How to Deal with Entitled Young Adults (As A Parent)

How to Deal with Entitled Young Adults (As A Parent)

Dealing with entitled young adults, or “Karens of the world,” can be a challenging task that requires patience, empathy, and self-awareness. As a parent, friend, or colleague, you may encounter teenagers who believe they are inherently deserving of special treatment or privileges. 

In this article, we will explore effective strategies for handling entitled behavior in a positive and constructive way, promoting self-reflection and growth in both parties involved.

Understanding Entitlement and Conceit

Before delving into strategies to handle entitled young adults, it’s essential to grasp the concept of entitlement and conceit. 

Entitlement is when an individual believes they deserve preferential treatment or certain benefits without necessarily earning them. 

Conceit, on the other hand, is the perception that one is superior to others.

When dealing with entitled young adults, it’s crucial to recognize that their behavior might stem from insecurities, fears, or a lack of proper validation in their lives.

Instead of judging them, approach them with empathy, acknowledging that everyone has their story and struggles.

Steps to Handling Entitled Teenagers

Set Boundaries and Stay True to Yourself

One of the most crucial steps in dealing with entitled individuals is to set firm boundaries.

It’s essential to establish your limits and not be swayed by their demands.

By doing so, you prevent yourself from being emotionally manipulated or drained by their behavior.

For example, if a friend constantly expects you to foot the bill or buy expensive gifts, kindly explain your financial constraints and suggest more affordable alternatives.

Staying true to yourself and standing firm in your decisions will help them understand that their entitlement does not dictate your actions.

Develop Empathy and Compassion

Empathy is a powerful tool when dealing with entitled young adults. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand the underlying reasons for their behavior. Many entitled individuals may have experienced past dismissals or insecurities, leading them to adopt defensive attitudes.

Instead of reacting with anger or frustration, show compassion and genuine concern for their well-being. Recognize that their entitlement may stem from a need for validation or a coping mechanism to mask insecurities.

Promote Self-Reflection

Encourage entitled young adults to engage in self-reflection by asking them thought-provoking questions about their behavior.

Guide them to explore the root causes of their entitlement and help them recognize any negative patterns.

Ask questions like, “What do you think drives your need for special treatment?” or “Do you believe your behavior positively affects your relationships with others?”

Encouraging self-reflection can lead to personal growth and greater awareness of their actions.

Lead by Example

As you navigate interactions with entitled young adults, lead by example and model the behavior you wish to see in them. Be respectful, humble, and treat everyone with fairness and kindness, regardless of their status or background.

Demonstrate the value of empathy, compassion, and humility, showcasing the benefits of fostering healthy relationships and mutual respect. Your actions can serve as a powerful influence on their behavior and attitude.

Find Common Ground

Seek common ground with entitled individuals to bridge the gap and create a stronger connection. Discover shared interests or goals and focus on those aspects in your interactions.

Finding common ground can help break down barriers and foster better understanding between both parties.

Learn to Say No

Learning to say no when necessary is a vital skill when dealing with entitled young adults.

If their demands or behavior are unreasonable or negatively impacting your well-being, respectfully decline and stand your ground.

By setting healthy boundaries and not giving in to their demands, you send a clear message that their entitlement will not determine your actions or decisions.

Encourage Personal Growth

Ultimately, you cannot change entitled young adults; they must choose to grow and evolve on their own. However, you can support their personal growth by being a source of encouragement and inspiration.

Provide resources or recommend books and articles that promote self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

Encourage them to seek professional guidance if needed, such as life coaching or counseling, to address deeper issues contributing to their entitled behavior.


Dealing with entitled young adults requires a delicate balance of empathy, firmness, and self-awareness. By understanding the underlying reasons for their behavior, setting boundaries, and promoting self-reflection, you can create an environment conducive to personal growth and mutual respect.

Remember that empathy is a powerful tool in fostering healthier relationships and that leading by example is the most impactful way to influence positive change. As you navigate interactions with entitled individuals, focus on personal growth and self-improvement, which can ultimately lead to more meaningful connections and a greater sense of fulfillment for both parties involved.


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