There seems to be a misconception that kids who grow up being spoiled are automatically entitled. That is false. I grew up being spoiled by my parents, and they still spoil me today. Part of you might be wondering why I say this openly or even proudly, and it's because I don't believe that spoiling someone will make them turn out inherently entitled.

Growing up, my parents never bought me absolutely everything I asked for. I was taught the word "no" and that money didn't grow on trees. So, maybe now you're thinking, "Well, then you weren't really spoiled," but I most definitely was. If I needed something, I had it, and then some. I went on multiple family vacations a year, and my parents gifted me some pretty cool things. As I move into my adult years, they still help me financially, which is undoubtedly spoiling because there are many college students who are on their own financially. None of this is meant to brag, but maybe to open your eyes a bit.

The Cambridge English Dictionary states that the word entitled means "feeling that you have the right to do or have what you want without having to work for it or deserve it, just because of who you are." I am not entitled. My parents might have spoiled me, yes, but they also instilled values in me. I know that you need to work hard for what you want and that having everything handed to you will not teach you that. I also know that the people who deserve success are the people who strive for it, not the people who expect it based on what they have.

I understand how some people get the two mixed. And I understand how people might think that kids who grow up spoiled are inherently entitled. But they aren't. What you give your kids is not always the same thing that you teach your kids. What parents teach their children to value in life is much more important than what they might give them for Christmas.

I liked getting an iPod touch the first year it came out, but what I loved was being accepted into my top choice school. I loved being accepted because my parents taught me how important it is to study hard and how my education will far surpass the shiny piece of technology I got in fifth grade. Thanks to my parents, I understood the value of education and that being accepted was something I would have to work for, which I did.

With that being said, you must recognize that we don't always wear our values on our sleeves. It is easy to judge from the outside looking in. One person's sleeve might be designer, and another person's sleeve might not be. Regardless, you cannot label what's important to them unless you know them.

I am lucky to live the life that I do, and I can thank my parents for that. I want to continue to live the way that I do now. Not by means of things or items that I have, but in the way my parents raised me to—with confidence, edge, and passion. Being spoiled, I owe many things to them. I will never be able to repay them with money, but I will repay them by showing them that the values which they instilled in me as a spoiled child carried through to a not-so-spoiled adult.