Some experts have labeled the youth of today as the "entitled generation". Many teens today have become accustomed to getting what they want immediately. Delaying gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward. Many teens today have a desire for nice things, but they don’t want to work hard for the money to obtain nice things. Too many struggle with entitlement believing that they “deserve it” or “they are owed it”.
“Compared to previous generations, recent high-school graduates are more likely to want lots of money and nice things but less likely to say they’re willing to work hard to earn them,” according to the author of a recent study on the topic of entitlement among the rising generation. “That type of ‘fantasy gap’ is consistent with other studies showing a generational increase in narcissism and entitlement.”
A prime example of this is the number of elementary aged and middle school youth who have their own smart phones, but do absolutely nothing to earn the privilege of the device. Those few kids who don’t have a smart phone, feel deprived and many attempt to convince their parents of this. The pressures in middle school only get worse in high school as kids no longer simply ask for a cell phone, but for a car, a personal laptop and spending cash at will. Teen entitlement and inability to delay gratification are major problems in today’s culture.
Parents don't do their teens any favors when they reward an entitlement mentality in the home. When parents provide their children with unwarranted reinforcement, they stagnate their children’s coping capacity for handling the future realities of what it takes to be a successful young adult. Recent studies show that this new "entitled generation" display high rates of mental health problems, loneliness, isolation and failure in their young marriages.
Family Bootcamp is the ideal intervention for assisting parents to eliminate the entitlement mentality from their teens and provide teens with a first-hand experience in delaying gratification. Upon arriving at the Family Bootcamp offices, the ceremonial “trade” happens where the teen hands over his/her smart phone and other hand held digital devices, and its place is given a stainless steel cooking pot which will be used for cooking meals on a camp fire for the next five days while the teen experiences life unplugged from technology and learning to survive in the high desert of Utah. Those five days allow the teen to explore who he/she outside of their technology, friends and other material items for which they had previously developed a sense of entitlement. Without these dependencies to hide behind, teens have to face who they really are, which sometimes can be an uncomfortable realization.