People Who Think They Should Always Be Happy

A friend posted this article on her Facebook today.  It's about a new trend psychiatrists are seeing. Apparently 20 somethings (who have been raised in our society of "everyone's a winner" and helicopter parents) are ending up on therapists' couches because they feel a void.  They're happy, but....it's not quite enough....they deserve more.  WAH!

It reminded me, once again, how easy it is for me to screw up my kids.

No.  I absolutely don't believe that!  I don't beat my children; I don't lock them in the attic.  I feed them on a regular basis, I clothe them, I educate them, I read to them, I play with them, I take them on vacations, but still, I run the risk of putting them in therapy?!  Not for abuse, but because I love them TOO MUCH?!  Ugh. Seriously, people?

What is the deal with this younger generation that seems to think they should ALWAYS be happy?

These whiny 20 somethings are sitting around moaning and groaning about how they're not happy ENOUGH.  Happy enough?  Really??  These are not people who are out of work, who have lost a loved one, or who are losing their home.  These people have good jobs, loving spouses, healthy children, and plenty of money (obviously, if they can spend money on a therapist to figure out why they're not happy enough).  Unlike the people out there with real depression.  You know, people who have suicidal thoughts and need to be medicated.  People who think about throwing their babies out windows or blowing their own heads off.  THAT is depression, THAT is unhappiness!

So WTF is the problem??  What these asshats are experiencing is something completely different.  I don't think these young people are unhappy.  I think they're BORED.  I think they need to learn to deal with their boredom.  The Hubs has a favorite saying he uses all the time on our kids.  When they complain they're bored and he says, "Only boring people are bored."  I agree with him completely.  Figure out how to entertain yourself and you will never be bored.

I am not a cruise director.  My job is not to entertain my kids 24/7.  That being said, I will admit that of course I spoil my kids (contrary to popular belief, I'm not perfect).  My kids live in a beautiful home full of toys and games.  Of course I give them lots of love and attention.   I love to be with my kids and I love to play with them and hang out with them.  I also love to see them entertain themselves - or entertain me.  I love to see them go their rooms and read a book or color.  I love to see them ride their scooters or play "Puppy Tag". (It's like Tag - only you play on all fours because you're a puppy.  Duh.)  I don't have the time, energy or desire to be a helicopter parent.  Lucky for my kids, I'm just a "good enough" mother, which research is showing is just the right balance to raise a healthy, well-adjusted, productive member of society.  For once, mediocre is best.  Woohoo!  (I'm sure once my kids hit their 20s, research will show that good enough parenting screws up your kids too.)

I think parents need to stop over-scheduling their kids' lives and filling every moment with something fun and exciting.  They need to let their kids fail and get back up and try again.  They need to let the kids realize that life has disappointments and crappy days.  Might as well get used to it now.

I hate to keep blaming the parents though.  At some point, these ADULT children need to take responsibility for their emotions and get over it.  What's done is done.  You were raised in a loving, over-protective, over-indulgent environment where you were the center of the universe and your every wish was granted and now you feel unfulfilled.  Fine.  Whatever.  It's time to get over it now.  You do NOT need therapy (stop wasting your/your parent's money).  That's ridiculous.  Put on your big girl panties/grow a sack, get out of therapy and find a hobby, buy a dog, read a book -anything!  Just get in touch with reality. You need to realize:  You're going to have good days and bad days.  It's called being an adult.  Not every day is a fucking day at Disneyland.  Grow up.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happiness is all a matter of perception. These kids got too much "You can have/be/do whatever makes you happy" and not enough "Suck it up, kid, life ain't fair".

Hey Mon! said...

Preach it!

Lisa said...

I totally agree and I don't think it is limited to people in their 20s. Plenty of people in their 30s at least are feeling/acting like this too. I don't think it is solely helicopter-everyone-wins parenting, it is also because as as lucky as we are to live in North American society, we aren't just trying to survive anymore. When you remove the fear that there won't be food on the table on any given day, your mind has time to worry about these kind of trivial things.

emilyb said...

This is my favorite. I see it all the time. Spoiled ass young adults who have life by the balls and they don't even realize it because they're too busy being whiny little cock gobblers. Please. Growing up, it was my spoiled friends who, upon reaching adulthood, had breakdowns and ended up in therapy. Some adversity as children is healthy. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who is tired of hearing it. Thanks!

Beth said...

These people have NO idea what living with depression is really like. It makes my blood boil just to THINK about them. I beat myself up because I can't shake it, can't be happy... and they are in therapy (I WISH I had the money for that!) because they are happy, just not happy enough. Ugh.

Jamie said...

I think personally, its just a lack of life experiences and they are just now experiencing disappointments. The economy sucks, so they may have been led to believe they would have no problems getting jobs and then they can't. They will have to grow up. We all do.

Amanda said...

Ohh, I like that term "good enough parent". I am a good enough parent! Let's see the 4 year old is drawing with markers and the 9 year old is on the computer. Good enough for me!!

Jennifer said...

This is the first time I'm really disagreeing with you, Jen. Because who cares? There's been a lot written about the quarter life crisis. I experienced it and sought therapy to get through that and some unresolved childhood issues from my pretty uneventful childhood. I'm sorry that bothers you so much (EYE ROLL). If anyone wants to seek therapy for any reason, I really don't get why that's so troubling to you or anyone else. I've read up on the idea of happiness and finding it (and agree, it's a big topic these days) and ultimately believe it's ok to not be happy all the time. The important thing is to live your life in a way that brings you joy most of the time. I'm glad that I did the exploring to come to that conclusion. I'm giving you a, "good grief," on this one.

L Carilo said...

Send them here.. we're in year 2 of hubs unemployment, 15 years since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder; subsequently my having to go untreated for a year because we're unable to afford medical management for mental illness (and a couple other chronic illnesses) - all our money had gone on keeping me as healthy and balanced as possible... and my kids have never complained about missing opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities. Remarkable what's happening. So like I send here to get a clue... THIS is no fun.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a prof at a large university... and yes, the "center of the universe" kid is dominant there. And, it's NOT an elite university - it's an Ag school! He has kids who this semester have not only missed the exam but missed all 3 make up exams and STILL expect to get to take the make up. Seriously? I told him he was being too freaking nice but then he told me that these kids evaluate him, too, and if his reviews suck then why would the university possibly keep him on? ARgghh!!!!! He's had kids mommies calling to discuss grades (not legally allowed - technically, they are supposed to be adults) and the moms get really rude when he won't explain or even tell them their grades.

Needless to say, I am a MEAN mom to our almost 4 year old daughter. What? Rules? Consequences? Don't eat dinner - go to bed hungry? You bet your hiney little girl. She's well loved and taken care of but she will learn life lessons and be the better for them.

Anonymous said...

I was in the Peace Corps in my early 20's in Africa and I feel like this was the first time I realized that "whoa....life isnt supposed to be easy and happy?" Actually 3 quarters of the world just fights for survival...and then there is the us...completely unaware, bored, wanting more.

Anonymous said...

Here, here!

Amanda I said...

Here here!! One of my cousins is always "bored". We all tell him "you can't be bored, you'vre 10. Find something to do". I think a lot of it has to do with tv-parenting. The tv goes on and the parents' job is done (which I've done at times) but they need other stimulation. Go outside and play, read a book, have an imaginiation. A child's best play toy is his or her imagination!

Nancy K said...

"Whiny little cock gobblers!!" LOVE it! You speak truth..

Anonymous said...

These are the kids who have grown up in a world where even the kids on the losing teams get trophies so they don't "feel bad"!(be it soccer, baseball, dance competitions, whatever)That is only getting worse. When my kids were young and in dance competitions (yeah, yeah, whatever), you could get honorable mention or even (horrors!) nothing but a score and constructive criticism. Those same competitions now give out nothing less than silver or even gold, so everybody feels good. Of course, the kids aren't really that stupid (well not most of them, anyway). They know that if all the other groups got high platinum and they got gold, that they sucked. I think it's the delusional parents who need the positive affirmation.

Christie said...

Part of the problem are the OAMs who think that it's their job to entertain and plan every second of their children's lives. The kids don't know how to play like real kids because the work has been done for them. They also expect every little "accomplishment" to be treated like it's a big deal. Yeah, finally getting potty trained is awesome but if you celebrate it like it's the biggest thing in the world, what will you be able to do with they actually accomplish something great? Are you going to set off fireworks for their straight A's in school? Host a parade through town for their graduation? If everything is treated like a huge deal, then nothing is important and they can never feel satisfied.

just keep swimming said...

I've been saying "I'm damned if I do and I'm damn if I don't" for a while about parenting. You've just confirmed that. I will go hide in my hole now, let my kids fend for themselves, and hope we can handle the fallout.

Anonymous said...

to be fair, it's not just the younger generation so afflicted. what about the legion of moms who have gorgeous, smart healthy kids, stable marriages/decent husbands, gorgeous houses, the unbelievable luxury of not having to worry about money who have the audacity to complain about not being (or not "feeling") happy?? Who sold these ppl the beyond silly idea that a succesful life is one in which we "feel happy" 24/7???

Anonymous said...

ha! amen :)

Pattyann said...

I love how you said lock them in the attic (as opposed to a basement). Did you ever see Flowers In The Attic? Now those kids deserve some therapy!!!

This post (is it a re-post?) reminds me of one of my FAVORITE sayings, that I made up: I DON'T like EVERYONE I meet, so I DON'T expect EVERYONE who meets me to like me. I feel like if every girl (middle school & high school especially) really understood that, then we would all stop obsessing about why someone doesn't like us and how we can make them...

Kinnynick said...

For more on this topic, check out the book Generation Me, by Jean Twenge. The self-centeredness that the generation of young people in their 20's and 30's are experiencing is astounding.

spymay said...

Lol,I'm not your cruise director. I must add this to the list of things I tell my kids which include:
*Life is not fair, and it's not fair for everyone.
*You can just get glad in the same pants you got mad in.
*You're bored?Let me give you something to do.(It involves cleaning)
*I try to be a good mother to at least one of my children a day.Today is not your day.(this is after some kind of whining)
Loved the post.

Did I Just Say That Out Loud? said...

I love this post, it made me feel a little less guilty as I work sixty hours this week (tax season) and started yet another quarter of school last Monday...my children play with each other and need to be content with limited activity with mom during tax season...and I think they will turn out okay and realize that when work needs to be done, approach it with a positive attitude and the work will go faster. I still have guilt...but my grades have motivated my 8 year old to see if she can best me! Thanks for the re-post, those of us out here that are not overachieving moms can sleep a little better at night...until someone wakes up with a bad dream!

Domestic Goddess said...

I would love to type out a long drawn out brilliant response to this post, but I've got Shuffleboard on the Promenade deck planned with the boys in a few minutes...gotta go! LOVED IT! xo

MM said...

The only thing I disagree with is that these are people with “good jobs, loving spouses, healthy children...." A lot of these people are probably single and childless and only have THEMSELVES to worry about/care for!

Anonymous said...

cough99percenterscoughcough...oh wait did I just say that out loud?

Mama Moo said...

Good book as is The Narcissism Epidemic. They both cover this topic.

Anonymous said...

My 12 year old is being bullied daily at school, he goes to counseling. Not to feel happy happy joy joy, but to learn how to accept that anger is ok, and how to react properly. If we didn't have free counseling hubs and I would still be doing the best we could. 2 years of unemployment, recent health issues for myself, and yet when we snuggle as a family in the evening and do prayers, I adore the selflessness of my 3 kids. 'Help everyone who is sick to get better, help my class to learn lots.' My kids rock. I like being a good enough mom. Thanks for reminding me to chill and move along.

Did I Just Say That Out Loud? said...

Oh crap...am I one of those? Perhaps the site I Googled just made them sound like whiners...and I hope that is not me. I don't mind having a job to pay for my stuff. We don't have really great stuff...but we also don't have really big debt. Define these 99 percenters...I need to know more!

Anonymous said...

You nailed it. Imagination is dead. Creativity is dead. We don't allow our kids to "go out and play" anymore. Everything is planned, and scheduled and confirmed, and arranged for them. When we were kids our parents would demand that we go out and play, if for no other reason than to leave them alone. It was encouraged to just kind of disappear for the entire day and let your creativity and imagination guide you, and then be home by dinner. Now everything has to be supervised and timed. And even how their time is spent at these "playdates" is dictated to them. So these people never learned how to occupy their times or their minds, and have always been taught that happiness and fulfillment is a right, instead of a goal...
ArrogantSOB
Arrogant-sob.com

Anonymous said...

Imagination is dead. Creativity is dead. We don't allow our kids to "go out and play" anymore. Everything is planned, and scheduled and confirmed, and arranged for them. When we were kids our parents would demand that we go out and play, if for no other reason than to leave them alone. It was encouraged to just kind of disappear for the entire day and let your creativity and imagination guide you, and then be home by dinner. Now everything has to be supervised and timed. And even how their time is spent at these "playdates" is dictated to them. So these people never learned how to occupy their times or their minds, and have always been taught that happiness and fulfillment is a right, instead of a goal...
ArrogantSOB
arrogant-sob.com

Amy said...

As a teacher of many of these 20 somethings, right before they get to 20 something, I can concur. Every day is a party for them, and "I'm bored" is so often out of their mouths, it makes me tic. We just had an awesome Spring Break with my kids, but only because we've had such crappy ones for the past few years, I thought it was time for a little reward since they never complain. I prefaced the entire week with "every Spring Break won't be like this...you know this, right?" They know, they get it, and today, it will be back to the basement to play with their old toys.

Traci said...

Love your post! My daughter was having some trouble with a "mean girl" in 1st grade (don't even ask). Totally NOT ready for this to happen so after trying to explain to her at this young age how to deal with this (after I wanted to run that kid over with my car but I didn't) she still wasn't really getting it because she IS only seven so I had to revert to my favorite saying that gets said EVERYDAY in my house which is "life isn't far". My husband and I didn't agree "completely" of my translation of the situation to her but her teacher did! I got a email from the teacher saying she "appreciated" my approach on this because my daughter told her what I said, and she said that my daughter will be just fine in the end!!

Anonymous said...

My sister and her husband have always lived on a shoestring budget, never being able to afford expensive vacations or an excess of expensive toys. Their children learned early to appreciate what they have and that their entertainment was up to them. They are three of the most delightful kids I have ever known. Conversely, my brother and his wife are extremely well-off and their kids are used to vacations that include swimming with dolphins etc. They have four of the most obnoxious, self-centered, entitled brats you could ever meet. No doubt those four will be on a therapist's couch whining about not being happy enough. Why not...thanks to their parents, nothing has ever been enough for them to begin with.

Anonymous said...

...and the irony is that a lot of the other 3/4 of the world (who struggle to survive) would, for the most part, rate themselves as happier than those of us who "have it made." It's all perspective and adjusting our expectations to fit reality.

Jumpin Jim Flash said...

I grew up with parents of the depression, of WWII. I think I was the last generation to be raised by parents that shared reality with their kids. After declairing free love and all that other hippie stuff we coddled our children some and it has got worse gradually. I fear for our country when this new generation runs our country or has to take care of my generatiin through old age. I'm afraid there will be no USA as we've known it before that silver tongued idiot that is in the White House now. Like the Roman Empire, for those that paid attention in class, I think theUSA is gojng to emplode from within. If you done believe me get a book on the fall of the Roman Empire and compare. Beginning with leaders that are unfit to lead.

Jumpin Jim Flash said...

You hit the nail on the head gurl. So often money will not only ruin a person, it ruins the whole family. Especially the kids.

Jumpin Jim Flash said...

The first sentence sounded good but I don't read anything from anonymous. If you are afraid what you say is not important or wrong then don't pist. If you do then take ownership and put your name on it!!

Jumpin Jim Flash said...

Nobody can teach you how to be happy, giid grief. Either you kniw hiw to process life and make happiness out of whatever you are given. I have had two kidney transplants and I was happy up to, through & after. God is whaf your missing if you think you have to always MAKE yourself happy. Happy is a state of mind.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I think you are the only therapist I need! I love this!! Thanks...

Anonymous said...

In my city, there was an ad for a website called Playdate.com where other "like minded people" can have their children play together. So parents don't have to have that awkward convo about why Johnny can't play with Jimmy..."Oh Jimmy's mommy is a single mom, Johnny...I'm pretty sure he's bi-racial and his mother is a socialist dem. We can't have you tainted so young...."

Anonymous said...

I love the "being a good mother to one child a day" line. I'm going to use that. I'm also going to tweak it to "I only listen to one whining child a day, and today is not your day" the next time my daughter whines that we NEVER listen to her.

Anonymous said...

Because Jumpin Jim Flash is your real name. smh

wandalee said...

I thought the same thing :) Anon,Jumping Jack or xxxxxx, what's the diff?

Oh, and I totally agree with everything in the article. It's children raising children now as it seems like every generation, including mine(end of the baby boom) have tried, and for the most part managed, to delay "adulthood" as long as possible.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, Jennifer. I've had a good life but I've also had some things I needed to work through with the help of a competent professional. If someone else wants/needs therapy - more power to them for getting the help. Bottom line (in my opinion), no - every day isn't going to be sunshine and roses and yes the adjustment to adulthood can be hard - but that doesn't mean we need to make it harder on ANYONE by complaining about their struggles.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY TWO!

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!! As many of you know, eight years ago  I forgot to move my Elf on the Shelf . Since then I've been ...