What can I do with a spoiled teen?


Quick Answer

Parents can discourage spoiled behavior in teenagers by establishing consistent rules while giving sheltered kids opportunities to confront personal mistakes and consequences on their own, says psychologist Richard Blomfield, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School. Parents have to explain the consequences of inappropriate behavior and enforce them. Making empty threats turns parent-child interactions into a battle of wills where teenagers can get what they want simply by being persistent.

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Full Answer

While guidance is necessary for teens, parents have to resist the urge to solve every problem for their kids. Instead of trying to force teenagers to make better choices, parents can encourage maturity by stepping aside and letting kids deal with the fallout, as long as doing so does not endanger the child, says Blomfield. He also warns parents against overindulging teenagers with material possessions. Allowing kids to earn things for themselves builds a sense of accountability and gratitude.

Spoiled teenagers may develop an entitled attitude and expect rewards without earning them, says psychology professor Jim Taylor, Ph.D, in Psychology Today. Parents can impart positive values by setting up routine chores and allowing older teens to find summer jobs. Teenagers learn to understand hard work and meet set standards while building fiscal independence and responsibility.

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