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Privileges and Rewards: Young Teens

Many people believe that today's teens and tweens are growing up as part of a generation that believes everything is owed to them. From iPods to cell phones and everything in between, tweens are more demanding than ever. Many parents have to remind kids that a lot of the things they want or do in life is a privilege, not a right. Getting a tween or young teen to understand what privileges are and why they matter can be a challenge, but it can be done!

Privileges and Rewards: Laying the Foundation

From an early age, kids get a sense of what privileges are, but, in many cases, they are not required to earn those privileges. Problem is, many parents simply give their young teen everything, helping to fuel the feeling of entitlement. If you want to teach your young teen about privileges, consider these parenting tips:

  • Have discussions about privileges. It is important that young teens learn that such items as video games, cell phones, etc. are privileges, not a right.
  • Do not be afraid to take away certain privileges in order to help your child understand why earning them is important. It will not kill her to go a week without her iPod, and she may think twice about getting her chores done next time.
  • Use a chore chart to encourage your young teen to earn various privileges. List her chores along with what type of privilege she can earn once she has completed them (e.g., 30 minutes on the computer, stay up an hour later on the weekend, etc.).
  • Be consistent. If you readily give the go-ahead to play video games one time and then the next time you tell her she needs to earn it, you'll end up confusing your child and setting a bad standard.

Rewards and Long Term Success

If you don't teach your child that certain things are privileges, she may come to expect things to be handed to her. Consistently holding her accountable will help her learn about the value of privileges. And that's a good thing!