitterで出回ってるんだけど
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