4 Brilliant Tricks to Stop Teen Entitlement in Your Family

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Are you dealing with teen entitlement?

Many teens have a distorted idea of what they deserve or think they should get just because they exist.

I wish it were not so, but this is the world our kids live in today. It’s probably the worst it has ever been.

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Blonde girl with duck lips taking a selfie. 4 Brilliant Tricks to Stop Teen Entitlement in Your Family

Some of this entitlement is created by our kids and the media, but most teen entitlement is created by us, the parents. Yep, we have to share some of this blame. We give in to our kids with every want and whim to keep them happy.

I must admit, I was guilty of giving in to my kids more than I should have at times. I had to learn the fine balance between meeting their needs (and a few wants) and being excessive. Frankly, some of their wants became needs just to keep up.

And that was the rub. Explaining that an iPhone 6 was just as good as an iPhone 10.

Maybe you can learn from us. As I look back, I have noticed three distinct areas where we were hit by teen entitlement type situations. Here they are:

RELATED: The Ultimate Secret to Change Your Teen’s Attitude

Teen Entitlement

  • Teen Entitlement in Sports

Entitled teens show up on the field. Some teens think they should have everything handed to them so it is easier to compete. It’s what everybody does. (Heard that before?)

I know because we experienced this in baseball.

My son competed with kids who had played club sports since they were young (8 years old). They received private lessons regularly, and they had the best equipment on the market. My son only played club two years in high school, and it showed. There was a big gap.

Looking back, we dumped thousands of dollars into a sport that brought very little reward. My son did learn to be a team player, and he made some good friends.

I am just shocked at the price we paid to do it.

I realize every kid is different and this may not be your experience. But I think it is safe to say many parents are dropping thousands just to keep their child competitive.

Just know that whatever sport your child does pick, it may include travel, special equipment, and private lessons. Dave Ramsey gives some good tips on the high cost of sports. 

RELATED: The Biggest Secret to Raising Boys Who Are Kind

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Do You Have an Entitled Teen?

  • Teen Entitlement With Clothes

Girls are given access to their parent’s credit cards, and they spend almost whatever they want. It is teen entitlement at its finest. High dollar purses, jewelry, shoes, and clothes are just part of the everyday teenage girl’s life now.

The competition to look and dress like Hollywood has permeated their lives due to social media, TV, and movies.

There is so much pressure to wear the latest and greatest.

Through the years my daughter and son have learned to budget their money and make good choices. They still have a boo-boo (bounced check) every now and then. Overall, they are practicing how to be a good manager.

RELATED: The Best Way to Raise a Smart Child Who Is Wise

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

You can find Estranged on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

  • Teen Entitlement at Dances

This is the absolute worst of teen entitlement. Ugh! I am not sure where to begin with this one because it has become so ridiculous. It wasn’t as bad for my son as it was for my daughter, but the cost adds up for either gender.

I was surprised at the real cost of Prom to do professional hair, make-up, nails, and spray tan. I didn’t even do all that professionally for my wedding.

We gave our daughter a budget, and she worked with us to find the best deals. She did her hair and make-up herself or got a friend to help her. She chose to get her nails done.

RELATED: Focus on Your Teen: 9 Best Activities to Do as a Family

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4 Brilliant Tricks to Stop Teen Entitlement in Your Family

4 Brilliant Tricks to Stop Teen Entitlement in Your Family

Start teaching your kids the value of a dollar early so they are not throwing tantrums. Stick to your principals when they start whining and moaning about how you are the only one who has given them perimeters.

I promise you are not the only one. There are lots of us out there who are trying to watch what we spend.

I recommend these four things to help you not raise an entitled teenager:

1. Work

Your child needs to work some. If he is too young to have a job, then let him earn it doing chores around the house. Cleaning their room, bathroom, or doing a little laundry will not hurt them. It is important that they see they are part of a whole unit. And not the whole unit.

Kids are self-centered by nature so breaking this streak is really hard. They will not naturally gravitate toward helping around the house so don’t be shocked if they don’t want to help. Keep working on that attitude. Some take years to get it right.

2. Tithe

We asked our kids to give 10% of their earnings to the church. This helps ward off greed. My husband and I practice this same principle as well. If you don’t model it, don’t expect your kids to do it.

3. Volunteer/Mission Trip

We went together as a family on several mission trips. I think this is the best thing we ever did as parents. It was life-changing for our whole family. Our kids saw what poverty really looked like, and they learned to serve those who could never pay them back.

There is no textbook, TV commercial, podcast, or post that can teach gratitude. Sometimes life experience is the only way to help kids understand what the rest of the world lives like. And birth location is the only thing that separates them from the same life.

RELATED: Community Service Project: The Best Way to Bond as a Family

4. Budget

Give your child a certain amount of money and then let her figure out how to allocate it. She can add her earned part to make up the difference.

There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to take part in all the activities such as sports, shopping, or dances. Just do it for less. If they want more, they can work to get it.

RELATED: The Most Powerful Parenting Tips (from Successful Teens)

Help your kids understand their extracurricular activities are a privilege, not a right.

And that right can be taken away with misbehavior. This does not include sports as it hurts the whole team. It helped that my kids were mostly (cough, mostly) willing to cooperate with us because we started early on training them.

We held them to a high standard. We did not want brats.

I think my kids knew deep down that the dollars thrown at some of these frivolous things were silly. They didn’t need to buy every little trinket out there. This philosophy has worked well now that they are off on their own adventures.

RELATED: 15 Life-Altering Reasons For Kids to Wait Until Marriage

How do you stop teen entitlement in your family?

Do You Have Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your own family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book with a single tree on the book

Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.


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Julie Plagens


  1. Yolanda on April 11, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Teen entitlement is really hard especially when you’re a stepmom like myself. Our kids live with us full time but when they are at their mom’s her beliefs are quite different than ours and that’s where it makes it harder to ensure the kids really know how to think about money as well as working hard for things. Not an easy job!

    • Julie Plagens on March 23, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Yolanda, that is so difficult. And then if you put on some boundaries, they are resentful. The fun parent always seems fun until the child is entitled as an adult. Good luck. Pray hard for wisdom.

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