Sara Whitman

Privilege, Entitlement and the Holiday Season

Filed By Sara Whitman | December 16, 2007 10:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living
Tags: child care, Christmas, family problems, issues, kids, LGBT families, mothers, parents

Friday night, before I went to sleep, I promised myself I was not going to yell at Ben. It was going to be "Christmas" and however he felt about the gifts he received, however he expressed himself was going to be met with my silence.

I lasted about an hour.

What is it about privilege, entitlement and the holiday season? They seem to go together hand in hand.

Have I done a lousy job with Ben or is it all kids at this age? I swear, you could give Zachary a lump of coal and he'd think it was cool. Jake is easy, too, but he's still in the toy stage. Ben, however, was unhappy with everything except one gift.

And they were all gifts he asked for. Can someone explain this to me?

He opened the Souljah Boy tee shirt, hat and glasses.

I wanted the hoodie, too, he said, annoyed.

I could have killed him but I stayed quiet and simply shrugged.

He opened a 50 cent style baseball cap, with plaid on the front but a Boston Red Sox logo.

Whatever.

Tongue bleeding, I nudge Walter next to me. I'm not going to say a word.

I can see that, Walter said.

Finally, when he told Jeanine to shut up, I lost it.

Can someone give me some insight? Should I put the boy on bread and water and remove all the Abercrombie shirts? I feel like I'm constantly harping on him and it's not doing any good at all.

A friend reminded me yesterday, that until we have compassion for where they are, their experience, we cannot be helpful.

That's where I get stuck and channel my mother. Not only because they have so much in comparison to the rest of the world but also because they have so much in comparison to what I had.

It's not fair for me to go there. I'm not talking about walking uphill in the snow both ways, or the starving children in India, but alcoholism and abuse. I have to shut the hell up when I want to say, DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?

See? My mother, coming out in spades.

I know he's a good kid. I know he has compassion and is kind. I want to help him shine and want to bring out those pieces of himself.

How do I find the compassion for his reality?


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Deep breaths have always helped me. :} I guess you just need to know that this too will pass, he will not always be this age (and as they get older, you get smarter!). BUT, most importantly, remember that he is acting this way because he feels safe acting this way with you--there is no fear of violence or whatever, and you can take some comfort in that. My kids are 22 and 18, and I'm so glad we all came through those early years in one piece!
Thanks for sharing your life with others. It helps to know there are other struggling parents out there.