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How to Deal With Demanding Teens

by Tiffany Raiford

Demanding teens want what they want, and they want it now. Being the parent of a demanding teen is often challenging and frustrating, as you often feel you cannot do anything quickly enough to satisfy your son or daughter. In today’s society, many teens feel overly entitled to the best, fastest and latest gadgets and fashionable items. Technology has made it difficult to deal with demanding teens who have become quite used to having a new song or a new book or a new movie right this second, thanks to Internet downloads and technical gadgets. Dealing with your demanding teen isn’t easy in this society, but it is doable.

Talk to your teen about what’s really important in life, such as her intelligence, kindness and her integrity, according to Dr. Phil McGraw, a talk show host and mental health professional. Demanding teens are often so because they become used to defining their worth based on their material possessions. When styles and technology change so rapidly, teens want the newest shoes, technology and other gadgets right now because they think that’s what will make people think they are “cool” or likable.

Teach your teen the value of hard work, according to Dr. Phil. For example, if your teen asks you for the newest phone and you get up, get dressed and go buy it for him, the only thing he’s learning is that he can demand something and get it from you without doing anything else. Instead, tell him that you understand he wants that new phone, so you will help him find a way to earn the money to purchase it. When he has to work hard to earn the money for something he wants, he is more likely to appreciate what he has, and he learns to understand that he can’t have what he wants without working hard to earn it.

Compromise with your teen, according to Dr. Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D., author of the book “Surviving (Your Child’s) Adolescence.” If your teen is demanding, compromise with her to help her understand that she is not the only person in the family with expectations. For example, if she is having an issue with the fact that she wants the newest handbag that all the girls are carrying, compromise with her. You will meet her demands for a new bag provided she meets your demands in return. Make a compromise that if she is willing to set aside Sunday evenings to stay home with the family and play board games, watch movies and have a family dinner, you will buy her the bag she wants. Compromise is a trade-off of expectations, which will help her to understand that she does not get to demand what she wants and get it without offering something in return.

Tip

  • Most teens are unfamiliar with the real costs of supporting a family. Get your teen involved in menu planning for family meals, then give him a fixed amount of money and a list for the grocery store. He'll begin to get an idea of how much it costs to feed the family every week.

Warning

  • Be prepared to explain to your teen that some requests are simply unrealistic, such as buying her a car for her sixteenth birthday.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images