How to Curb the Entitlement Attitude in 3 Steps

Teach your teens proper work ethic, a savings mentality and personal responsibility.

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Posted in , Jan 12, 2015

Curb a teen's entitlement attitude. Photo from 123RF(r).

My sons called it the Green Tank 2. The green Isuzu Trooper. It survived multiple high school drivers, the college years, and a few years in the work force.

The poor Trooper had a history of three transmissions, breaking down in the most inconvenient times and places, sliding off the icy winter roads in Indiana, bumpers being torn off from minor accidents, dents and scratches.

All in all, it had been a good vehicle for my sons. The Green Tank 2 kept everyone safe throughout all those minor mishaps. However, I sometimes felt bad that I couldn’t repair every dent or scratch or that I couldn’t provide my sons with a newer car.  

Curb a teen's entitlement attitude. Photo from 123RF(r).As parents, we want the best for our children. We want to give them what we didn’t have as teens and nothing less, even if it means going into debt. However, if we are not careful, the more we shower our teens with gifts, the more our teens will want and expect.

This trend will then continue into their young adulthood and can possible cripple them from being responsible and independent adults.

Dr. Phil recently hit the target regarding our current generation, “Entitlement is crippling our nation.” He’s right. As parents, we aren’t teaching our teens proper work ethic, saving their money, waiting for material things and personal responsibility. Instead, we buy them everything they want and teach entitlement.

Here are a few thoughts that I taught my teens:

1.   Buy used and share. There’s nothing wrong with buying an older used vehicle for your teen that is shared within your family. Teens are more likely to put a few dents and scratches on the car and not all of these mishaps need repairs.

Don’t let your car insurance policy increase over a few dents. Let your teen enjoy them as they build their own memories regarding their first car.

2.   Everyone contributes. Let your teen contribute to the cost of what she wants, whether it’s a car, future college expenses, or a personal item. Divvy up who will pay what. If you pay for the car, let her pay for gas or car insurance.

If you pay college tuition, let her pay for her books. Even if she pays a few dollars, this will teach her financial responsibility, and she will learn to take ownership of material items. 

3.   Everyone has a job, even if it means doing household chores. Teens who work for what they want will more likely take care of it because they have contributed their time or money toward the item.

My sons will never forget their memories of the old green Trooper and the lessons the Green Tank 2 taught us. I wanted to buy them a brand new Trooper, but the Lord wanted to teach all of us that a few dents and scratches along our life’s journey tell a better story.

Be thankful and count your blessings! 

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