If your teenager feels entitled, firstly expect your teenager to do more to help, get a job and maybe volunteer. It’s your job, as a parent to help your teenager become a responsible adult who can care for themselves. If you don’t, when they leave home, they won’t be in the habit of clearing up after themselves or cleaning or cooking, which will make it hard for them. And won’t make them popular with future flatmates or partners.
So sit down with your teenager. Explain that everyone does jobs as part of being in a family. And ask which job they’d like to start doing. It could be cooking for the family once or twice a week, or cleaning the bathroom or kitchen every week. And identify a regular time, so they remember to do the job each week. Getting a paid job, when they’re old enough is also good to develop responsibility. And volunteering is a great way to stop your teenager getting too self-focussed. Maybe helping people with special needs, dog walking or caring for children.
Secondly, spend more quality time with your teenager, without technology.
Often teenagers feel more entitled when they’re allowed to spend hours in their rooms, on their mobiles, Facebook or playing computer games. Family time is hugely important. As well as time every day to chat and do things together.
It would be good to sit down as a family and decide how to stop technology dominating your lives. So it could be that you switch all mobiles off for two hours every evening. Or have digital detox days. Or go out for walk. Or do activities together, without your mobiles.
And it’s a good idea to have a family meal each evening, with no mobiles or TV at the table. If your teenager doesn’t feel close to you, they’re much more likely to treat you as a servant.
And finally have firm boundaries and consequences for poor behaviour.
Often parents who have entitled teenagers aren’t firm enough about rules and expectations. Teenagers should only be allowed to stay out late, or have privileges if they’re getting reasonable grades at school and are polite and helpful. They should be earning pocket money, not getting it as a right. If they want you to do something for them, agree what they’ll do in return. Help them get used to the idea that they have responsibilities as well as rights. Agree in advance consequences for poor behaviour or not doing what they agreed. And make sure you follow through.
If you’re not firm your teenager won’t respect you or the rules.
So to deal with a teenager who feels entitled, three things you can do are:
- Expect your teenager to do more to help, get a job and maybe volunteer.
- Spend more quality time with your teenager, without technology.
- Have firm boundaries and consequences for poor behaviour.
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