I frequently run into conflict on the Internet, not because I'm hard to get along with, but because I fail to possess the sometimes extreme attitude of entitlement.
While I agree that children should be encouraged to do what they dream - I don't agree that they should be shielded from the downside of life. Doing so enables them to always expect to get their way, always expect a positive outcome for themselves, and often at the expense of others.
The lessons I was allowed to learn growing up are foreign to so many young people in this day and age. Many are pushed through school, given passable grades even if they are not learning anything, just so that district can meet its "no child left behind" requirements. Many kids are not punished as I was for disobeying my parents or other authorities; a part of this are the over-the-top laws governing child abuse that will not allow a parent to discipline their child in an effective manner, lest that kid report it as abuse at school and the parent face the consequences.
Children should not be allowed to run the game. They need to know how it feels to fail, then pick themselves up and try again. They need to know that their parents, teachers, and other authority figures are in charge, and they will suffer painful consequences if they rebel against these figures.
My 13-year-old adoptive niece is pregnant. She became a woman at the tender age of 10, lost her virginity at 11 and contracted an STD. Now she is on the verge of merely 14 and she is over 4 months pregnant. Her father, my friend, has been beside himself trying to reign her in, while the system, and her mother, work against him. Faith grew up in a culture of The Magic Feather Syndrome and has learned how to play the system for all it is worth. She and others like her are trying to grow up too fast and they are children having children of their own in a time when anyone with an income less than, say, 30K a year (IF they have an income at all) faces obstacles like we've never seen before. The inability to purchase housing, because it's priced out of range, or the tiniest black mark on your credit score disqualifies you. Rising costs on foodstuffs, clothing, school supplies, and all the other things it takes to raise children. A system which does not support the parent in disciplinary matters, and in some cases, penalizes the parent for doing what they themselves faced as discipline when they were kids. Faith is going to grow up raising a child before she's had the chance to exit childhood herself, and she is nowhere near ready for it.
Then I look at so many others who have reached adulthood around me, and I truly wonder where this country will be in another 10-20 years - IF these kids, college degrees or not, are able to find work. So many have their heads up their own asses so all they see is their own shit, and all they service is their own shit. They have not been taught by society to give a damn about other people; rather, they give a damn only for themselves and the only other people they care about are those who can supply their needs. In other words, they've never been taught how to grow up properly, that this world is far more than their small realm of existence and needs each and every one of them to give a damn about the people around them, even if those people do not supply their needs.
Welcome to the Age of Enculturated Sociopaths, ladies and gentlemen. Even the best of parents have a very hard time overcoming the cultural, media, and other social pressures being put on their kids. If you also add in the fact that in most two-parent households, both parents must work, which leaves ample opportunity for the Cult of Consumerism to seep deeply into their kids' heads, and you have an uphill situation. How can you teach your kid that it's the right thing to do to care about things like your neighbors, old people, animals and the environment when they are constantly bombarded by ME ME ME I I I messages and being self-centered is applauded and encouraged by the society outside of their door?
I spend a lot of time on Second Life, which, to me, is a simmering stewpot amd microcosm of the greater societical influences we face every day of our lives. It is a place where you can be anything you wish, and the only limitations to that are your imagination and sometimes, the size of your Linden balance. The only rules are encompassed in the Community Standards (CS) and the Terms of Service (TOS). Yes, there is an abuse complaint system but it is not uncommon to see some of the worst grievances go unaddressed.
I have often said, and I believe it to be so, that however you are, and what attitude you have in meatspace, will be magnified 10 times in virtual space.
That means if you are steeped in a culture of entitlement, being given the run of a place like Second Life has the capability of turning you into a monster - and it does happen often.
Those who have learned how to 'game the system' find that there are ways to skirt around the CS and TOS and hurt other people regardless. The worst offenders of this ilk "grow up" to be major sim griefers, obtaining tools that can quite literally destroy others' dreams and return them to the very start. Yet others find ways of making other peoples' lives quite miserable, quite often by scamming them out of money, or phishing their accounts and stealing them blind, destroying their network of friends, and destroying all their cherished virtual possessions. Things that would be quite illegal in meatspace happen every day in virtual space. Invasion of privacy, racism, bigotry, harassment, you name it - and not all of it gets reported, nor is all of it quashed.
As a woman, I have often been confronted with misogyny from places that surprise me. I grew up with a mother who taught me how to be strong and self-sufficient. I have a companion who reinforces those traits, and I have several friends who do as well - so to be treated as "second-rate" always surprises me. It shouldn't, but it does, believe me, and I've faced it many times in virtual space. I have had it happen where a man won't take me as seriously as a male in the same standing as I have in several communities. I have had it happen where men think it's ok to trash-talk because I'm female, saying things they never would've said to a male peer. I have been silently put down because my gender is not male. Every time it happens, it surprises and angers me more. Virtual space should be a place where we learn how to be better people, but more often than not, it's just a magnification of the horrible attitudes that are already out there.
I have also faced several with overblown entitlement issues. Case in point. On my SL wedding day, my sim was griefed, and, as we found out later, the griefer had been paid to destroy it. Thanks to the quick actions of myself and a trusted estate manager, we were able to dispatch the griefer before he did any real damage.
A little Linden well-spent provided us with the name of the man who forwarded the money and information to the griefer - but this turned out to be an intermediary. During discussions with several people about who the true culprit could be, a literal fight broke out and the "offended party" quite literally packed up his things and left. He refused to listen to me when I explained that my words had been inadequate - that we were not blaming him for the incident, simply tracing the flow of information from our group to the outer world. He believed that I blamed him for the incident, even though my words never even came close to saying that. Then, his wife jumped in and not only piled on me for the most recent, but reiterated stuff that was supposedly resolved and done with. By the time all was said and done I had blocked them both.
Both of them have learned how to be what I call "professional victims" and I can't help but blame some of that on the narcisstic society they are end-products of. Their lives have not been easy but at the same time they have placed themselves in the default mode of "oh poor me" - so that anything that may be their fault becomes a de facto attack on them, what they represent, and who they are. It does not matter if the reality shows that they are not being attacked - this is how they perceive it, and how they react. This in turn makes friendship with either both problematic, and in the case of the discussion about the griefing, impossible.
The very next day, the man came back to my sim, and blatantly displayed his ingrained sense of entitlement by telling me that the "only" reason he would move back to my land is to ensure that he doesn't lose his "pet" (girlfriend). No apology for not only upsetting me but hindering our investigation. No "I'm really sorry this has happened to you." Nothing whatsoever indicating that he took responsibility for his extreme reaction. All he cared about was his "shit". No gratefulness for the fact that I was allowing him to stay on my land rent-free, because his meatspace circumstances had changed for the worse and he couldn't afford to expend the real money to purchase Lindens.
I told him he couldn't move back. Then, I banned him, muted him, and did the same thing with his wife.
This is not the first time that I've dealt with extreme attitudes of entitlement taking advantage of my generous nature, but I can assure you it is the last.
LET your kids fall. LET them fail at something - they will learn from it. DON'T shelter your kids from possible bad news - Goddess knows they will hear plenty of it when they grow up and get out on their own. DON'T handicap your kids like that.