When I got married just over 30 years ago, two individuals offered to throw a shower. I appreciated their thoughtfulness, provided the asked-for guest list for one of them, and only asked that the hostess not go to too much trouble or expense. The same thing happened again when I was expecting my son and later my daughter.

I wasn’t doing anything special; that’s how things were done then. Brides and mothers-to-be were thankful to have a shower and behaved accordingly. We gathered in the church fellowship hall or someone’s living room, enjoyed cake and punch, played a few silly games, and opened gifts.

I witnessed similar situations as friends married and had children over the years, but somewhere along the lines, something has gone horribly wrong.

In the past couple of weeks, in fact, I’ve heard story after story of what can only be termed “total brat” brides, expectant mothers, and couples.

Types of women and details here are true, but they are mixed around to protect the privacy of the women who shared the information.

One bride-to-be informed her future sister-in-law (to whom she barely speaks and occasionally ridicules to her face) by text that future sister-in-law “must” throw a shower at a specific day and time. She dictated the menu (a keg and Buffalo Wild Wings were on the list), the source and style of invitations, the venue, and the guest list of 37 couples (yes, that’s a potential of 74 guests). The future sister-in-law, a college student with little money, responded that she would love to do this but simply did not have the resources. The respondent text read, “Find it”.

One young couple wants the wedding of their dreams at the expense of others. Those who received an invitation to the wedding also received their “assignment” — what food or beverage they are expect to bring to the reception. The invitee I spoke to was instructed to bring “two bottles of dry wine” from a specific winery.  Another friend invited to the same wedding was instructed to bring “a crock-pot with pulled pork”.

This young couple didn’t want to leave anything to chance; the invitation insert stated that the food or beverage assignment was “in addition to our wedding gift”.

Mothers-to-be are getting in on the game as well. One young mother, expectant with her 3rd child, told her best friend that she needed to host not one, but two, showers — one for her “first tier” friends, the other for the “second tier”. Of course, she had specific requirements for each shower. Heads up to those in the second tier — your refreshments and the venue are not nearly as nice as those for the first tier friends.

These are just a few of the stories I’ve been told — and invitations I’ve actually seen — since the topic first came up several weeks ago when a future sister-in-law shared her story.

The problem is clear. Self-entitled, selfish young men and women have been taught from birth on to behave in this manner.

The solutions are also clear. If you’re the proposed hostess, decline as gracefully as you can. If family peace dictate you hostess the event, hold your ground as best you can and ask anyone who says you must give in to every demand to co-hostess with you. If none of those work, develop some sort of temporary illness or move away . . . far away.

If you receive such an invitation, decline.