There’s a difference between being confident in your abilities and feeling like you inherently deserve certain privileges or special treatment. An entitled teen won’t take no for an answer. They do exactly what they want, and they disregard instructions from adults. Even if your teen has outgrown petulant fits, they might still feel like they deserve more than is being given to them.
There are a few ways a child can develop an entitled attitude, so be sure to consider what rules you’ve established with your teen if you notice them acting out.
Indulgence and Inconsistency
Some parents say yes to everything. Their child is the apple of their eye and they wouldn’t dare deny them one single thing. While you might think doting on your teen this way is supportive, your teen is learning that they can and should get whatever they want—whether or not it’s good for them. If you say yes to every appeal for the car keys, a stack of cash or a new tablet, it’s going to be hard to say no when you really need to.
When raising a teenager, the parental unit must be a united front. If one parent lets certain things slide that another doesn’t, a teen will learn how to work around and manipulate their parents to get what they want.
The consequence of both circumstances is that your teen will lack discipline. A little tough love goes a long way in keeping your child’s expectations at a reasonable level.
Reining Them In
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Laying down the law with an entitled teen can be extremely challenging. They’re used to their demands being met without any push-back, and it hurts their pride to take orders. Despite this, it’s imperative to bring them back down to earth. An entitled attitude will make it difficult for them to follow rules, make compromises and put others’ needs before their own. This will hurt them in their schoolwork, jobs and especially in relationships down the road.
The first step to handling an entitled teen is to establish firm expectations and consequences around things like homework, chores and curfews. Make your standards crystal clear, and follow through on the established punishments when your teen fails to meet them.
This may feel like an uphill battle, but aim for consistency and keep your foot down. You’re doing your teen no favours by letting them get away with whatever they want. Let them feel the consequences of their own actions. It teaches them responsibility and will help to reassert your parental authority.
If your teen is so obstinate that you can’t get through to them on your own, enlist some back-up. When your teen acts out in unacceptable or violent ways, give them an adequate response, even if it means calling 911. Counseling is a great resource for parents who are struggling with how to deal.
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