How to Get Teens Out of Entitlement Mentality

The entitlement mentality of teens is a complex issue that stems from teenage issues of growing up, parenting style and emotional management. To fully pull a teen out of her entitlement mentality, you will need to address each aspect individually. You can do this with a clear plan that tells you exactly how to respond to the behavioral problems that arise from this mentality.

Compromise on goals. When your teen demands something that you believe is inappropriate, consider your teen’s viewpoint. Ask yourself, “Deep down, what does my teen want from this?” For example, a teen who is constantly begging for an overly expensive phone might not necessarily want that phone, but is instead looking for a shopping experience or looking to fit in with her peer group, both normal desires in a teen. Once you find the true reason for the request, find a way to compromise that satisfies both your needs. For example, instead of giving in and buying a new phone, take your teen out window-shopping, or allow her some extra time with her friends. With creativity, moms usually have more than one way of solving a clashing of goals.

Monitor your parenting style. If you are using a permissive parenting style, change how you react, as the permissive parenting style encourages the entitlement mentality in teens, according to Kimberly Kopko, researcher of parenting at Cornell University and author of “Parenting Styles and Adolescence.” Switch away from the permissive parenting style by refusing your teen’s unneeded requests, no matter how hard it might feel to do so. Permissive parents feel that saying no to their teens is difficult, but to remove the entitlement mentality, you will need to get in the habit of being firm with refusals when requests are irrational, such as a request to stay out late the night before a test.

Teach your teen emotional management. Use emotion coaching, the method coined and practiced by developmental psychologist John Gottman, author of “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.” In his book, Gottman discusses how parent-child relationships are often full of stress due to mismanaged emotions in children 1. Teens who are constantly requesting things to which they aren’t entitled have a desire, which is controllable. As a parent, you can help your teen control her desires by discussing with her how emotions are natural but don’t always need to be acted upon. Brainstorm with your teen other ways to satisfy her desires without always getting exactly what she wants.