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What to Do When an 18-Year-Old Daughter Feels Entitled

by Kathy Gleason, studioD

An older teen who acts entitled can be very irritating and frustrating to adults. If you have a strong work ethic and belief in budgeting and responsibility, you may be confused and upset that your 18-year-old acts as though the world (or you) owe her special treatment. Teens who expect you to pay for everything for them, do their laundry, prepare all their meals and more need to be taken in hand so they don't go through life with the attitude that they are owed things rather than working for them on their own. DrPhil.com points out that a parent's job is to show kids how the real world works, not coddle them.

Lay It On The Line

The first step in dealing with an entitled teenager is to have a long talk with her. Part of the problem may be that she has no idea how she is coming off to others. Explain the importance of personal responsibility and taking care of herself. For instance, it's not your job to make sure your teen is up for her summer job; she should be making sure to set her alarm and get herself out of bed and ready on her own. You are not required to wait on your teen, and it's important your teen be made to realize that. Explain that family members take care of each other -- but that no one person deserves extra coddling.

Do Her Part

Make sure your teen has responsibilities. Even if she's never had chores before, it's not too late to get started now. An 18-year-old could be responsible, for instance, for taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn and doing the laundry. Teens of this age might also pick up younger siblings from school or help them with their homework. You may want to make a weekly allowance dependent on this, if your teen still gets an allowance, or simply explain that these things aren't done only to be rewarded; rather, everyone must chip in to make a household run more smoothly.

Discuss Life Plans

To help your teen feel less entitled, try bringing her back to reality. For instance, talk to her about her plans for the future. If a teen feels entitled, she may not have thought much about eventually taking care of herself -- assuming you will keep supporting and helping her. It's time to burst that bubble. By 18, there's no reason your teen shouldn't have at least a vague idea of what's going to happen next. For instance, is she going to college? What will she study and what kind of job will she be able to get with her degree? If college isn't in her immediate future, what kind of job or training does she plan to do? Make sure she understands that the gravy train you provide will not last forever, and in fact, now is a good time to start putting more of the financial responsibility on her shoulders. For instance, you might pay for school and give her a hundred dollars a month for food and spending, but anything beyond that she must cover.

Helping Others and Herself

Encourage your teen to volunteer, either on a regular basis or at least occasionally. There are many way your teen can fill this role. She could volunteer at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen, pick up trash for town cleanup days or help out at a local nursing home by reading to residents or playing board games with them. In addition to seeing how fortunate she is and doing good for the community, there might be another benefit. By volunteering, your teen might discover new interests or hobbies she never thought of, such as learning to knit or deciding to pursue social services in college.

About the Author

Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.

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