A glance at entitlement. 

A first world problem for sure, but it is one I see regularly as an entrepreneur and one who travels widely around the world.

We all work hard. I don't have children, but I see a lot. I have opinions, just like most, but there is some substance in my opinions because I have been around for a long time.

Parents work hard to build their businesses and wealth. They do so because mostly, they didn't grow up with the wealth that they would have liked, or perhaps they just want to live a better life.

They accumulate wealth, and with that comes big houses, flash cars, holidays in the South of France and skiing in Aspen, and so on.
Why entitlement in our kids is our responsibility

It's our responsibility to not bring entitled human beings into the world When they bring children into the world, if the wife doesn't work, she finds herself shopping at all the cool places where you can buy the best children's clothes. The child has all the toys they could ever want, and has a nanny if they can afford it, along with a tutor, ballet lessons, music lessons, and a language teacher. Play dates are with other children that come from equally good backgrounds or maybe higher stations (richer).

Through a childs eyes - this is normal. Life with the best of everything is normal. It is what they come to expect.

How does this effect a child as they grow up? 

So whether they do well at school or not, it is irrelevant. They expect that their parents will continue to give them the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. Many parents do, and "trust fund" babies become young adults with the world at their feet.

They play with the idea of "dreams" but rarely follow through. After all, why should they? They don't need the money and if they lose interest, like they did as a child, they always have an option to find something else that peaks their interest. There are no shortage of "opportunities".

They hang with equally privileged offspring, and they go from one nice restaurant to another, one cool, hip party to another and one nightclub to another.

"Charlie" is their alcohol of choice, otherwise they choose a "skinny bitch" keeping their slender frames in tact. Quite often there is one person in the crew that is more spoilt and has bigger and better toys. The private jet, the house in Aspen and so on.

There is nothing wrong with most of this except...when children have no purpose, they seek to find it, and sometimes they get in with the wrong "high" trying to find their place in the world or wait out their big inheritance.

So who's fault is it?

So, here's the truth. It's actually not their fault 100%. While some children in the same backgrounds actually go on to be very successful in their own right, many do not. And it is the one's that do not, that have the toughest time in life.

They go from job or idea to idea. They drink a little too much or take drugs. They don't want to be left out when everyone's having fun so that means holidays, parties, shopping etc.

But what role do parents play. They want the best for their children and they feel as though they have done their best - and they have, but it's been at the expense of teaching their children what they had learned growing up by having to work for what they have achieved.

Some parents choose to send their children to University and often it's the best that money can buy, then decide that it's time for their children to make their own way, with a small helping hand. What happens here is many children thrive on this, and others resent it. Why should their life change now? How dare their parents change their lifestyle? Do they know how hard it is? It's just not fair?

If you have more than one sibling, you may compare yourself to your other siblings. Not everyone is the same, so maybe one "took the bull by the horns" and is giving it a good go, doing it by themselves. Maybe there is an opportunity to work in the family business, and they choose to do that, but once they get their they either hate the job, feel like they should be CEO in one day, or feel like it is all beneath them.

None of these things is their fault entirely, but it causes a chain reaction. Often the mother has sympathy and believe that the husband should be doing more for their children. The father plays the "bad guy" role and sets the rules. If you don't work hard (like I did), you can go make it on your own. You may find yourself fired from the family business, and left to your own devices without the money and toys you had learned to think of as your own. That is a hard pill to swallow. Resentment builds up and a sense of what you think you are entitled to because that is what they "deserve" or have had their entire life, becomes what destroys their wellbeing. They either need to see a shrink or they should to understand why their world isn't working out how they thought it should.

Many of these kids end up in rehab, usually not because they want to go to get help, but they are forced to by the family if they want to get back to the "good life".

The challenge is that this senario is not sustainable. It's soul destroying. It doesn't solve the problem. Once a child has a sense of entitlement they usually don't let go of that. Parents react in so many different ways that it is hard to tell what is the right solution to the problem, or one that is going to be sustainable.

Here's some facts:
  1. The legal system sucks! I should be able to leave my money to whoever I want. We all know that this is not the case, and if you are a child of someone rich, you are "entitled" and children know that.
  2. The legal system really sucks! Not only do children know that, you can sue for your inheritance early if one parent dies. Unbelievable!
  3. Parents have to take responsibility for how their children turn out. Period.
  4. Children of rich or well-to-do parents need to not feel entitled. You really are entitled to nothing in life. Work hard. Build the life you want to live and have a purpose.
  5. It's not your parents fault that you turned to drugs or alcohol, so stop blaming them. Find your purpose and live it.
  6. Do something meaningful with your life. Don't be afraid to start from scratch with none of the trappings you grew up with.
  7. There is a reason why many of the most successful people in the world started with nothing, and their first business was in a garage.
  8. Money should never define you. You are not better because you have money. It is not even a sign of success. Happiness is.
  9. What you want in the world, is for you to go out and get - it really depends on how much you want it.
  10. Thank your parents for being your parents and bringing you into the world. Then whatever issues they have, don't make them yours. For instance, if your parents are hot and cold with money, don't worry - you can choose to not take it from them and make your own. Or if they give one sibling more than the other, don't worry, if you really want it, you can make it yourself. If one sibling is the favorite, think positively of that sibling. There is obviously something about them, and it may be as simple as being first born, that resonates with your parents. That is life. It doesn't define you and shouldn't make you jealous. It should inspire you that your sibling is your sibling and you love them regardless.
Too much meaning goes out of life with money. There is nothing that money can buy that will define you. If you were an asshole before you had money, you will be a bigger asshole with it. If you were kind and thoughtful before you had money, you will be kinder and more thoughtful after.

If you have gone too far down this road, have that conversation with your children, or if you are the child, with your parents. Take time out to work out how you can have solution to the problem. Life is short. Don't live without purpose. Give life your best shot. You are beautiful in your very own way - let that shine through.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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