Fear of raising entitled children
To my daughter Nicole,
Another Mothers’ Day has passed and as expected, I did not get any gifts from you and your sister. I know you have given up on buying me presents because every time you ask me what I want, I would say “world peace.”
I know it’s hard to give me or your father gifts because we have the means to buy the things we want. In fact, our family is lucky because we have more than enough to live comfortably. However, because of what we have, I worry that you will grow up having an entitled attitude.
I worry that you cannot find a good job someday because you think you are too good for any job or that you deserve a higher pay for what you are required to do.
I also worry that you cannot find a good husband in the future because no one is good enough or because you are always looking for someone who is more handsome, richer or more successful.
Most of all, I worry that you will end up compromising your values because you want to earn more to live the luxurious lifestyle that you think you deserve.
It’s hard not to raise entitled children, especially when money is not an issue. As a mother, I always want the best for you, and this includes giving you the latest gadgets and the trendiest clothes, shoes and bags. After all, making you look good makes me feel good, especially when it makes you more popular among your friends. Also, why do you have to go through the hardships your father and I went through when you don’t really need to? Unfortunately, always giving you expensive things is a sure way of spoiling you and making you feel entitled. Besides, friends who want to be close to you just because you have nice things are not the type of friends I want you to hang out with.
I know your allowance is small, but I intentionally keep it small so that you will stay driven, finding creative ways to earn money on your own. When you told me that you wanted to earn some money selling cookies, I resisted the temptation of just giving you money because I knew that you wouldn’t earn a lot. I never told you this, but I enjoyed helping you compute for the cost and the selling price of your cookies, and baking the cookies, even though it took a lot of time.
I was pleasantly surprised though to find out that you were able to sell the whole batch of cookies in just one day and at a very expensive price!
I also remember the time when you and your sister wanted a pair of ice skates that I refused to buy because they were very expensive. I was impressed though at how resourceful you were to find the same pair of skates selling at a much cheaper price online. I was also impressed at how you struck a deal with your father—that in exchange for him buying the both of you skates, you promised to practice playing the piano for 30 minutes every day for the next two weeks.
Every time I see you lose sleep over an exam or a paper that is due the next day, or because you are training for a competition, I am tempted to tell you that you don’t need to take your studies too seriously or for you to just quit being part of the competition so that you can rest. But I remind myself that working hard is an important skill that you need to learn, to set you apart from others, to get ahead in life. I really cannot complain though because your hard work has paid off, rewarding you with good grades in school and numerous awards in competitions, achievements that money cannot buy.
I realize that to avoid raising entitled children, I must also be aware of my own actions and not act entitled, because you learn more from observing what I do rather than what I say. If I’m frugal, I can ask you to stay frugal. If I treat everyone with respect, you will also be respectful.
I’m sure you notice how I continue to think twice before I buy something, even if it is cheap, because buying things I don’t need is also a waste of money. I’m also sure that you notice how I continue to say please and thank you to our kasambahays and drivers and those who serve us in restaurants and hotels.
I don’t know if I will succeed in raising you well, but there are some signs that make me think I’m doing something right. Like when it was time to replace your phone, you never insisted on buying the most expensive brands and models. Or when you need to buy something, you always do research online and check out the items that are on sale before you look at regular priced items.
I was the happiest though when you told me that you don’t feel sad or deprived even though you don’t own some of the nicer things that your friends have like the Balenciaga and Gucci shoes and bags.
Although you never give me anything during Mothers’ Day and I don’t think you can ever give me world peace, you already gave me something priceless, and that is peace of mind that you will grow up well and not have an entitled attitude. This is indeed the best gift any mother can have.
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