Since attending your seminar, I’ve been asking for what I need to be successful at work and enjoying the results. My problem is with my teenagers. I ask all the time for them to perform simple tasks around the house, and they still don’t do a thing until I yell. It’s exhausting after a full day of work to come home to this. Since you teach that every time we raise our voice, we’re being aggressive and damaging another person’s esteem, I’m at a loss. What do you suggest?
Dear Screaming Mama,
Living with teenagers myself, I realize that right now it’s all about them. I also remember back to being a teen thinking my parents were the biggest thorn in my side because they expected us to truly help around the house, and we couldn’t go anywhere until our chores were done. Can you believe that?!! My Father was good at yelling if he didn’t see you move fast enough. I’m a mellower version of my folks. Don’t yell, but every behavior has a consequence and I’m the Queen of Follow Through.
It appears that you’ve establish a pattern with your teens. They slack off until the yelling begins and then they put it into gear. So, you need to break the pattern now. Sit them down and tell them you will no longer be yelling to get them to accomplish their tasks. They’re big kids and it’s time for them to be responsible. Tell them you will gently remind them one time, and after that (if it isn’t done within a certain time parameter you establish together), there will be an immediate consequence. Describe the consequence clearly and directly. Then, you MUST follow through. Gentle reminder. No yelling. Immediate consequence.
For example, my daughter blew off a task, and her favorite thing in the world is to drive. So, as soon as it wasn’t done in a timely fashion I calmly said, “Since you didn’t follow through and do what you were asked this week, you’ve lost car privileges for the next 4 days. Unless you are going to/from your job, no car.” Her baby sister has her license, so the fact that her little sister had to drive her to school drove her nuts!! Plus, I wouldn’t drive her to simply go meet a friend. She was on her own for rides. I make no exceptions, and I don’t debate the consequence or discuss it once it’s delivered. She got it.
It may take time for your teens to see you’re serious, but they’ll eventually get the message when you take the time to follow through. YOU teach people how to treat you. Even your kids.