6 Tips To Teach Responsiblity To The Entitlement Generation

The first article on raising kids in an age of entitlement identified that your kids “absorb” privilege because it permeates their generation. Being a role modelthe entitlement generation and teaching kids your values about work, finances, and privilege rests on those of us who are parenting. When I polled parents about how they’re teaching values to teens in today’s privileged culture, here are suggestions from seasoned parents:

  1. Requiring kids to pay for big ticket items From college to cars, many parents give these responsibilities entirely to their children, or require their kids to pay for a portion of them. Some parents purchase an inexpensive car for their teens, but then require the student to pay for gas and insurance. Requiring students to pay for all or a portion these big ticket items teaches them that these privileges shouldn’t be taken for granted.
  2. Teaching kids basic bookkeeping. Some parents open checking or debit accounts for high schoolers, requiring them to pay their lunch money, gas, personal products, and other bills (car insurance, etc) out of the allowance parents give them or from money they earn. This is a good option even if parents financially provide for their students because it teaches teens how personal finances work.
  3. Requiring students to be employed. In today’s economy, jobs are more plentiful for teens than they were during the recent recession. Whether students use money earned from jobs for big ticket items or smaller purchases, working gives teens responsibility and exposes them to the real world they’ll soon be a part of.
  4. Expecting teens to pay for “wants.” Clothes, phone plans, entertainment, the list can go on for “extra” things kids think they need to keep up with their friends. There’s nothing wrong with requiring your teens to pay for these items. Our kids have opted for “dumb phones” when they look at the amount they’d have to pay to upgrade to a smartphone, but they’ve also saved money to pay for new gaming systems. Giving teens freedom for how they will spend their money teaches fiscal responsibility and choice.
  5. Setting up a budget with teens whether they have an allowance or earn money on their own. Have your teen save a certain percentage, keep a certain percentage to spend, and perhaps give a portion to charity.
  6. Providing chores at home that earn privileges or money towards material items or privileges.

What system of responsibility, work and privilege do you have for teens? What have you found helpful and how has it impacted your child’s concept of privilege? We’d love to share some of your ideas in another post!

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Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

Brenda Yoder

Brenda has a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a BA in education. She's a speaker, freelance writer, author, counselor and teacher who's spent two decades working with and raising teenagers. She's a mom of four, from middle school to young adult, and lives with her family on a farm in Indiana. She writes about life, faith, and parenting beyond the storybook image at Life Beyond the Picket Fence at brendayoder.com.

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