Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Entitlement issues versus cell phone removal from the anus...

I haven't posted about this subject in quite some time, but I feel it's probably time again.

I continue to be shocked by the entitlement issues our adopted kids have.

The kids have been home for a little over a year and a half. They came from basically nothing. They were hungry. They came to us with the too small, unmatched clothes on their backs and that's it. And they were thrilled to have been adopted... for about a week.

Fast forward 18 months... Josh is so obsessed his computer, his video games, and with his cell phone, it makes me ill. I don't even think his obsession would bother me so much, if he wasn't so hateful about it when he doesn't get what he wants.

I know. I know. Why did I even buy the stupid cell phone? I'm asking myself that same question. If you've ever been to Ethiopia, you will know what I mean by this... Most Ethiopians have nicer cell phones than I do. Josh has begged for a phone since he arrived on US soil. The minute he arrived on US soil.

We finally gave in for his birthday this year, and that was basically because of all these soccer practices which change locations and times constantly. Basically, him having a cell phone enables me to leave him at practice without having to wait around until he's done without worrying about his safety.

He has a perfectly nice phone.
Every single day, he starts in, begging for a nicer one.
He has a computer.
He has a huge TV in his room.
He has a playstation 2 on that huge TV.
He is on a very expensive traveling club soccer team which I work a 2nd job to pay for.
Let's not forget he also has clothes, shelter, food, and a loving family...

And today...
Today when I told him he needed to leave the phone with me and go outside to ride his bike... my how the tables changed for us. I not only got the Ethiopian pout, but absolute and outright anger. Refusal to make eye contact. Refusal to come upstairs. Then he went and got in the car by himself to wait until it was time to go.

How dare I?

Luckily, Jeff was here to witness it! Halleuluia. It's usually just me being disagreeable or whatever... But he got to see it first hand.

I am utterly amazed at the sense of entitlement of these children.

I never bought into the idea that they would be grateful to have been adopted. Grateful to have a home, clothes, food... but this is something I really did not expect.

Although their past experiences influence this behavior, I can't think that I have no one to blame but myself.

I started looking at the issues of entitlement and found these "Highs and Lows of Entitlement," according to the authors of love and logic.

In an effort to make up for all the bad things that have happened to them in their short lives, we have encouraged, although subconsciously, some really bad behaviors.

I'm not saying that kids who were born and raised in their original families right here in the good ole USA don't have entitlement issues as well because clearly this is a problem ALL kids are struggling with these days.


The Highs and Lows of Entitlement according to the authors of Love and Logic.

HIGH: High need for goods and services.
LOW: Low pressure to succeed or to hold down jobs.

HIGH: High amount of time to party.
LOW: Low amount of time to devote to effort toward accomplishment.

HIGH: High expectations of others.
LOW: Low ambition.

HIGH: High resentment for those who would require them to achieve through study and effort.
LOW: Low appreciation for the opportunity for an education.

HIGH: High demand for entertainment and excitement.
LOW: Low awareness of the sacrifices made by their parents.

HIGH: High willingness to defy society's traditional rules and values.
LOW: Low respect for adults and leaders.

HIGH: High inclination to find substitute "highs" such as alcohol and drugs.
LOW: Low respect for society's traditional rules.

So that being said, what do we do about it?

How do we nip this in the bud before it escalates to ... ahem ... a surgical procedure to remove that cell phone from someone's anus...
Well number one, Josh is not getting a new cell phone. His 6 month old phone will just have to do for now.
He will also be hanging it up and having a limit on his text messages as well as his facebook time.
The computer is coming upstairs.
Our kids will be going through their stuff and picking nice things to give away to those who don't have anything.
Our kids will be re-evaluating the words want and need.
Our kids will be learning to volunteer to do things for others, and when I say volunteer, I mean without being paid for it.
Our kids will be learning that the world doesn't owe them anything. They owe the world.

Wow. Did you ever notice that these gritchy posts always come immediately following a long night at work followed by a long homeschool day and no sleep?

Thanks for listening...
And wish us good luck in reversing these poor behaviors and hopefully promoting some positive ones.


SisterMom said...

Oh Gina, you just summed up my life in this post! Not a day goes by without Jackson wanting something. I picked him up from tutoring at 8 PM tonight--he asked if we could "stop by" somewhere and I get him a new video game. Its over and over and they don't ever let up for a minute, do they?
I actually wouldn't mind attempting this in tandem with you, that way when they talk to each other and complain neither one gets very far with it! Let me know your plans and I will implement some of these as well!

Julie said...

I so hear you! They don't understand why they don't have every single thing their siblings have - the amount of clothes, amount of toys, etc.

When school started this year we instituted a NO ELECTRONICS rule Mon-Thurs. No TV, no computer (unless its school research), no Wii, etc. It met with some resistance at first but they've become much more accustomed to it. Then on the weekends they have a time limit on the electronics (that they can choose how they spend).

One of the blogs I read had a really great post about her teens cell phone use. Tried to find it, but couldn't. But basically at dinner time her kids cell phones got put in the kitchen to charge w/ the ringer off and they were not allowed to use them at home during the evenings. There were some other guidelines I thought were great too.

Of course all my kids repeatedly hear from me (after telling me about something they want)..."Well, how much money do you have? Well, I guess you'll have to save up." They get some allowance but it is not outrageous $10-20 per month depending on what we've accomplished that month. Plus birthday money etc. Wen was kind of a saver from the beginning. I think it's finally starting to sink in for Beza that she doesn't have to spend money just because it's in her pocket.

Larsons said...

I WANT! ME! ME! I do not agree with Josh. Thats as far as I go. Sounds like a Control issue. You do not OWE THEM. Their EXPECTATION CAN NOT MASTER THEIR LIVES. Boundary is ok. Let them pout walk off. Convicts want everything too. Tolerance, bargaining. mom Use time productively. Amen Sorry mom

Lisadiana said...

I love the "Love and Logic" program!!! We didn't realize it but we were raising a 5 year old Entitlement Issue. I love my son so much that I was SPOILING him so that he would never be able to be happy and hold down a job. Once we adopted our two other darlings we realized what we were doing. Love and Logic has helped us change so much of our children's behavior while keeping our sanity.

And if loved one son wants to get a ride to soccer, well he better change his attitude to loving or that car he sat in for a few hours may never leave the driveway! Love and Logic!

Laurel said...

Let us know how it goes.

My kids (after being home almost 18 months) also have entitlement issues. And, the older brother is much worse than the younger sisters. However, we have not given him any of the things that he thinks he needs. He didn't get a cell phone or a computer when he got home (even though he told us he wanted those things before he even came home).

None of our bio. kids get those things either, until they can pay for them themselves. So, he learned really quickly that he wasn't going to get things that his bio. siblings didn't have.

Sounds like you need to set some real limits on the useage of the computer, cell phone, and play station ... and set up serious consequences when a bad attitude follows the setting of limits.

Walking this tough road right with you.

mama of 13