• Handling An Entitled Teenager | Sarah Rosensweet | Episode 136

  • handling an entitled teenagerDo you have an entitled teenager? It may be an isolated incident at the mall or it may be an ongoing concern, but when we see our teenager showing signs of entitlement it can make us crazy. Parents can feel unappreciated, sad, angry, concerned or all of this and more. It can look like we have an ungrateful teenager who just expects things to be handed to them. How did they get this way? Did I do something to create this? How do I change it? Parenting coach Sarah Rosensweet joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to dig into these questions and more. Find out what’s really happening and what parents can do.


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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    When our kids are experiencing difficult emotions it can make parents uncomfortable so we tend to try to move away from the situation. We generally do that with one of two attitudes:

      • Suck it up buttercup.
      • I can fix that for you.

    High Points of Our Conversation on Handling an Entitled Teenager:

    helping an entitled teenager learn to handle emotionsWhen you’re feeling frustrated with your child, remember they’re doing the best they can.

    If we respond to our entitled teenager with anger, it creates negativity and disconnection. This hurts your relationship and increases poor behavior.

    When a parent shifts their mindset it can be transformative. Showing compassion and having empathy for your teenager’s point of view is essential.

    We can empathize with our teenager without agreeing with them, even when they’re acting entitled.

    Try to simply be there in the moment with them. For example, if they see a $500 pair of sneakers that they want and you aren’t going to buy them, you can still have compassion and empathize: “You really want those sneakers. Let me see them…That must be so hard to want them so much and not be able to have them.” If your teen strikes back with “That doesn’t help!” you can tell them you know it doesn’t help. Then move beyond the surface discussion and find out why they want the shoes so much. Is it because they left out, powerless, disappointed?

    Resilience is when you can tolerate difficult emotions. The way we learn resilience is through experience. So not getting something we want shows us we can handle difficult emotions and teaches us resilience.

    When our kids are experiencing difficult emotions it can make parents uncomfortable so we tend to try to move away from the situation. We generally do that with one of two attitudes:

      • Suck it up buttercup.
      • I can fix that for you.

    Both of these reactions impede our children’s development. They also tell them we don’t think they can handle these feelings.

    Teenagers are still developing. It’s okay to want things.

    When we see our teenager acting entitled we are afraid they’ve moved away from our values. This can push our buttons. If we feel our buttons being pushed we can ask ourselves if we’ve created this entitlement by giving in in the past. We can take a look inside ourselves and ask where the upset is really coming from. Lastly, we can empathize with our teen.

    Teens are bombarded with media and advertising telling them all the things they need to have to be happy. It’s difficult to deal with this especially when your brain isn’t fully developed.

    One great antidote to entitlement is meaning. Does you teenager have meaning in their life? Do they feel like they have purpose?

    We need to teach our kids to be kind and polite but we cannot dictate their feelings. Saying thank you is being polite. Gratitude is a feeling.

    Teen narcissism is actually related to adult empathy. They need to care about themselves before they can care about someone else.

    Our Guest Sarah Rosensweet:

    Sarah Rosensweet talks about handling an entitled teenagerSarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach and educator, and the parenting advice columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. She lives in Toronto with her husband and three big kids (ages 12, 15, and 18). Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to, “We’ve got this!”

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://www.sarahrosensweet.com/ 

    Our Sponsor:

    Inward Bound Mindfulness Education—iBme— provides In-depth mindfulness programs for teens and young adults. Courses and retreats help them learn awareness, compassion, and concentration practices which develop deep listening skills, self-awareness, and communication—essential competencies for success in all areas of life. Offerings have expanded to include courses for parents and other adults; all available online for 2020.

    Photo credit: Aidas Ciziunas