Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Dealing With Lazy Teenagers

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
How can I motivate my two lazy teenagers? They won't help me around the house, and they consistently wait until the last minute to do their homework. As a single parent, I usually don't have the energy to make them get down to work. Is there a way to break this negative pattern?

You may think this sounds like a simplistic answer, but there’s really no way around it: the best thing you can do for your teens is to establish clear house rules on chores and homework, and then follow through. You’ll need to be consistent and firm, even when you’re tired or frustrated. If you’re not, you’re basically teaching your kids that it’s okay to be selfish and irresponsible.

Unless you make some major changes in your parenting style now, your children are going to have a difficult future ahead of them. In just a few short years they’ll be out of the house and living in the “real world.” If you haven’t taught them personal responsibility and self-discipline, how are they going to succeed in college or hold down a job?

How can you do this? One practical method involves something that psychologists call Premack’s Principle (a principle of operant conditioning originally identified by David Premack in 1965). Premack’s Principle states that preferred behaviors can be used to reinforce unpreferred behaviors. In application, it means that a less desirable activity needs to be completed before a person engages in a more desirable activity – as in “You have to finish your vegetables (unpreferred) before you can eat any ice cream (preferred).”

Here’s how you might apply this principle with your teens. As their mom, you probably know what their favorite activities are. Hold a family meeting with them, perhaps after dinner when everyone is in a good mood. Tell them how much you love them. Then explain that, as their mother, you are responsible to prepare them to be successful in life. Admit that you haven’t been doing a very good job of that lately and make it clear that you’re going to try to rectify that by establishing some new household rules. One of those rules will be that all homework and chores must be done immediately after school, before your kids are allowed to engage in “fun” activities, such as talking on the phone, chatting online, watching TV, listening to music, or going out with friends.

You can also build in some extra incentives using a point system. Each time your teens complete a chore to your satisfaction or receive a good mark on their homework, they earn points. These points can be cashed in for privileges or enjoyable activities like going to a family-friendly movie on the weekend or a trip to the mall.

Remember that it’s not enough to set up these rules and establish this point system. Everything depends on your willingness to follow through. Stick with it even when you don’t feel like being tough. And don’t allow yourself to get sucked into arguments about the finer points of the new standards. To avoid this, we’d suggest that you put everything in writing. Draw up a contract that clearly spells out both the rules and the rewards. Each of you should sign your names to the contract and post it on the refrigerator. If you stick to the plan faithfully for a few weeks, you should start to see some positive changes in your teenagers’ behavior.

For practical tips on how to set up a workable system of rewards and consequences we recommend that you consult Dr. James Dobson’s book The New Dare to Discipline, which can be ordered via our Web site Resource Center. If you’d like to discuss this subject at greater length, feel free to call Focus on the Family’s Counseling department.

 

Resources
The New Dare to Discipline

Have a New Kid by Friday

Boundaries With Teens

Teaching Your Children to Work

Single Parenting That Works

Referrals

John Rosemond: Parenting with Love and Leadership

Articles

Motivating Kids to Clean Up

How to Get Things Done With Teens

SHARE:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!