Are You Enabling your Teen's Sense of Entitlement?
Written by Craig Rogers,
in Section Articles
Parents often have difficulty determining where to draw the line concerning young adult behavior. One of the problems that brings about frequent parental complaints is that of entitlement. When teens have developed an attitude of entitlement their actions and emotions become a source of tension and frustration at school and at home. These individuals feel that the world (and their parents) owe them, and these youngsters are more than ready to collect their due. Instead of facing this situation head-on and addressing the issue you could be enabling the very "sense of entitlement" that is creating drama in your home.
It is only natural to want the best for your children. In many situations, parents exceed reasonable limits and they try to give their kids every single thing in the world. They areassociating happiness with the accumulation and ownership of "things". The more things the better is their motto. When the teens are unhappy, petulant, argumentative or bored they simply try and "fix it" by buying them additional clothes, electronics and other items that are popular. The more that parents attempt to use money and possessions as bribes the more entitled the children are going to feel.
Focus on Good Parenting Techniques
Instead of enabling your teen you should focus on practicing good parenting techniques. This is not saying that you are a bad parent, but it is intended to point out that your own methods are part of the problem. You are laying a foundation for your children that is going to lead to further problems in the very near future. Your children are going to feel that they are entitled to anything that they want, without even considering whether they need (or deserve) these things. They will also develop the idea that they are just a few notches above everyone else. This sense of entitlement can lead to destructive and anti-social behaviors.
Instead of enabling such negative young adult behavior you should focus on being a helpful and discerning parent. Spend time with your teens and make sure that you explain that they are not entitled to cars, designer clothing and money just as a result of their birth. Show them that you love them by listening to them and guiding them along the right path.
Teach your child that earning something is far better than just receiving items as gifts. When you work for grades, or take a job to earn extra money the satisfaction received is far more rewarding. It may take your children longer to obtain those video games, cell phones and trendy clothes but they will appreciate these items all the more when they have accomplished the goal on their own. Even if they just save their allowance money to buy a new book they will soon learn that the world does not revolve around them alone. Giving in to your child's every whim is only going to foster a sense of entitlement but you can turn things around if you begin open discussions with your teen and help them understand that self-respect, self-reliance and true gratitude are worth far more than a few high-priced trinkets.