What classifies a Millennial?
For those of you who don’t know, I am 29 years old, born in 1990, making me a millennial mom. You are considered a millennial if you were born between 1981 and 1996. You are considered a post millennial if you were born between 1997 – present. Ugh. I absolutely HATE being classified as a millennial mom. It comes with a certain judgment that does not define who I am at all. When you hear the word millennial what words do you think of? I actually should do a poll on this. I guarantee the majority of people think of things that are far from positive responses.
When I think of millennials I think of laziness, entitlement, lack of work ethic, and the “me” attitude. So you can understand why I hate falling into the millennial classification. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all millennials are this way. I’m considered a millennial mom, yet I work hard for what I want to accomplish and don’t feel I should be given any hand outs. There are plenty of millennials who don’t fit the stereotype.
Then & Now
I’m not sure if it was my upbringing or maybe playing sports all my life. I have noticed a STARK difference between how children behaved when I was young, verses how they behave today. Now that I have children myself, I can see the entitlement of other children creeping in around my children. PUMP THE BREAKS! NOT TODAY!NOT MY CHILDREN! Part of the reason millennials, millennial moms, and post millennials get a bad rap is because of parenting. Hear me out on this one.
Children today literally are handed everything to them. By who? Parents. Again, I am not saying every parent is this way, I definitely am not. However, from what I have seen, parents feel like they constantly have to give their children everything they want. YOU DO NOT! Since when do you get anywhere in life by having things handed to you? Getting somewhere takes hard work, it takes effort, it takes determination. You can create entitlement in your child by giving them everything they want. I know you probably think you are doing right by them, but trust me you are creating a MONSTER.
I will never forget some of the things I saw during Michael’s most recent T-ball season. Yes, it’s “just” T-ball, the kids are only 4-6 years old. Well, I don’t care. Maybe I am a hard critic but there is no reason at that age some of the behaviors these children displayed should have happened. Again, no judgement. I think people believe they are doing their child a favor by accepting bad behavior. I get it. Sometimes it seems easier, but in the long run it’s a catastrophic mistake. There is no reason your child should be throwing a fit on the field without any consequence given in response. Sure, children will throw fits. That is where we, as parents, need to give them a consequence. If children think they can get what they want by throwing fits what do you think that will cultivate to?
The secret of success
Another thing I noticed, is that children and even older millennials around my age, expect things to just fall into their lap. When has that ever happened to anyone? All of the successful athletes, business owners, self made millionaires, got to the top because they WORKED FOR IT. I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard children say, “I want to be in the NBA.” Yet they spend more time on video games and watching youtube than picking up a ball and practicing. They are the same kids who show up late to practice, or miss practice without a good reason. Yet their parents will be the first ones to complain to their coach about playing time.
Why do children think that things will just fall into their lap? It has to start with the parents. Are you doing too much for them? Are you giving them a false sense of accomplishment? We are all guilty of it at times. There are times I give Michael something because it’s just easier to give in. I have realized though, that I am doing him a disservice. Loving your children sometimes means giving them tough love. Being in your child’s corner really means doing the tough stuff. Saying no. Making them realize they need to WORK for what they want. Giving them constructive criticism. They aren’t always going to be doing amazing things. They are going to fail – if you let them. We as parents, need to tell them when they need to work harder.
Showing up vs. Putting out
My husband and I have talked about this topic a lot. Things today aren’t like they were when we were kids. Instead of kids having to work hard to receive a medal or trophy, every child gets one just because they showed up. I’m sorry, I am so confused. Do I get a paycheck for work just because I walked in the door? What are we teaching our children with this kind of mentality? Participating and showing up is bare minimum. What are we instilling in them to help them seek excellence? What motivation are we giving them to be the best they can be if we just hand awards out to everyone? Could you imagine if they did this at the ESPYS or the Oscars? There would be no need to even have ceremonies at all then.
We are giving our children such a false sense of what the real world is like outside of our home. Part of that is normal. We want to protect them. We love them so we want to do everything we can for them. But we need to realize when we are doing too much. The world they walk into when they are 18 is not going to care what participation award your child received. They are going to expect them to work and work hard. And if they don’t they won’t hesitate to replace them with someone who will. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz thinks.
Wants vs. Needs
Let me give you an example. Michael came home from school the other day and kept telling me he wanted a lunch box. Okay. Not such an unreasonable request from a 4 year old in preschool. I asked him why he wanted one since he doesn’t actually need one (he receives breakfast & lunch at his school – eliminating the need for a lunch box). He told me he wanted one because his friend had one. I tried to explain to him that his friend has one because he packs his lunch, while Michael receives lunch at the school. His response? “But mommy I still want one!” I explained to Michael that there is a difference between wanting something and needing something. Of course, a fit of tears pursued and I was mean mommy for the day. I DO NOT CARE. I’ll take mean mom over millennial mom any day. He’ll get over it.
You can think I am a mean mom if you want to, but I will not be the millennial mom that buys unnecessary things for my child just so he can be like someone else. For one, I don’t want my son to be like everyone else! Be different! Be the kid without a damn lunch box! I mean seriously, I brown bagged my lunch as a kid! I refuse to give my children things “for show”. If they are necessary that is a totally different story. This lunch box was not. He still asks me about it. I gotta give it to him, he is very persistent. But my answer still is no. It is our job as parents to raise children without the expectation that everything will be handed to them.
Do the hard stuff now
Raise them to work for what they want, to be respectful, to understand that earning takes hard work. Today’s world is so centered around giving everyone everything. Making everyone “feel” accomplished. Stepping on egg shells so we don’t offend anyone. How about everyone actually do something to be accomplished? Is that such a novel idea? Stop worrying about hurting your kids feelings. Your their parent! If you are doing your job your child is going to hate you more than a few times during their 18 years of life. Trust me there will be days you feel you are failing. Just hang in there. It is worth it in the long run.
As parents we have such a huge roll in our children’s lives. Do the hard things now, trust me they will benefit your child in the long run. Don’t buy them that candy bar they have been screaming for in target. I know its tempting, but for the love of god NO! PUT THE CANDY BAR DOWN. When your child comes to you complaining about playing time in their sport, instead of rushing to their aid and calling their coach first look at the effort they put in. Have they been practicing? Have they been working on the areas they need to improve? If the answer to all those questions is yes have them ask their coach. Make them learn that they have a voice and they should use it. You cannot speak for them forever.
Please, love your children enough to teach them the hard lessons. The ones they remember. The ones that shape them into hardworking, successful human beings, who want to work hard to make a difference. Help them learn that to live outside the millennial stereotype they need to hustle, they need to work for what they want. Raise them to be amazing human beings not entitled assholes!
Sincerely a not so millennial mom