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As the mom of a teenager, I will tell you now that when it comes to entitlement, day drinking is a bad option.
That doesn’t make it not an option, just a bad one.
There are much more productive ways to deal with your entitled teen that won’t leave you hungover.
*FYI, some of the links in this article about how to deal with an entitled teenager may be affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, we may get a commission (at no extra cost to you). For more info, please see our disclaimer.
How Should I Manage an Entitled Teenager?
Be patient with your teen. Try to remember how it felt to be a teenager. Think about what led your teen to the type of behavior they are displaying. Talk with your teen and explain why their behavior is unacceptable. If necessary, arrange a consultation with a counselor or therapist.
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1. Understand Entitlement
Entitlement is the belief that one is owed something that was not earned.
An entitled teen expects certain behaviors or material goods to be given to them simply because it is their wish.
There are some things that teens should feel entitled to. They are food, shelter, education, and love.
2. Recognize Your Role in Your Child’s Behavior
In most cases, the entitlement can be traced to how a child has been raised.
You can instill a sense of entitlement in your child without even realizing it. Sometimes, this is out of expediency.
For example, if a toddler demands grape juice instead of apple juice, it can be easier to hand over the grape juice rather than deal with a tantrum.
Unfortunately, if that kind of behavior continues to be reinforced, the sense of entitlement only grows as the child ages.
3. Look for patterns
Don’t look for your child’s patterns of entitlement. Look for the patterns that cause you to reinforce them.
- Do you give in when your child makes unreasonable demands?
- Do you only do this when you’re tired or in public or is it a regular occurrence? What is your mood when you respond?
4. Talk openly with your entitled teen
Once you realize your role in your child’s entitlement, you’re ready to have an honest conversation with your teen.
If you have a partner who is co-parenting, they need to be involved in this conversation as well.
You must explain to your teen that any further unreasonable demands will not be met and that anything other than the basics must be earned.
Provide examples. Above all, do not shout or use anger. Even if your teen responds with yelling, stay calm. It’s easier said than done, but it is possible.
Entitlement in Teens in Action
This is sadly a very true story.
When I was very young, my grandparents adopted a child. I had a very close relationship with my aunt simply because she was almost the same age as me.
Unfortunately, she was difficult because she was very spoiled and entitled. My grandparents gave in to any whim she had, no matter how ridiculous.
When she turned 16, they bought her a new car. She was unhappy with the car and told them to buy her a different one.
After a few weeks, she decided she wanted another car.
My grandparents told her they wouldn’t buy her another car unless “something happened” to the one she had.
She found a hill on a quiet road, drove to the top, put the car in neutral, jumped out, and gave it a solid push.
The car was totaled, and her new car arrived within a week. She did this twice more before she turned 18.
This extreme example of entitlement is not one you are likely to face, but it does illustrate the point very well.
My grandparents thought they were doing her a favor by giving her everything she desired when in fact, they were causing her severe harm.
5. Follow through
Your words are meaningless if they aren’t followed by action.
If your daughter wants the latest iPhone, but you have told her she needs to earn it, make her earn it.
Let her know she will not be given a new phone even if the one she currently has is damaged.
When she shows up with a broken screen or says she lost her phone, do not get her another one.
6. Don’t ignore other types of entitlement
Being entitled is not just about material goods. It’s often about the behavior your children expect from you.
My children have activities that keep them very busy, which keeps me busy as I drive them back and forth.
They have gotten so used to having a diligent chauffeur that my son had no qualms about agreeing to an event that would keep him out until 1 AM.
As I explained my need for sleep, not to mention his curfew, he seemed truly shocked that I wouldn’t eagerly pick him up whenever his schedule demanded. I realized that I was to blame for this, not him.
By being so available in the past, without question, I didn’t instill in him the understanding that he’s not entitled to a 24-hour car service.
7. Let go of peer pressure
My daughter is a competitive dancer. The dance team is very much comprised of children who have moms that cater to their every whim.
I was recently party to the very loud complaints of a dancer who yelled at her mom how embarrassed she was that she didn’t have the same dance bag as the other dancers.
She felt entitled to be like her friends, and then the mom felt she needed to help her daughter fit in.
You will need to tell your child that they don’t need to be like everyone else. Show them the beauty of being different.
8. Volunteer with the needy
If you’re not already volunteering, it’s time to start.
Go to your local food pantry or homeless shelter with your child.
Have them work with those who are at a disadvantage. This is the best way for a child to understand their own good fortune.
Spend time at your humane society, offer to read to senior citizens, or even sign up to give blood. When children see how much they can help, they also realize how much they already have.
I can’t stress enough how beneficial volunteering is for entitled teenagers.
When you serve kids and adults, many of who have only the clothes on their back, something about that makes you less self-focused and develop gratitude for the things you are blessed with.
When kids get exposed to that, even the most entitled attitudes can see that they have so much compared to many others.
When The Parent is Not at Fault
Entitlement isn’t always caused or reinforced by parental behavior. Sometimes it is innate or brought on by the friends they have.
You can still have conversations with your teen, volunteer together, and if needed, seek counseling.
Just because your teen is entitled doesn’t mean they are a lost cause. Work with them to understand why they feel entitled, and then find ways to help them earn what they think they are owed.
Do you have any thoughts on this? Tell us in the comments!
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