Thursday, November 13, 2008

How To Avoid Raising an Entitled Child

Last night, PEPS held a special event with a speaker who discussed how to avoid raising a child who feels entitled to whatever s/he wants. When they first sent out the email, I thought, "Hmmm...this could be interesting." so I signed up. I've heard the numerous reports of how young adults nowadays have to be treated differently when they go into the work force because of they way they were raised. You have to 'pamper' them and talk to them differently. I'm not sure what has changed in the past 30 years with how people are raising their kids and was hoping to find out more last night.

The event was being held at the home of a family that lives in the same zip code as we do. Our 'neighbors', you could say. The house was about a mile and a half from our house with a view of the lake. Yeah - one of those multi-million dollar houses that could easily accommodate 50 people in the living room. Oh yeah, these people totally felt like my neighbors (is the sarcasm coming through?) I showed up in the clothes I had been wearing all day - very casual. Wow did I feel underdressed and underlabeled. Someone actually asked me if I was there for the PEPS event. I joked and said that, "No, I just wandered in off the street to see what was going on" and quickly added that yes, I was there for the event after it looked liked she believed me. It was pretty apparent that I didn't fit in. The event was catered and I did enjoy the fancy snacks and tasty wine. I didn't enjoy the funny looks I got. I was outside of my comfort zone. Needless to say, I was the only one there with bright, red hair.

The mingling part seemed to last forever. The guest speaker finally talked...for 30 minutes. She focused on how to avoid making your child feel entitled to whatever s/he wants by not buying them every toy they ask for, not buying them a new car when they turn 16 and not taking them to Hawaii every year. Yes, I am serious. And then, they asked for donations starting at $150. If I would have known that this was a fundraising event, I would have stayed home. I appreciate what I have gotten out of PEPS and, in turn, have volunteered with the organization, but that's all we can really afford. My debit card stayed in my pocket.

My experience last night reminded me just how diverse Seattle can be. I'm not used to rubbing shoulders with the upper class. In fact, I often forget that people live in those huge houses on the top of the hill. I am much more comfortable around my direct neighbors even if we don't take walks around the neighborhood together. I hope that one day soon, even my wealthy neighbors will be comfortable with talking to a lady with brightly colored hair and tattoos.

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