We all know that being a parent isn’t easy. In fact, I think the US Army got it wrong. It’s actually being a parent that’s the toughest job you’ll ever love, not a military career. Generally, we have the same goal: to raise good, responsible, productive human beings who will hopefully love us and not boot us off to a nursing home when we get old. There will be some variations on that, but most of us don’t strive for raising a serial killer, anyway.
One thing that I’ve noticed through the years is an increase in entitled behavior. There’s this sense that the world owes a person something and that rules are for other people. If you’ve ever worked retail or with the public in any fashion, chances are good that you’ve noticed this, too.
Last week, I wrote a blog post about some tacky baby onesies that I would never, ever allow my children to wear. My friend Heather over at the Parenting Patch feels the same way about anything to do with princesses for her daughter. She said, “My daughter IS unique and special but I want to steer clear of the cult of princesses. Too many little princesses grow up to be entitled brats.”
She’s right. There are some bratty little girls out there who are this way because their parents taught them that they are all special little snowflakes who are above certain things in life. Whether it’s things like doing the dishes or being polite to retail workers, it can be unpleasant. Sometimes that entitlement continues through childhood an all the way into university.
But are those “speshul snowflakes” obnoxious because of the princess phenomenon?
I don’t think so. I suspect that there’s a lot more to it than Mom or Dad calling a little girl a princess. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Veruca Salt wasn’t a brat because of princesses. She was a brat because her parents let her be one and refused to set limits.
There are two glaringly different ways that the princess phenomenon can go. You can end up with the little Veruca Salt monsters who grow up into entitled adults because the “speshul snowflake” treatment went wrong.
Or you can take it the other way. “Princess” does not have to equal “spoiled brat.” After all, there are other reasons why little girls often love the princess phenomenon: pretty, intelligent, poised women in beautiful dresses, etc. There’s a lot of responsibility involved with being a princess. She needs to grow up to be able to do anything and take on anything that the world throws at her. She needs to be educated and able to interact with a variety of people. She also needs to realize that she needs to treat people with respect if she wants to be respected.
There was one other bit that Heather had said about why she’s avoiding the “cult of princesses.” She said, “Plus my daughter can be what and who she wants to be, not just some steroetype.” Yes, she can. But isn’t that the point of being a princess? Having the ability to do anything under the sun?
What do you think about the princess phenomenon? Is it something that you embrace, or is it something that you avoid because it doesn’t fit with your ideas of being a parent?