Shut Up and Take My Money

Shut up and take my parents moneyThose of you that know me, know that every year I take my family on vacation, usually to a warm beach in Mexico over Christmas break.
This year we decided against it and the reason was that my three spoiled teenage kids don’t seem to appreciate it. Did I mention “spoiled kids”? Ungrateful, also comes to mind. One to two-week Mexican vacations are not cheap and would a few “thanks mom and dad” be too much to ask? Not when you’ve been made to feel entitled.

When I grew up, we drove to Sarasota, FL and stayed at the Days Inn and swam at that pool. It was great and I loved it! I think the first time I flew in a plane for my 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.. When was the first time you flew anywhere growing up?

I know we are not the only parents that have spoiled the heck out of our kids. Have you ever sat down and thought about all the things you do for your kids that you had to do for yourself growing up? How about all the stuff (electronics, clothes, shoes, etc.) they have that you would never have dreamed of having? Look around your house and their room if you need a reminder.
For example, many kids have a $600 iPhone. What was the first thing you owned that was worth $600 and how old were you when you got it? Do you think they appreciate it or feel entitled to it since all their friends have one too?

The first thing  I remember having that was valuable was a used car when I was a senior in college and unlike the iPhone, where parents pay their kids monthly usage bill, I had to pay for my own gas back in the day. I bet you did too!

Do you have kids that have played travel sports? (Travel Sports, Are they Worth the Price?)   My partner pointed out that with your travel athlete, for those that are good enough to play in college, you are really pre-funding a year’s worth of college costs when you add in all the team fees, equipment, travel and lodging costs for the 10 plus years your son or daughter played travel ball. Our generation didn’t grow up with travel sports and we usually rode our bikes or walked to get where we wanted to go. My son’s talked me into buying more gloves, bats and accessories for baseball than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, like many parent’s, I’m still waiting for the full appreciation of all the time and money invested in that too. Time is also a huge factor. Most of our parents didn’t spend their days at soccer, volleyball or baseball tournaments. Never could have envisioned this is how parenting in the 2000’s would turn out. Yes, I’m more than a little frustrated.

Of course, my daughters have their “needs” too, including multiple pairs of UGG Boots. When my mother comes over and sees the ridiculous number of shoes we have she is in total disbelief. “Why do you need so many pairs of shoes”? She’s right. Again, when my wife and I grew up we wore our gym shoes until the sole was worn out or had a hole in it and we were perfectly fine with that.

Not all spoiling is monetary. How about all of us parents that drive our kids to school while we live less than a mile from away? Didn’t we move close to the school so they could walk? I know my neighbors and I are guilty.

When did all of this change? When did so many parents start spoiling there kids SO much?

Sorry for the ranting blog, but I felt like getting this off my chest.  I’m guilty of spoiling the heck out of my kids and not particularly proud of it. In 2015, part of my resolution is to purposely cut back on spoiling my kids and try to slow down the sense of entitlement I have helped create. Is it too late to reprogram them to appreciate their parents a little bit?  I could use some suggestions by parents that are going or have gone through this with their teenagers.  It is quite possible that this teenage phase is somewhat normal and to be expected and I am over reacting (I’ve been a little angry and feeling sorry for myself lately because I wasn’t sipping a cocktail on the beach in Mexico last week) to the sense of entitlement that I have created with my own children.

Your feedback is always appreciated.


Related Blog Posts:

The Real Griswold’s “Quest for Fun”

Spoiling Kids Can Make Them Rotten and You Poor


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Posted in Child's Play, Counting Your Pennies and tagged , , , .


  1. Brad, once again, you’ve hit it out of the park! Like you, I grew up with a lot of love and my 10-speed bike, that I bought from K-Mart for $65 with money I saved from my paper-route. That was good enough for me. In solidarity with you and your wife, my hubby and I are joining you, and cutting back on the spoils. Just yesterday, my daughter let me know that she needs new shorts for field hockey, because she only has one pair that she really likes. I told her to go buy them with her own money. We have taught our kids to shop Craigslist, and we are lucky that they do appreciate their “spoils.” The words, “thank you” are often heard in our home.

    You and your lovely bride should still take that trip to Mexico. Leave your kids with me. They will sooooo appreciate you when you return!

  2. I feel the same, but everything I did (and still do sometimes) for my kid is an investment for her future! Now that she has moved out (only six months after college grad) she has shown us how independent, cost-conscious and career driven she is because she wants to live as good a life as she did growing up. And now that she’s matured, her appreciation for us is always expressed when she comes to visit!
    I say give it time, you can still sip on a cocktail, and the “spoiling” will pay off 🙂

  3. Brad,

    I believe the appreciation comes with age. My boys 23 & 26 are too old to have had an Iphone in high school. They had pay as you go phones, nobody texted that much. I’m thinking they would have ended up with some type of smart phone if that is what was being used at the time. Still, I spent $200.00 on hockey sticks and who knows how much on other equipment, fees. We just came back from a trip Mexico and they were both very appreciative of the trip. I believe it is a combination of age and the fact that they both live on their own, feed themselves etc…. We don’t go every year so that makes it more special too. It will take time.

  4. Brad, our family has had a very similar experience in terms of travel sports and having far more of everything than we ever had. I know many people that have the same problem you do. Probably too late for you now but I think parents of means have to be very careful when raising children. Our policy was to do just enough to make them satisfied but never be the kid that had everything. As a result my son and daughter remain very grounded and appreciative.
    They both played Division 1 sports and graduated from a top university in 4 years. Both worked hard at the intern and interview process and both landed great jobs. While they have not been cut off entirely from our money yet, they are learning a lot about what every day things really cost. I hate to say it my man but our children are a by product of our parenting. Maybe a look in the mirror is not such a bad idea.

  5. Hey Brad! Came across this and first of all, Monica and I send our best. Second, it is so ironic as we were talking recently about the exact same situation. Unbelievable how we have helped our children (all teenagers as well now) develop such a sense of entitlement. They really are numb to it and we are to blame. I think of how my mother had to work two jobs and raise my sister and I by herself… she didn’t put up with any selfishness and certainly didn’t hand anything to us. Wonder where I went wrong sometimes. One thing we have decided to do is require Matthew (just turned 17) to have a part-time job. He will now contribute to the gas he uses and pay for his own dates. It looks so strange when I type this as it seems so fundamental, but sometimes you just have to hit the reset button and try to lay a better framework. That’s what we’ll do with all three moving forward. Be well!

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