Is entitlement due to decreased discipline?

Over the past few years, there has slowly been an increasing awareness of  a pervading sense of entitlement in the millennial generation and younger. Our increased emphasis on children’s rights seems to have bred a generation that assumes that their rights are more important than anything and anybody else.

However, they don’t seem to understand just what those rights are.

This video that has been doing the rounds speaks to this issue perfectly.

The child concerned had been educated in their “rights” by their peers at school. There was no thought that their own behaviour was not appropriate. That their mother has rights too; one of which is to use appropriate physical discipline with their child.

The part that I really like about this video is that the policeman supports the mother.

In reality, this rarely seems to be the case.

Too often, the mother would have been reamed out by the police in front of the child, totally undermining her authority as a parent. It’s more likely that child services would have been called in and the parent required to undergo invasive interviews, parent classes and extended monitoring and random checks for a prolonged period of time.

You think that I’m exaggerating?

A friend of mine has a teenage son who seriously violated her rules and expectations of his behaviour. As a consequence, she confiscated his video game machine for a set period of time. A consequence that the pair had agreed beforehand for such infractions. Regardless, the teen was angry and called the police to report the game machine as stolen. The police came and insisted that the mother did not have the right to confiscate the machine as she had given it to him as a gift, for the previous Christmas. They made her give it back to him.

She no longer had any authority in her home. She had no way left to discipline. How do you send a teenager that’s bigger than you to his room when he refuses to go? How do you ground him when he can just walk out the door?

Why is it OK for children to hit and push their parents but as soon as the parent touches a child in any way it’s called abuse?

Another situation that I know of – a female child, physically much stronger but a pre-teen at the time attempted to push their mother down a flight of stairs. The mother trained in mental health and as a children’s youth worker placed the child in a controlled hold until the child calmed down. After which they calmly talked through what had happened and worked through what had caused the child to be violent, to begin with. A few days later child services were at the home because the child had reported the mother. The mother was found at fault for using physical force to control the child. When she asked what else she was meant to have done, she was informed that she should never have allowed the child to get violent, to begin with. This child had gone from zero to a hundred in a split second and the mother had seriously feared for her own safety. Regardless, she was at fault. The mother was black and blue from the child’s assault on her and the child was completely unharmed.

I know of many other situations with children who are physically abusive to their parents safe in the knowledge that if the parent even simply restrains them that they can call ‘abuse’ on them. As a result, many parents have become “hands off” to the extent that they literally no longer engage in their children’s lives.

They don’t touch them – they don’t engage at all.

The child doesn’t feel like going to school, they leave them home in bed.

The child doesn’t want to go to bed at night, fine.

They let them come and go as they please.

They don’t want to dress appropriately, not only do they allow them to dress inappropriately they pay for the clothes for them to do so.

I totally agree that children have a right to live a life free of abuse, safe and cared for.

However, their parents have rights too. They have the rights to parent, to discipline, to consequence, to teach. They have the right to be treated humanely themselves and to not live in fear of either their child or what could happen to them if their child makes false accusations. It’s incredibly difficult to prove a negative.

So as parents no longer have any rights. They can’t discipline or consequence their child without living in fear we are raising a generation with a huge sense of entitlement.

Which, perhaps would be alright if that generation was healthy and productive. However, all the evidence is that what we’re getting is a generation with increased anxiety and depression and a decreased work ethic.

Today’s teenagers are far more likely to have mental health issues than they were in the past, and much less likely to be working. 

As a result, more and more teens are forming a generation that will never work. They are refusing to attend school, they become disabled with mental health issues and are on disability before, and often without, graduating high school. They feel entitled to living a life where their parents, and the tax payers, are to pay for everything for them. They then have the audacity to complain. They expect to have the latest cell phone, the latest technology, extensive holidays, costly medications, therapy and incredibly expensive service dogs just because they exist.


They don’t feel the need to do the best that they can, to find anyway to work, to give back to society. Even to volunteer. To help at home.

Now I’m quite sure that some of these teens do genuinely have a mental health concern. However, I also feel that many of them really just need discipline, routine, structure and expectations of them for their behaviour. That even those with valid mental health concerns would do better with such a lifestyle.

Think about it. If you are committed to a mental health institution how do they take care of you? Strict routine, structure, consequences, discipline and expectations of your behaviour.

Isn’t it interesting how much better people, of all ages, do in such settings?

So the next time you come across this sense of entitlement think about what you’re doing in your own home, life and family to prevent it. What are you doing to teach others that everybody has rights, not just those who can cry the loudest and get the attention or can make the most threats?


It’s time to rethink discipline. I don’t personally think that the belt would be appropriate and I don’t think that a child should be spanked in anger. However, I do feel that children know the difference between a swat on the butt as a consequence for lying and punching somebody in anger.

Yes, there are lots of other consequences and disciplines that can, and should be used as alternatives to spanking. However, I also know that for some children nothing else is effective and that for others, some of those socially acceptable disciplines are far more damaging than that swat would ever have been.

It’s time to rethink parental authority and to give parents back their rights for respect in their own home.

Children’s rights should not be at the expense of others. Children’s rights are meant to be about protecting them from abuse not about removing all authority and respect from parents. Regardless, that is what we have achieved.

When will we remember that all humans have rights, regardless of their age?

That nobody, should live in fear?

It’s time to rethink how we empower children without undermining the good parents, who simply want to teach their child to be a productive, healthy member of society.



One thought on “Is entitlement due to decreased discipline?”

  1. Those are some very disturbing stories. I do notice this with some teens as well. It stems from a system that has let these teens down. When I was at a teacher/parent conference a couple years ago. We were just standing around and talking. The conversation came to failing a child. The teacher told us they are not allowed to fail a child or threaten fail a child. Then you have these student’s that can call 911 and report their parents. The current system needs to be changed.

Leave a Reply