Raising a Spoiled Teenager

You want to fulfill your teen's needs — and even her wants — whenever possible. However, giving into your teen's every demand can create a spoiled child, which manifests in a number of forms. Temper tantrums, behavior problems, and verbal abuse are just some of the natural consequences parents may face if they’re raising a particularly spoiled teenager. Understanding common types of spoiling — and how to avoid them — are key when it comes to raising a well-balanced and responsible teenager and young adult.

Definition

Spoiled teens have a self-centered attitude, worried only about themselves and their interests, according to psychologist Carl Pickhardt at PsychologyToday.com. Your teen might be spoiled if he or she consistently puts their needs ahead of the needs of others. Spoiled teenagers are often very disrespectful teenagers that exhibit bad behavior when they do not get their way. These teens might even wield some power over you — a tactic they might have been using for years — to gain what they want and emphasize the importance of their needs. An "I want" mindset plagues spoiled teens and fuels the constant power struggle between parents and spoiled children.

Contributing Factors

A variety of parenting tactics — whether intentional or unintentional — can contribute to raising a spoiled teenager. The kind of human being a teenager grows up to become can depend heavily on how their family life is. A focus on material goods, which might have started when your teen was a child, can create a spoiled child, according to DrPhil.com. If you display a self-centered attitude, your teen might follow suit. Even well-intentioned habits can create a spoiled teen. In an attempt to build a healthy, good relationship with your teen, you might give him or her what she wants to keep them happy. The unintentional result, of course, is a teen who becomes spoiled.

Signs

Spoiled teens display several personality traits that will reveal their attitude. Spoiled teens might disrespect you, ignoring your requests and instead following his or her own self interests. Your spoiled teen also might define their happiness by what material goods they have in their possession, according to the DrPhil.com. Spoiled teens might also watch as relationships with friends come and go because of their self-centered attitude; this could have some implications on their self-esteem and overall mental health.

Consequences

Raising a spoiled teenager can have long-term consequences for the child as he or she matures. Without changes, a spoiled teen can become a spoiled adult, one who might struggle to maintain lasting relationships. According to Pickhardt at PsychologyToday.com, spoiled teens might grow up to be adults who experience an "erosion of caring." Ultimately, your spoiled teen's self-interests overpower relationships, resulting in only one long-term relationship in their life: the one between themselves and their needs. Thus, when you raise a spoiled teen, you risk creating an adult who struggles with relationships.

Parenting Tips for Raising Spoiled Teens

Everyone’s parenting styles are different; there are, however, some universal tips that could help in correcting the issues parents face with their spoiled teenager — or even prevent these issues altogether.

Say No

  1. Parents must realize that ‌it’s OK to say no to their child.‌ Your teenage son wants that one popular video game all of his school friends are getting? You might consider it for a birthday or Christmas gift, but for now, it’s a no. Your 14-year-old daughter is begging you for a cellphone? You already promised her she would get one when she turns 15. So, the answer, for now, is a no. Exercising your right to say “no,” as a parent, is crucial in preventing the continued power struggle so many parents have with their children. When teens enter high school, they might assume they are adults that can decide for themselves what is best for them at that moment, but it’s a parent’s duty to establish that they are the ones that make the rules in the parent-child relationship, not the other way around.

  2. It’s best to start early, with this step. When your children are still young, it’s wise to say no to certain toys or candies they want, showing that you’re the boss and providing reasonable explanations beyond “because I said so” to justify why you came to that decision. Talk with your kids about why you are saying no to certain things so they don’t assume that you are just abusing your power as a parent.

Set Limits

  1. Set limits for your teenager.‌ For example, if you are allowing your teenage son to play video games before dinner, ensure that you are only allowing him to play for a certain amount of time, until dinner is ready. Then, make sure he knows that he has to dedicate his time after dinner to completing his schoolwork. Similarly, if your teenage daughter is going to a dance with her high school crush, it’s not a bad idea to set a curfew that you want her to be home by. However you choose to set these limits, it’s good to practice setting them relatively regularly. You should familiarize your teenager with obeying the limits you set for them, as it’s a way to allow them to do something they want to do while still abiding by your rules.

Family Therapy

  1. Sometimes, family members need professional assistance to facilitate healthy conversations. If your teenager is spoiled and you are struggling to handle it, ‌don’t be afraid to reach out to a family therapist that can help you better navigate raising a child in their teenage years.‌ It can be hard to manage on your own, but the most important thing is showing your child that you care about them, and you want a good relationship with him or her as they get older.

Acknowledge Good Behavior

  1. When you see improvement in your teenager’s behaviors, such as increased self-discipline with completing their schoolwork, ‌be sure to let them know you are proud of them.‌ Good behavior does not always warrant a reward, but it is always nice for your child to hear when their parents are proud. Sometimes, the teenage brain can be wired to assume that parents are always on their backs about something, so it’s a good idea to counter this assumption by showing your teen that you notice and appreciate all of the positive things they do.

  2. Raising any child in their teenage years, spoiled or not, can be a real challenge for many parents. However, there is a way to show unconditional love for your children without completely spoiling them. Hopefully, some of the tips provided in this article help you in your journey to better understand your teenager’s behaviors and navigate them properly. Good luck, parents!

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