Angry teen girl wearing glasses, yelling

Entitlement is a pervasive issue in our world and our homes today. But what does entitlement have to do with parenting?

Defining Entitlement

Entitlement is an attitude that says, I deserve whatever I want. It's my life. I can make my own choice and I shouldn't have any consequences because it's my choice. I'm exempt. And this very idea of being exempt spills over into the choices our kids make on a daily basis—in every way.

An entitled teenage girl has "every right" to privacy on her phone. She can download any app and text whatever kinds of pictures she wants because it's her phone.

An entitled teenage boy can take whatever advantage he wants of a girl because any girl would be lucky to hang out with him.

How Entitlement Affects Purity

Entitlement affects purity when kids believe their bodies are entirely their own—their bodies, their friends' bodies, and their smartphones with which they can inappropriately share those bodies.

They are not responsible to God, their parents or the parents of the teen on the other side of the phone.

There are no repercussions. There is only selfishness and impulsivity—two of the primary marks of the normal development of teens. Therefore, they need our help.

Practical Ways Parents Can Fight Entitlement

Entitlement always involves parents. Whether it is financial, emotional or physical, we play a part in the entitlement of the children we love. We give them too many freedoms and too little sense of responsibility.

How do we pull it back?

Start with the small things—and start them small when you can. Your child needs chores around the house. They need responsibilities that are simply a part of living in your home. They need to earn their way toward big-ticket things they want, like gadgets and cars.

You can match their funds, but let them participate in the fundraising. Don't buy their gifts for them and sign their name for birthdays and holidays. Let them participate in gift giving.

When your teenager has proven himself responsible enough to earn a phone, have a contract that goes with it, ironing out the choices they need to make to keep that phone.

Combining Privilege and Responsibility

Luke 12:48 says, "Much will be required of everyone who has been given much." Require big things and small things of your teens. Give them privilege, but give them responsibility.

When your son wants to ask a girl out on a date, make sure that he walks to the door and meets her parents.

If your daughter sends an inappropriate picture, she needs consequences and conversations about the value of her purity and the purity of the boy on the other end of the phone.

I know many parents who have walked their children through reparations after making bad choices physically with their girlfriends or boyfriends, including apologizing to the others' parents. Help them learn responsibility and accountability. Our bodies belong to God.

Their phones belong to you, as their guardians. You are their guardian on this journey of overcoming the selfishness, impulsivity and entitlement that are rampant in our culture and in their bodies in these teenage years. They need you to be good guides and responsible models of your own entitlement and purity as a parent.

Article courtesy of Parenting Teens magazine.

Sissy Goff has worked as the Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tenn. since 1993, and spends most of her days talking with girls and their families. She is also the author of six books, including Intentional Parenting, as well as the video curriculum, Raising Boys and Girls. You can also follow her via her official blog.