Are you raising an entitled tween or teen? Parents often remark to me how their teen is ungrateful, expecting mom or dad to do everything for them. And yet that same teen never wants to help around the house! Most parents see the symptoms of entitlement in their teens but feel helpless to change the behavior, often citing the society we live in today. While yes, I agree that society adds to this “it’s all about me” self-focus, society is not living in our houses. We are. So what can WE do as parents, in our own home, to raise grateful and hard-working teens. Here are 4 ways to avoid raising entitled tweens and teens!
4 Ways to Avoid Raising Entitled Tweens and Teens
As parents, we all want kids that are grateful and thankful. So what steps should we take in our home to encourage responsibility and helpfulness and discourage feelings of entitlement?
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through a link The Reluctant Cowgirl will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, used toward keeping this blog going. I only recommend products I appreciate and trust. Read all my disclosure here
Avoid Entitlement Issues by Stop Doing So Much For Your Teens
Did you know that by time a child is the age of 3, if they haven’t been doing chores, they have already made the mental decision that chores are someone else’s responsibility?
Do you have a 13 or 14-year-old living in your house that is only responsible for cleaning their room? Yikes! I hear this often from parents when I ask what their teen is responsible for caring for in the household.
If we want to break entitlement issue in our teens, then we need to stop doing so much for them! If you have been doing everything for your teen start slowly giving them one chore to handle on their own. Change is hard and it takes a while to create a new habit, so to create a smoother transition just focus on one thing at a time.
If you can, choose a job for which they are naturally suited. Your kids are all gifted in different ways so start transitioning some of the work to them by allowing them to help in an area they are gifted.
Do they love to hang out in the kitchen or watch cooking shows? Have them make dinner once a week. Are they great at organizing? Ask them to reorganize the pantry.
Work can be fun so make it a positive experience. Tell them, “I could use your help,” or “I would love your opinion on…”
Balance Freedom Teens Enjoy with Responsibility
Think about all the freedoms and privileges your teen has in your household. Now think about what they help with or they are responsible to do. There should be a balance between the two.
Just like as parents, we have more freedoms, we also have a lot of responsibility. Sometimes we can get top-heavy by giving our teens tons of freedom but not attaching any responsibility.
If they have the freedom of owning a phone, then they should have the responsibility to “pay” toward it by paying a small bill each month or working around the house.
If they make the decision to stay up late, they still have to get up and go to school. And if they can’t manage that responsibility then as parents, we need to step in and dictate a specific time and schedule for bedtime.
Allowing our kids to face the natural consequences of their action is a helpful way to allow for a balance between freedom and responsibility. If they break their phone by being careless then they will need to work to pay for a new one. If they don’t keep their grades up and get let go from the team, we can encourage them to focus on their studies. But we should NOT rescue them by just getting them put back on the team.
Find that healthy balance between freedom and responsibility!
Expect Teens to Find a Job
When we as the parents feel like it is the right time for our teen to get a job help them begin to make steps in that direction. And we don’t have to wait til they are 16 or 17 to find them a job.
I have learned that some kids are very self-motivated and excited about finding a job Others will be rather nervous and have a million reasons it can’t happen. But we can help them work through those fears, step by step.
Sometimes, we as parents can get caught up in our own fears. Finding a job makes us feel nervous, and we can put all our fears on our kids.
Other times, parents are so focused on keeping their kids “happy” that they buy into all the excuses why their teen doesn’t want or need a job. You may recognize that you struggle in this area if every sentence about your teen starts off from your kid’s perspective!
Be creative as you help your teen brainstorm about jobs. Try to find a job that will work for your teen AND your family’s schedule. Can they work for a family member or close family friend that has a small business? Should they start their own pet or lawn care business? Is there a business they can start from home, making something?
If they are highly involved in sports or the creative arts they may only have a job during their off-season, which is fine. In fact you all may want to look at starting a micro business.
There is a great little book called Teen Micro Business by Carol Topp that will walk you and your teen through the steps of starting their own small business. Teen Micro Business is a short booklet and easy for teens to read. The book will give you and your teen tons of great profitable ideas.
Model Responsibility and Growth to Raise Thankful Teens
Finally, we can make learning and work fun by modeling it.
Watch how you talk about work and chores. Instead of bemoaning the fact that you have to do dinner every night mention how you are excited to try out a new recipe. Farm chores can be less fun when it is cold out but we can speak about how well the cows are growing or how happy the chicken seem with their cleaned coop!
Did you find this post helpful? PIN and Share!
Mention to your children an interesting new project you are doing at work or a problem you overcame that day.
Now, just a hint, if you are a highly driven parent, some teen personalities will see that and directly model it with little persuasion. Other personalities will be more persuaded to work if you allow some of the “work” to be a social occasion or a group project. So don’t be surprised if you get contrasting results from different children. They are not “lazy”, they are simply motivated and wired differently!!
4 Ways to Avoid Raising Entitled Tweens and Teens
So just in case you read really fast, here is a summary:
- Stop doing so much for your teen
- Balance their freedom with their responsibility
- Expect them to find or create a job
- Model responsibility and personal growth
So tell me…what is working or NOT working with your teens right now? Comment below and share from your experience:)