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How do you deal with selfish teenagers?
Family & Parenting / 5:37 PM - Monday March 15, 2010

How do you deal with selfish teenagers?

My teenager is selfish and inconsiderate. I realize it is developmental, however, i want to take the high road instead of getting pissed off all the time. How do you handle this behavior in general? I know it will pass eventually.

- Asked by inthethickofit, A Hippie Chick, Female, 56-65, Boston, Self-Employed

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just beat them, its really only those unfortunate children of the kind of weak bitches who think "time outs" or "we talked about this" are an acceptable substitution for a good old fashioned boot in their ass when they really need it who are the the ones people need to figure out how to handle.

- Response by maleficpresence, A Guy Critical, Male, 46-55, Chicago, Technical

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It will NOT "pass eventually" unless you convey to your child that this behavior is unacceptable! If you don't, WHY should he change? He's not going to magically decide that he's wrong. Somebody needs to TELL him he's wrong.

Selfish, inconsiderate behavior should not be tolerated. Every time your teen acts this way, you must correct him. Take away privileges or freedoms that he enjoys, or something like that.

Any parent who truly believes that their kids are going to shape up on their own, without parental intervention, is kidding themselves.

- Response by justpassingthru, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Financial / Banking

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Having gotten 3 out the door in good shape, I think that one thing you need to remember to do - as we teach our kids - is use your words. Let them know how you feel when they are being selfish - how does it make you feel to see it happen. Also, let them know what you are seeing - being rude, abrupt, unkind, etc.

Trying to expand your 'emotional vocabulary' is important because so often they don't really realize how they are acting and how it makes others feel. Gently reminding them is key. In addition, make sure you note when they get it right - no need for huge applause and banners flying but just a 'thank you' or 'that's great' go a long way. Again, life is tough and we all know how good it feels to be noticed when we get things right - make sure they know.

In part, it is a phase but one you need to parent them through or they'll end up on the other side impossible to live with (who would marry them if it continues) or employ (who wants to hire w/out good personal skills).

- Response by momto11, Female, 46-55, Home Maker

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They say these are the best years of their life. Whoever said that must have been nuts. These are the hardest years of their life, because that are changing from kid to young adult. They are afraid of standing out and looking different from the other kids. So if you have a great kid, they can't show they are great, because of the people around them. And I hate to say this, but it is in their culture, the music, movies, reality shows. These are their examples, and there are very few good ones to follow. The media isn't helping. It is not cool to be good. It never was but it is even worse now.
Somehow all of us parents have to stick together and not be afraid of saying no. No you can't do what so and so does. Have privileges and purchases earned. Yes they do need to have fun. But if we cater to all their needs, they will learn to be self centered and not appreciate anything.

- Response by ghpooh, Female, 46-55

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Well I have read all of your responses, and I am tending to agree with our cliff climber....I think it is a cry for help...but help for what? I have loved this child from the minute she took a breath and now at 17 she is just rediculously selfish and talks to me with an attitude from hell much of the time. She has been this way since I can remember. She is beautiful, popular, and spoiled rotten. I have tried punishing her, taking away priviledges, talking til I am purple in the face, I even tried smacking her on the ass when she was little. I have grounded her, and I have ignored her behavior. What else is left. Please help me.

- Response by tryntomakeitrite, A Hippie Chick, Female, 56-65

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I respectuflly disagree. It is not developmental. It is not usual. It is not acceptable. It will not pass eventually.

You deserve to be treated with respect in your own home. Do you treat your teenager with respect?

I would encourage you to take some parenting classes. I would encourage you to seek counseling for your teen. Being selfish and inconsiderate of others is a cry for help, IMO.

- Response by utahmom, A Thinker, Female, 56-65, Managerial

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