A recent online article concerned a mom who refused to pay her teenage daughter for doing household chores. A poll of readers found an overwhelming majority of them agreed with the daughter.
Paying a child for pulling her weight in the family when said child, being a minor, does not pay her share of the mortgage and utilities and is the recipient of free health care, transportation, food, clothing and laundry services to boot (mind you, that is the short list)? What a concept! The story is a testament to the level of entitlement many of today’s kids carry around in their heads.
The daughter wants and receives an allowance for doing absolutely nothing and wants to be paid additional money whenever she lifts one of her manicured fingers in service to the day-to-day of maintaining a smoothly working household.
When I was a minor and my parents told me to perform a chore, they never offered an enticement. It never even occurred to me to ask for one because all my friends were in the same boat. We received weekly allowances and we performed chores for nothing, simply because our parents assigned them. I learned to wash floors before I was 4, was washing my own clothes in my mother’s “washing machine” — a galvanized tub with hand rollers bolted to it — at 5. At 12, during summer vacation, I painted our house. No money ever changed hands.
“What are you gonna give me?” never passed my lips. If it had, my stepfather’s response would have been along the lines of, “I’ll give you something if you don’t do it and do it properly.” Unequivocal speech is a great motivator of children.
In doing my chores, I made no money but took away tremendous value. Save the financial side of things, I learned what I needed to learn to emancipate successfully, which I did at 20 when I married the woman to whom I am still married. One reason our marriage has endured the ups and downs of reality is because we both clean when things need cleaning, we both cook, we both do yard work and we both take care of our two beloved dogs. We are a team.
The daughter in question doesn’t see herself as being part of a team. She wants something for nothing. Worse, she thinks she is entitled to something for nothing. The likelihood is, she will someday marry and proceed to make her husband miserable. She will probably bounce from job to job looking for the Garden of Eden role that doesn’t exist. Friendships will not last because narcissism is very difficult to abide for long.
Understanding the necessity of give and take in relationships is what makes them last. And believe me, few things are more satisfying than when one arrives at his or her golden years with a spouse and friends who’ve been around for a long, long time.
Mother of said entitled teen, if you happen to read this column, stay the course. If it means anything, you have my permission to be a meanie and refuse to cater to your daughter’s enlarged ego. Begin encouraging her, now, to enlist in the military straight from high school.
Visit family psychologist John Rosemond’s website at johnrosemond.com.