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There seems to be a connection between adolescent willfulness and entitlement. Why are adolescents more entitled? When a child becomes more willful or strong-willed, as typically occurs in adolescence, there’s a significant change in thinking that can occur when something is desired—and this change causes somewhat of a “conditional shift.”

Parents know they have a strong-willed adolescent when their refusal to give or do something for their teen doesn’t simply cause sadness and disappointment- but generates anger, even fury at entitlement denied.

Entitled adolescents come in many forms: There is indulged teen to whom parents are forever giving and giving in; the star adolescent who receives special privileges and exemptions for being a high performer; the adored only child who is used to being sole beneficiary of all that parents have to give; the assisted teen who has grown so used to extra help that it has come to be expected; the manipulative one who keeps extorting compensation from guilty parents who can’t get over the suffering they have caused; and the rescued teenager who keeps getting bailed out of trouble by parents who can’t stand the hurtful consequences if they don’t intervene.

Signs of Entitlement Adolescents:

  • Teens who “want it now.” Kids are impatient and who can blame them? We live in a culture with instant gratification. Some parents are living in fear of saying no because our children are used to getting what they want.
  • Teens who have the attitude of “I don’t want to work for it.” After all, why work when it can be given to you? We foster a cycle of laziness and poor work ethic when we constantly give without requiring any work. Danger sign: Teens expecting a certain standard of living without work or effort
  • The adolescent who says “I don’t have to clean up my mess.” Responsible, healthy and mature living means if you make a mess, you clean it up.
  • The teen who says “I want it because everyone else has it.” Teens who “must have” the latest fads and fashion, they need to learn that it’s okay for you not to have what everyone else has
  • Teens who expect others to fix all their problems. There’s a fine line between helping and aiding bad behavior.

Antidotes to adolescent entitlement can be teaching mutuality and moderation. Showing teens that the relationship with them needs reciprocity, consideration, compromise… with the main lesson that a healthy, caring relationship is ruled by mutual giving and respect.

WHAT YOU CAN DO & WHY WILDERNESS THERAPY CAN HELP

When all else doesn’t seem to be working—whether your teen has a serious case of the “gimmes” or they no longer seem thankful for the things they have—Pacific Quest can break the cycle of entitlement mentality.

At Pacific Quest, we offer young adults the opportunity to view life from a different lens, because one of the most beneficial means of dealing with a sense of entitlement is a change in scenery and activity. … A lens that shows how rewarding and enriching hard-work and dedication can be and what they can lead to.

With a focus on nature and environment, adolescents are disconnected from the societal norms of status and luxury, and they learn to appreciate what they had and how their efforts can lead to obtaining it. Thanks to Organic Gardening and Horticultural Therapy, teens learn to help their efforts grow and ultimately pay off. They learn to become responsible for something that requires their care and attention. This is not only a lesson about life, but it’s also a lesson about the joys and rewards of accomplishing a goal and working for that goal.

Pacific Quests innovative Sustainable Growth model incorporates Whole Person Wellness, Individualized Clinical Care, Rites of Passage and Healthy Community Living in an outdoor, experiential environment that empowers adolescents to work for their rewards and move away from that sense of entitlement.

If you feel your child, or another individual, could benefit from the Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy Program or if you have a question about our therapeutic model, contact us at 808-937-5806 today.