You love your kids. Your spouse loves your kids. Their teachers love your kids. Your friends, family and coworkers all love your kids. The whole lot of us love your kids even if we’ve never met them.
Why not, right? They’re partially made out of you, and that means that not only are they the best but they deserve the best. The second point is how they differ from you — they DESERVE better or at least more.
Maybe you didn’t get that Easy Bake Oven in 1976 even though it wasn’t that expensive, so your kid is gonna get everything she wants because you have a f*cking credit card and are humiliated by the idea of her ever having the chance to bitch about you to a therapist.
And that’s just it, right? You want to be better than your folks. And not just a little better — you want to be so much better that your parents actually go our of their way to both apologize for the half-ass job they did and praise you for the miracle work you’ve done exclusively because of the force of your will — and because you deserve it.
Along the way to outshining mom and dad in every possible way, you might be creating a complete assh*le of a child.
It’s not entirely your fault. In our lifetimes, we’ve mostly gone from a people of evolution to one of revolution. Something, something computers. The words “best” and “epic” and “perfect” are somehow used without a hint of hyperbole. Some Facebook dad, who is somehow even better at crafts than you are at watching TV, has made you feel like a real pile of used butts for your lack of bespoke costuming. Please see below.
Further, given there’s no meaning of life beyond the biological drive to progress through procreation, it’s pretty natural you want your seed to have cool stuff, contented success and to not be torn literal limb from metaphorical limb by some very real predator. I acknowledge and congratulate you on your fruitful endeavors; you’re a real credit to this organization.
However, constantly rolling over for your kids is making them assh*les and it’s making you look like an assh*le. We can’t stop tripping over ourselves to both rage against and acknowledge “privilege” in all of its real and imagined contexts, yet a large swath of you are creating another entitled class with your inability to say “no.”
Maybe I live in peak entitled assh*le kid in New York’s Upper West Side. Maybe I’m remembering some imaginary time when kids were respectful. Maybe I’m putting too much weight on the times I go to the airport and see a kid old enough to know better quirking out at the parent she’s traveling with.
There are a few really easy reasons to say “yes” when you should say “no.” “Yes” is expedient. “Yes” because your kid, who is around 50 percent exactly like you, deserves it. “Yes” because your hard-ass parents defaulted to “no.”
Life coaches and therapists and feminist advice-givers have spent the last couple of decades advocating women say (and very much mean) “no” when they’re overwhelmed. Your kids can bully you and it’s generally because you put them in a position to do so.
Spoiling your kids is likely more than indulging them in stuff or the occasional public impudence. You’ll have to forgive Old Man Participation Trophy for two shakes. Research suggests kids with too much self-esteem are just as likely to bully as kids with not enough self-esteem. While the study doesn’t say too many hugs may be as bad as not enough hugs, best to hit that Goldilocks zone just right to be safe.
I really don’t give two toots in a sandstorm if your kids are jerks. I can pretend I’m on a phone call like I do when I see plucky 20-somethings soliciting for some charity on the sidewalk. It is, however, going to be a bummer one day when you release that jabroni into polite society.
I have a suspicion Whitney was correct about children being the future and if your goal is for a better future, spoiling your kids is like boxing with a blindfold, one arm tied behind your back, on someone else’s peg leg. If you treat your kids (and spouse) with respect and demand they reciprocate, you’re not going to have to worry about some angsty roman-a-clef putting you on blast in your twilight years.