A Sense of Entitlement

Do you find yourself suffering from a sense of entitlement? Are entitlement issues making you poor, to the point where you feel you must live with your parents? What does it mean to be an adult from your point of view? What are the behavioral characteristics of a true adult? Do you know how to be an adult, living your life as an independent and responsible grownup, as opposed to being a financial burden to your parents? Do you feel that your parents are controlling your adult life, money and decisions while you are living in their house?

I don’t get the opportunity to watch Judge Judy very often, but I do try to keep up by reading as much as possible about recent guests on the show.  I still remember a show from last year where a mother was petitioning the court to get $4000.00 from her 24-year-old son, who had borrowed the money (which mom put on her credit card) to buy a car.

This was the third loan given to the young man, and the mother forgave the previous two loans, despite having to take the money from her life savings. This third loan to her son resulted in the credit card company pursuing mom for repayment of the loan money.  The son’s response to Judge Judy: “I shouldn’t have to pay her back because the last car she bought me was a piece of (bleep)!” The dangers of entitlement rears its ugly head.

The Entitlement Generation

Entitlement is defined as “a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights, or by agreement through law. It also refers, in a more casual sense to someone’s belief that he/she is deserving of some particular reward or benefit. It is often used as a negative term in popular parlance (i.e. a sense of entitlement). The legal term, however, carries no value judgment: it simply denotes a right granted. In clinical psychology and psychiatry, an unrealistic, exaggerated, or rigidly held sense of entitlement may be considered a symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Signs and Symptoms of Entitlement include:

  • Teens feel entitled to a new car when they turn 16
  • Kids and teens who “must have” the latest fads and fashions
  • People entering the workforce feel entitled to start at the top
  • Workers who just don’t like their jobs feel entitled to quit and collect unemployment
  • People who feel they should be given handouts until they find jobs that “suit” them
  • Expecting a certain standard of living without work or effort
  • Feeling entitled to move back home with parents because being an adult is “too hard”
  • Feeling justified in supporting their lifestyle on credit, and expecting parents to “help” pay their bills

Would you like a little cheese with that whine? In order to understand how to be an adult that is financially responsible, independent and self-sufficient, it’s necessary for grown children to evaluate their expectations of being an adult vs. society’s “instant gratification”, entitlement epidemic so prominent in America. Entitlement breeds laziness and the best way to deal with someone who has a sense of entitlement is to make them work for what they need and want! Need creates motivation, and “if anyone does not want to work, neither let him eat”.

Have your parents or grandparents become your personal ATM machine, where parents are treated like The National Bank of Mom and Dad in order to pay your bills, while you spend your own money on other things? Do your “needs” for food, clothing and shelter get paid for by someone else while your “wants” for fun, entertainment and other luxuries get first priority in your life? If so, you have a sense of entitlement that is causing you to make excuses for your poor choices as an adult, and is burdensome to your parents and/or grandparents.

Characteristics and Qualities of a Responsible Adult

  • Self-control – Control of one’s emotions, desires or actions by one’s own will.
  • Stability – stable personality, strength, reliability, dependability.
  • Independence – ability to self-regulate, not relying on others for support, care or funds; self-supporting.
  • Seriousness – ability to deal with life in a serious manner.
  • Responsibility – accountability, commitment and reliability.
  • Method/Tact – ability to think ahead and plan for the future, patience.
  • Endurance – ability and willingness to cope with difficulties that present themselves.
  • Experience – breadth of mind, understanding, accumulated knowledge, especially of practical matters
  • Objectivity – the ability to assess situations or circumstances shrewdly and to draw sound conclusions
  • Decision making capability – as all of the above correspond to making proper decisions.
  • Priorities – Ability to determine what is the most important thing that must be dealt with first, providing for the “needs” vs. the “wants” first and foremost.

How to Be an Adult

Take responsibility for yourself and the personal choices you make. Learn how to manage your money and stop asking or expecting your parents to rescue you from your repeated money mistakes. Parents need to stop enabling your poor choices; they are your choices and subsequent consequences, and you have to figure out how to clean up your own financial mess.

Make a budget and stick to it. Find and maintain a job. Learn how to live within your means by telling yourself NO! when you want to buy something you want instead of paying your bills. Even though it’s easier to sit back and let others provide for you financially and in other ways (especially by parents/grandparents), while you get accustomed to being catered to like a toddler, the sense of entitlement will have detrimental and long lasting effects if you don’t stop spending your money frivolously.

You may feel safe when you don’t attempt to change, but you are sabotaging yourself and your future. You are selling out your happiness and putting up with something you don’t want. Require more of yourself. Stop expecting regular and continuous “help” from parents or other relatives, but learn how to live within your means and practice self-restraint.

Develop a plan to get on your own and out of your parents house, but you must stick to it. Taking advantage of well-meaning parents as they try to help get you back on your feet and on your own is not a sign of maturity but of pure selfishness. Start living where you can get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say, “I’m a grown person; I’m living on my own and I’m proud of that”, and that doesn’t mean living at home with your parents. And finally, hanging onto your entitlement issues just might find you face-to-face with Judge Judy, if your parents decide to take you to court to get their money back.

For women dealing with money issues and problems: Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny is an amazing resource and highly recommended for all women and teen girls.

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