Signs of an Entitled Teenager: Are You Raising One?

Signs of an Entitled Teenager: Are You Raising One?

No parent wakes up and makes a conscious decision to raise an entitled child. As parents, we don’t wish to raise children who believe the world owes them something or that anything goes as long as it makes you happy. But all too often, that is where we end up. We have a child that won’t do the simplest chore they are asked to do. They constantly rely on others to take care of everything from homework to sports equipment. They feel that the world owes them something for nothing. There are some key signs of an entitled teenager. Are you raising an entitled teenager?

The hard part is that helping your child in the name of love turns into a slippery slope of hindering their development into responsible, contributing members of society. It is an unfortunate reality that I see everyday.

Signs of an entitled teenager

“WE Syndrome”

I was running some errands the other day and overheard the following statements from parents in the line at checkout.  “WE worked so hard on that project and only got a B.” Also,”I don’t understand, WE did the study guide and still only got a C on the test.” Or perhaps my favorite, “I made a Quizlet for him, why didn’t he pass?

Everything I heard speaks to the same issue, WE Syndrome. As parents, we want our children to experience success instead of failure and often go to great lengths to “help” them succeed. When we believe that we are helping our children, we are actually setting them up to become reliant and accustomed to someone else doing the work.

If “WE” put in the work instead of allowing them to do the work, then we take ownership of the steps needed to successfully accomplish a task away from our children.

They don’t learn that success is met with hard work, they actually learn that someone else (in this case Mom or Dad) will do it for them. Helping young children with homework, for example is a good thing. However that can quickly spiral downhill as your child turns into a teenager and expectations are higher.

Next thing you know, you are calling school with excuses for your child’s missing assignments or dropping off forgotten homework.

man in pink polo shirt sitting on white couch
Photo by Kindel Media on

Immediate Attention Syndrome

This starts much younger than you would actually think. This starts when as parents, we drop everything that we are doing to meet the immediate needs of our children. When their needs are constantly put before those of others, then children do not learn to wait and be patient.

Children learn that things that bring immediate happiness are okay as long as it meets an immediate need. A symptom of this is often seen at restaurants when parents hand over their electronic devices to young teens in order to appease an immediate need and avoid an argument.

Me,Me,Me Syndrome

This is when a teenager believes that what they want/need/have to say is more important than anyone else. This is very closely linked with the need for “Immediate Attention.” When our children are little, we are programmed (correctly) to meet their needs-food,clothing,shelter, and love.

However, if we continue to exclusively cater to their every whim (think extravagant parties and over-the-top vacations) in order to make them “happy” then they don’t understand that the real world doesn’t work that way. The world does not revolve around the every need of the people who live in it. This leads to sullen, “give it to me now,” pouting adults. They lack the ability to see the world from a broader view.

Reward Me Syndrome

In life, the choices we make usually dictate the consequences. Don’t study, fail the test. Don’t do your homework, get a zero. Work hard to earn an A, get rewarded. As parents, we don’t want our children to miss out on fun. We like seeing them enjoy special events like parties, sleepovers, or special trips.

However, when a child isn’t held to standards for behavior and is rewarded anyway, they are sent a false message that special things should be expected, despite behavior that should indicate otherwise. It is no fun to tell a child they cannot attend a sleepover due to misbehavior at school, and it isn’t easy to see them miss out of fun or suffer the consequences for bad choices.

Perhaps it is even easier to avoid a struggle all together and let them go. But those “easier” choices leave you with a teenager who believes that life owes them something, despite exhibiting behaviors to merit reward.

Use quality resources

Do you see yourself, your child, or others in some of the behaviors I’ve seen as well? Do you know a teenager who balks at the simplest requests? Who constantly complains and is rarely satisfied? The good news is that it isn’t too late. There are ways to turn the situation around and raise your teenagers to be responsible, hardworking, contributing members of society. Teenagers still, of course-moody, perhaps a bit rebellious, but they all eventually grow out of that, but they will never grow out of entitlement, so work to fix it today. Here are some resources to help you find the right solutions for you and your family.

Further Reading: Books (available in eBook format as well)
Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes

The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World

Spoiled: Fresh Ideas For Parenting Your Entitled Child — At Any Age


Empowering Parents Entitled Children

Entitled Kids? These Tips Can Change Behavior from the

Psychology Today offers Adolescence and Entitlement

Some final thoughts: As parents, many of these behaviors come from a place of love. We have a deep love for our children and naturally, we don’t want to see them suffer in any way. Because of this love, we can unintentionally set them up for false expectations for the world. These false expectations will ultimately cause them more pain and suffering in the long run. Love your children the way God loves us: steadfast, calm, and unyielding.



Find me on: Web


  1. April 5, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    Wow! So true and it’s something we parents need to be reminded of routinely.

    • Leanne
      April 6, 2016 / 6:13 pm

      It is so easy to just give in. Especially on those especially long and hard days when we don’t have energy left for the “fight”. Just something that I’ve seen a huge difference in in the last 7 years or so… Thanks for reading it!

  2. April 6, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    I guess that it is easy to behave the same way as an adult too. Until we know the Lord changing our lives, we are all selfish and “entitled”.

    • Leanne
      April 6, 2016 / 6:11 pm

      I’ve never thought of it that way, but you are right…I guess there is no limit to the mindset of entitlement. Now there is SO much more to think on…thanks for stopping by!

  3. April 6, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    I honestly didn’t think it was possible to raise children who weren’t entitled until I had the opportunity to be around a few families who were intentially setting their own pace in parenting. I am SO grateful for the “swimming upstream” example. My oldest turns 20 this year, and I can say that I have been blessed to find that it IS possible to raise kids who are grateful, not hateful!

  4. April 7, 2016 / 4:34 pm

    Great post, made me think about how I parent my tweenagers! Thank you.

  5. April 9, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    So glad you are tackling this hard issue. It can be hard to find the balance of raising an independent/ caring child. It can be so easy to give in because it’s easy now, but we and they will pay for it in the long run. I think this can apply to younger children as well. Every day I pray that God will help me stick to my guns and do what is in the best interest of my children not mine so that they can grow to be giving unselfish adults. Thank you so much for this refreshing post to encourage us in this difficult parentig journey! Sharing!

    • Leanne
      April 11, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful response! Some days we are just so tired of “fighting the good fight” that it can be difficult to keep up with everything. This parenting thing is a tough gig! Thanks for sharing, commenting, and stopping by!

  6. April 10, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Ouch! This was a great reminder, but oh, so hard to hear…I know I try really hard to raise our teens to be grateful & “others” focused. God and others 🙂 But it is difficult…teens can be oh so “moody” and sometimes I admit my fatigue wins & I let them have that “immediate attention”. Learning to balance everything with His strength & in His grace. Thanks for the great reminders!!

    • Leanne
      April 11, 2016 / 9:00 pm

      Such a great comment with learning to balance everything in His strength and grace, love that! It can be so frustrating sometimes dealing with a bit of entitlement that perhaps we could use a bit more of His grace…might be a good follow up post, things we need to do to fight an entitled mindset…thank you so much for your insights!

  7. April 11, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    What a great post. None of us want to raise an entitled child. If people could see their children as adults, while they were still young, I think there are a lot of things that we would change.

    My children hear a lot about treating others fairly, looking out for the underdog, standing up to bullies, for themselves and for others. And they hear a lot about being grateful. I can see at times that it’s taking, and that they are learning, especially when I see them being so giving and gracious to their friends. It’s such a lovely feeling.

    But thank you for these reminders, we always need to be on our toes as parents, don’t we?

    • Leanne
      April 11, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Good points! Sometimes I feel like I talk with my kids (both students and my own) so much about being kind, thoughtful, and fair that it must get lost somewhere. But every now and again, there is a moment where it looks like they get it. If only we could see the future or if they all came with manuals…lol! Thanks for running the link up and sharing your thoughts!

  8. April 12, 2016 / 7:22 am

    You make some great points here. I think all of these behaviours start from babyhood. Raising your toddler to wait, take turns, be patient, be grateful etc will affect who they are as a teenager. Thanks so much for joining us for #bloggerclubuk, hope you will be back again tomorrow! x

    • Leanne
      April 12, 2016 / 5:52 pm

      Thanks! I’ve been thinking about doing a part two, Entitled Toddlers ?….I teach teens all day and have toddlers at home and find myself saying the same things all day long….looking forward to the next Link Up!

Leave a Reply

Latest Posts on How to Keep Your Life From Falling Spectacularly Apart

%d bloggers like this: