Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

17 January 2009

Entitlement

I am almost certain that entitlement plays a huge role in why we continue to struggle with our daughter over respect. I know that at age 5 she doesn't fully understand the concept, but she does understand when we fail to respect her wishes. It's a thin line between all these concepts and it will take a few more years to get her to a place where I think she can truly get it.

But I also know that she feels that she is entitled to everything she wants. She feels that all she has to do is push us to a certain point and we break. Many days that is true. To counter this, I am trying to build up my tolerance for her crying, pouting and wailing. I know that by giving in to her, I'm sparing myself some agony, but I also know that I'll just get double the agony the next time I tell her to please do this or that and I get a snotty "no" response.

It's really easy to understand how some kids get to be so damn spoiled. I'm trying really hard not to let mine get like that. And while I agree that she's not spoiled in the classical sense, I do believe she has a clear sense of entitlement. She works hard for six hours a day in school and then does at least an hour of homework each day. She's a good kid. She is entitled to certain luxuries like a long hot bubble bath or dessert after dinner. Not to mention free reign to all the scotch tape a girl could want!

I laid it out to her tonight by ultimate plan for raising her: I want to raise her in a respectful way, as a human being, not a possession. I do not own her, but I am responsible for her. Strangely, I think she finally got part of that. I don't expect her to change over night, because there are things I need to change as well and those won't happen tomorrow either. But I do want to continue to be honest with her, as much as I can, on why I make the decisions I make for her. Hopefully this communication will lead to honest communication when she's older. Maybe it won't, but at least I'll have had tried.

5 comments:

That is a REALLY amazing wonderful special and awesome way to raise that little one of yours. I am so proud of you as a mother! :)
Lots of love!
M

Oh, it can be sooo hard not to cave into the whining, especially when you are tired and busy. It sounds like you have a good plan and longterm view, of things. Your mama friends can relate.

...As can your daddy friends! Thanks for the great post.

She is a GREAT kid - and you are an amazing mother. She is incredibly respectful of others, smart and savvy (of course)...the true test is not necessarily how they act with us (after a long day, they tend to break down, as we know - we all have challenges there - I know I have many!) - but how they are in the classroom, with friends, with others, etc. And she is amazing!