Posted 8/15/12 by Brett Gordon in Readers Advice

It’s Not Our Fault: A Take On The Age Of Entitlement

entitlement generation
entitlement generation

Let’s talk about entitlement for a minute.

You know, that big word our parents and their friends like to use to describe our generation.

The most selfish generation ever; the generation that wants everything, right here, right now, without working for it.

They say we feel like the world is owed to us and anyone who thinks otherwise can run straight off a cliff. Our relationships suffer, our education suffers, and our work life suffers for this very reason, they say. We feel the world should be centered around ourselves, and when things don’t go our way, or we don’t get what we want, then it must be someone else’s fault, because it couldn’t possibly be ours. We’re better than everyone else; we’re special.

Our parents’ generation talks about us like this and say if we don’t fix this problem, the world is essentially going to hell in a hand basket. The funny thing is, they are absolutely right. However, why is it our fault?

The first thing I want to point out is that our parents’ generation is the one that raised us.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the stark contrasts between how our parents were raised, and how we were raised. Our parents were raised in an era where they were taught “do no speak unless spoken to”, children are to be seen, not heard, and hard work and dedication will pay off, but it will take time. Spankings were considered an acceptable form of punishment, saying swear words resulted in cleaning their mouths out with a bar of soap, and more often than not they had to walk to school or take the bus. Getting a brand new car on their 16th birthday was unheard of and would most certainly have been laughed at. They were also expected to say “please” and “thank you” and basic etiquette and manners at the dinner table was expected.

Really, manners anywhere were expected. Also, whenever they wanted the new toy that was all the rage, they were expected to save up for it themselves, not ask their parents for money to go get it.

Now flash forward to today.

We now live in a “me-first” society where it is all about me. People self-promote shamelessly and the individual has somehow managed to become more important than the team or the greater good. Not only that, everyone expects everything to be handed to them. So how did this happen?

How did our parents come from the roots we just talked about to raising the society we see and hear today?

It seems somewhere in the middle there was a psychological movement where our parents felt the way they were raised was too harsh, or that it was wrong. They would say things to themselves along the lines of, “I will never put my child through this” or “I could never do this to my kid.” This general idea seemed to manifest itself among our parents until they started giving birth to our generation. However, what seemed like a good idea in principle has turned into a major societal problem. Our parents somehow grossly overreacted to the way they were raised and ended up raising a generation on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Now, everyone wins, everyone gets a trophy, and no matter if you win or lose the game, you still get pizza and ice cream afterwards. Your self-esteem is more important than your performance, you’ve always been told you’re the best by your parents, and damnit, you’re special. Even if you somehow were to fail at something, it’s not your fault. It’s the system’s fault, the test’s fault, society’s fault. Kids are handed money to go buy things all the time because their parents want them to be happy. And if the parents don’t give them what they want? Expect a tantrum or excessive whining.

Children today have, almost literally in some cases, become the most important member of the family. It seems there’s been a sort of deterioration of confidence among our parents to where if their kids aren’t happy, they must be doing something wrong. So they go out and buy them something to make them happy, or give them something without the child ever having to work for it. All they did was demand it.

So now that this generation is starting to enter the work world, there are some serious problems. How is someone who has been pampered all their life expected to all a sudden have to work for the same things that they’ve always been given? Can you even consider that to be fair? The answer you get will most assuredly depend on who you ask and what generation they’re from. The sad thing is this same problem will creep into your educational and love life. It is absolutely no surprise to me that the divorce rate is higher than ever, there are more single-parent households than ever, and relationships have become a chore for people because both sides expect the other to do most of the work. Because relationships aren’t about the other person anymore, they’re about us.

So when it comes down to it, yes, our parents are absolutely right. Our generation is unbelievably selfish, narcissistic, and egotistical. We have a terrible habit of not wanting to work for what we want, and we have the even worse habit of blaming other people for our own mistakes and lack of action. But remember, this all started with our parents and how they raised us. This fact is irrefutable. Yes, I understand that statement along with this article is unbelievably ironic; writing about how our generation complains about everything and blames everything on everyone else, when I’m doing the exact same thing. But really, why should I care?


I’m special.


Do you think we’re entitled? Let us know in the comments below. If you are really passionate about this, don’t be afraid to submit a response post of your own by following the link on the top menu bar labeled “submit content”.

Brett Gordon

Brett Gordon is currently a 22 year old copywriter for Anchor Mobile in Saint Charles, Missouri. He graduated from Lindenwood University in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications. An avid sports fan with a passion for writing, Brett hopes to someday do nothing but write and get paid for it. But for now he is down to have a good time and just live life day to day. He may not get to where he intends to go, but he knows he'll always get to where he needs to be.