Hollywood College Admissions Scandal and the Rise of Entitlement

Students secretly passing a note to each other

This week’s shocking news of federal charges raining down on celebrity parents and others in a massive college admissions scandal left many people (and certainly parents) shocked and incredulous.

While there is a legitimate reason for shock and awe – this extreme “parenting” as some might call it, puts a spotlight on behavior that has its roots in small, blurred parenting lines.

As parents, we want the best for our kids. But when wanting what’s best for our kids pushes us to take drastic and unethical actions, it makes me wonder–are we REALLY doing what’s best for our kids?

Think about it. Little things like asking for special favors and consideration–from a teacher, coach, director, or anyone in authority when your child has clearly not put in the time, effort, or inclination–is a rung on that blurred parenting ladder.

How Blurred Parenting Lines Can Hurt Our Kids

Showering a teacher with gifts in hopes of raising a grade.  Sponsoring soccer jerseys for a team so your kid gets to be a front-and-center player. All the way up to bribing your child’s way into an ivy league school to an inflated SAT score.

When we take action that circumvents our children’s ability to earn things on their own–we rob them of valuable life lessons they will surely pay for later.   

Now, I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t show appreciation to teachers and coaches and the extraordinary people who play a positive role in our kids’ lives. Far from it. But, when we cross that integrity line, we tarnish the positive impact these adults have and diminish their value. We undermine their authority, influence, and role in our kids’ lives.

So, how do we “cost” our kids when we cross those lines?  Sadly, we inadvertently sow the seeds of entitlement.  

Every parent knows the feeling of wanting the best for our kids. We want to protect them. To help them. To improve their odds. Hedge their bets and afford them a head’s start. Because we love them so much, we want them to succeed in life, often faster and better than we imagine.

But, even if we’re not fixing SAT exams or falsifying sporting credentials, by intervening on our kids’ behalf, we enable entitled behavior. In doing so, we cheat more than the “system”–we cheat our kids.

How Protection From Failure Breeds Entitlement

Children–from toddler to teens–need to learn cause and effect. They need to fail sometimes – and learn the lessons that come from that. When we allow kids to experience failure, they learn resilience, internal motivation, humility, and the value of effort. Those life lessons will prepare them to have healthier relationships, succeed on their own accord, and lead more purposeful lives.

When kids don’t get to experience real-life failure? Well, there is tremendous evidence to support that they develop an attitude of entitlement.

They begin to expect a head’s start, a treat during every trip to the store, a better grade, a bigger and fancier birthday party, and yes–even enormous headway when it comes to their entry into adulthood. (Internships and first jobs, anyone??)

In turn, they learn to not try. To never rise to their potential. They learn they don’t have to work hard for what they want because someone else is pulling strings in the background.

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That’s not what we want for our kids, right?

If you’re like most parents, you want to raise capable, grateful, and respectful children. But to do that, it means you must help your kids face failure when the time comes.

Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers. But, if we prevent our children from the temporary pain associated with it, we prevent them from learning the life-long lessons failure can teach.

Blurred parenting lines start in small, seemingly innocent ways. The great news is we have the power to raise un-entitled kids with tremendous potential and unwavering gratitude and grace. And the steps to help you do that are way simpler than you may think.

Blurred Parenting Lines Start in Small Seemingly Innocent Ways
For years, parents have been lamenting the effects of entitlement on children–“Kids just don’t know how lucky they are these days” or “Everyone gets a trophy now” or “Kids have lost the value of hard work.” 

I know how difficult it can be to raise grateful children in today’s world, but I want parents to know IT IS POSSIBLE. That’s just one reason why I wrote this little book, The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World. If you’re at a loss for how to teach kids personal responsibility, resilience, and gratitude in our over-indulgent culture, I’d love for you to get your hands on it. 

Final Thoughts

One last thought…there are many stories in the news we don’t necessarily want to share with our kids.  But as a parenting coach, I encourage you to use this story as an opportunity to prompt conversations about goals and hard work.  About creating plans and seeing them through. And, about the gift of failure.  

If our kids learn to view each setback as an opportunity to build resilience and to bounce back even stronger than before, we’ll raise a generation of un-entitled young people who will change the world.

Trust me, it’s not too late. If you feel a sense of entitlement brewing in your children, I’d love for you to JOIN ME FOR A FREE ONLINE CLASS.

I’ll teach you how to get your kids to listen–no nagging, yelling, or reminding required.

Here’s to the next generation!

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About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions® and the best-selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on The Doctors, CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.