Today's youth (of course, there are some [albeit rare] exceptions) are on my mind. Parents, please cut it out--you're raising a whole generation of self-absorbed, selfish, and entitled people who are convinced that the world revolves around them, their wishes, and their comfort.
The other day I went to a restaurant, and help was conspicuously absent. The owner said, he couldn't get good young people to work, because they want to be rewarded simply for showing up! They don't think that actual working is a part of having a job. Job descriptions mean nothing--they have to be coaxed and prodded to do everything, over and over and over.... And, then after three weeks, "I want a raise". When asked what they did to deserve a raise (IN THREE WEEKS!)--"I come to work, everyday." I want to LOL, but really, it's a bit disturbing, since in a decade or so, they will be running the country.
Kids need structure, guidelines and rules. They don't need to be rewarded for everything--and certainly, they don't need to be rewarded for simply doing what they are supposed to do; for example getting the best grades they're capable of earning, or doing their part to help out, at home. Parents need to stop covering for them when they mess up--they need to understand that there are consequences for bad behavior. Teach it early--if they lose at softball, they don't need a trophy, but encouragement that they will have another chance, if they give it their all and do better in the next game.
They don't realize (again, I'm generalizing) that consequences for unfavorable behavior are a lifelong reality, because they never experience any (consequences) in the home. When they misbehave, take that X-Box and have them earn it back; or say no when they want something, after they failed to clean up. They get whatever they desire whether they follow rules, do chores, and EARN good grades, or not. They get EVERYTHING for doing NOTHING. I often wonder, "What will these kids do, when Mom and Dad aren't around to fix everything for them?"
Disaster is brewing, not only for these young people, but for everyone they come in contact with. Strongly encourage them to get the chip off their shoulders, and think outside of self, to the needs and desires of others. I feel genuinely sorry for the few kids who have been raised by parents with good values, a work ethic and an ability to see that that sun doesn't rise and set, just for them. They will have quite a burden.
Consequences work. Consequences are a reality, in life. Adults have to deal with serious consequences when they err. Give kids a clue about repercussions for bad behavior, so they don't resort to ridiculous measures to cover their mistakes--they will know how to "man up" and take responsibility. It's a valuable lesson that will carry them far, in life.
If you have kids, PARENT them and stop worrying about being the "bad guy". They're very resilient, and they will recover from hearing the occasional "NO!"