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My Super Sweet 16 - Messing Up and Spoiling Kids For The Next Generation

Published 1/6/08 (Modified 1/2/12)
By MoneyBlueBook

For those who haven't seen it before, MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" is one of the many things in television pop culture today that is seriously messing up the minds of kids today, leading them down the path of excessive consumerism and obsession with wealth and entitlement. The MTV reality TV show follows and documents the 16th birthday celebrations of upper class teenagers. Now these are no ordinary birthday parties. We're not talking about a day at Dave and Busters or the bowling alley. On this program we have stretch Hummers, horses, live dancers, famous rap stars, decked out ballrooms, and budget rolls in excess of $300,000. Everything is paid for in cash or with quick obligatory swipes of the parents' trusty Amex Black Cards or Visa Black Cards, indispensable and exclusive tools of the trade. You won't see any "paltry presents" like Apple iPods or Gap clothing here. Instead, the doting parents of these spoiled rotten kids prefer to give them top of the line BMW's and Land Rover's, capped with red bows on top to quench their material thirst. The show, although quite entertaining, proclaims the non-stop need to spend, spend, and spend to the utter collective delight of all luxury car dealerships and luxury boutiques everywhere.

Spoiled Bratty Kids Come In All Sizes

The show features spoiled teens of all race, nationality, and even sex - black, white, Persian, and even shockingly, a few teenage boys among the mostly teenage girls. The show follows the same template, tracing the excitement and expectation of throwing a "sky's the limit" 16th birthday bash. We get to know the teen as she brags about her wonderful lifestyle and how much she owns in the way of material possessions. The majority of these "daddy's little girls" stomp their feet and pout until their rich dads buy them the dream party that they want. The mothers that usually accompany these prissy little girls are no different - encouraging and stoking their behavior. In one episode, one mother even ended up trying on the same expensive dress that her daughter was trying out, sending the daughter into an angry and competitive tail spin tizzy of materialistic proportions.

The Excessive Lavishness Knows No Bounds

The show always starts with an elaborate ceremony usually complete with stretch limos and servants to hand out the official decorative invitations to chosen members of the teen's high school in a manner befitting a royal coronation. The party usually takes up an entire decked out ballroom, with servers, dancers, and show-stopping celebrity singers. $75,000 jewelry and dresses line their wardrobes, adding to the excessive opulence. Throughout each episode, the birthday girl's teenage guests scream and "woohoo" about the historical nature of the event and how it will go down in history as the best party ever and how everyone will always remember this - to the collective eye rolling of every single television viewer in the United States, myself included.

The end of each episode is never complete without the mandatory birthday girl walking outside with her guests in faux both-hands-to-the-cheek amazement at the ridiculously expensive luxury car awaiting her. While the girl drives away in her birthday present, her throng of friends and guests are left hollering and cheering her on with lavish love, admiration, and envy at her fortune.

It's Really Entertaining But Also Really Sad

The alarming thing is not that these teeny boppers expect to be thrown lavish over-the-top birthday parties, but it's that their wealthy parents are so boastful and encouraging of such a superficial lifestyle. The show proudly shows off the birthday teen's opulence and extravagance, seemingly suggesting that such actions are perfectly normal. There are never glimpses of the ordinary masses, as the birthday teen's friends and guests are almost always all filthy rich as well, with material throngs and possessions of their own. We never see any bitterness or ridicule by the guests or outside observers as the critics have all been effectively filtered out.

The show is admittedly quite entertaining, but not for necessarily the right reasons. It instills the wrong values in children and younger viewers today, particularly those approaching their 16th birthdays. Rather than preaching hard work and dedication, the show encourages feelings of material entitlement in the nature of "if you loved me you'd buy this for me".

However I must admit, My Super Sweet 16 is terribly funny and interesting to watch. But when I laugh at the foot stomping, pouty girls in the show, I am doing so in the same manner that I would while watching a celebrity train wreck such as the salacious paparazzi antics of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. I laugh because it's so stupidly funny, but at the same time I feel sad for them - for the type of persons their own parents have groomed them into one day becoming.

As for my own 16th birthday way back when, I got an ice cream cake custom baked by my mom. I rented a few Nintendo games from Blockbuster, invited 4 close friends over for a video game sleepover party, and partied like a rock star at home. I grew up just fine, although getting a luxury sports car as a present would have been nice. :)

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74 Responses to “My Super Sweet 16 - Messing Up and Spoiling Kids For The Next Generation” 

  1. Lily says:

    I think I got $20 and a homemade cake from my parents for my 16th birthday.

    I always felt deprived growing up, and shows like this made me feel horrible. But now that I'm older, I appreciate my parents so much for giving me what they could afford to give me. Shows like My Super Sweet 16 totally turn my stomach. I'm beyond grateful that I didn't grow up like those brats. I may not have had a sports car in high school, but I'm confident that I have stronger values and better life skills than those kids.

  2. JB says:

    Every birthday growing up, we got to choose what we'd like for dinner. I'd usually pick shrimp or crab (trying to milk it)! And a homemade cake. I felt on top of the world for that one day and have the best memories from it. We didn't have much money and having a special day with special food was a delight. The problem is nowadays, few things are special. Kids have so much excess around them, it's difficult to decipher between needs and wants.

    To the kids on that show, they 'need' to have the hottest rapper/popstar/rock band perform and have a new car. One of the them I saw the kid got a Jaguar. I didn't know anyone under 50 drove one of those =P

  3. Mrs. Micah says:

    When I turned 16, my parents took me out to a very very nice restaurant. It was a special treat because we didn't go out much.

    And I got to have my best friend over for a sleepover.

    It would have been an awesome and satisfying birthday, except that it was two days after 9/11 and the world was a very scary place at that time. On the other hand, I was so grateful for having two parents and not having lost anyone.

  4. JHS says:

    Thanks for participating in this week's Carnival of Family Life, hosted by Karen at Write from Karen! Your post is a great contribution. Be sure to stop by tomorrow and check out all the other wonderful submissions for this week -- we have a wonderful selection of articles from some very talented writers.

    Considered hosting the Carnival? You can review the schedule at Colloquium and then drop me a note indicating the week you are interesting in hosting!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I hate the very term "sweet sixteen." What's that supposed to mean? To my understanding, it has a sexual connotation. And I can tell you, as the mother of an almost 16-yo who already regularly gets taken for 18 or 19, you'd better keep your sexual connotations far away from my daughter or you'll be dealing with one PO'd momma bear!

    My daughter, despite all my best efforts, has somehow bought into the cultural fairytale of a Sweet Sixteen birthday party. Although she knows she won't be getting a car, that doesn't stop her from wanting one. I know that no matter what we do for her upcoming birthday or what we get her, she's going to be disappointed. There's no way to avoid it.

    I do have faith, however, that in a few years she'll recognize that her disappointment was caused by her unrealistic expectations of what turning 16 would be like and not because her parents somehow let her down.

  6. Raymond says:

    Yeah...I think sweet sixteen is meant to suggest some type of innocence but with the influence and material inundation by today's social media, is there much simplicity left in today's kids?

    Elizabeth, I hope you daughter eventually learns that owning material things isn't everything in life and eventually understands "the meaning of Christmas" so to speak.

  7. Carol Richtsmeier says:

    I'm so-o-o-o-o-o-o old I can't even remember my 16th birthday so I'm guessing it didn't involve a car, famous people or anything above $300,000. Heck, it probably didn't involve anything above $50.

  8. Jessica says:

    The kids on sweet sixteen are spoiled brat instead of blaming the kids you have to look at the parent because their allowed their kids to act like that and its not just rich kids who have a sense of entitlement its all kids in today time its sad but its true all kids want a the new phone the new clothes its up to the parents to set limit and to teach kids that to be happy you have what you have because their kids who does not have that much mtv is just entermained and its just a show so if your kids are being spoiled brats it ur fault not mtv

  9. Melissa says:

    First off, thanks for participating in Patience Therapy! Interesting article...it's sad how many kids are probably watching this without their parents knowing the message it's sending, Just goes to show how "quality" tv is. Cheers!

  10. markevian says:

    my 16 birthday is June 5 and im lookin 4 a rapper to come to it but im having no luck im bout to say forget it

  11. Alle says:

    for my 16th i am haveing a hummer limo take me and my closest friends to a nice restraunt to eat...then i get my present from my mom!!!
    (i told her i wanted a hummer or a cadillac escalade...n she said that she knows ill be so happy when i see da present!) :D

  12. gigi says:

    i'm english and turning 16 isn't celebrated over here as a huge landmark, my super sweet 16 is absolutely hilarious simply due to the extravagance of these partys, possibly more so to me, because of that. the funniest thing is, does anyone care about the birthday girl/boy on the night? no, they're too concerned about having a good time. they'll get more attention on the run up to the guest list being revealed but once they know they're invited then thats it. i turn 16 in july, and a friend & i are sharing a party which'll cost probably ����150. no extravagance for us, but at least we'll have on good night.

  13. Ben U. says:

    I feel extremely sorry for these girls who are in essence victimized by their parents upbringing of extreme superficiality and blatant empty-headed materialism. After their graduation and reality swims up and bites them in the ass their lives will be hollow and empty because they have no real world life skills. Hard work is something these kids will never know. Their voids in their life will become so unbearable that all they do is fill them with material crap and it will be a never ending cycle

  14. Maatlockk says:

    i didn't even celebrated my birthdays. my parentsdid give me presents, and they told me they love mebut that was it. and i'm greatful because they don't spoil me - they teach me that i have to earn what i want.

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