The gentle art of persuasion with teenagers.
First things first…..
Stop challenging your teen
Stop treating them as an adult
Give them limited choices
Treat them as an individual
If you want their clothes picked up off their bedroom floor, ask yourself why you want them to do that?
What is the issue here? You dictacting how they live, your rules, it’s in their best interest, they need to learn how to look after themselves? What ever it is, you’re entering into a battle you don’t need to have.
I spent many years trying to keep up with the washing with 4 boys, school uniforms everyday, several types of sports kits plus mine and hubbies washing and what for?
When I left hubby boys for 4 months to sort out personal problems in the UK, it was simple. If they didn’t take their clothes to the laundry basket, they didn’t get washed and in the morning when all hell broke out and dad walked out the door to work saying 'they’ll learn their lesson and can go to school in yesterdays clothes' I should’ve just followed him. As when I wasn’t there, the teens just had to go to school in yesterdays crumpled shirt, made their own lunch boxes, walked the dog, locked the door and took themselves to school, I was so obviously over parenting them, so on my return, I changed tactics and the following happened.
Chaos, sheer chaos, I didn’t have a job to go to, if I walked out the door and took myself off for the day they couldn’t get to school as they needed the car and in South Africa walking wasn’t an option. So I started giving them limited choices. If they wanted dinner then they had to help prepare it, if they didn’t want dinner they could make their own after we’d finished but a) there would be no frying of foods, no take outs and they’d have to clean up after them which meant loading the dish washer. This option wasn’t preferred, so they’d agree to chores, I’d cook and then they’d follow through with their dinner chores.
Dinner was always served around various activities but always together, there would be 3 choices for dinner and agreement would have to be made on which dish was cooked, if an agreement wasn’t reached they’d take it in turns to decide.
Remember your children are not adults but at the same time they are individuals that deserve to be heard but not if it’s just whining and whinging and they need to be reminded that although something may not be fair it doesn’t mean they have the right to go and beat their younger brother up or trash their room because although you’ve listened to their opinion, you’ve not agreed and still said no to the disco, trip, time they can stay out till etc, etc
When they complain that child a, b and or c was allowed to do something just remind them that they are not child a, b or c and that each situation is judged on its own merit and you are the parent and the decisions are made by you with their input to best suit the finances and needs of the rest of the family unit.
Don’t tell you child that they are going to do something unless you are prepared to follow it through. For example ‘go get ready we’re going shopping’ is far more effective and leaves you more leaway to work with than ‘are you coming food shopping?’ because if the child says no, what are you going to do? What is the point in asking them if they want to do something then telling them tough, they’re doing it anyway and then if you say ‘oh go on then stay at home, or the other parent can go on their own so you can look after them at home, what then? What message is that giving your child? One that they are in charge? That just gives the message that the child is in charge and dictates the parents activities. But if having answered the question with what you perceive to be the wrong answer, what then? How long before you back down, drag the child out the house, offer a bribe, give in after a massive fight, because trust me these things escalate very quickly.
Don’t ask a child what they want to do unless you’re prepared to cover every single response they could possibly come up with, you’re not teaching them any valuabke skills they can take into adulthood with them other than he/she who shouts the loudest gets the most, but unfortunalty that may work in your household for the child, but not in the big wide world and what skill do you wish your child to take with them into adult hood……putting their clothes in the laundry basket or ones where they don’t have a tantrum when they’re asked to do something they really would prefer not to?