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Our Entitlement Epidemic Spans From School To Workplace

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TEENAGER ARGUING
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There's a viral video going around these days by a father named Tommy Jordan. The video has received over 40 million views and almost 500,000 likes. In it, Mr. Jordan reads a hostile Facebook post by his 15-year-old daughter and then responds to it, culminating with him putting eight shots from his .45 mm handgun into his daughter's laptop. A pretty dramatic display of tough love, if ever there was one!

While I'm not a fan of handguns (or, for that matter, any other type of weaponry), I do appreciate some of the things Mr. Jordan had to say with regard to his overly entitled teenager and her Facebook diatribe against her parents. Mr. Jordan was appalled by his daughter's spoiled, selfish online rant, and presented her with a very public consequence.

One of the subjects that I like to write and speak about is the way our society has become overly permissive. Examples of this are when parents barely discipline their children and instead overindulge them; when teachers aren't allowed (by their boards) to discipline students and must pass them even when the students haven't done the work or learned the requisite skills; and when bosses fail to deal with chronic laziness, ethical lapses, absenteeism, presenteeism and other unacceptable workplace behaviours.

This overly permissive approach leads, in all of the above cases, to a sense of over-importance and over-entitlement in the children, students and employees on the receiving end of a too-lenient, overly indulgent approach.

Sadly it always creates a lose-lose situation, with children becoming mouthy, obnoxious, rebellious and defiant. Students never end up developing proper learning strategies, and often graduate from high school or college barely literate or numerate. Workers fail to achieve their goals, are unable to feel pride in their accomplishments and let down the company that employs them.

There are many reasons why people are overly permissive. Some parents think that it's "more loving" to be less strict with their children, not realizing that they're creating spoiled brats with deficient social intelligence in the process.

Teachers at all levels are currently being pushed hard by their principals, deans and superintendents to back off from disciplining their students or from holding them back if they fail. At the grade school level, there's a wrong-headed approach that sees appropriate discipline and consequences as somehow damaging to the child's self-esteem.

The truth is that children develop self-worth and self-confidence by experiencing limits and by learning to associate specific actions with certain types of outcomes.

At the high school level, principals and superintendents are being pressured by misinformed, over-protective parents who incorrectly believe that teens shouldn't have to receive appropriate consequences for failing to do their work or for acting out in class. Sadly, these teens enter university without the academic or social skills needed to succeed in adult life.

In the workplace, bosses are either overworked, poor managers, or blind to the dysfunction in their environment. The overworked boss is too distracted to notice the poor performance of their employees until it's too late; the poor managers can't be bothered to deal with overly entitled, self-important employees, or they're bullied by the parents of their young staff who see fit to come into their adult child's workplace and demand special dispensations on behalf of their child.

The unconscious managers are those who tend to have their own issues with social intelligence, and a propensity to hire people who are like them or don't post a threat to their authority. This results in a dysfunctional workplace, where the manager has no idea of what's really going on and where one or two individuals are doing all the work, and the rest are being paid to sit around and surf the net.

Unfortunately, whether at home, at school or at work, over-entitlement leads to selfish, insensitive, lazy, even defiant behaviour. Children, students and workers who are coddled and treated too permissively tend to aggravate their siblings, fellow students and colleagues, and are far less productive than they're capable of being.

At home, parents can't understand why their children are insolent, talk back to adults, fight excessively with their siblings and refuse to do the bare minimum of chores, while expecting everything to be handed to them on a silver platter.

At school, teachers throw up their arms in frustration when their students can't perform the simplest tasks associated with their age or grade. At work, higher-ups can't understand why productivity is so poor and profits are so much lower than expected.

The answer is very simple. We need to go back to a simple, yet effective way of dealing with children, students and workers. We must raise our expectations of them, let them know what we want from them and what's not permitted, and we must dole out the appropriate consequences for insubordination or for failure to achieve the expected goals.

If we start doing this, we'll see happily obedient, securely attached children who cooperate with their parents and siblings and who have a good sense of personal responsibility, confidence and self-worth; we'll see students who excel at their studies and who are set up for success and fulfillment in their adult lives, and we'll see workers who take pride in their roles, who achieve the majority of their goals, and who continually strive for excellence, which then creates success for their employers.

Mr. Jordan seems like a fairly level-headed father, and certainly not someone who has been spoiling his children. I imagine that his daughter has been affected by other influences, possibly including her peers, her school environment and social media. Her bad attitude is something her father -- and apparently her mother as well -- will not tolerate.

Again, while I'm not in favour of Mr. Jordan's methods -- I can think of other, less violent ways to disable a laptop -- I do approve of his firm stance toward his daughter. She may not realize it right now, and may in fact be pretty angry at him, but what's he's done is the most loving thing he could do, and is setting up his daughter for the happiness and success that he truly wants her to have and that she absolutely deserves.

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