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How to Handle Spoiled Teenagers

by Melissa King, studioD

When your teenager was little, you taught her to be grateful when others helped her or gave her a gift. Now, your teen has become spoiled and seems to think the world owes her anything she wants. Spoiled teens aren't thankful for gifts or attention; instead, they're rarely satisfied and always want more. Your teen may have become spoiled because she's used to getting whatever she desires. If you're sick of your teen's selfish, spoiled attitude, you need to teach her to be satisfied with and appreciative of the things she receives.

Signs of a Spoiled Teen

Your teenager might be spoiled if she's always demanding new things, is never satisfied with what she has and bases her worth on the material possessions she owns. She's probably spoiled if she acts rude, self-centered and unappreciative. A spoiled teen will balk at the thought of working to earn what she wants, since she expects her object of desire to be handed to her for no effort. She may demand special privileges or want something she's asked for immediately.

Stop Spoiling Your Teen

In many cases, teens are spoiled because their parents allow them to be. A spoiled teenager was likely once a spoiled child, as well. Well-meaning parents only want their kids to be happy, so they give them whatever they ask for. This leads to selfishness and a "me first" attitude. The most effective thing you can do, then, is to stop spoiling your teen. Explain that you're doing this because you don't like how spoiled she's become. This may be hard for both of you, especially if you show your affection by giving gifts to others. Instead of giving objects, spend quality time with your teen. Your teen will probably be angry when you deny her the new outfit or electronic gadget she's asked for, but eventually, she'll accept that she can't have everything she wants.

Be Selfless and Teach Selflessness

Just like teenagers, adults aren't always completely selfless, either. Examine your own behavior and determine what it's teaching your teen. If you act selfish, spoiled and entitled, your teen will think that's acceptable behavior. To change your teen, you need to model for her the behavior you want to see. Start by doing selfless, kind things for someone as often as possible. Give money to others in need, donate household items to thrift stores or volunteer your time at a local shelter. Ask your teen to come with you when you volunteer. She'll see others who have far less, and she may feel grateful for all that she has.

Call Out Selfishness and Praise Good Behavior

Your teen has likely been spoiled for so long that she doesn't even know when she's acting entitled and bratty. Instead of staying silent when she says or does something spoiled, call her out on it. If she begs for an expensive new shirt after you've said no once, remind her that she has plenty of other shirts and tell her she's acting spoiled. Don't yell at your teen when you do this, though, since it will just drive her away from your message. Over time, your teen will learn that she can't always get what she wants. When your teen can accept "no" for an answer when she asks for something, praise her. Say "Thank you for understanding that we can't afford that right now." Stick with verbal praise and avoid giving material objects as a reward for good behavior.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

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