Privileged Children: A Parent's Guide to Answering Ungrateful Children

Richie Rich, courtesy Warner Bros.

Most people consider "privileged" children to be the snobbish offspring or heirs of the lucrative dynasties, entitled celebrities, and powerful politicians. But, if we are being truthful, all children feel they are entitled to certain privileges without much accountability or responsibility.

For parents, respect is often lost once a child becomes a teenager, when he or she decides to rock the boat with their newfound liberation (or so they think) of graduating to the next grade level, increased demand for freedom and independence, and their often self-righteous, know-it-all attitudes. Do you know any children like that?

I bet you do! And I bet they might be living in your household, just like mine.

Gone are the days of the sweet, innocent creatures, relying solely on a parent to do everything from wiping their butts to picking up their toys and giving them baths filled with luxuriously warm water and snuggly towels to dry them off. Long past is the need for total attention, 24/7, 365 days a year. In fact, if you can even get their attention for two seconds, it is a miracle!

Let's face it, our children are privileged! No matter how much your household income is, your societal status, or your familial position in life, our children are privileged and often take it for granted. If you want their attention, cut off the Wi-Fi for ten seconds, and they'll all come rushing to your side as if fighting and begging for the last ounce of oxygen on earth!

Otherwise, you won't even know you have children. They tend to become independent isolationists, secluded in their favorite corner of their bedrooms or game rooms, pounding away at their electronic device and game consoles like the rest of the world doesn't even exist. While this is a sermon for another day about how kids are getting way too much electronic time and not enough outdoor time (like we were "forced" to do as children), the fact is we are in a technological age where electronics have replaced pretty much everything in society, and it's not going away anytime soon. If anything, our dependence upon technology is not only addictive, but becoming more and more necessary, unfortunately.

But, one thing we, as parents must continually do, is fight the battle of teaching our teens appreciation and gratitude - not just for their free Wi-Fi access, but also the things that matter most - even though it's not on their radar.

My boys share a common bathroom, and I rarely visit it or use it, honestly. However, when I walked into their bathroom recently, I had two choices:

  1. Lose my mind and start freaking out

  2. Walk away and address the issue in a more civilized manner

I have tried both methods, and this particular time I chose the latter. Despite my rising blood pressure and boiling attitude, I told my son he was not permitted to do anything else until the bathroom was clean, and the child had the nerve to tell me, "It doesn't bother us, so I don't know why it bothers you when you don't even use it."

That's when option two went out the door and option one kicked in. If I were a wonderful black woman, like some of my friends, I would have lost my earrings and shoes on that note. But, like I tell so many people who knew my momma (God rest her soul), she came back to pay a visit. And in Momma's true form, out of my mouth came her words, and out of my eyes came her look of death.