How to NOT Raise an Entitled Teenager

For Parents

It’s no secret that parents want to raise responsible adults…but how? How do we teach our children accountability in order to prevent entitled teenagers in the future? In order to do that, we need to learn what it means to be entitled.

Entitled is, “assuming or acting as though one has an innate right or claim to wealth, success, recognition, etc.” We often see this personality trait developed in late childhood and early adolescence; however, there are steps you can take to prevent having an entitled teenager in your home.

It’s important to remember this responsibility not only lies on you, but on your child as well. together, you two can work to create the kind of patient, selfless person you (ideally) want them to be.

Below are a few ways to lay down the framework for a well-rounded, level-headed teenager:

Assigning chores, household responsibilities, menial labour!

Call it what you want, but the research is clear: chores are good kids. They’re necessary to developing responsibility and accountability. Start with small tasks, such as unpacking the dishwasher once a week; but as your child enters adolescence, the tasks should become more frequent and more challenging–something the whole family relies on. If they don’t make their bed every morning, it doesn’t affect the rest of the household; however, if the family relies on them to cook dinner every Friday, but sit down to a table of empty plates, that’s a larger issue. One long-term study showed how successful individuals became in all aspects of life when they were taught responsibility as adolescents. Need we say more?

Teaching patience

It’s obvious this generation doesn’t have enough patience (or any at all), and delaying gratification is a critical life skill and essential for intrinsic motivation. In other words, it’s one of the greatest predicators of long-term success. As they say, “Patience is a virtue,” and adolescence is the best time to learn this. Being entitled is putting your needs and time above others; that you get what you want, when you want it. But by teaching your child patience, you enforce the idea that good things come to those who wait.

Encouraging acts of service

Our young people spend much of their time in their own world. Get them out of that hole, and into the lives of others, which includes making meaningful contributions. Encourage them to volunteer, join a local Boys and Girls Club, or another organization that can benefit from their help (bonus if you volunteer with them)! This not only motivates your child, but gives you a sense of accomplishment, knowing you’re part of creating a better world. Additionally, serving others is directly linked to experiencing authentic happiness, and is part of a life full of vitality. So, the question is…who can you help? 

Sharing the importance of gratitude

You’ve probably heard the word, “gratitude,” thrown around a lot, and for good reason! Expressing gratitude shows personal growth. It communicates to others that you’re aware you aren’t owed anything–that the things you want must be earned. Expecting the world to accommodate your needs is a prime example of entitlement, but by showing gratitude for the things you already have, you create space to help others.

This may seem like a lot to remember, but don’t be overwhelmed! Keep in mind, raising a well-rounded human doesn’t happen overnight, in a month, or even a year. Of course, it won’t be easy, but then again…is raising a child ever not?

FOR MORE INSIGHTS INTO REDEFINING ADOLESCENCE, SEE OUR PROGRAMS

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