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Dear Parents of America

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Last spring I took a trip to Florida. In order to prepare for the trip I downloaded five movies and close to a hundred new songs on my iPod. In case that died, I brought along my dad’s Playstation Portable as backup. My old Gameboy served as the last line of defense before complete boredom set in. I didn’t make it to the car before my headphones had already drowned out the world around me.

It wasn’t until our bags were checked that I slipped my iPod back into my bag. My father and I took a shot at conversing but our talk lasted no longer than thirty seoncds. Neither of us had anything to talk about. He returned to checking his emails and I continued to text my friends as we sat down to wait for our flight.

I had just begun my first movie when I was rudely interrupted by what looked to be an eight or nine year old boy who was arguing with his mom about an iPad. Although the mother wanted to listen to music, the boy felt entitled to play Angry Birds. Guess who won? The mom only shook her head as she handed the iPad over. I rolled my eyes in disbelief as I spotted a phone on his lap as well. No wonder, the kid must be spoiled out of his mind I thought. I turned my head around and scanned the room. I didn’t see a kid over the age of eight who didn’t have an electronic device at hand.

It’s become the usual for teens as well as young children to have iPods and phones. The other day I saw my friend’s brother holding an iPad. I tried to make conversation with the kid by saying I wished I had one of those. I expected him to explain the iPad belonged to his mom or one of his older brothers, but he just laughed and called me a loser. I discovered both he and his twin brother each have one. They’re six years old.

The children of America are spoiled rotten. It’s not enough for them to just have iPods, phones, and Xboxes. They expect unlimited texting and the right to play games rated “mature,” too. What happens when kids don’t get what they want? A temper tantrum. Kids everywhere throw tantrums, sure, but only in America can kids cuss out their parents. The outbursts don’t all have to be kicking and screaming. The results can range from any number of things from refusing to do homework up to breaking a phone in order to prove a point. Oh, and by the way, the teenager who broke his phone got a new one the next day. You see what I mean? We’re just given what we want. As soon as the complaining sets in, the parents give in.

Our society is messed up and things are only getting worse. American children believe the world revolves around them and expect to get what they want. I read an article about spoiled kids today. One of the many examples was about an eight year old boy who was asked to take a shower or a bath. He refused multiple times while his parents begged him. Finally, the dad picked him up and took him into the bathroom. A couple minutes later the boy came out, unwashed, and walked into the next room to play Xbox.

I’m sure many parents read the story and laughed, but it doesn’t sound much different from anything I see or hear about on a daily basis. The other day I was at my friend’s house when his mom asked him to take the trash outside. He just stared at the television, but when I reminded him he just waved me off. When I left the next day, the garbage bin was sitting at the end of the driveway.

Kids no longer feel the need to do what their parents say mainly because they’re not going to be punished and the parents end up doing the task themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a parent say, “It’s not worth the argument.” So let me ask you parents of America: What is worth the argument? What’s it going to take before you do us all a favor and become a hard ass?

A poll done by CNN showed 2/3 of American parents think their children are spoiled. If you think we’re so spoiled, why don’t you do something about it. I’m tired of hearing parents complain about their children and our generation. Do you forget who’s raising us? Whose fault is this really? After all, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Our parents have trained us in the same way people train dogs. What happens when you give a puppy a piece of savory steak? He will sit at your legs during every meal expecting the same treatment, begging for more. The dog will make a cute face, give a high five, or roll over for another piece of that steak. He becomes conditioned to roll over or look charming in order to get what he wants.

You see, our elders have trained us quite well, much better than dogs. Kids happen to be more creative. All kids have our own ways of getting what we want whether we know it or not. We’re brainwashed into a routine. They try out different tricks and when one works they repeat it until it gets old. Some kids call our parents cheap because we can’t get unlimited texting. Sadly, this tactic has worked plenty of times. Teens pit other families against each other, making everything a competition for who can provide their child with the most expensive things. Little kids will cry increasingly louder to make their point. The list goes on and on but you get the picture.

I’m pretty darn well trained if I do say so myself. My book of tricks is never ending. I may be an asshole but I’m not stupid. I, too, will do what it takes to get what I need. Whenever I used to complain as a kid, my parents would always ask me the same rhetorical question, “You always have to get your way, don’t you?” Of course, I never knew how to properly respond, making my parents seemingly angrier. But nine times out of ten, I really would get my way. They just couldn’t say no for fear I would whine and cry even more.

This seems to be America’s biggest problem, not being able to say no. We are rooted in cycle between parents and their children. Think of this as a rollercoaster that never ends. No matter how sick you get, the ride refuses to stop. Kids think the world revolves around them because they’re trained to believe it. You parents think you are doing your kids a favor by not yelling or handing out a punishment. I’m sorry to burst your happy bubble, but you’re wrong.

Do you want to know why your twenty-five year old son is still living with you? It’s because you were so damned concerned about earning his approval you wouldn’t tell him to turn off the video games and go study for a test! You wonder why your kid can’t do laundry when you pick their s*** up off the floor and return it back to him in nice neat piles that they still refuse to put away. I know you want the best for your kid, but quit babying him and teach him a real lesson. It’s like what my teacher, Mrs. Decker, said educators aren’t supposed to tell kids they’re not good at something, but instead say they are not the best. No wonder American children lag behind China. It’s not because all Asians are naturally smart; it’s because American children are treated like royalty all their life.

Parents, I ask you to step up. Please. Instead of shoving an iPod into your kid’s hand so you don’t have to listen to them whine, try to fix the actual problem. Maybe even attempt to say “no” to your kid once in a while. In place of giving your kid hundreds of dollars to get a couple of A’s, God forbid you might even attempt to explain the benefits for their future or perhaps threaten a grounding or two if they don’t. Quit saying, “Children these days, what can you do?” and try out the words, “Children these days, stop what you’re doing!” Don’t let everything just slide, and please don’t let us get our way. You don’t all have to be the giving tree that just keeps on giving.

But who am I to correct you? After all, you are the adults so you must know better than a stupid kid. So go ahead and laugh now at my stupid paper. You can bet your ass I’ll be laughing when your thirty-year old son still asks for an allowance.




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