What happened to the little helper that always wanted to do everything you did and cleaned their room and helped you set the table? Who is that lazy lump lying on the couch watching TV and sleeps until noon? It is your teenager who is not the least interested in helping you out anymore. How on earth will you make your kid to help you around the house again? Here is your answer.
It might seem impossible but it is not, you will just have to start using other methods. You will have to add things like negotiation, responsibility and encouragement. It is really important to be clear with what is applicable and what is not so that the teenager does not feel that you’re bossing them around. Telling them what to do may have used to work in their younger years, but now your kid has a stronger will of its own and unfortunately, it often collides with yours. Do not give up though; it is not fair if you do. You are doing your kid a favor by getting their bum out of the couch, equipping them for adulthood. It will be easy to get irritated and you can easily work yourself up having a lazy teenager around, but do not yell about their dirty laundry or messy room when you’ve had it up to your ears. Before this happens you will need to sit down and talk when you and your kid are in a good mood, maybe during dinner. There you will have to explain to them why you are asking them to help you out and why it is so important that everyone, including you, pulls their bit. Before this you will have to understand your own goal, what do you need help with? Then let them know that you are tired and would love some help. Make your teenager feel needed and valuable.
All though, be prepared for some negotiation, he or she will probably not gladly take on the tasks you ask them to, so as said, prepare for an acceptable minimum effort and don’t go below that. Above this line your teenager should have some freedom of choice though; maybe you suggest that they clean the bathrooms once a week, but if your teen says that they only use one of them so maybe it is fair that they only clean one of the bathrooms. When you have agreed on what tasks your teenager needs to do, it is time to decide when these should be done and how often. Create a cleaning schedule that your kid can sign every time they have cleaned and if the cleaning is made poorly or not at all; let your teenager decide the punishment or you cancel movie night. Withdrawal of allowance will probably not work anymore. All though maybe an addition to it when the schedule is followed may not be a bad idea. Make sure that your kid is aware of the consequences if their room is not clean. Maybe not that they will have to live under messy circumstances – because they don’t really care – but that they aren’t allowed to bring home friends before their room is fixed. Keep up the little spontaneous rewards and gifts too, showing them your appreciation.
Even at this age your kid looks up to you, even if they may not admit it. So keep encouraging them and give them positive attention; let them know that you don’t make them clean because you want to punish them. You are doing it because you value their help; it strengthens their self-esteem and their liking of you.
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