Each generation has its own idea of my share entitlements and its childhood memories. We refer to those entitlements and childhood days differently depending on our age and the generation we belong to or grew up in. That means, what one person may consider necessary or appropriate may differ from another person’s considerations.
Each generation comes with change in the way people perceive, behave, interact or react. Some of this change is good and necessary while some of it may be perceived as having fallen short of beneficial or acceptable levels by majority. Like any other generation, the current Generation Y is made up of dynamic developments, leaders and trends that dominate the world today. What one person holds as my fair share entitlement may be viewed by another to be a gift, and that need to be appreciated. To have a clear view of what a child expects of the world, we must consider children in the past so we can look at the future. We need to understand how they were brought up in terms of behaviour and way of thinking. The answer to this largely depends on the era we would be looking at. We explore the changes in children’s expectations and perception of their entitlements over the years.
Children in the 1900’s (1900 to 50's)
Children who were born during this time understood that this time was a tough one. Enjoying a good time meant family time, dancing or reading, there was scarcity of money. Once in a while a movie was added to the mix. Children then did not have a wide range of toys and other items to choose from. When they got a gift, they really appreciated and treasured it and did not see it as ‘my fair share of entitlement’. They had no idea of when another gift might come their way. In these years, children learnt to respect elders; questioning authority was unheard of. If a child got a dollar during Christmas, they truly felt fortunate; nuts and fruits would be the big items to be found in their stocks.
Children in the 1960's
This marked a time for real change in terms of children’s expectations. Interestingly, children did not place demands for things but they got more than those who came ahead of them. There would get upset and go silent for respect to authority if they did not get what they felt was ‘my fair share of entitlement’. Even though these children got more than they asked for, they were expected to perform certain chores on a daily basis. The fact that they formed part of a family; they were expected to actively participate in fulfilling responsibilities associated with their role. Along with those chores were allowances paid either monthly or weekly. The purpose was to enable them develop a sense of independence hence children began to learn how to earn money for things that they desired. Around 60’s came the second women liberation wave. This time saw roles being questions, independence being lifted and attitudes being changes. As time went by, children began doing more and growing more without their parents. The drawback to this development was children experimented more and got away without their parent’s noticing it.
Children in the 70's and 80's
This period was extremely dramatic in terms of change coming to the families. This period saw the introduction of initial generation of video games, Atari and Magnavox Odyssey. Most parents were unable to reach the stores fast to gratify their children’s desire for the new gadgets. The number of days that children would perform chores reduced drastically because they no longer had to achieve any goal to get the material items they desired, in some way, it was ‘my fair share of entitlement,’ all they needed to do was to ask. As they grew up and changed, children in this era still appreciated furniture, clothes and cars. A shopping trip was an event that happened within set budgets and only occasionally. Parents expected children to move out of family house at a sensible age of between 18 and 21. Conversations regarding drugs, sex and roll-n-roll still remained low and came up only if there was a family issue.
Children in the 1990's and beyond
Everything is different from the 90’s going forward to today. Children move faster, they are well educated and tend to grow taller. Parents on the other hand are more open regarding issues that are uncomfortable. They are able to hold open conversations regarding many topics through the help of television, experts and group support. Parents also provide support to their children even when they are past the age of 18 or even 21. Also, most young people are taking longer before getting married for various reasons that range from avoiding mistakes that their parents made to not being willing to let go of their free time. In today’s world, children get opportunities to excel in creativity, learning and showmanship but also they are exposed to vices such as bad morals, negative values, sexual innuendo and violence. Children are more assertive; they openly speak their thoughts and even question their parent’s authority. With altered roles, there are children who do and say what they wish with no penalty for their actions. They know their rights; they talk of ‘my share of entitlement’ from a perspective different from other generations.
Today, children possess an attitude of ‘my fair share of entitlement’ more than any other time in the past. Some of the change that has happened over the years is helpful and good, but what is the cause of negative change that has occurred as well? The leaders, development, trend, media content as well as lack of clear goals, respect, morals and chores for the kids may be some of the drivers. Other reasons are demands on mothers to work more, parents divorcing giving rise to indiscipline and conflict as well as the fragile value system, sexual revolution and abuse.