How To Stop Your Teen From Being Lazy

Mother and daughter facing eachother laughing

You’re so tired of yelling at your teenager for not doing what you ask. They are being so lazy you want to scream. I mean, what we ask them to do isn’t even that hard so why is it they won’t help out more?

How can you get them to do what you asked them without a fight all the time.

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There are definitely ways to handle this that will not involve you yelling at them ever again. 

They aren’t necessarily your easy options, or quick for that matter, but they will work.

First there are a few things to double check you have done your part right.

1.         Have you given them a really clear instruction. Simple enough a 5 year old could understand it? I don’t mean talk to them like they’re 5, but have your been specific on what, when and where?

2.         Have you taught them how to do this job?  E.g. You want them to clean the car. Do they know how to get the hose out and where to wash the car.  Where are all the cleaning items and how to use each of them.  What you expect a finished job to look like.  They won’t know how to do something if you have not shown them already.

3.         Do you know for sure that they have time to do this task.  Not for you to do it, for them to do it.  There is a MASSIVE difference in ability and speed, be careful not to have your expectations too high, give them ample time and neither of you will be frustrated.

Even though they are bigger than they have ever been before in their lives, do not be fooled, they are still children underneath it all.  You need to teach them how things are done or they won’t know.

If you have taught them how and given them an instruction with enough time to accomplish the task and they don’t do it, then they are at fault.

Before you make an issue with them, double check that nothing came up they couldn’t do anything about.

But if it’s simply because they didn’t get to it.  Then they are being disobedient.

Basically, it’s an old school word for not doing what they are told to. 

You can go into a rant to them about all you do for them and how you always help them when they ask, but it really won’t make much difference. 

They can’t hear you over all the yelling. 

What you can do is this. Stay calm.  If you can’t stay calm to talk to them, leave the room.

Remember, your the parent, they’re the KIDS, you need to be the adult, always!

When you’re ready to have the conversation.

  1. Explain to them that you are disappointed they didn’t get it done. Ask for their reason. At this point you may get a sincere apology and they will go do it right away.
  2. Maybe they show no remorse, so you can ask them to go do it now or discuss when they will do it.  Giving them a second chance is the right thing to do, unless this WAS their second chance…
  3. If they still have not completed the task you have set them. Have another (calm) conversation about being disappointed and what their reason for not doing it is.
  4. You have the right as their parent to remove from them whatever it is you see as of equal measure to the discomfort it is causing you. Often it’s removing something that you do for them.

You may have to get creative with this, you could even have some fun with it.

I use to remove internet, when my son wouldn’t tidy his room he lost internet access for 2-3 days. 

I didn’t mind him having a messy room, but every holidays I made sure he cleaned it once so I could check the carpet wasn’t rotting (haha).  I don’t know why it took him so long, he could have done it in an afternoon, but he didn’t, he faffed around for 2-3 days sometimes (with no internet).  It got cleaned up though!

It’s very hard to say exactly what you should remove, every family is different and every kid is unique.

Remember to be sensible and realistic, it should be something that punishes them, not you!

The overall idea is that a benefit they get from being part of your family (your team), is removed until they start working with you again. 

Teenagers, all kids really, understand team rules.  We work together in a team and if one isn’t doing their fair share then they don’t get to participate. They sit out and can’t play.

What you are doing is drawing a line in the sand that’s very clearly saying, this far is ok, over the line is not. 

Your defining the expectations for your relationship as they are getting older and more capable.

If you want to build trust and honesty between you then there has to be some sort of belief and understanding that if the person says they will do something, then they will do it.

Trust has to be earned. 

It shouldn’t be given automatically, a person is trustworthy when they show they can be trusted.

You don’t trust them with a vehicle if they won’t cook dinner for the family when you ask.

Final note, don’t get into a tug-of-war with your street savvy teenager. 

They may call your bluff and say they don’t care that you are removing privileges, money or whatever, but again, be the adult.   Execute your plan calmly without getting into a battle of words, nobody wins a war. 

Your taking back control of the core issue, which is that your child is not doing what you ask them to do. 

If they were in a job and didn’t do what the boss asked, they would be fired.  They are learning an incredibly valuable life lesson here.

Think of the conversations you will have and the maturity your child will be able to show. 

The respect they will have of you for not screaming at them and blowing your top…again.

There is so much to gain from mastering this!