As teens develop, the emotional and social changes they experience can leave them prone to act out in ways traditionally described as entitlement. Although there are many definitions for it, it boils down to an inability to manage emotions around disappointment, frustration, and failure.
To avoid the challenges unpleasant experiences create, teens sometimes behave in demanding and uncompromising ways. These episodes might even include yelling, slamming doors, and other aggressive actions.
It can feel like a childhood tantrum, but bigger – yet, in extreme cases, it can be destructive and even scary. Acting this way cuts teens off from the empathy they need to understand others and form healthy relationships.
Is Entitled Behavior Unusual or Expected?
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households.”
Who said it? It was none other than Socrates, who passed in 399 B.C.
A lot of press is given to teen behavior today. Although young people deal with some unprecedented issues – like the added peer pressure created by social media – an “entitled phase” is not new. Parents should recognize that, with the right positive influences, this does pass.
“Entitlement” tends to arise in the middle teen years when youths expand their social circle past the family and a few adult role models. As teens seek social acceptance, they can be left with a distorted view of the liberties and luxuries afforded to their peers.
Teens are also bombarded with messages from consumer culture telling them there’s “always something better.” Teens’ relationships with parents and other responsible adults can be harmed by the perception that, even at an early age, life is passing them by.
Luckily, parents and other loved ones can help to guide teens forward in a firm, yet loving way.