35 answers

How Can I Teach a Child/adult to Be Less Selfish and Lazy????

My daughter is a freshman in college. I can't get her to do anything for me or the family. Everything must revolve around her and her social life. She has always been lazy and selfish...I have to threaten something to get her to do anything for me. Now I don't really have any leverage...the other day she said she didn't live here anymore, so she didn't need to do any chores....WHAT!! we are paying for everything, her new car, cell phone.... I know if I nag or gripe that does no good, just makes her want to not come home, but I am at my wits end....I don't know what I've done wrong in raising her. She has a delightful personality, is popular and a good kid, never in trouble, but is driving me insane how unappriciative she is. I am scared to take away her cell phone for safety reasons. She does have a high IQ and school work has come easy, she has never had to work hard for anything.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I hate to say it, but having been that age myself not that long ago, you just need to let it pass. I am 25 with my first child and I know I will face that eventually but I was the same way. It's not that we hate you or anything it's that we are just gaining a sense of independence and don't want anyone to tell us that we are wrong nor try to take it away from us. I now wish I could take back the way I acted but hind sight is 20/20. I know you are feeling a bit helpless but in my opinion the best thing my mother did for me was be there when I needed her and let me be when I was not being the nicest. She is my best friend now, next to my husband that is. Just try to give it some time and it will pass.

Plus I don't agree with the tough love theory. My husbands parents did that to him and all it did was drive him away. So whatever you do try not to do that. My husband is 30 and still holds some resentment for his parents and the way they handled things as he was growing up. I really don't think you want her to resent you. Plus at that age, they are a bit over dramatic, so if you cut them off she may feel like you hate her and it may push her away even more.

1 mom found this helpful

I WOULD NOT take the cell/car away immediately. Yes, she needs to grow up and realize how you as parents have done so much for her but it is not going to happen overnight!! Most kids don't realize what parents did for them until they have kids of their own!!
I would give her a goal of finding a job and paying for the phone by a certain date-maybe the contract date on the phone. Then she knows the end is in site. Then set a new goal of paying x amount on the car or her books or something.
This will work out much smoother and she will not resent you!!!!

More Answers

Obviously the word NO was not a word commonly heard when she was growing up.

She's never had to work hard for anything and personally it doesn't sound as if she was ever expected to. She is not a delightful personality if everything has to revolve around her and she makes no attempt to participate in family issues or show some sort of thankfulness for what she has. That's called being spoiled and selfish - not delightful.

You should stop making yourself crazy and stop asking her to do anything for you as you know what the result / response will be. However, in turn stop doing for her. She's a freshman in college - how do you plan on punishing her for bad behavior or what exactly will you take away?

Does she contribute as all to her college expenses or only take? If she only takes tell her that she is responsible for paying for her cell phone, gas for the car and car insurance. She will figure out how to keep her cell phone on - no worries on that. She may even figure out how to pay for gas but if she can't pay you for insurance she can't drive her car.

Make her responsible for something NOW. How do you think she is going to cope with the real world in a few years when she is out on her own? Because she has no real work ethic instilled, she most likely will not be able to keep a job of any real value. She already has a self centered attitude - this is a not a highly sought after attribute.

Good luck with this kiddo. I have a 26yo cousin who is very similar and her parents are at their wits end trying to figure out how to support her.

4 moms found this helpful

My father didn’t want me to go to college because I never had a clear goal. When I told him that it was really important to me he agreed but on “his terms”. Those terms included me earning money to pay for EVERYTHING above tuition, meals on campus and dormitory housing. I got my first job and quickly learned to pay for my haircuts, school books, pizza money, gas money (my car was an old car that was paid for and was nothing more than a point A to point B vehicle), etc. etc. I have to admit, I felt he was very unfair because not one of my other friends had to do the same. Looking back I am SO grateful for that experience. It taught me so much about myself, hard work and appreciation for the “extras” in life. I will have NO hesitation doing the same with my kids. I wish you the best. I know you love her a lot but sometimes the greatest love we can give is to “hold back”. God’s blessings!

God's Blessing,

3 moms found this helpful

You say you don't have leverage? You're paying for her NEW car, cell phone, etc. Don't pay for them any more. That's leverage. She has no gratitude for what you do for her because you do too much for her. No one ever died from not having a cell phone or new car. Don't enable her. If she needs a cell phone for emergencies she can buy a prepaid one that doesn't require a plan and she pays for the minutes she uses. She doesn't need texting, etc. that's available on plans.
She doesn't live at your home any more? Then she can go elsewhere during summer and winter breaks from school. Does she have an apartment at college? Then she can for that year-round as well.
Yes, it's tough. That's why it's called tough love. You say she has a high IQ and has never had to work hard for anything. But she needs to learn how to be a good human being, That'll be better for her in the long run than a genius IQ. You need to do her the favor of having her to learn that lesson. It's the best gift you can give her. Because in the real world, she will need to know that.

3 moms found this helpful

It seems that she has always gotten everything without having to work for it, so she has no reason to start now.

If you are concerned for safety, I am pretty sure you can get her a pre-paid cell phone with a certain amount of minutes on it that she could use only in emergencies.

If she wants better service, she can work for you and earn it.

Does she have a job? If not, make it necessary that she gets one. Most college kids work at some point or another. If she cannot find one, give her one. Let her earn her car payment (freshman with a new car eek!) her cell phone, her everything.....

There is no reason for her to be appreciative if things being given to her are a given, not a special event. We do not appreciate the ability to breathe until we get a cold or illness that makes breathing difficult because it is just what happens, we do not even think about it.

Give her something to think about.

Speaking from experience :) I have raised an ungrateful kid and am working on undoing years of getting what he wants too easily.

Good luck and be STRONG. If she wants to be treated like an independent adult, she needs to be one.

Sit down and have a long serious talk about it.


2 moms found this helpful

I empathize with you. A year ago my then-17-year-old was headed in that same direction. I was tired of the power struggle and day-today stresses with her. I began to get informed about her temperament and how to guide her & communicate with her (my temperament is different from hers & we clash on issues like this), and I also used the guidance and coaching found in the books available on raising a moral/responsible child. I began to give her the responsibility of earning her own way (paying for her cell charges, car insurance, and some living expenses) through a part time job in high school and summer after high school, since she didn't want the phone plan we offered or conditions for having the car. She learned to cook in a class at school and began to feed herself breakfast, lunch, and occasional dinners---since she didn't want to eat at the times I prepared meals. Kids are like kites---you let the string out a bit more all the time until they sail in the clouds and break the string to go on alone.
Today she works part time while going to college, expresses her appreciation for what she has learned, what she has and for her family without being asked. She takes care of her own stuff/bills (we pay for medical/dental/college), when she's around she helps with housework to helping with dinner. She is choosing her job and future career (pediatric nursing--to make a difference with families). She values that I stopped doing/providing everything for her so she could see what she's made of--capable, strong, resourceful, secure.

2 moms found this helpful

How about taking the keys to the car, cutting the cell off, no more cash, etc. She will quickly figure out that she needs to get her act together. People were safe before cell phones. If you didn't require her respect as she was growing up, she probably won't be very respectful now. She sees you as her servant, not her mother. Tell her to go ahead and move out and try to make it on her own. She is old enough. If she falls on her face don't pick her up. Let her figure it out. That is called natural and logical consequences. you have bailed her out long enough.

2 moms found this helpful

Time for some tough love.
Cut her off.

1 mom found this helpful

There is nothing YOU can do to change HER. You migt want to keep in the back of your head that one of our main jobs as parents is to raise good law abiding citizens....and then there is the religious factor too! My honest suggestion is to sit down with her with a ledger and have HER write out what her bills are. Allow her only a certain amount of what you guys will cover and let that be IT. I know that as moms we always want to give our kids EVERYTHING and in return the come to expect it as the norm and certainly don't appreciate things as they should. Hang in there!

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