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How can I influence my teen to be less selfish?

She is so self absorbed right now. 16, Always checking FB, taking those quizzes, talking to the BF whenever possible, asking to go to the mall, movies, have sleepovers, etc. She's very excited about all of the above, but when I tell her we're going to her brother's baseball game, she gets sullen and sticks the ear buds in, never cheers for him & asks when is it over (the other sisters her age at the games are much more involved-at least watching the game)...or when it's time for driver's ed class, or to do chores, she acts put upon. I have told her I don't like the attitude, but it continues. I feel like telling her no fun until I see some positive attitude in ALL areas. Selfish to the max! Is your teen this way, too and what can I do??

Answer Question

Asked by dflygirl7 at 9:14 AM on Jul. 16, 2010 in Teens (13-17)

Level 12 (751 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I think teens being this way in just the way it needs to be so we WANT To let them leave the house.. and why some mothers eat their young...

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 9:17 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • I think it's hard to change the course at this age. She has probably been given way too much of her own way for most of her life, had too much stuff just handed to her. Most of today's children are in the same boat. My children are in their 30's now, and things were so much different even when they were growing up. Life was more about the family than about individuals doing their own thing. We didn't have a lot of money, so the stuff was harder to come by. That meant that most of the entertainment was going to the sibling's events, so they grew up close and remain so to this day. They mostly entertained their friends at home, rather than hanging out in places where there was no supervision. It was pretty much that way from the time they began to exert their independence. It was a good way to weed out the ones who had impure motives. It worked out well for our family, but it may not work for yours. I would try though.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:23 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • Seems like a typical teenager to me. Take her volunteering somewhere - for example on Thanksgiving go to a soup kitchen. Maybe that'll help change her mindset. Do it as a family, too so it doesn't seem like you're just 'making her do it'.

    Answer by mom23boys679 at 9:23 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • I think that she probably shouldve been taught not to be selfish a long time ago. good luck with it now, it probably wont change.

    Answer by SabrenaLeigh at 9:26 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • LOL ! maxsmom!

    Positive reinforcement- if you can catch her at something thoughtful, then praise her - don't go overboard- just a smile and a comment about how she is always so thoughtful. If you do it too much or get too enthusiastic, she'll roll her eyes, but something casual that you praise- "I'm glad that you come with me to watch the games."

    Answer by Bmat at 9:30 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • Balance is a key in a healthy life at any stage. As a mom I had to learn each of my 5 children, 2 married now, are different. They might look a lot like each other but each have their different ways to understand life. You as a mother might work on yourself, enjoy your time with each of your children in separate events if possible and embrace those things your teen likes. Hug her, tell her you love her, sometimes we point out the negatives and more negative emerges. Take also time to do something you like, time for you, that helps to keep the focus and to overcome the challenges of each stage. I rely on my faith in God, without his help, I wouldn't be able to continue being a mommy! My husband now works together with me to raise the kids the best we can but years ago I was a single mom... sometimes married moms feel like if they were single, dad need to do their part as well and moms need to communicate their concerns!

    Answer by roxipoet at 9:37 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • 16 is a tough age because our children are fighting for freedom and just starting to put into process the things we've taught them. Family is important and I think unless you teach this early its hard to teach it later. Have you considered having her bring a friend along to the game? I let my boys do this on occassion. Do you have family days where you all do something together? A movie, a picnic, the zoo - just anything to be together. Every week we define all the activities/plans for the week, I tell them our family plans and we negotiate how that will fit in with their schedules (sports, friends, parties) - it works for us. This way they get time with friends and I get my family time. Talk to her about your feelings, sounds like while she's self absorbed maybe you feel as though your loosing her or your connection is breaking down - let her know that, let her know you love her. Heart to hearts work wonders with children

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 11:20 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • Oh also just a couple ideas about the whole phone/computer thing. A couple things I do in my family is limit computer time I have two boys so they fight over it to get on FB too. I let them have an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. I also enforce family dinners, we all are home and eating together, rarely is there an exception to this. Phone time is the same, if it is move night at home and they are texting I take the phones away. Some movies nights I have them bring their friends over, so I balance family and friends together for them. I tell my children that I value our family and I don't want to loose them, I want them to know I'm always here, always their mother and this family is important to me. They respect what I think and knowing I'm scared that they may leave me, opens me up to them and it helps them understand why I expect the things I do.

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 11:26 AM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • So when you tell her that you don't like the atitude, is there a consequence for a lack of change or is more: "stop before I say stop again!"

    We are also a family that limits screen time; one hour on school nights, two hours on non-school nights

    Answer by rkoloms at 2:02 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

  • We did have a heart to heart and she gets it that she's self absorbed. I think part of what's going on is the baby self and the growing up self are at odds...they want to be treated as grown ups, with all the privileges that come with that, but not the maturity to have the proper attitude when they don't get what they want. We don't give her everything she wants, never have, but we are very supportive and loving...she knows she must show responsibility, but it's the attitude that we can do without....growing up is hard work. I do remember as a teen finally coming to the realization that the grumpiness wasn't going to get me anywhere and compromise is sometimes the way to get at least some of what you want. Maxsmom, I told her she better get with it or I will eat her....just kidding...I will say that if the attitude continues she will not have many of the privileges she wants.

    Comment by dflygirl7 (original poster) at 5:09 PM on Jul. 16, 2010

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