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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Parenting Fail: Entitlement

This is Day 5 of our son being camped out in the ER.  We're in the pediatric section of a very large ER, and it's an interesting place to observe human behavior.  How people speak to each other and their children, as well as those who are treating them,  makes me very sad.  But there's an issue even greater than that.

Sometimes I struggle to understand how otherwise intelligent and articulate people cannot connect the dots between recklessly indulging their children and the dysfunctional adults they will become.

Take the 8 year old who was screaming--not in pain, but in anger--because the 'F-ing hospital doesn't have signal for cell phones in the ER!'  Apparently, if she could not text her friends, on her Iphone, no less, IMMEDIATELY, she was going to 'trash the place.'

She was the patient, too. . .with some sort of leg injury. . .and with a line of other hurt or sick kids waiting for her room.  So, what did the parents do?  Tell her to be quiet?  Take away the phone?  Correct her language and demeanor?

Um, no.

Instead, they asked for a wheelchair to take their daughter outside so she could text her friends.  The nurses politely said that they needed to stay as the doctor (busy, busy doctor!) was coming soon.  The kid threw a larger fit and so the parents picked her up and went outside anyway.  They were gone for about 45 minutes.

When they returned, the parents were indignant to have to wait again. . .their daughter was 'in pain,' they announced, 'and they had been waiting for ages!!!'   Gently, the nurses pointed out that the doctor had come to assess and treat their daughter, but they had left, so the room had been given to someone else.  Boy, were those parents mad.  And boy, did I feel sorry for them and the demanding, entitled child they were creating.

In one short sequence of events, this is what was taught to that little girl:  her wants (not just needs!) are more important than others, she need not respect the time, authority, effort or position of adults, she was entitled to an expensive phone and the use of it whenever she wanted, poor, abusive language was acceptable, she had a right to be incensed at others not bowing to her will and timetable, she did not need to follow rules (either of the hospital or of etiquette), and that her parents would do whatever she demanded if she did so loudly enough.

 While obnoxious and horrific now, I can only imagine what this same child will be like at 12, then 16, then an adult.  Although it's easy to dislike the child, it's really the parents I blame. They aren't parenting her at all. . .and boy, is it going to cost both them AND her in the long run.

Parenting fail:  instilling a sense of utter entitlement.

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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