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Do You Have an Entitled Teen?

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Do You Have an Entitled Teen?

Do you have an entitled teen?

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.

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.

Considering how tight my husband was, I am thankful we did not fall into some of the traps we saw other parents fall into. Unfortunately, we did make a few mistakes along the way.

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 Best Way to Change Your Teen

Teen Entitlement

1. Teen Entitlement in Sports

Teen entitlement shows 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?)

What happened to go old-fashioned hard work and fun? All of this extra “help” has made the playing field uneven and extraordinarily competitive at a young age.

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 2 years in high school, and it showed. There was a big gap.

He still played some and had fun, but it was a struggle at times just to keep up with Jones’. I find it ridiculous that kids can’t just play a sport for fun anymore.

It is all about college scholarships and going professional. Realistically, only a small percentage ever go to college and play all 4 years on a full scholarship.

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: Raising Boys: The Most Important Thing You Can do as a Parent

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Do You Have an Entitled Teen?

2. 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.

I remember my daughter came home from church one day nearly in tears because she didn’t wear the right shoes. I felt horrible about it. But I didn’t go right out to get the perfect pair for $100 so she could fit in.

For me, that felt too excessive. It was a struggle to know how much to spend so she would feel okay, but not spend too much that she would lose reality in the real world and become entitled.

In her earlier years, we had a few meltdowns in the dressing room at the mall. Thank heavens that is over! She finally figured out how to look cute and pay a reasonable price.

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: Parenting Teens: Is Your Daughter a Graceful Pillar?

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

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

3. 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.

I remember one formal dance she found a black dress at Forever 21 that was about $20. She rocked it with some great jewelry and shoes. It looked just as beautiful as the other girls.

It became a funny, little secret between us.

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

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Do You Have an Entitled Teen?

How to Fix Teen Entitlement

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 your child not act entitled:

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.

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.

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. I highly recommend this.

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.

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.

What helps keep your kids from being entitled?

Book on Family Estrangement: A Christian Point of View

Are you experiencing family problems? Perhaps you and a loved one are no longer speaking. Don’t go another day without reading this book. It addresses family problems and estrangement from a biblical point of view. Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart is on Amazon or in your favorite digital store. 

Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

Get Creating Family Memories for FREE in exchange for your email. If you get this book, it will help you build a good relationship with your kids so that when the hard times come (teen years), you will be able to weather the storm.

Scroll down or look to the side to sign up. You can also get it at your favorite bookstore.

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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