Guiding Your Teens versus Pushing (or Shoving) Them

Have you ever known parents who push their teens to the point of stress and detriment? Of course, sometimes teens do need a little nudge in the right direction to keep them on course. And, depending on the teen and his or her tendencies, some may need more than a nudge.

That doesn’t mean they need to be hounded constantly about what they need to do. It’s important to realize when they need a break from homework or other extra-curricular activities, and yes, even chores.

Creating moderation between work and stress-producing activity can be a delicate balancing act. How we as parents choose to proceed in that quest for moderation is an important key to the happiness of both you and your teen.

She did what??

I read an article a few days ago on a popular news website about a mother who sent her college son a very interesting, unique “care package” at school.

She sent him a box full of garbage.

Being the positive parenting advocate that I am, I couldn’t resist reading past the headline to find out more about this odd situation, and what gems of behavior led to such a drastic measure.

Without providing very many details, the article told this account.

The young man, who was away at college, received two packages in the mail from home. One contained food and other goodies. The other contained garbage.

Naturally, the boy thought there had been a mistake. When he called Mom to find out WTH was going, she replied that there was no mistake. That was the garbage he failed to take out when he was home on a break.

Now, I am sure some people think this is a great lesson, an effective way for that mother to get her point across. Yes, the boy should take out the trash, especially if she asked him to do it.

However, one can look at it from another side, as well.

We all are human, and we all make mistakes, including college kids who are home on a cherished break from school. And I’ll be darned if the memory I create of myself for any of my kids is that I was petty and unreasonable enough to pay to ship a box of nasty garbage to them because they failed to take it out.

Sorry, not happening.

I think we have found more effective ways of making requests and having them fulfilled by our kids.

The best way I have found to get my kids to do the things they are supposed to do is to pay them a commission for jobs well done. Payment works wonders, and kids will perk up and volunteer for jobs, usually, if they know payment is involved.

Many dollars have changed hands over the years for yard-mowing, weed-eating, car-washing, and various other jobs. The benefits of that, other than the financial benefits for the kids, have been creating a good work ethic, and helping them learn that hard work leads to compensation.

The second best way to give them incentive to do their chores was to have them work alongside of us while we are doing things, too. Instead of telling them to fold laundry and fussing if they don’t, we ask them to help us fold the laundry. If everyone is pitching in and helping together, no one feels singled out as a “servant” for having to fold other people’s laundry.

Or fill in any chore. Washing the dishes. Vacuuming the floor. Cleaning the windows. Even taking out the trash. If I ask my kids to do chores, you can bet I am busy doing something else that also needs to be done. It is an environment of everyone working together.

Perhaps these methods will not work for everyone. All I can do is tell you what worked for us. But you can bet, this mom won’t be paying the U.S. Postal Service to mail a box of garbage. Ever.

Related articles:

Why You Should Teach Your Teenager How to Use a Chainsaw

Should You Pay Your Teen an Allowance, a Commission, or Nothing at All?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *