You can listen to the people who tell you teens can't be trusted, or you can listen to two expert moms who don't want you to waste a single minute disliking your teenager. If the latter sounds good to you -- this is your book!
Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids
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marti AT slowparentingteens DOT com
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As the CEO of Envision Possibilities and the mom of twins I was delighted to read this book now before entering the teen years. The authors have put together a masterpiece that truly teaches you as a parent not to fear the teen years. I especially enjoyed the chapter on how listening is effective, because I work with busy moms who want to take their life back I will use this as a resource for those moms who have teenagers to help them navigate the parenting waters.
Dixie Andrade - the Mom Coach
Getting your teenagers to do chores can seem almost impossible, especially in the summer when they are less supervised and less structured. We hear this complaint in every workshop we give. “We love the relationship conversation BUT how do I get my kid to…” This is tricky for us to answer since the Slow Parenting Model isn’t designed to “get your kid to…” and yet, teens with slow parents do tend to be more cooperative and to get chores done. Interesting.
So here are 4 Tips that will get your teen to do chores while helping you to slow parent. It’s a WIN-WIN.
Don’t make the list too long and offer choices!
Offer choices to your teen so he can pick which 3 out of the 5 chores he will do. Leaving a list of ten chores a day for your teen is a set up for failure. A few chores from which your teenager gets to pick will allow him some buy in and ownership. A chore or two a day will be better received than one long list for the week.
Role Model Reciprocity!
You do a lot for your teen and it’s easy to feel hurt and angry when your kid doesn’t jump to help you or do as you ask. That is understandable but will lead to a dynamic that won’t work. You shame your teen, she gets passive/aggressive back, it becomes a power struggle, then it would have been easier to do the chore yourself after all the effort it took to get her to do it.
Here’s a better dynamic. “When you get this chore done then I am happy to (do the thing they want).” Reciprocity. I do for you, you do for me. This is not manipulation or keeping score. This is role modeling a skill set. It’s a mature skill and one that many adults don’t have. It’s a skill to be reciprocal with out keeping score.
Acknowledge Your Teens Efforts and Successes!
The Slow Parenting Attitude that goes with this is Catch Them Doing it Right. Nothing is more deflating to a teen than only or mostly being “caught” not doing something well. That doesn’t mean you accept a poorly completed chore. It means you find something to be positive about and to acknowledge about your kid. And when the chores are done and done well NOTICE!
Don’t Take It Personally When They Don’t Do Their Chores!
Deep breath, calm voice, notice something good, and ask again. This time with a clear timeline and natural consequences. Often the consequences are that you won’t reciprocate.
Example: “Kiddo, if you don’t have the dishes in the dishwasher by 5:30pm then I won’t be taking you to Brian’s house tonight.” And if the chore isn’t done – don’t take your kid. Don’t negotiate and don’t get angry.
Try these 4 ideas and let us know what happens. And as always, we want to know your thoughts.