Are You Raising a Spoiled Teenager?

7 Ways to Put an End to Entitlement

Avoid Spoiling Your Teen
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Hearing a teen say things like, "It's not fair that I have to do chores,” or “I never get to do anything fun!” can make any kind-hearted parent cringe. After all, many of today's teens have no idea exactly how fortunate they are. While some kids around the world struggle to find enough food and clean water to survive each day, other teens feel deprived when they can’t have the latest iPhone on the day it’s released.

If you're hoping to stave off a sense of entitlement - or you're concerned your teen is already a little spoiled - take a proactive approach to changing your teen's attitude. These strategies can help put a stop to a sense of entitlement:

1. Assign Responsibilities

Give your teen chores and assign daily responsibilities. Cooking, cleaning, caring for pets, and helping care for younger siblings helps teens develop an understanding of how much work it takes to keep a household running smoothly. If you do everything for your teen - like clean her room and constantly remind her about her responsibilities - she will expect that others should wait on her.

2. Privileges Should be Earned

Make sure your teen understands that owning a cellphone, watching TV, or having money to go the movies are privileges – not rights. Therefore, privileges should be earned. If your teen’s behavior doesn’t warrant extra privileges, don’t allow her to have them.

Outline the expectations that must be met in order for her to have those extra privileges.

3. Promote Altruism

A teen who is busy meeting other people's needs is less likely to demand she deserves more. It’s hard to complain that you don’t have enough clothes when you're serving dinner to homeless people.

 Or, it’s hard to grumble about having too much math homework when you're raising money for kids in other countries who have never had an opportunity to go to school.

Make helping others a family effort. Whether you regularly check-in with neighbors to see if there’s anything you can do to help them, or you participate in fundraising events for local charities, promoting altruism can greatly decrease a teen’s declarations that the world owes her something.

Read More: 10 Great Volunteer Ideas for Teens

4. Proactively Foster Gratitude

It's easy for teens to overlook all the things that they have in life in today's world. If you work to foster gratitude, your teen will focus on being happy with what she has, rather than demand she needs more. Teach your child to be grateful for everyday things like clean air to breathe and plenty of water to drink. 

5. Stick to Rules and Limits

Giving in when your child becomes rude or demanding will only fuel her sense of entitlement. If you’ve said no, don’t back down just because your teen gets upset or declares you are the meanest parent in the world. Establish clear rules and stick to your limits. Follow through with consequences when necessary.

6. Allow Your Teen to Experience Discomfort

Preventing your teen from experiencing natural consequences can reinforce to her that the rules don’t apply.

For example, if you complain to teachers because she received low grades, you may be teaching her that she’s entitled to higher scores even when she didn’t earn them. Allow your teen to face the consequences of her behavior and don’t rescue her from all of her problems. Experiencing a few problems and a little distress can reduce feelings of entitlement.

7. Praise Appropriate Behavior

Praising your teen for earning the highest math grade or scoring the most points in a game may fuel her feelings of self-importance. Praise her for behaving kindly or for showing gratitude to other people. Place an emphasis on being a good person rather than being the best.

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