I want you to think about how many times you have heard a child or adolescent say, “You cannot take my video games” or “You cannot go through my phone, it’s mine”. We live in an entitled world where everyone, specifically children and adolescents believe that what is owed to them is not reality. There is a misconception in the eyes of a child or adolescent about what is their right and what is a privilege. A clear definition of these terms is important when we attempt to explain them to a child or adolescent and ask them to understand. What is a right?
There is a misconception in the eyes of a child or adolescent about what is their right and what is a privilege.
My definition for the term right that I use during counseling sessions is, “A basic necessity that your parents have to provide for you.” For the purpose of this discussion, a child has three rights: food, clothing, and shelter. I know there is an argument for more, such as school, love, etc, but again for the focus of this conversation we are going to keep “rights” to those three necessities. I would like to point out that nowhere in the statement “food, clothing, or shelter” did I say what kind of food or brand of clothing. A privilege, by my definition, is anything that can be earned or taken away. Privileges, for the most part are any other material items, such as a video game system (Xbox), electronics (phones, tablets), specific brands of clothing (Air Jordan), etc. I feel that kids confuse what is their right and what is a privilege. In my opinion, when children do not understand the basic difference and believe they should be given things without earning them, it leads to a false sense of entitlement. I believe when children and adolescents have a false sense of entitlement, they do not see the world in real terms. Their view of the world is, “If I want it, someone will give it to me.” Unfortunately, as we all know, that is just not the way the world functions. Teach your child and adolescent the difference between a right and privilege to help minimize the sense of entitlement in our youth.