I’ve Got 99 Problems but Entitled Kids Ain’t One

It was last December…

“What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my 10-year-old.

Her answer?

“Six dollars.”

I laughed and said, “Not even seven??”

Spoiler alert: She got more than that.

But this anecdote illuminates the mentality my kiddos have come to adopt: No one owes you a thing, and be grateful for what you have.

If we go through a drive-thru, my kids tell me thank you.

Their desires are divulged as respectful requests, not presumptuous demands.

Of course, they’re not perfect. But in a world where kids receive participation trophies, how did mine end up exempt from entitlement?

  1. I still make them write thank you notes/texts
    Some argue this is an antiquated act, and perhaps that is true. Yet I can’t help but wonder if it has contributed to their overall #attitudeofgratitude.
  2. They see happiness in my hustle
    Single momming is not something you understand unless you walk it out in real life. My children have a front row seat to see my tired eyes. They have watched me put groceries back. They’re passengers if I get gas a few times a week because I don’t fill up. Despite these unavoidable moments, I will NEVER tell my kids we can’t afford something. (Words have power, and there’s a better way to communicate that anyway.) The moral of the story? They watch me work my butt off and stay buoyant no matter the budget. Demonstrating a strong work ethic and a healthy attitude often instills a silent appreciation in our kiddos for what we provide on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Joy isn’t always measured monetarily
    The happy life my kids have isn’t attributed to vacations or the latest gadget. We spend our weekends at parks, chalking, photographing downtown and finding new coffee shops. Let me be clear, there is NOTHING wrong with giving your kids the world. But don’t forget to give them their own backyard, too. Fostering an appreciation for simple experiences fills their cup faster, because enjoyment is measured by a different means.
  4. They don’t always get what they want, when they want it
    Delays are not always denials. So we talk about expectations, and I provide a timeline for when it can happen. Everything is taken into consideration, and I never belittle them for asking in the first place. “Think and ask big, but respect the timing.” 
  5. They must respect waiters/staff
    My children know better than to ever treat anyone helping them as “less than.” Being “served” is not their privilege, and I told them from a young age to always look the person in the eyes. I show my son and daughter how to tip and why it matters. We discuss the way taxes work and the reason food and gas prices have increased exponentially. The value of the dollar is understood and giving is emphasized.

It’s customary for us to overcompensate because we want better for our kids. But this is a gentle reminder that raising courteous, respectful and grateful children should be more important than lavishing them with the latest trends.

Because Please and Thank You never go out of style.

Cheers to raising good humans,


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Meredith Garrett
By day, Meredith works as a full time legal assistant at a family law firm. By night, she’s working as the owner of Marked by Meredith, helping people design their homes, plan events and style their life. When she’s not preparing pleadings or painting a statement wall, she’s adventuring around Oklahoma City with her son, Grayson (2009), and her daughter, Sutton (2011). Meredith grew up in Oklahoma City, then studied Communication and Creative Writing at the University of Tulsa. In her spare time, she’s spending time with family and friends, fueling herself with coffee and learning how to be a new Cat Mom.


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