Do you feel like your teens make too many demands without expressing much appreciation?
Realizing that you have an entitled teenager is a tough pill to swallow.
If left unchecked, your teenagers may carry this sense of entitlement into adulthood.
This is why it’s crucial to address and correct these behaviors as early on as possible.
Fortunately, your teens are still in a teachable stage of life where they can learn values like compassion and gratitude. Your guidance will play a big role in helping them to do just that.
In this article, I’ll discuss the causes of teenage entitlement and the signs of an entitled teenager.
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What is entitlement and how does it affect teenagers?
Entitled teenagers feel that they are owed something even if they haven’t done anything to deserve it.
Surprisingly, research notes that entitlement in teenagers can be helpful at times.
Helpful entitlement is when teens are able to realistically gauge what to expect from others and stand up for their needs.
For example, they should be confident in their parents’ ability to provide for their basic needs.
Conversely, harmful entitlement causes teenagers to be ungrateful and demanding. As a result, they believe they should have their wants fulfilled, regardless of other people’s feelings or needs.
This could have a negative impact on the different areas of a teenager’s life.
Entitled teenagers don’t treat others with compassion and respect. This can make it harder for them to develop and maintain healthy relationships with others.
Unhealthy entitlement is also associated with lower self-esteem and a higher risk of depression and anxiety.
On top of that, teens who have everything taken care of by their parents may have weaker problem-solving skills. Entitled teens are also less likely to be good team players.
So it’s essential to nip this problem in the bud when you spot it.
What causes entitled behavior?
There are a number of possible causes of entitled behavior in teenagers.
Getting to the root cause can help you develop better strategies to manage and address the problem.
The following are possible causes of teenage entitlement:
- Indulgent parenting: Research suggests that privileged adolescents are more likely to be entitled. This is because of how other people, including their parents, treat them. If your teens have all their wants fulfilled by you, this may cause them to expect others to do the same.
- Inconsistent or non-existent boundaries: Saying “yes” to all your teenager’s demands and failing to address bad behavior can lead to entitlement. If your teens make irresponsible decisions without having to face any consequences, they’re also more likely to continue behaving this way.
- Absence of good role models: Do you look down on certain kinds of people? Do you disrespect others? Do you frequently complain or rarely show gratitude? If so, you might notice your teens behaving the same way. This is because teens often mirror their parents’ behaviors.
- Lack of opportunities: How often do your teens get the chance to learn to be kind and considerate – either through volunteer work or at home? If your teens have never had to put someone else’s needs above their own, they may develop a sense of entitlement.
- Social media or peer influence: Teenagers are easily influenced by what they see around them or on social media. Seeing their friends or influencers leading glamorous lives may cause your teens to have an unhealthy perspective on satisfying their wants.
Recognizing the traits of an entitled teenager
Parenting teens is challenging. It’s easy to feel demoralized when your teenagers behave a certain way, but remember that no parent is perfect.
What’s important is being able to recognize unwanted behavior. This then allows you to address it.
Take note that it’s completely normal for your teens to have their own desires.
What sets unhealthy entitlement apart are these traits:
Examples of entitled behavior include throwing a tantrum when told “no” or expecting others to pick up after them.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common signs of an entitled teenager:
Sign #1: Making many unwarranted demands
Do you often get bombarded with demands for things your teens don’t actually need?
Whether it’s the latest phone or branded clothes and shoes – your teens seem to have a never-ending wishlist.
They don’t seem to consider how much effort, time, or money would go into fulfilling their requests.
What’s more, your teenagers don’t practice financial responsibility. They don’t budget or save, and they make costly purchases on a whim.
You might also notice that they often compare themselves to those around them. They may resort to buying new and expensive items to fit in or to feel superior to others.
Sign #2: Reacting negatively when told “no”
Do your teenagers react negatively every time they’re told “no”?
Entitled teenagers aren’t accustomed to handling disappointment when things don’t go their way.
Teenagers might throw a tantrum, give you the cold shoulder, or rudely talk back when you deny them something they’ve asked for.
As much as you might want to give in to soothe the situation, it’s important to be firm. If you give in after your teens lash out or throw a fit, it will cause more harm in the long run.
Sign #3: Rarely expressing gratitude
Entitled teens often struggle to express gratitude, whether through a simple “thank you” or acts of kindness.
If an aunt or uncle buys them a birthday gift or a stranger holds the door for them, you may notice that your teenagers don’t acknowledge these gestures.
A lack of gratitude may also manifest as your teens constantly complaining. For instance, they might refuse to eat dinner unless the food is something they really want to eat.
Teaching gratitude to your teens extends beyond coercing a reluctant “thank you.”
Pointing out the kind acts of others can be beneficial. Additionally, fostering a culture of giving in your household and engaging in family volunteer work can contribute to this process.
Sign #4: Expecting to receive special treatment
Your teenagers might expect special treatment from others, whether it’s in school, at home, or in various social situations.
Your teens might enjoy being the center of attention, even on occasions like someone else’s birthday.
They may also assume that someone else will handle the cleanup responsibilities at home.
While it’s crucial to give your teenagers attention and care when needed, it’s equally important to remind them that they aren’t at the center of the universe.
Encourage your teens to consider the feelings of others. For example, you could take them shopping for a friend’s birthday or suggest that they help their cousin to make wedding preparations.
Sign #5: Disregarding rules and boundaries
You might have observed that your teenagers frequently ignore rules at home, school, and in public.
When you establish curfews, assign chores, or ask them to complete their homework, your teenagers may react strongly or kick up a fuss.
This defiant behavior may stem from a lack of respect for authority figures.
Your teens might think they know better than their parents or teachers and, as a result, refuse to follow their instructions or rules.
Moreover, your teenagers might disregard boundaries. They aren’t afraid to test another person’s limits, such as repeatedly calling a friend by a nickname that’s hurtful.
Teaching your teens to respect rules and boundaries starts at home. Create a clear list of rules and consequences for breaking them, and consistently enforce them.
Sign #6: Being unwilling to take responsibility
Another sign of an entitled teenager is the unwillingness to fulfill their roles and responsibilities at home or school.
Because your teens expect everything to be done for them, they refuse to do their homework or study for exams if they don’t feel like it. This can lead to bad grades.
At home, your teenagers don’t do chores or help around the house.
When they make a mistake, they don’t take any responsibility for it. Instead, your teens might try to shift the blame to someone else.
Sign #7: Finding it difficult to deal with failure
Entitled teenagers are used to having things go their way. Because of this, they might not know how to respond to or handle disappointments and failures in life.
They lack perseverance and frequently rely on others to solve their problems.
This might show up in different ways. For example, you might notice that your teenagers give up easily when doing a difficult assignment.
If this is the case, try to remind your teens that setbacks are part and parcel of life.
Lend them a listening ear, and help them to see failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.
Effective strategies to deal with entitled behavior
Dealing with an entitled teen can be tricky.
But there are steps you can take to curb this type of behavior, including the following:
- Start setting and enforcing rules and consequences for breaking those rules.
- Avoid picking up after your teenagers all the time or covering for their mistakes.
- Discuss the differences between needs and wants with your teenagers.
- When you say “no,” don’t go back on it just because your teen throws a tantrum.
- Create a chore chart for the family and assign chores to your teens.
- Don’t compare your teenagers or yourself to other people.
You don’t have to make these changes all at once. Identify the root issue and pick a couple of solutions you think might work.
Ultimately, what’s most important is modeling positive behavior for your teenagers.
This way, your teens won’t feel like your advice or instructions are hypocritical.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to give your teens the best of everything in life.
But this shouldn’t be done in a way that robs your teens of the opportunity to learn values like gratitude and responsibility.
Of course, dealing with entitlement isn’t easy.
But with patience and consistency, you’ll raise kind, humble, and responsible teenagers!
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