When did we decide kids shouldn’t suffer?

by renegademama

You know what I realized recently? My kids aren’t suffering enough.

Oh, come on. I don’t mean like that. Not suffering abuse or neglect or whatever. Get your head out of the gutter.

I’m talking about healthy suffering. Toil. Good ol’ fashioned WORK. I’m talking about discomfort, doing things repeatedly that are physically, mentally and emotionally unpleasant because you have to. Because it needs to get done. Because there’s nobody else to do it.

mac2

the man in question.

So, I have this husband who grew up on a ranch. Actually I only have one husband, but he did in fact grow up on a ranch. Eighty acres of farmland and a small, family run slaughterhouse (sorry, vegans). And from the time he was old enough to work (so like, 7? 8?) he was expected to, um, work. He had to get up and feed animals – when it was pouring rain, hailing, or Christmas. The animals don’t care. When it was 45 degrees or 106 degrees and a cow got out, he had to go handle it with his dad, whether or not he felt like it. I used to watch him catch chickens and my God he hated it. I’ve never seen a person more irritated. I could tell he was miserable, through and through.

There’s value in misery, I tell you.

And he worked in the slaughterhouse (still does, actually. In fact he’s there as I write this, at 7am on a Saturday). I’ll save you details but I’ll tell you this: It IS NOT pleasant. I don’t care how gently SouleMama makes it seem to slaughter turkeys or whatever the hell she does, it’s messy and disgusting and freezing cold (or stiflingly hot). It’s foul (fowl? hahaha. TELL ME I’M NOT FUNNY.) beyond recall. It’s physically exhausting, and it’s relentless.

But as a result of this relentlessness, his life reflects some principles that make him a damn fine human being (if I may say so myself), and something of a lost art.

He understands:

  • The world is not here to cater to him.
  • Hard work is a natural part of life.
  • Physical discomfort is not that big of a deal.
  • If something needs to get done, YOU FUCKING DO IT.

Sometimes it seems like we all work so hard to provide our kids “comfort” and “a nice childhood” that we forget that a good portion of life is just WORK: dirty, grimy, unpleasant. I mean, isn’t it? Isn’t a good part of your life doing things you don’t feel like doing?

Not that we’ll all be toiling on ranches under the beating sun, but rather, life requires the ethic that underlies that work, the willingness to do the damn job until it’s done because it needs to get done.  And even though you don’t want to, even though it’s terrible and unpleasant and exhausting, YOU DO IT ANYWAY.

Let me back up. Here’s what happened. One of my kids was purposely doing only half of an assigned daily chore because s/he found it distasteful to his/her delicate sensibilities. Vague enough for ya? Yeah, well the details don’t matter, and I don’t really want to call my kid out on the internet (well, not directly, at least). The point is the child was purposely deceiving us for a month because doing the unpleasant portion of the job was JUST TOO MUCH or whatever the hell. Couldn’t be bothered. Couldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable. I discovered this and was furious. I’m like wait. WHAT? On what planet does this make sense to you? Everybody in your world works, homie, and hard.

Georgie is ready to work.

Georgie is ready to work.

Your dad is an ironworker who commutes 4 hours a day to provide for his family. Your mom is 8-months pregnant teaching 3 classes, trying to develop a freelance career and raising 3 other kids. We aren’t martyrs. We’re working people. Not because it’s glamorous, but because we want to eat.

Your grandparents work. Your great-grandparents STILL WORK. We aren’t some silver-spooned, Town & Country-reading douchecanoes who sit around basking in trust funds and lamenting the plight of the world. Come the hell on, kid!

But then I realized in a moment of painful self-honesty that my kids have never really been made to suffer much, to get their hands dirty, so why am I surprised? If life teaches you that comfort is the expected baseline, why would you ever accept the opposite? If daily existence confirms your right to unadulterated pleasantness, clearly unpleasantness is an anomaly to be avoided. Right?

I’m realizing that sometimes, kids need to work hard, really hard, against every shred of their desire. They need to be made uncomfortable. They need to get super freaking pissed off and do the work anyway.

At least, I think they do.

Yeah, my kids do chores (SORT OF), but rigorous work? Not so much.

Hours of work? Probably not.

Work that really, really pisses them off? Doubt it.

And this is supposed to be a good thing, right? These kids that have such a “nice life,” such a relaxed, supported life?

Right. Until they grow up to be the The Entitled Asshole in my English class. Oops. Was that my outside voice?

OF COURSE IT WAS and I MEANT IT.

I’ve seen the product of “Oh honey, the world is here to serve you” and people, it ain’t pretty. I’ve seen the product of “Dear, we’re all here to make you more comfortable” and “You shouldn’t have to suffer, sweetheart” and it manifests in an expectation that the world should love them for showing up, for breathing. It develops into an attitude of “well I’m here and I’m wonderful and I really feel like I should be able to do the bare minimum of work and you will compensate for my laziness because duh! I’m me!”

I’ve seen the results of the every-kid-deserves-a-trophy mentality* and I am here to tell you IT ISN’T WORKING.

Every kid does not deserve a motherfucking trophy.

You know who deserves a trophy? The kid who works the hardest. The kid who puts in the most time. The kid who shows up and BRINGS IT.

Alright fine. In tee-ball they all deserve a damn trophy, because they’re four.

But after that, kids deserve what they put in, nothing more and nothing less. And I’m not getting all “American bootstraps mentality for the win!” on ya. Come on. I know there’s more to the story than that, and hard work alone doesn’t guarantee “success” in the world, but I also know 100% that I cannot teach my kids the world is here to serve them, or even, really, as harsh as this sounds, that the world gives a shit about them. The world does not care about my kids. The world cares about itself.

My job is teach my kids to ask themselves “What can I contribute to the world?” Rather than “What can I take from it?” So many takers. I want to raise givers. Imagine if we all raised kids who grew up asking what they could contribute to the situation, to each other, to the world?

Okay, John Lennon, settle down.

But seriously, that wouldn’t suck.

And since right now my husband and I and this house are their “world,” we’re going to start with some gardening in the hot sun, some washing of floors and some Saturdays spent cleaning and organizing and sweating, a lot, all day. And there will be no trophies given.

The trophy is knowing you did it, and you did it well, even when nobody was looking, even when you didn’t feel like, because it had to be done, and you, thank goodness, were there to do it. There’s an unparalleled sense of satisfaction there, when you give, when you work your hardest, for yourself and others, because you were needed.

And if there isn’t satisfaction, get over it. Not all endeavors in life are infinitely fulfilling. You did the work necessary because you understand that sometimes work is necessary. And that alone sets you above Entitled Douchebag status, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a win.

HA! OMG. There. There’s your trophy, kid: You aren’t an entitled douchebag. 

You can thank me later.

 

www.renegademothering.com

*Note: I did not invent the trophy thing. Somebody told it to me and I stole it but for the life of my I cannot remember who said it. So, if you’re reading this and you’re the one who said it: 1.) you’re a genius; 2.) sorry for stealing your shit; and 3.) tell me and I’ll cite you, MLA style.

  • L

    Douchecanoes?!?!?! Hahahaha! That’s great. I can’t wait to use that on my husband.

    • Jeff

      I too feel that “douchecanoe” is grossly underused in the English language.

  • Stephanie

    I threw three Frosties in the trash because my kids had a juicebox-squirting spree instead of eating their dinners. And my son gets lazy and doesn’t want to clean his own messes, so he gets no rewards. Life is too easy for these kids in some ways, but I hope I’m teaching them something, in the context that I can.

  • J

    Ha, ha! We have a family farm that is 100% of our income AND we homeschool 3 of our 4 kids. Work is daily here, no matter the temperature, holiday, or illness. My kids ask to go to bed at night because they finally get to escape with a book. I’m sure lots of people would be appalled at our lack of coddling of hangnails but our kids are well behaved and respectful. We aim to not raise kids with entitlement issues.

    • Kri

      oh.my.i envy you so much.my 10 years old just threw a 2 hours fit because we wanted him to practice his piano lesson and he had difficulty remembering one of songs

      • Randi

        You got floors, windows, back porch/deck, toilets? They all need scrubbing and they come up so much nicer by tantrum throwing kids. You remove everything from their room and I mean you take the posters off the wall and leave them with a bed a lamp and a desk for homework (nothing in it but what they need for homework, not even a color pencil) they can have it back when the chores are done, and no piss and moan or more chores are added until they are don’t without backchat or waaaa or boohoo poor me. He will either do as he’s told or you will either have a good clean house, or a child who does as he’s told without complaint.

        • Dianna

          my parents raised me that way.

          Haven’t spoken to them in over 10 years, can’t say I miss them either.

          • Kathy

            My parents raised me that way as well and I have an incredible relationship with both of them. They are great inlaws to my husband, we laugh and love each other. Their has to be balance. When the fit is over and the porch/floors/bathrooms are scrubbed does resentment reign or do the pranets take the time to cultivate a loving relationship of trust. I never doubted that they loved me unconditionally and while they didnt want me to be a spoiled brat of an adult they did want me to know they’d always be there and they’d love me whether I was a garbage woman or rocket scientist. Be diligent with attitudes, work ethic, boundaries and love that they understand.

          • Mike

            There’s more to the story that you’re not revealing…it’s easy to be an arm-chair quarterbacking parent after the fact!

            • Dianna

              well of course there is more I’m not telling,
              but this isn’t the proper place for the discussion of
              the kind of things my brother and I experienced.

              Was it just that they were hard on us that caused me to not
              speak to them anymore? of course not, it’s only part of it.

              But it sure as hell didn’t help.

              • Scott

                I was kind of in the same boat when my dad died last May. I hope you find a way to reconcile (for your sake at least).

                • Dianna

                  I have no interest in reconciling. What was done was
                  done, and now they get the consequences of having
                  children who will not speak to them and won’t acknowledge
                  them.

                  A word of advice for parents out there. Don’t automatically
                  assume that ‘you’ll thank me later’ is right. Because
                  it’s not.

                  and don’t assume because a child is young they’ll forget
                  things that happen, or won’t understand things.

                  Because they do, and some day you may be left wondering
                  why you were left behind. Why the phone doesn’t ring
                  on Christmas and why nobody calls you up to wish you a
                  Happy Birthday.

                  One more word of advice? Forcing kids to do something
                  they hate over and over as a punishment is a good way
                  to have them link it to things they do not like.

                  And in the future, when they have their own freedom and the
                  Best you can offer is advice, why should they do
                  something they don’t like?

                  Something you taught them was punishment, something bad?

                  ‘Cause it needs to be done? oh to hell with that…someone
                  else can do it.

                  Like they’re own kids….

                  • Spearcarrier

                    I normally don’t say much in places like this but as a parent with thankless kids… and having watched my cousins who were sure their mother was the most abusive person as in ever…. and having dealt with my own parental issues…. no really. You’re going to regret your decision. And when you do it’s going to be way waay too late.

                    My thankless kid? Her FRIENDS told her I was abusive because she had three little chores. Three. Oh, and she wasn’t allowed tv in her room until she was much older. Meanwhile, I did everything else, let her off light on punishments, the works. I worked night and day. So. Yeah. There’s stuff you’re not saying and I feel sorry for your family that it’s so broken.

                    • Dianna

                      yeah, there is stuff I’m not saying. My parents were genuinely abusive. There is stuff I cannot share but I have to go to therapy because of it. They did a lot of shit wrong, so no: I have no interest in reconciling.

                  • TAB

                    maybe you are just a d-bag

                    • neffi

                      and maybe you are just an idiot who can’t comprehend that maybe the world isn’t just black and white

          • Scott K.

            Then you have sad life and didn’t learn any lessons from your parents. My parents raised me this way and we all have a great relationship.

            • Dianna

              well I’m glad you did. What I learned from my parents was how not to raise a kid. How not to beat them and not to use them for excuses and whatnot.

              It’s funny how everyone is making assumptions. Not everyone is going to agree to this article and I don’t, but don’t automatically assume I’m some ingrate whining because ‘mommy and daddy made me do some work’. No, that’s not it at all.

              • jen

                I think that you were physically and mentally abused and perhaps otherwise abused. Not all parents deserve an adult relationship with their kids. Some parents should have never been parents. My own are awesome but not all parents are. There are some parents out there that should have had hired workers instead of kids. Unless people know your whole history they can’t make assumptions. Sorry your parents sucked.

              • Dom

                Please don’t pile on Dianna. You don’t know what she went through and you don’t know the facts. You’re basing your judgments on assumptions. My sister and I were abused and manipulated by our parents and pit against one another all to control us and keep us in line to maintain that control for years. Even now as adults, though we’re free, we have to live with the consequences and our relatives don’t believe the truth. It’s hard to face them knowing what really happened and have to face their judgment just like Dianna is facing yours now. Please don’t do this. There’s no reason to lash out against her.

          • Shaking my head

            Why would u not talk to your mom and dad for raising u of u ask any state worker etc the only thing ur mom and dad has to do for u is keep u clean feed and shelter you and cloth you the make up toys. Books etc are a gift or award for you doing your part I would have rather had a mom that made me do chores and have resonabilty then beat me cause of who my father was , or tell me the best part of me ran down her leg when she stood up. You should thank your mom and dad for raising you. The best way they knew how to. It’s not like you came out with a book telling them how to raise you

            • Dianna

              if I spent too long in the bath as a child, I would be sent outside naked in winter to stand out there.

              That’s just one example of many, and yeah this crap on top of everything else? Didn’t help.

              • no being a bitch but...

                She’s not beating, molesting, starving, abusing, or anything of the sort. She is talking about the value of children learning that all their life they are going to have to do things they do not want to. And in complete honesty it’s 110% true. I’m 18 years old and I have 3 younger brothers. Because me and my brother were the oldest we had to do chores because the others we still very small. Now me and my brother are responsible. I’ve been working full time since 15 and graduated high school with honor roll and a certification in graphic communications, and now working full time in a major printing company. There are differences I’ve seen for myself. So quit judging. Just because your parents were cruel to you doesn’t mean you have to try and make her feel bad for teaching her children great values. It’s great! The stuff you are talking about has absolutely nothing to do with her story. You should probably confront your parents. They are the only ones who can do anything about it instead of blaming all parents.

              • Aunt Holly Knits

                Since when did this thread become Dianna’s therapy session. Totally lost the heart and intent of Renegade Mothering

              • Patty

                I am so so sorry you experienced this as a child, a time when you should have felt loved and supported. Yes, with appropriate boundaries, and responsibilities, but still loved unconditionally. I do think what you experienced is different than the authors point, that does not diminish your experience and the pain you felt and probably still feel. I hope you have found real love in your adult life with a partner and with your own kids if you have them. I know that has been healing for my son’s father, to provide for him what he did not receive as a child. No child should ever experience what you did. That is not learning, or responsible parenting, that is straight up abuse and my heart breaks for you. I fully believe that if people are toxic in your life, no matter who they are, they do not deserve to be in your life. Giving birth to a child does not entitle you to love or respect from that child. Nor does simply providing a roof and food, if that comes along with abuse. You love yourself and take care of yourself.

                • Kim

                  Well said. Kind, compassionate, perceptive and validating.

          • Jennifer

            I’m guessing they don’t miss you either. It’s part of being a family. You pull your weight and help out.

          • Sandy

            I am sorry you had a terrible child hood and none of us should judge. I don’t think how your parents raised you can be compared to what the author is talking about I think you missing the point that children are not expected to do anything now. Everything is just handed to them.
            We all have to do things we don’t like, whether it be something at work, or homework, and yes doing chores at home.
            I raised my kids that Friday was Chore Day. They all pitched in and dusted, vacuumed and yes even cleaned the toilets when they got home from school. And you know what was great – The chores were done on Friday so they could have their weekend to relax or focus on any homework.
            They had daily chores like empty the dishwasher – do a load of laundry but Friday was always the big cleaning day. And it still is today for me and my husband.
            Kids/young adults nowadays don’t know what work ethic is. I learned from my parents how to have a good work ethic and I did my best to pass this down to my children.
            I commend the woman who wrote this article. We need more parents like her and her husband

    • Melissa

      Sounds like you’re doing it right. Keep up the good work; your kids will be appreciative when they’re older and have a firm grasp on reality instead of expecting handouts.

  • Jayme

    THANK YOU. A hundred times over. You’ve hit on a major issue. And you’re exactly right. Kids have it way too frikin easy. Expectations have been lowered but rewards have increased. Take cub scouts. My nephew went 4 times, misbehaved each time, and was delivered a bag of ‘badges’ months later fot things like swimming or.cooking, because one time years ago he had a swimming lesson or mom let him stir the soup pot ladt week. Wheres yhe damned earning in that?! Its a waste. He didn’t earn shit! Not during cubscouts anyway. He was getting in trouble. I hate the let me hold your hand through life my precious snowflake mentality childrearing has turned into. Complete shit.><

    So thank you. You get it. Now to share this 20 times

  • Erika

    I Love You!

  • Michael Ann

    YEP!!! Entitled. That’s how it is now. Every child is special. Everyone is awesome. Me, Me, me. Then they get out into the real world and wonder why it doesn’t revolve around them.

  • Clair

    There is no better example of which you speak than my 11 and 13 year old niece and nephew. My 2 yr old does a better job at the dinky little chores they are assigned in half the time and with a cheerier attitude. I’ve found myself losing my shit on them a few times for this (don’t worry, my sister and I are cool with disciplining each others kids), but I fear they are too far gone. This is why the 2 yr old is doing these chores in the first place.

  • SammichesPsychMeds

    You know how I can tell I like a person? When they’re as willing to make their kids miserable as I am because it’s good for them and because not everyone deserves a motherfucking trophy. I did not coin this term, but I’ve used it in blog posts as well, so if you figure out the originator, send the citation my way. P.S. I’m also preggers (not 8 months yet, unfortunately, because this shit SUCKS) and an English teacher. The universe. It’s weird. P.P.S. You might enjoy this bit by Louis CK. He’s my favorite. http://youtu.be/LTaZkf4dih8

  • Vivienne

    Yes. Oh hell yes. Back in the day, we called it “building character”. My kids have it way too easy. I’m gonna put them to work now.

  • Chantal

    Thanks, this is just what i needed. You helped me remember that there is things that needs to be done. I was once that child that had no chores, and, as an adult, I often suffer from it. I’m lazy. My motto this week will be ” some things need to be done.” Thanks.

  • Carolina

    Thanks for this. While I grew up like an entitled A*hole, my husband didn’t. (This fact alone almost ruined our marriage). Our first child is overdue, and I can’t wait to raise the kid more like my husband was raised.

  • Kristi's Momma

    You have hit the nail on its square f…k’n head!!!!
    I grew up on an 80 acre farm with 5 siblings, and parents who KNEW their kids needed to work.
    No, it wasn’t fun picking up the rocks from the fields my dad just plowed, but it had to get done if the crops were to be planted. No, it wasn’t fun loading bales of hay on the wagon and bringing them to the barn before it rained. No, it wasn’t fun picking wild black berries until your arms, legs, back and from was scratched to a bloody mess by the briars. BUT….knowing my contribution helped make the family was very satisfying and made me feel like I was needed.
    I too teach, high school that is, and I am shocked at the lack of “buy-in” my students exhibit. I even have a senior who has already applied for SSI!!!!!!!!! Hell no, he doesn’t want to work!
    I’d love to see high school look more like the dairy farm where kids arrive at 5am to milk cows, muck out gutters, pull calves out of laboring cows, and even have to butcher the animals to have that breakfast bacon…….then we’ll do some Algebra, English, History and Art.

  • Ashlee

    I can’t even count the number of hours I spent pulling weeds as a kid. (What’s that? You want to play on the lush, beautiful lawn? Weed it.) I am so glad that I did. Or rather, that my dad made me… Great post!

    • Melissa

      My kids got a stick up their butt two weeks ago b/c I made them pull all the weeds around our fence. I took their tire swing down, looked them in the eye, and said, “guess you didn’t really want that, did ya? Man, sure is getting hot out here. What a shame you’re going to bake in the sun because you’re not doing ANYTHING til those weeds are pulled.” One of them threw a rock at his older sister, who had done her chores and was reading quietly outside, and didn’t think I’d catch that. I catch everything. I told him in no uncertain terms if he pulled that crap again, he’d deeply regret it (they HAAAAAATE my lectures and punishments), that I will not tolerate BS, and reminded him that he was pulling weeds in the first place as a consequence for not being responsible enough to remember his lunch box or his homework for two days straight. When I told him I’d be happy to add a whole heap of chores onto his list, he got back to pulling weeds pretty quickly. Pulling weeds is good for you; it teaches you how to maintain your personal property with some dignity.

  • Jennifer

    I love this, Janelle. My husband always tells one of our sons, “The pain doesn’t last forever.” In baseball, chores, football, school work…whatever.

  • Peggy

    And janelle for the win with douchecanoe!

  • Dawn

    Perfect! We try very hard to do this with our kids and dang! We keep waiting for the day the three of them will not whine about about the work every damn time! Or ask to be paid in one form or another (what can I do to earn computer time?…none? Then I’m not doing it!!) it’s one of those parenting deals where doing the right thing to raise them to be decent adults (non douschecanoes…funny) bites but we’ve got to suck it up. And we won’t get a trophy either. But if our kids end up being decent humans, I’ll take that as my trophy.

  • Emily

    I’ve heard that GRIT is what helps people succeed. In all your free time, check out Viviana Zelizer’s _Pricing the Priceless Child_. A really interesting read about how in the early part of 20th cent. children went from being “useful” to “useless”– and blah blah blah. I’ve been dissertating for way too long to write a normal comment on a blog. Anyway, I enjoyed what you wrote.

  • Diane McCurdy

    I could have been a spoiled brat only child…..my dad had fruit ranches and no sons….I drove the truck and groveled in the dirt for the fruit when it was 100 degrees or worse in the mud when it rained……when your first job is picking prunes, a classroom of unruly students is a breeze…both of my kids realized at an early age that in our family one must work until they fall flat on their face or it is a disgrace….

  • Sherry

    I tell my kids all the time, “You deserve everything. You are entitled to NOTHING.”

    • Andy

      I rarely comment on boards but since I grew up apart of the retarded “entitled” generation, I must say that I like this statement a little better. You EARN everything, you deserve what you earn, and you are entitled to nothing. I hate the word deserve and its why my generation is so damn entitled but at least you’re combating it!

      • neffi

        you’ve conveniently forgotten the common circumstance in which one has earned little to nothing but has much regardless

        p.s. entitlement isn’t some strange new phenomenon that was designated by the fates as our generation’s primary flaw, humans have had feelings of entitlement for thousands of years and that is how it will continue to be long after you and I are both dead and gone

        • Lauren

          Completely agree. While I do think the parenting trend of ” I want better for my kids” has gotten out of control, entitlement is not unique to this generation. This is a long standing issue that isnt the fault of one generation.

  • vicki

    Oh I love this, my kids get so sick of hearing me tell them life wont hand out, work hard for what you want and my favorite.. shut the hell up and do you’re jobs.. But I feel confident knowing they will grow up to be functional adults providing to the world.

  • Axelle the french reader

    Amen or hurray or any other of word uou want !!! I do agree with you.

  • Crystal Williams

    I absolutely fn LOVE this! Even though I am a stay at home mom 8 months out of the year, I MAKE my kids help me with everything. I have sahm friends that CATER to their kid’s every whim(I’m not talking infants/toddlers. I’m talking about 114, to 19 yo grown kids. Makes them sandwiches while they play X box and brings it to them in the basement, brings them soda after soda, and wonders why these kids then yell,scream, and curse at them). Drives me nuts! My kids are the ones hauling 600 paver stones off the back of the truck to wherever we need them laid out. They are tilling the garden area and helping plant, pick, water, and weed. If they want to eat the food we grow in the garden, they WILL help maintain it! They have a list of chores to be done daily and a list for weekends. I used to cater to my children’s every need. Until they were old enough to start helping. Now, I only cater to the husband who works 16 hour days, 7 days a week, 9 months out of the year, and still manages to mow, weed, till, and plant. As well as helping around the house when I need him to. During the 3 months he’s not working 16 hours a day, he’s working 12 hours a day. Everyone in this house has a responsibility to help. If they want to play that X box one, they have to EARN that time online. Even my 4 yo has chores. I REFUSE to raise a bunch of “douchecanoes” as you’ve stated!! It doesn’t kill them to help or be uncomfortable doing it. Hubby and I were raised a lot alike. I had a ton of chores. At 8 years old I was responsible for making breakfast for a family of 8. No exceptions. That was my morning chore. One of the boys had to clean up afterwards. Then it was on to polishing all the wood furniture in the house, washing windows and walls, and mopping the hardwood floors. If I wanted to swim, I had to clean the pool first. If I wanted to go bike riding, I had to help dad in the garage first. Did I enjoy these things, no. But earning what I had felt so damn good! To this day, I have to EARN what I want. My children will know what it means to EARN what they want. Nothing in life is free. You have to work hard, persevere, and never give up, in order to have any kind of decent life. My kids will not be the ones getting trophies for showing up. They’ll be getting them for earning them. Thanks for sharing! Love!!!

  • Ellie

    I really love this article, partly because it’s clear the parents are hard workers and they’ve struggling a bit in the 21st century America to come up with a way to make sure their kids learn the meaning of hard work, determination, perseverance, the value of a dollar,e tc. That said, I do believe that every child is ‘special’ because every human being is ‘special’ and has something unique to offer the world. That’s why it is so important that kids learn that life is hard and it takes a lot of hard work, often struggle, etc., to succeed and earn a good living. It’s a disservice to them to coddle them after a certain age, because then, as adults, we’re setting them up either for failure, or at a minimum, for a delay in their maturity and ability to succeed.

  • Erica dee

    I kind of feel like you’re speaking to me, as an adult..as I sit here and read and 100% ignore the dinner mess…my entitlement/pity party streak raises its head sometimes (mostly when I’m full of resentment about other things) and I will let squalor run the show until its unbearable. So thanks for the asskicking. It’s not like my parents didn’t try, to their credit…but I’ll just dig in and flat refuse, even when I’d benefit. True story! Thanks for nailing it…again!

  • Kateri Von Steal

    Douchecanoe.. has to be my new favorite word.. Just saying.

    My son said he wanted to “Help” with the outside work… and 1.5 seconds into it (probably an exaggeration there) says “THIS IS HARD AND BORING”…

    I giggled and turned to him, “Because Mama LOVES doing this and It’s SOOOO much fun for her?!?!”

    The shear tone of my voice and eyebrow raise, stopped him in his tracks… realized, oh christ, she is right.. and he got his butt back to work…

    Stopped a few times to chat.. but he kept going…

    7 or 8 is old enough to help out… serious help out around the house…

    This post… is another WARCRY for me!

  • SummerLily

    Good post!! My Dad always made us do hard work at home, even at a very young age. I hated it, but did it, because I had no choice. You just made me realize that I’m bringing up my kids in a totally different way. I may have to re-think some things. Thanks!

  • Corelle

    I wasn’t raised on a farm or a ranch, so I was spared the manual labor, but I WAS raised in a military household where whining was not tolerated. Integrity is what my father preached to us–knowing the meaning of integrity was essentially the answer to most all lessons he and my mother taught us. Try to do a job half-ass? That’s cheating. Complain about having to do chores? Be grateful for the house you have to do chores in. Pissed off you don’t have EVERY SINGLE BARBIE EVER MADE like your spoiled brat neighbor friend? Count how many toys you do have! I still remember one of his most used quotes, “Reward for a job well done is lack of punishment.” I feel like I turned out to be a pretty badass adult human because I did not grow up with any sort of entitlement whatsoever. LOVE your blog 🙂

  • Eileen

    My kids attended a catholic that gave awards to children based on parental popularity. If the teacher liked the parents then a kid got an award. It was quite entertaining watching the mothers strive to be a room mom and kiss the ass of these pathethic teachers all year long. The almighty awards assembly was held in the church at the end of the year. One mom was dying for her oldest child to win the awards, she didn’t. The mom cried. I asked her why it mattered, she said her daughter deserved to be recognized for her hard work. At the athletic banquet, the same mom cried again. Her daughter received nothing. The same girl that won all the academic awards won the athletic awards, too. In the grand scheme of things all those stupid awards don’t determine your success or failure in life. The kids take them home and eventually they get stuck in a drawer or a box to be forgotten.
    Be a great parent, be mean, have rules. Make your children do chores, abide by rules and suffer the consequences for their choices. Make sure they understanding the meaning of the word No! Praise their efforts and their work ethic. Let them know that honesty, integrity, and a postive work ethic will set them apart through out their life. Screw the trophies.

  • Val

    I SO needed to read this today! (as I count down the hours until I get my boy back in my custody so we can have that joyous “Big Talk” about his transgressions while under his father’s care) There are plenty of chores which can be his lever to get back into Mom’s good graces…

  • Barbara

    A friend of mine used to tell his kids “the reward for a job well done is NO PUNISHMENT.”

  • Jessica

    LOVE this!

  • Kylie

    SHHHHHHH dont tell everyone !!! By the time this generation grows up my kids are gonna be sort after; welcomed; chased for employment cos with the no can do attitude everyone else seems to be taking, they are gonna stand out. They will excel, lol not because they are excellent, but because of a few core principles, and a good attitude.
    I do however wonder if parents of these over entitled generation will ever stop and consider if they had a hand in this or if they will say, i gave em everything .. dont my fault !!

  • Katherine

    a few weeks ago i realized my oldest (5) was acting like a brat… and then it dawned on me that she only acts that way because i allow her to. i can’t even blame public school- she’s homeschooled. darn. we went balls-to-the-wall on “attitudes of gratitude” with all three kids and saw a pretty quick change.

    but yeah- realizing that what my kids are (at this stage) is purely from what we teach them is…sobering.

  • Kate

  • Kate

    I am seriously going to start a Tumblr called “Participation Trophies are Ruining our World” because I see this argument ALL THE TIME on the interwebz. I know, don’t read the comments, but it is in the comments on every friggen news story where anything is wrong with society. This is what happens.
    1) Parents Take Kids to Soccer. 2) Soccer give participation trophies to everybody. 3) Kids become entitled douches. 4) They have lots of babies and end up on welfare and elect democrats and take away your guns and force everybody to be ok with their gay marriage and kick hobos for fun and become stock brokers who simultaneously destroy our economy and our environment. True story. All of these things are caused by entitled little children who got soccer participation trophies.

    • Stephanie

      You’re an idiot and your comment is idiotic. Hard work is irrelevant to gun rights and the Democratic party.

    • James

      Yup, grade A idiot. You’ve already failed your children.

    • Dana

      Whatever the other two commenters’ problem is, I’m not seeing the idiocy here. You were talking about comments you’ve seen and yes, some of them do get that crazy. And conventional wisdom does not always get it right anyway. Who knows the real reason kids grow up entitled? It might be because of a lack of chores or because they got a trophy but it might be for some other reason entirely. Anyone done a study? More than one study? I doubt it. But your original point is you keep seeing comments about this. How anyone can dispute that with “you’re an idiot,” I wish I knew. And that’s the problem with demagogue blogs. They attract huge assholes. Outta here.

    • randi

      I’d be more inclined to say that people raise kids who get trophies for showing up and not having to work for anything ever, the entitlement generation we are talking about then go to high school don’t get everything handed to them, some kids are mean, they don’t know how to cope because not everyone thinks they are fucking brilliant and then they are depressed and angry and want to go to school with a gun blow up all their class mates, and then people want to talk about taking guns away from everyone.

  • Carlisle

    I was never made to suffer as I kid. My mom was. And hard. So, she shielded us. Let us “be kids” and do nothing. My grandma warned her against it. And guess what? I was the laziest fucking person I knew. I was all about how NOT to have to do something. I was like, “You gonna pay me for that?”

    I was going to grow up and be a groupie and live off the band. That was my plan. That was what I dropped out for.

    And then I found a man. And I was pretty sure he was going to support me. I was going to be a stay-at-home wife and never work again. Well, my pothead husband has NO plan for the future. Refuses to go to school. Wants to work part-time the rest of his life in a squishy gas station job.

    I’m 21 years old and just now learning to do shit I don’t want to do because I need it to survive. Well, I learned it back when I was 19 and popped out my baby. But I’m seriously grasping it now.

    Work their asses off, to the bone. I can tell you from experience what it’s like growing up never having done a damned thing. I didn’t work at home, I didn’t work at school. And, especially for your daughters. I can’t speak for boys/men, but you don’t want your daughter growing up and getting married and being stuck for years in a shit marriage because she doesn’t know how to work for herself.

  • Jessica

    1. Douchecanoes may be my new favorite insult.
    2. Your husband’s beard is insanely hot. I don’t even know what the rest of his face looks like, but his beard is amazing.
    3. You’re completely right.

  • Angela

    So true- Our oldest is four so helping is still a big treat- and when she doesn’t want to finish it because it’s too boring or hot or whatever- we push her to anyhow. But then we also point out the rewards of her labour- when we’re eating our potatoes in winter we always say “see? these are the ones you helped to grow!” and she’s so proud and happy to have been useful- hopefully that sticks.

  • Sarah

    You speak the truth. My children do not know what it means to be truly uncomfortable no matter what we read or have conversations about; putting words into actions are the best way for children to gain knowledge. It has also been a lightbulb moment for me when it comes to my own fitness routine. I can’t expect real results unless I’m willing to go to the level that is truly uncomfortable–I can’t succeed unless I work hard, feel it the next day and keep at it. Your post speaks to so many areas of our own lives.

  • Bronwyn

    Thank you! I so needed to hear this (and your previous post too). I’ve let myself get stuck in lazy habits for too long. Whilst I don’t expect others to do stuff for me (I just let my world get chaotic), I was brought up by a loving mother who fussed over every slightest discomfort. No surprise I turned out fussy and, honestly… pretty lazy. I don’t like facing up to things I don’t want to do. I distract myself with facebook, chocolate etc. But enough is enough. Shit needs to be done. And my kids need me to lead from the front so we all learn to work hard for our family. Work hard, get it done and then rest. Not procrastinate all the time, never working properly, never resting properly. Thanks for being real and giving me the kick in the arse I needed.

  • Amy

    “because it had to be done”

    ^That right there. That’s the key to it. If it’s stuff that actually needs to be done, heck yeah. The family does it, everyone works to the best of their ability, and you get the job done. That’s the message.

    Because if it doesn’t actually need to be done. If it’s something you’ve never given a rat’s boo-tay about until you had a kid old enough to slave away at it, if it’s just make-work you’re forcing to have something to force for the sake of forcing, they’ll smell it. A mile off. And all it will instill in them is that *you* are an entitled arse, that you make stuff up just so you can brag about how hard you make your kids work.

    I worked like a dog growing up. One parent took the attitude of “we are going to get this necessary thing done, and done right”. To this day I not only have no trouble powering through that type of work, but I even enjoy it. And I power through most other things too just fine.

    Other parent, that one made chores into an opportunity to ‘punish’ me for any and every real or perceived slight. Real world example, said parent wanted my hair cut in a very specific way. A way that was butt ugly both for my particular hair and my face shape. Aunt who had always cut my hair refused to cut it anymore because of this. Said parent made me take *my* money and dropped me off at a salon. Lady at salon cut my hair in a much more attractive style, for which I paid her with my money. Said parent spent the next MONTH doing things in such a way that my assigned chores *quadrupled*. At least. Would go about the business of the day so that road blocks and extra work piled up in front of me. If I got a compliment on my hair in the presence of said parent, it got even worse for a couple days. The other parent finally put the brakes on the nonsense, but it took that month and lots of jujitsu interference.

    From the time I made enough money to manage it, I pay someone to do many of those particular chores in my house. It took years for me to manage to do the stuff without resentment, mostly by letting go of the idea that said parent was capable of having a mutually respectful relationship with me.

    Our kids learn what we teach them. It’s our job to make sure what we teach them is what we mean to teach them, and that whatever it is, it is worth learning.

    ~A

  • L

    Fuck. Ing. A.

    By the way I adore you. Not like a let’s-leave-our-husbands-and-run-away-with-our-millions-of-children adoration or anything creepy. Unless you are into that… in which case your hottie husband can come along. Because there is no way my city girl ass could slaughter anything.

  • Jen

    I LOVEEEEEE giving my daughter chores! Makes me very happy to see her uncomfortable and actually WORK for something. I don’t give her very many chores but I should…..

  • Liz

    Awesome. We live in China where all families have an Ayi (baby-sitter/maid) for so little money. My kids are pretty bratty even despite my best attempts, but while I’m at work she spoils them rotten. I meet eh most dependant, entitled and unmotivated kids I have ever seen here. I am a kindy teacher so I meet a lot of kids and Im doing my daily best to redress the balance. Glad Im not the only one in the world, but it feels like the only one here sometimes….

  • Mitch

    Anyone else think it’s funny she’s sitting in the house bragging how hard her husband works while she’s hanging out in the house surfing the internet?

    • Tabitha

      She works hard too. Her job as a mother is hard work, her job as a teacher is hard work, and her writing takes work and effort as well. There is no irony in her pride in her husband’s hard work. She loves him, she is grateful to him, but none of that takes away from the very real work she does. Women’s work isn’t iron work , but it is still valuable, strenuous and necessary.

  • Barbara

    You have a good point and I agree with you on your concepts, but and I mean but there is no reason to use foul language in your post and maybe just maybe you are setting an example for your children with your language.. My daughter called me once years ago, her three year old was swearing and she was upset about it. This three year old had never been to school, she was learning to swear at home… They learn by example and they copy or follow by example..

    • renegademama

      No worries. I tell my kids all the time that swearing is totally fucking inappropriate until you’re 18.

    • randi

      Did your daughter stop drinking all alcoholic beverages too? Sorry I don’t mean this to be snotty, but my point is that children need to learn that some things are for adults and not for them until they are an adult. Otherwise we are right back to the entitlement thing. Drinking is mine, the candles with fire is mine, the fireworks are my responsibility, driving the car is mine, make up is mine, my razor is mine, the hot stove is mine. We don’t get rid of everything we don’t want our kids doing. We teach our kids that not everything is theirs. also Lets say you ban all swearing around your kid, at some point (unless you keep them in the basement at home) they will be exposed and learn it anyway. Then you will still have to teach them to not say it.

  • Stephanie

    I love your article as I was raised on a 20 acre farm and took care of the animals most days. I love the work. I practice to this day enjoy doing the dishes as much as I enjoy dancing to music. I choose to make each act I do a spiritual service by enjoying it all the ups, the downs, the grief, the gladness, to enjoy getting dirty as much as getting clean. Love you writing, article and attitude. <3 :~)

  • Biz

    I. LOVE. THIS! Very well written and funny and TRUE!

  • Gia

    I love this! I have four kids, and they ALL have to do things they don’t want to do. Last year, my son kicked the wall in P.E. class at school because he didn’t want to do push-ups because he’s not good at them. He spent the next week with no computer or video games doing things he didn’t want to do but had to be done anyway – like his own laundry (he was 9 at the time), doing the grocery shopping with me, and researching and writing a report about “self-control”. Just for the record, it never happened again, and he does all his own laundry now, all the time. He also does the dishes half the week, and my 8-year-old does them the other half, and my 6-year-old vacuums under the table every night after dinner. No one wants to do these things (least of all, me), but they have to be done, or we’ll be living in squalor with bugs flying around in our kitchen. My 15-month-old doesn’t have any chores yet, but I’m sure I will think of some soon. 🙂 Honestly, there are too many daily items to he handled for one person to have to do them all, and if you want to be a part of the family, you have to contribute to the success of the family. If we had animals to slaughter or a farm to run, they’d sure as hell be out there helping, too.
    Also, I think “douchecane” is a HIGHLY under-used word. I shall go out immediately and start using it!
    Great post!!

  • Cindy

    This.Is.True. We are a few years down the road, with 4 teens and 1 who is 11. Damn, they know how to WORK. It started in toddlerhood, insisting that yes, they WILL pick up their own toys. Like your hubby, mine is a hardworking man…detailing cars most of the year, running a small restaurant at an airport during the winter. Long hours…14 hour days pretty much year round, 100 degrees or 20 degrees, the work has to get done. They have worked side by side with him since…well, people remember our little guys unable to speak but holding a rag and wiping down countertops. Literally. They now get calls all the time from folks wanting to hire them to do yard work, because they WORK, and people are stunned. I have ZERO problems getting help around the house, because work is something that we all simply must do, end of story.

    And yea, they feel loved 🙂 No, they don’t feel overworked. Ask ’em, they know they can handle anything because they are practicing already for the REAL WORLD.

    I have been looked at askance over and over again through the years. Funny, no one is looking at me that way now. Glad I didn’t give in to the whole “my kids need a perfect childhood” thing.

    Oh yea, and all five of ours are from orphanages, some for more than half their lives. And I STILL want the best for them, and I STILL don’t feel we are denying them a good childhood. Neither do they.

    Your post rocks.

  • Rhonda

    I love you. You’re witty and bold; truthful and funny. I’m glad my friend shared this on FB. Totally my style.

  • Kri

    love your comment policy by the way. im so thinking the same thoughts. we keep telling our 10 years old how hard we had to work for almost everything in our life. my husband works his ass off at work and im doing everything at home. not because he would not want to do anything but because he is he is home so little….. and we need to get our kids to help…..it is so hard. they put up such a fight…..

  • Oh, So Meta

    Complaining about how entitled people are feels pretty damned entitled to me.

  • Angela

    I’ve only read two of your posts but I think I’m in love. ok. going to read more.

  • Becca

    I believe I remember the trophy thing being a bit from Christopher Titus when he was in my area doing stand up.

  • Jennifer

    I’m a little late in commenting – just found your awesome sauce blog. Despite being late in commenting, I wanted to share a comment my eldest recently said to me (he’s 17, eldest of 5 and can be an asshat, but this comment was very much appreciated by me!) “Thanks for not spoiling me. I can honestly say that I really appreciate all that you and dad have done for me.” Once I got over the shock, I said “You’re welcome.” He and his sister go to a private Catholic high school in which the kids’ parking lot has much much nicer cars than those parked in the teachers’ parking lot and we were talking about that one day – the disparity between the two. He’ll be 18 soon but still doesn’t have his driver’s license as our requirement is that the kids have all B’s on their report cards and car insurance for young males is f-ing crazy bus – we can’t afford that on one income! In any case, with his summer job, he’ll be helping to pay for that insurance anyway – but with his above comment, I think he’s finally getting his head out of his ass!!!! Now that’s an awesome Mother’s Day gift!!!

  • Mary Blanchard

    Amen sister…I am in sales…there are winners and there are losers…when you lose, you refocus and try harder to win the next one…winning buys groceries and pays the mortgage (in my case).

  • teabag

    maybe we could let four-year-olds play teeball without forcing them to treat it as a competition! as in, you know, for fun?

  • Steve

    Nothing builds character like watching other people work.

    “I used to watch him catch chickens and my God he hated it. I’ve never seen a person more irritated. I could tell he was miserable, through and through.”

    You go on and on about how your husband did a lot of work, which is cool to see, but you don’t talk about any of the hard work you did. If you want other people to work hard you should probably use yourself as the example and not someone else. From this article I can’t tell if you did the same chores or jobs growing up but hopefully you did. If not it may be a bit awkward when your kids ask you how it was when you grew up and you have to lie or tell them about how easy you had it.

  • Heidi Rockholm

    Oh my god are you my doppelgänger or what! I just had this vision reading that article that that is what everybody here’s what I’m talking I thought I was the only one that he peoples eyeballs fall back in their head when telling them that their children don’t need to be wimps and they need to work for what they get. I own my own salon and put in the ungodly hours, and my husband is a foreman on rock crushing outfit and works out of town , because we like a roof over her head and food also . I hear women day in and day out talking about their children and why they behave the way they do and why my kids don’t. Its an opportunity for me since they opened that’s Pandora’s box .So funny because the teachers always loved it when I would come volunteer and my girls classes because I think they were too restricted and telling kids they were being “a holes and to shut their mouths and go sit down. I am going to share this article and your link for your site. My husband and I have three girls almost 2320 and 17. And work is part of the game at our house to my kids always asked why they did not get allowance. I told them I allow them to live in my house I allowed them to use my washing machine, I allow them to eat my food ,I allow them to ride in my truck when I drove them all over town. That was the end of that conversation. Now that they are getting to be adults and my two eldest have been exposed to the free writers of our society in college. (my children have to pay their own way through college so they actually show up and respected as it should be). They make for a good argument because they are informed kids so when they see the mooches of our society a throwdown a good game which makes me proud ,work for it, work for it,work for it (instills a good value later on in life .I doubt my children will ever receive government handout. -on a a sidenote we use the term “D bag ” @ my house but I do like “douche canoe. Keep up the good work sister!

  • Ulrike

    I know, as a non-parent I’m not in the position to have an opinion, but I thought that so often. Parents take everything out of the way for their kids, so that they have a happy happy happy childhood. My parents made me help in the garden, yes, and I hated it with a passion, but now I know how to work. But know what, my mother kept every trouble away from me. Even when I had a job already. Means when she was gone, I had a damn hard time getting along by myself. there still was trouble, but no one but me to deal with it. Talk about a major lesson learnt very late. Do parents really want that for their children? Letting them grow up to be adults that can’t handle anything because they never learnt to? Who see problems in everything? Phew. I doubt any parent would want that for their child.

  • Steve Flower

    ” Imagine if we all raised kids who grew up asking what they could contribute to the situation, to each other, to the world?”

    “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy, Jan 20 1961 inaugural address.

    Seems it’s not a new problem. But I agree that it’s gotten way the hell out of hand. And I agree that competition is meant to reward performance. If I’m losing at baseball, I need to practice more and try harder. If, after trying harder, I still suck at baseball, then maybe I need to try another sport. Or maybe (in my own case) I need to embrace my inner-nerd and go read a damn book. But the only award that should be given for trying hard is (occasionally) “most improved.”

    So many times – in work, in church, in social life – I see uninvolved people sitting oblivious, clicking on their stupid-phones. When I ask them what the hell they’re doing, the reaction almost always is this: “What the hell do you want? I’m *here*, forgodssake. Isn’t that enough?”

    No. It’s not. Go home, take your stupid-phone with you, and leave this life out here to those who want to participate in it. But don’t expect a trophy…or even a certificate.

    Great article (which, of course, means that it may or may not be great but it’s what I agree with).

  • Sarah

    All I can say is A-fucking-MEN!

  • JESSI[CA]

    Someday soon the world will be run almost exclusively by people who received participation trophies as children. Let that shit sink in.

  • Tam

    Amen. After 30 years of teaching in public school I finally figured this one out too. Thank goodness that Jr. has an iphone 5, a brand new pair of shoes for every day and an ipad he tosses around in his book bag but can’t bother to do his homework one time out of ten. Then I get asked “Why do you think he isn’t doing better in your class?” I think this gives you a clear picture of the issue, doesn’t it?

  • Anonymous

    I have no kids for this reason. Forcing a 4 year old to do laundry? Why do you have 4 kids, if as a mother you can’t do it alone. What if your husband left you? Maybe you should get. A job… Homeschool? Are you trying to lock up your kids, so they don’t get social interactions? Your language is fowl.. If I had a 4 year old do half the job.. I’d be proud of them. You sound like an angry bitch living a miserable life. I’m happy with my self, love myself, and don’t need mom or dad to take care of me anymore. But they taught me how to get through in life. as an adult, I leaner bed that nobody is going to do it for me. So if it doesn’t get done, it’s gonna be worse tomorrow. I don’t have my parents pension to rely on.. Pension? They are living a full life in their 60’s now.. And I will be taking care of them when they’re 80. I hope your kids still thank you when you get older. My ‘step father’ has 3 kids that don’t speak to him because he’s drilled them to do things they were forced to do as children.

  • ellen crimi-trent

    Amen- been saying it for yrs- I only got a trophy when our team was the champs or when I did something-

    if you go through life thinking your a winner- what happens when you loose? Do you go out and get a gun and kill those who said you lost- ? We are not helping our kids we are hurting them with this non-sense and I am sick of it. How the hell are they going to deal with life when it gets bad and sometimes it gets real bad. We almost lost our house and things got tough around here but I did not sugarcoat it- I told the kids- this is how its going to be- your out of your private school and going public- your going to have to suck it up for awhile. They had to know life works this way- things are good now and getting back to normal again- but they got to see how bad it can get and I for one think its good. They learned hard work and determination pays off- not just go out and play and win!

  • Seth Dixon

    You talk a lot about how your husband has spent his life doing hard work but what is missing is you ever doing or having to do any hard work. You want to blame the rest of the world for you not instilling hard work, dedication, and confidence in your own kids. And you admit this. Maybe instead of blaming everyone else because you and your children are lazy, you should look in the mirror. I received lots of trophies as a kid for all kinds of things and I never kept a single one because they are meaningless material things that don’t matter one bit to how a person turns out. You talk about entitlement when you feel like you are entitled to lecture other parents about your own downfalls as a parent. Stop complaining, look in a mirror and start raising your own damn kids to do some work before you start blaming everyone else for your laziness.

  • Gloria McDonald

    Really folks. This isn’t rocket science – be what you want your children to be. Display the values and work ethic you want them to display. And accept nothing less from them. If you want honesty, don’t lie about your kids ages to get the cheaper seats at the movie theatre. You want them to “just do it” – make sure you are “just doing it” right along side them. Don’t want whiners and complainers – look in the mirror. Our children learn the most from our actions, not our words. Want them to take responsibility, then take responsibility yourself – if your kids are lazy, unmotivated and ungrateful – you made them that way.

  • M.

    Thank you so much for sharing this rant! The kids that don’t learn early on what hard work is often turn into the coworker that I’d like to strangle because they can’t figure out how to do a job or ask even the simplest questions so they know how something is done or what comes next.

  • Chipko84

    This is something I just started to realize. I just acquired a job at a kindergarten. It is a private kindergarten and the kids play and play and play and then when it is time to clean up they don’t. They keep on playing. The issue is the other teachers DO IT FOR THEM. I can’t handle it. Will lunch be late if I don’t help? Yep. But you bet I make those kids clean up each and every toy they played with. They say “but I didn’t play with that!!!”.. yep, neither did I kid. Put it away. Uphill battle though when the other adults don’t want to wait for the kids to do it properly. ACk!

  • Rebecca

    Thank you! Thank you so much for this! This is exactly what I intend to teach my kids.

  • Kelly

    From one English teacher to another, thank you. . . and the douchecanoe thing – LOVE IT!

  • April

    I feel that that saying needs to be a t-shirt. Lol. Great post!!!

  • EVE

    My school stopped giving awards for best/highest grades, perfect attendance, or any other awards because it made kids feel bad. We have spent the last 25 years creating a generation of lazy, entitled and disrespectful kids. You can’t blame the kids for it though. It’s all on the parents!

  • Postmandougie

    My parents raised me in a very soft and entitled kind of environment. Took me most of my twenties and almost cost me my marriage along the way to reprogram myself to the way the world really works. As a result of this my wife and I made the decision to raise our daughter (now 21)the way you describe, with daily chores, unpleasant but essential tasks, and no rewards for it other than a “well done” at the end of it. She’s so much further ahead than I was at the same age, she works two jobs and goes like the devil at both to keep her head above water, yet does it with a smile each and every day. I’m glad we got it right and we’re proud of how she turned out.

  • Selena

    I think you are absolutely right, I remember when we were kids and sports day came, you had to work hard for your teams to get the 1st 2nd and 3rd place ribbons in each event to see what teams won at the end of the day. We spent the whole day dirty and sweaty from a day of trying our best.
    Now all the kids get a participation ribbon and there is no fight for 1st place. How does that teach our children the realities of the real world where you have to fight for a job you want or to get ahead in life.

  • Lyn

    At my core I believe this. I was raised to tough it out. My teen son though has anxiety issues and ADHD and this type of upbringing doesn’t work on him….or maybe it would if I stuck with it. Professionals have guided me to lay off and support him. However, I feel like I’m enabling him and coddling him too much. I feel like I’m catching him whenever he falls. What’s going to happen when he faces the world on his own?
    I definitely need to change my parenting but I need to find the balance. Suggestions anyone?

    • Shawn

      Hang in there Lyn. You are not doing it wrong. ADHD kids have to work so hard just to cope with the ADHD, THAT’S their chore. You can’t tell a kid like that to just tough it out, they will fail. Continue to work with the professionals and ask them to give you a plan that includes appropriate responsibilities for a kid of his age with ADHD. And if does pick up toys or help with the house, be sure to notice and thank him. That encourages more.

  • Dianne Cirone

    Well said and so true.
    I admire your unpolitically correct prose. Thank you! You are so refreshing…I will keep reading!

  • brandi Jodoin

    Thank you for your funny and honest take on kids. We do WAY too much and its hard to fix it. My husband and i have 11 children 22 to 2 we homeschool and we struggle daily to fight the entitlement era. best of luck on the new baby and keep working them!

  • Jo

    I used to bribe my children with a “treat” (an ice cream, a movie night, a dollar….). My friend used to say to me “Jo, it’s not what I got if I did my chores, that motivated me….it’s what I got if I DIDN’T do my chores that made me move my butt!”

  • Beth Anne

    Right on sister!! Pansy parenting is not how I roll!!!

  • Becky

    I don’t have children but I’m part of the last generation that didn’t get a trophy for participating. And my parents made me work. A lot. They taught me the value of doing a good job and not half-assing it. I see these kids today and I am genuinely concerned for the future because they are going to end up (and I can’t wait to use this word) as douchecanoes. There’s no better lesson than hard work (and the occasional good old-fashioned ass whoopin’). Kudos for bringing your kids up the right way. I wish more parents would do the same.

  • Rachel

    Haha. I love everyone’s “Hell yeah! I’m so doing this”. Yeah right! The hell you are, maybe for a week, two if you’re dedicated. But most parents today were raised that way (the self absorbed I’m the world! way), and are too lazy to keep to up. Because parenting is the hardest work, and completely without trophies. This is where “kids these days” get it. Lazy kids come from lazy parents.

  • HappMommy

    The thing is that we don’t have to do a great many things. Truth is we make choices, then deal w the consequences. They may be positive or negative consequences, depends on the choice. My kids aren’t forced to learn, “behave”, or clean. They get no trophies or cash for making wise decisions. They do these things because my spouse and I model kind, responsible choices. They do it because they want to. Doing an activity bc you want to shows more ethics than doing bc someone made you do it. after all, once the authoritarian pressure is off, humans tend to become more lax rather than less.

  • Eileen

    It’s the hard work that builds self esteem, not trophies. The kids that have been raised to think the world revolves around them, and have no idea what it means to be part of something: a family, a community, are the ones that can’t cope in the world. They can’t adjust to reality if everything doesn’t go their way. And, they are shooting people and themselves, unfortunately.
    Moms, please make your kids do chores.

  • Amy Hall

    I’ve come to agree with you and realize I’ve made the same mistake as my 9 year old thinks he should not have to take any part in helping more our new backyard, which is admittedly large (0.7 something of an acre. or something like that) nor clean up after himself, or even do well, much of anything. So. How do you CHANGE it? What are you doing to change it? Not said in accusatory fashion, I need tips!

  • Shaun

    Well said, could not agree more. This society where we create people that feel the world owes them is wrong in my opinion. I played hockey during my childhood and as you said it, the only ones who got trophy’s were the ones who won. Taking your trophy comment further, what I’m starting to hear at least in Canada, is that “everyone is a winner” and that people stop keeping score in some games. That’s a bunch of bullshit in my opinion. Sport is just that, about someone winning and losing and it helps build character. Yes it’s about fun and exercise, etc… but if we keep having the mentality of everyone is a winner, then it just contributes to a lazy society where everyone feels they are entitled to the same as everyone else. Work hard and you’ll do just fine.

  • Alex

    I’m 23 and can definitely say I was raised surrounded by this mentality. Not only have my parents always (and continue to) pursue complete comfort as their ultimate goal in life, but they were fortunate enough to be able to retire shortly after I was born and still don’t work to this day. Sadly, they are actually pretty unhappy and I believe it’s because they don’t work or struggle or do anything unpleasant and haven’t for over twenty years, but it’s a point of argument between us.
    I can’t tell you how many 20-ish year olds are having mid-life crisis right now as they are realizing that laying around doing nothing doesn’t get the bills paid. There’s a lot of self-hate going on because we Entitled Generation have not just always been handed everything, but also always been told how great or wonderful we are for no apparent reason. This leads to the inability to feel confident or happy without other people telling you how great you are. Why do you think facebook/twitter/instagram/etc. have gone so crazy? I absolutely agree with what you are saying, but I think there are even more benefits then you pointed out. The everybody gets a trophy mentality leads to this:
    1. Laziness
    2. Lack of confidence (like you said, what’s more satisfying than doing something really hard and getting it done?)
    3. Inability to make decisions (when everyone tells you ‘don’t worry, it will happen’ or your helicopter parents are setting up everything in your life for you, you never make decisions so often that you literally lose the ability to)
    4. Poor work ethic (always do the minimum…I bet you see this as a teacher a lot)
    I personally had to struggle with this a little but was very lucky to have participated in a lot of extra-curriculars at a young age where I didn’t get a trophy, lost frequently, sweated/worked my ass off, and learned how to work. I also have a husband who did work very hard as a child (unfortunately not always the good kind of ‘work’) and he has helped me to grow up and face the facts of life quite a bit.
    I truly hope more parents realize that this everyone-gets-a-trophy, i-must-do-everything-for-my-child attitude is destroying their kids lives by keeping them at the mentality level of a five year old well into their twenties or even thirties.

  • Melissa LLanas

    You crack me up! I love reading your blogs; it allows me to know I’m not the only parent out there that doesn’t make everything all hearts and flowers because I have a decently firm grasp on reality.

    There is a saying in my house, and I use it regularly: “There is no tolerance for half-ass here.” I have daily chores for my kids, including the 3 year old (she’s capable of putting something in a trash can, so settle down, people), and I expect them to do their jobs correctly. They read at least 30 minutes daily, whether it’s summer break, Christmas break, Saturday, or Godzilla is tromping all over the city. Do I pat them on the head for it? Nope; that’s part of their “job” as students, and it has paid off because each of the three school-aged kids is at least two grades ahead for his/her reading level. They are expected to do their homework in a timely manner, and to have us check it so we can troubleshoot where necessary. As students, that, too, is part of their “job”. We’re not sending them to school to only get a half-ass education because they don’t “feel” like doing their homework. Oh? Is it boring? BFD; so is my job, but I do it anyway because food isn’t going to magically appear on the table. We have a garden. Everyone is responsible for tending to it. What’s that? Your hands are dirty? No shit; that brown stuff on the ground is dirt. You want to eat that food? Then, by golly, you’re going to learn how it grows by getting your hands dirty.

    My husband and I both work full-time jobs, and cleaning up after six people, an asshole cat, and an incredibly lazy yet lovable dog is not going to solely plop onto my shoulders. We call ourselves Team LLanas, as we are a TEAM, and teammates work together. I have found that dividing the work load equally and instilling responsibility into my kids has brought our family unit closer, and there is a sense of stability because everyone knows what to expect in our home. We have a blended family and share custody with the three older kids’ mother, and it is vastly different at the other house. The lack of responsibility has given way to a lack of respect in that home, and I’m not willing to have that kind of stress in my house. You don’t want to put away your laundry or take out the trash? Cool beans; guess you don’t want to go hang out with your neighbor buddy or join us for family movie night. In our house, if you aren’t going to be an active part of the team, then you can sit your happy ass in your room, alone, on the “sidelines” and pout all you want. Each of them has learned quickly that they detest being bored, and would rather participate in all of our family activities because, frankly, we do fun stuff. We work hard, but we play hard, too. I know; I come across as harsh. I’m not harsh so much as I’m direct, and my family gets that. I don’t have time to put up with bullshit. No one is entitled to crap in our house; you tow the line, and you don’t expect a shiny medal for doing so, because it’s work, and when you’re an adult, no one is going to give you a shiny medal for doing your job (unless you’re in the Olympics, and even then, it’s a slim chance) or pat you on the head every time you show up. That’s how life works; it’s hard, sometimes unbearably so, and you just have to roll up your sleeves and roll with the punches if you want to survive. Don’t stress about it too much, though; no one gets out alive, anyway.

    So, good for you, Renegade Mama. You’ve got the right idea.

  • Nancy

    Kids aren’t suffering enough? Really? Every generation always thinks that the younger one has an oh so easy time of it. Being a child is not always a joy. Re: Household chores. Yes, they certainly can be boring but we all have to do them. No, the world does not “owe our children a living,” but we need to appreciate our children for the effort they put into their chores. If the outcome is not what we want, we can praise them for their effort while constructively showing them exactly what we want.

  • Cheryl

    Gracious. Can I teach your kids? I just got chewed out for reprimanding a child for skipping my class but saying they had permission to leave from another teacher. The parent was VERY upset with me for reprimanding – verbal only – their child. How dare I call them untrustworthy!

    *blink, blink*

    Well, there’s society today. Thank you for not letting me teach children responsibility and truthfulness. Eghads.
    Can I go teach in 1945?

    • Cheryl

      (the “other teacher” had given them no permission to leave = lie)

  • mark hannibal

    I coach Lacrosse. I have found when the kids ‘suffer’ they bond better. Therefore, if they leave a mess on the bus, they run sprints, or extra laps, if they backtalk or talk when a coach is talking, they run. All of them. It gets them in better shape and helps them to see they are capable of doing more than they thought. Determination and perseverance is essential in the adult world, especially if you are a parent. Youth Athletics could be a vehicle for learning these life long lessons that have served me well in adulthood. This year, because I have some help who are not on the same page, discipline wise, I have not run them like I used to. The results are, they still leave the Mc’ds a mess, and stuff on the bus and I have to continually remind them to stop talking when a coach is. If a cop just asked me to slow down every time I got pulled over, I would keep speeding. Hit me in the wallet (or make me uncomfortable by running or push ups etc) and you have my attention!

  • Diana

    OH MY YES!! I’m not a parent, so I try not to make comments on what parents do wrong, because I know it’s such a tough job. But this is my number one pet peeve with “kids today.” My parents grew up lower middle class, working for everything they got. Even though by the time I came around, they had moved up in the world thanks to education and good jobs, they raised me and my sister the same way they were raised. We had chores we had to do, no questions asked or shortcuts. When we were old enough, we were expected to get part time jobs. I can tell you, now that kids who were raised without these expectations are entering the workplace and are my potential coworkers, I sure wish all kids were raised with a bit of “healthy suffering” – it makes them much better coworkers and human beings! 😉

  • Christian

    OMG!

    I cannot agree with you enough on this one.

    A – freaking – men!

  • Edward Harrold

    Thanks for censoring my comment. You hVe no creds with me

    • renegademama

      Which comment? I don’t “censor” comments unless it’s clearly trolling. And in that case I simply don’t publish them. Since these are the first comments I’ve approved for you, they are the first comments you’ve left, unless you left them under a different name/email.

    • renegademama

      Oh, I also do not allow criticisms of my family. So if you insulted my husband or children, or made some assessment of them that reflected negatively on their characters, I did not publish your comment. The reason is because I write this blog, so people can insult me, and my perceptions of my family are exactly that, my perceptions of them, so those perceptions may be critiqued, criticized, etc., but because they cannot speak for themselves, and I am the one who’s signed up for the chopping block, I do not tolerate attacks on my family members’ characters, personalities, or anything else.

  • Edward Harrold

    I thought it was quite moderate, even educational.

  • Samantha

    I love this! It’s so true. We have 2 boys and my oldest one has chores like cleaning up dog poop and taking out the trash, recycling etc. My youngest is ADHD so keeping him on task is a bit harder but he had his chores too. Granted we don’t live on a farm, but in a gated community so chores are slightly (totally!) different but they still have them. Sometimes I do wonder if they actually get it though. Do they get what we are trying to teach them because my oldest (10) comes home telling me that all his friends have an iPod Touch and can text and FaceTime each other. My answer? “I’m sorry, but I’m not THEIR mother; I’m yours and what would you do (@10) with and iPod touch that you need to face time and text when you live right down the street from each other?”

  • nevadarn

    Loved this. I was raised to expect nothing and work hard. I think I turned out OK – My husband also knew the value of hard work. Realized while raising our own children that there is not much in the way of chores in a modern lifestyle that is really important. It is hard to let the kids see how they are contributing to the family and home life. If the garbage isn’t taken out, or the room isn’t cleaned, or the dishes put away – nothing dies. If on the other hand the animals are not fed and watered they might die [and it is cruel to boot]. Working the family farm meant food for the winter. Now almost everyone works at a job somewhere else and the kids have no idea how hard they actually work. My kids all had chores at young ages. And I encouraged having animals [horses, dogs , cats]because they had to be taken care of rain or shine. Also kids need to be allowed to get hurt. Play in the dirt, jump out of the tree, build that fort. It is OK. They learn what is dangerous and where the danger zones are so they can become adults who are safe and don’t kill someone with stupidity. Reading this blog actually gave me hope for the future :-).

  • Jason

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard of the every-kid-gets-a-trophy thing from more than one person. It’s a shitty epidemic in our country right now. Shitty entitled parents begetting shitty entitled children.

  • B

    My husband has 2 kids and I have 2 kids from past relationships. I make my children do chores like clean their room, pull weeds outside, pick up the trash in the yard, just easy things because they are 6 & 9. In return they get to watch tv, play the ps, or play on the iPod. His children are young teens and they do nothing. One takes out the trash once a week (only like 4 bags to the curb 10 ft from the front door) and gets paid $10 for it. The other child gets money handed to them every weekend and does nothing in return for it. They are spoiled brats. Whatever they want, they get. They do not get punished for bad grades, sneaking out, or anything for that matter. They get a slap on the hand. He wants to give me parenting advise on how to raise my kids to be better adults. Haha no thanks. I’m doing just fine. My children know that nothing in life will be handed to them. That’s how I was raised and now I work for everything I need and I don’t complain. That’s what I’m supposed to do. It really bothers me that they are so lazy. I work 40 plus hours a week and I have to come home and clean while his kids do absolutely nothing. It’s getting really old. Hell, they expect me to make their dinner plate every night. I guess that’s beneath them. What has this generation come to? I should not have to be a child’s slave because they are too lazy to do anything for their self. When is it time to teach our children some responsibilities and respect? They will grow to be an adult and expect everything to be handed to them. News flash…it won’t. We have allowed out children to be lazy, to be disrespectful. It’s time to make a change. I sure in the hell will.

  • Carmen

    You are my hero! If I would get a nickel each time I a) used the term douche-canoe, or b) wrote a blog/post or rant about the gist of this article, I’d be a billionaire!

    The world needs more like you!

  • Laurie

    I ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY love this!!!! I am printing this out and making my 15 yo entitled jackass that I created son read it!!!! Holy shit right on!! I think I love you!!

  • Larry

    Truly got wrapped up in this. I’m a grandfather to 3 awesome kids, father to 2 awesome adults, husband to hard working wife and a son. And in all those generations we never suffered. We all worked hard as kids but not abusive. Remember some of the best times with my Dad working side by side all weekend (except for Church) in the woods cutting firewood, working in the garden or where ever. We always came back exhausted but happy to be a team. Now take a week of vacation to go with the kids from Church on mission trips to different cities. These kids spend a week painting, fixing houses, working doing whatever is needed. Come back every day sweat soaked and filthy – and so happy that they could do it. It’s not this generation that is lazy, just some in it as in every generation. But just as my Dad showed me, these kids feel they owe their community (family) and know they are appreciated and respected for their efforts.

  • Carlyjane

    Sheesh, yeah so, somehow we raised an entitled db even though we purposely tried to avoid it with keeping him away from neighborhood kids with no boundaries or responsibilities by keeping him busy with sports. He will soon turn 21 and I look back and realize some things we did that are some of the problem. He was good at sports and everyone told him so. We were all thinking and talking about college scholarships and possibly going pro. We wake up early or go right after work and school and get him to the sport and there he would be on the field with coaches and his team. We would eat out between games or on the way home beause it was late. We would get home late from games or practices and he would get a shower and go to bed. When he did get time off we didn’t give him any responsibility. Sports kids usually are doing some kind of sport all year. No time for just being a kid. I have no idea who my kid is other than sports. Does he know anything about himself? What are things he might have enjoyed as a kid that he could continue now as good clean fun besides sports because he will have people in his life that don’t do sports. We should have made time for more family time when he was younger. I now I believe he should have had responsibilities and to do work. Real WORK.
    Now we are going on 5 years starting more obviously when he was 16 of defiant, entitled bs that includes drugs and alcohol, rehab, juvy. He barely graduated high school not because of grades but behavior problems. And it continues. Except now it involves job after job and some kind of violation with court dates and fines. We’ve always practiced tough love. We are not his friend we are his parents. Blah blah blah.
    Crap, so we created a monster now what do we do? Sad. Just very, very sad. And I’m pissed.

    I love the post. I think you are on to something and I want to find more!!!!

  • Erin

    Great post!!!

  • Jason Q.

    Got-damn, dude, I like the cut of your jib.

  • Um

    ….So when are your kids actually allowed to have fun again….? :U

  • Meg

    Why am I only discovering this blog now? Seriously. Let’s be best friends.

  • Chris

    We have 4 children and we live on a hobby farm, where the kids help with chores. They also have their inside chores…all of this is to be done.

    You wanna bitch, child? Too fucking bad. Do your chore. I could give two shits if you WANT to do it or not.

    We are very strict about chores, but that is all very much tempered with time off from them to live their lives and have the personalities they deserve to have…we don’t want robots.

    If our kids want to shave their hair into mohawks, go hard. You want to dye your hair rainbow colour? Go hard. Facial piercings? That’s okay too (my wife is a professional piercer, and a damn good one at that, so she does it personally)

    Our children have very strict rules, but they also have a great deal of freedom…and guess what?

    They are incredibly respectful, can tell us anything without being judged by us, don’t do drugs, aren’t drinking, they don’t date, and they will freely give us hugs and kisses IN FRONT OF THEIR SCHOOL FRIENDS!!! Those aren’t rules imposed on them by us, they are what they themselves do…all on their own BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT WE CAN TRUST THEM.

    Our oldest, a straight-A student is heading to college this year with scholarships and bursaries, the next will be going to college in 2 years (she’s set n it), the third wants to head to Trade school, and the youngest, who is 10 is busy being a 10-year-old.

    Is our house perfect? Nope. We get into arguments and debates and there are personality clashes, but we know that making the little shits work whether they want to or not is giving them the skills to be out in the world and live.

    Great article!!!!

  • JanetJ

    simply put, and much funnier:

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/05/23/winning-losing-and-participating-shut-up-about-the-trophy/

    Trying hard, getting out of your comfort zone, getting off your butt to improve themselves daily (aka participating) is more then most adults do & nothing wrong with rewarding that. Reality check: there will always be someone stronger, faster, smarter, prettier, so reality of it is they are still a loser with that framework in mind.
    Teach kids to measure their self-worth on their own personal achievements, not basing their self-worth on how they compare to others. And because they are trying to improve themselves (instead of beat johnny on the corner) their motivation is internal instead of external. In the real world self-motivated individuals get stuff done.

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