Really and truly.
Background: I rarely get the chance to watch tv, so I end up with tons of tivo'd stuff. Right now Henry's at school and Harper's napping, so I decided to watch some backlogged Oprahs while folding laundry.
The episode I'm watching is about money mismanagement. There is a family with two kids - 18 year old daughter and 16 year old son - and the mom wrote in worried that she and her husband aren't teaching their kids money management. The kids have their own credit cards that the PARENTS pay ... the kids have no idea what the limit on these cards is, and the daughter admittedly spends about $600 a month on just clothes and shoes. This child has two Louis Vuitton bags, her mom's Cartier watch, a brand new Beetle convertible ... The parents don't want the kids to work because they say the kids' job is "school." The mom justifies it by saying, "They aren't brats. They're GOOD kids." But yet during the interview the kids were totally unbothered by dropping money at every whim, by the fact that they're handed everything. When asked if they would work, both laughed and said no. When asked why they both need new cars, the mom said it was a factor of "safety."
I was feeling physically ill watching this family. The mom was doing nothing but defend her kids, her decisions, and enabling their actions and attitude. The kids were giggling and tossing their hair, being cute. The dad was sitting there like a pansy-ass, totally unable to reign in any of them.
I'm sorry, but I managed to work 10-20 hours a week during the school year, during swim season that took no less than 15 hours a week from my schedule, and yet still got good grades (well, not as good as my mom would have liked but geez! I didn't have a whole lot of time!). I drove a car nearly as old as I was and had to learn to unflood my carburator because the car routinely died wherever I had to slow down to an idle ... stop light, intersection, yields ... but my parents' reasoning for such a car was that it was "safe" (lots of good ol' American steel surrounded me ... '76 Impalas aren't exactly "compact cars."). I was a "good kid" and yet somehow managed to do it while wearing clothes from the cheap store because I had to buy my own. Guess jeans? Gap-anything? Name-brands of any sort? Fuhgeddaboutit.
And you know, as much as I thought my life sucked when I was 16, 17, 18, I am so much the better for it now. How many 31-year-olds live in a $300,000 house and the only debt on the books is the mortgage and hubby's car, which cost less than $25K? Yeah, we've screwed things up over the years, but hopefully we've learned and the future will be mistake-less.
Marc and I were both raised without a lot. We were both raised with a work ethic. We were both raised to value education, not "stuff." And we will do the same with Henry and Harper.
I truly hope, before it's too late, that these parents realize that spoiling their children and giving them no boundaries or sense of appreciation for things is its own sort of child abuse. I can't imagine what type of people these children will grow into, or what part they will play in society. It frightens me though.