Why do I hate living in this community, given how hard we have worked for the rewards of our life? The reason has to do with the sense of entitlement here which is limitless. Children are just given too much, too soon.
My husband and I have lived in South Florida for most of our lives. I love Florida and I love where we live but sometimes living here and raising teenagers in this affluent community comes with a cost.
I was raised in a middle class household one town over from where we currently reside. It was my dream as a little girl to live in the town I now live in. I spent many weekends at friends’ houses in this very beautiful, park-like city in Broward County. I call it “Mayberry,” a reference from the Andy Griffith show. The main street is lined with beautiful trees, crime is extremely low and Maseratis, BMWs , Range Rovers and huge SUVs are quite common.
My husband is my high school sweetheart. Our life, our family, and the companies that we have owned really do represent our attainment of the American Dream. I was still in college when we were newlyweds. I remember how hard it was for us to come up with money for my graduate school tuition, saving a little bit of money each week from my very small paycheck from my job at a non-profit Catholic agency and stuffing it inside my teddy bear for safe-keeping.
I was only 23 years old, tuition was due and my options were limited. So I went to the university I was attending and spoke to a financial aid representative. Any person walking by that office that day would’ve thought that I had won the lottery when they informed me that I could pay half of the tuition then and half in 30 days…and that is how I got through graduate school, graduating on time with my Masters in Education.
I am very blessed and grateful for my life and for how far both my husband and I have come in this world. He is a self-made, successful businessman who has owned several companies in his life. There have been many financial struggles along the way; some of which I truly would love to forget. However, we’ve learned how to be happy in our life, despite our finances. These are real life lessons.
So you might be asking why I would hate living in this community, given how hard we have worked for the rewards of our life. The reason has to do with the sense of entitlement here which is limitless. Children are just given too much, too soon.
My child wants to know why she’s not getting a car for her sixteenth birthday? Why does she have to use her babysitting money to pay for some of her incidentals like makeup and nail polish? Another in the laundry list of questions is why am I not throwing her a huge sweet sixteen party? Her requests don’t end and, in her defense, why should they? This is the community that she has lived in since she was two-years-old. She knows nothing else. Huge themed parties for any occasion, religious or social are commonplace around town.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem spoiling my children. I spoil them with beautiful trips and a fully paid undergraduate education. Both of my girls have four years of college paid through the Florida Prepaid Program as long as they stay in-state for their undergraduate degree. And yes, this was a problem for my oldest and we had a lengthy conversation a few years ago about why we chose this plan. Both children have their own passports that are stamped every year. Being exposed to culture is a gift in itself.
However, I really believe in values and work ethic. Working for good grades is extremely important. Looking back, those hard years taught me a lot about myself and who I am today. As I tell my oldest over and over, it takes grit, motivation and resilience to be successful in this world. How can you develop these traits if you do not have the opportunity to work on them? Life should not be handed to anyone on a silver platter.
I’ve lived long enough in this world to understand that children with a sense of entitlement, who receive too much from their parents, are often not the happiest adults. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon one too many times. So, I guess I’ll be the “mean” mom for a while longer and I’ll allow my child to be unhappy with me for now so that she can be happy for the rest of her adult life.
Maybe one day she will visit me in Boca Raton, where all the other retirees move, and tell me that I was right all along.
Laura Bartlett lives in Parkland, Florida with her husband and two daughters (both growing not flown). She works as an insurance agent alongside her husband of 21 years. She earned a Master’s degree in Counselor Education from Florida Atlantic University and can be found on Facebook.