Mom, that's not FAIR!

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  1. Parenting has never been easy. You do all that you can possibly do, and then hope against hope that your children will have assimilated all that will be necessary to sustain them as they move forward into adulthood where they will have to live with the consequences of their decisions.

  2. The standards of what’s “fair” have changed remarkably over my lifetime. As an early Boomer, my expectations of parental economic contribution were modest, perhaps even nonexistent. I didn’t expect my parents to buy me a car, pay for my insurance, or pay for college. Simply, they didn’t have the economic resources to do those things, and it was made clear that if I wanted things, I had to work for them.
    Things are much different now. Most teens expect a cell phone, a car, a college education, etc. Welcome to the Golden Age of Entitlement (relatively speaking at least). And it’s been parents (Boomer) who have created these expectations; we can’t really blame our kids. So we’re not in much of a position to gripe. Even though griping’s always good for the soul.

  3. It’s an argument I’ve had with my in-laws, my co-workers, even my husband – if your child is given everything, you will instill in him/her a sense of entitlement, rather than the value of achievement & a sense of appreciation. Too many parents don’t realize they are stealing from their children even as they give them everything they demand.

  4. Much as I’d like to think some of this (my perspective) is generational, I think there’s a bit of a compunding two-fer going on here. The Boomers were pretty indulgent of their kids (aka Generation X), who have in turn, I think, been indulgent. (does this next bunch have a name?)
    We haven’t had a serious economic correction (a la The Great Depression) in 3 generations now, and all the crunches have been relatively short-lived. The period of excess and indulgence has gone on and on and on… which probably explains, somewhat, the total freak-out about the looming economic meltdown.
    But while I think it’s going to hurt, I think that in the long run, it’s a necessary societal correction as well as economic.
    Meanwhile (back to parenting) — I get REALLY frustrated by parents of kids like my fictitious Janey and Susie above. If everybody was pulling in the same direction — if parents could figure out how to say no — I think we’d be in much better shape overall.

  5. Laura — I’m impressed that you’ve at least tried to have the discussion, and can see the values challenge presented. I’m not sure many are thinking about it at this level (unfortunately).
    Along those lines, though — I can remember being told “no”. But what I don’t remember is much discussion about why. There was no, and there was entitlement. I’ve taken a different tack with my daughter, because I always hated “because I said so” as a rationale.

  6. Poli, I agree that much of this is a function of economics. Let’s face it- we’re a much richer country than we were even 40 years ago. Perhaps Depression-era parents were frugal and strict simply as a funciton of their lack of economic means.

  7. (does this next bunch have a name?)

    Gen Y.
    BTW, Julie Pippert has the best response to “It’s Not Fair” that I have ever read (posted as a comment on my blog):

    Everyone is looking for fair, when it’s not a state of being, but is, instead, a place to go to ride a Ferris wheel.


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