Parents can challenge this way of thinking by persistently teaching and modeling hard work. You might be surprised to see your child become more defiant, but remember that it is likely to get worse before it slowly starts to get better. After all, if your child has been getting his way his whole life, he’s going to upset that the rules are changing.
Start out by asking your child if he wants to be treated like a child or a young adult who understands. Use facts, not feelings, when talking to him and explain why you are changing the rules. Ask him what his goals are for the future and how he plans on achieving them. Break it down for him in very real terms that hard work, persistence and determination generate results, not sitting back and letting whatever happen happen. The real world isn’t easy, and teenagers need to be prepared.
Teen reading list
“Winger (Winger #1)” by Andrew Smith
“Living with Jackie Chan” by Jo Knowles
“In Darkness” by Nick Lake
Parent reading list
“Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before” by Jean Twenge
“Give Me, Get Me, Buy Me!: Preventing (or Reversing) Entitlement in Your Child’s Attitude” by Donna Corwin
“The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement” by Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell
Signs & Behaviors
Exhibits demanding, arrogant, angry, defiant and manipulative behaviors
Has poor grades and argues with teachers about their grades
Says things like, “I go to class, therefore I should at least get a ‘B’”
Makes outrageous demands
Threatens you with bad behavior to get their way
Unable to understand why their efforts are not praised constantly
Unable to understand why their peers do not admire them
Ridicules hard work
What you can do
Teach them that knowledge is a privilege earned through hard work, challenge and discomfort. Learning is about curiosity and intellectual challenges.
Help them understand that it is their responsibility to ask for help. It is not your or their teacher’s job to ask.
Stress that there are penalties for breaking the rules at home just like there are penalties for breaking the rules at school.
Praise effort when effort is shown. Don’t praise for half-completed attempts.
Model hard work and responsibility, rather than demonstrating an attitude that life should be easy.
Make the relationship reciprocal. Explain that both sides have to give and work rather than just one side working and the other side receiving.
Teach them how to compromise—both sides give something up and gain something. This prevents a teen from expecting to always “win.”
Emphasize and model empathy. Focus on how their actions make other people feel and help them see the other perspective.
“What are your goals for the next 10 years? What is your plan to get there?”
“In a community, sacrifice goes both ways. If we give things up to help you, the expectation is that you will give things up for us.”
“I know you want
“I know things have been easy up until now. Things need to change. Here is why and here is how.”
“In the past, demanding has worked. Things are likely going to change now. If you choose to demand, I will be choosing to walk away.”
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