Someone says that today's young generation i.e. 'we'

want what we want when we want it.

I want to describe that group of people in one word.

[She] says that today’s teens are too much too _____ and as a result, lazy.

'Pampered' and 'spoonfed' are two possible options. Their meanings are more or less identical. But, I feel each of them has a different connotation.

A pampered kid sounds like someone who has rich parents at his side all the time, fulfilling their child's every wish.

Spoonfed brings to mind the picture of a toddler being spoonfed. That sounds like a weak prince who has servants to do literally everything for him and never has to face any challenge on his own.

Which one should I use?


A word that conveys the exact meaning as the first sentence won't do. I also need to reflect upbringing (as well as attitude). Here's the full context:

Kelly Benoit, a 20-year-old political science student, went as far as calling her peers ‘lazy’. ‘I think it can be due to our upbringing. We want what we want when we want it,’ said Benoit, who has worked in her State to try to ban the use of plastic bags in stores. She thinks members of her generation, like a lot of people, simply don’t want to give up conveniences.

Paraphrasing it:

The environmentally conscious have several criticisms to make of American teens in general. [She] says that today’s teens are much too pampered and as a result, lazy. [...] while most teens are aware of the need to preserve nature and its resources, they are not interested in actually taking any steps at their own cost.

Note that it's not a exact paraphrase of her words. This piece of text is part of a broader writing (which is about how much eco-conscious young people in America are).

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    Their meanings are not quite identical, spoon-fed (used figuratively) is generally used with regards to the provision of information. See this definition of spoon-feed and this one of pamper
    – SteveES
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:21
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    Idiomatically, They are too much spoonfed and They are too much pampered are both completely unacceptable. You could reasonably say They are too pampered or They are pampered too much, but for reasons that aren't crystal clear to me, neither They are too spoonfed nor They are spoonfed too much sound very natural (maybe it's just that imho you're either spoonfed or you're not; it's not a very "gradable" status). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:56
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    @FumbleFingers - Agreed. "Spoonfed too much" conjures up images of a baby eating too much baby food. It only works in the literal sense where the "too much" modifies food, not the act of spoonfeeding.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:21
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    @J.R.: Actually, seeing it written like that (totally devoid of context) makes me realise that by now there are probably millions of native speakers who wouldn't see anything particularly unusual about the rejoinder Spoonfed much (which I assume could be used in the same way as Jealous much, for example). Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:40
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    @FumbleFingers: too pampered sounds OK to me but too spoonfed doesn't.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


Given the context of the original statement you want to paraphrase, you should not use either term.

The specific language you want to paraphrase is

I think it can be due to our upbringing. We want what we want when we want it.

You've proposed

today’s teens are much too pampered and as a result, lazy.

You've got a great start with reformulating the sentences so that you can replace "due to" with "as a result". You have also (like the narrator of the original piece) paraphrased the second half of the quote as "lazy", which works fine.

Your sticking point is how to paraphrase "our upbringing". You have proposed either "pampering" or "spoon-feeding" as replacements, but neither is really appropriate here.

When paraphrasing someone else's words, it's very important not to mis-characterize the original meaning. In this case, the original speaker talked about "our upbringing" and its results ("lazy" and "want what we want when we want it"). But she did not specify what aspect of rearing caused these result.

You have inferred that these lazy young people's parents were "pampering" or "spoon-feeding" them, and that has caused them to behave this way. But perhaps, instead, Ms. Benoit meant that she and her peers had been particularly deprived for most of their childhoods, and now that they don't have to work as hard they don't want to. That scenario might not seem as likely to you (it doesn't to me, either) but the original statement leaves open the possibility.

So, what should you use?

Look for a neutral synonym for "upbringing", or just use "upbringing", and then leave the specific deficits of this to the imagination of the reader (like the original speaker did). You may need to rearrange your sentence slightly to make this work. I would suggest something like

today's teens are lazy as a result of their upbringing.


as a result of the way today's teens were raised, they are lazy.

or, to stick as close as possible to your original structure,

today's teens were raised to be entitled and as a result, lazy.

Note that in that last example, I have substituted the adjective entitled for the statement that teens "want what [they] want when [they] want it", as suggested by Rhythmatic. That works, since you actually do have two descriptions of the young people in the original, and you were previously using the single word "lazy" to stand in for both. What we don't have is a description of the teens' parents' parenting style.

  • Perfect! I'm speechless... Just the kind of answer I was looking for! Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 9:57

Your analysis of the differences in meanings is pretty spot-on, however, I would drop "much" (or move it immediately before "too") and use "entitled" in this case instead, as it would cause the second sentence to mean exactly the same thing as the first sentence.

In fact, regardless of which word you use, "...are too much ______" is not correct. You're filling in the blank with a quality not a quantity, so you'd need to either remove "much" or write it as "...are much too _______" instead.

  • The question has been updated. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 7:53
  • I still say "entitled" even with the edits. Entitled implies a lot, and it starts with being accustomed to a certain level of treatment, privilege, or possession during early life. It develops into an unwillingness to work hard to gain what one believes they deserve, and often manifests in older teens and young adults as inability to keep a job, lack of punctuality, etc. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 15:31

In English, we have a word which, I think, exactly fills the blank in your question, without the need for a modifier such as too much or much too.

The word is coddled. This is the past participle of the verb to coddle. The Macmillan dictionary defines the verb thus:

To treat someone with great or excessive care or kindness: infantilize, spoil, pamper...

It is customarily used in English to refer to the "younger generation", usually by an "older generation" whose members were themselves considered coddled by the preceding generation, and so on ad infinitum.

  • Coddled is very similar in meaning to "pampered" and "spoon-fed", but still is fairly different from the OP's initial sentence: "want what we want when we want it." Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:11
  • Similar aye, but it is precisely idiomatic in "She says that today’s teens are [too much] coddled and as a result, lazy". I can hear my Grandmother even now. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:15
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    Omitting "too much", sure that word works in the example sentence given. However, the OP specifically says that she "want[s] to describe that group of people in one word" where "that group" is the group described as "want what we want when we want it." That is the important part. Coddling may result in laziness, but it is not synonymous with "want what we want when we want it." The word for that is "entitled", as I wrote in my answer. Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:18
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    @Rythmatic And a fine answer it is! Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:20
  • @P.E.Dant The question has been updated. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 10:13

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