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How can you get your teenage child to do the things you require of him or her? There are two major issues that come into play here:

  • Most children have a natural resistance to being told what to do at some point in their young lives.

  • Many parents don’t necessarily communicate to their children as effectively as they might think they do. Some of us come off too strong; the rest of us aren’t as forceful as we may need to be – depending on the child’s personality, of course.

I have found that one of the most effective ways to be sure the lines of communication are open on both sides is to, lovingly, explain to your teenager what you want, then have them repeat it back to you. Once you are satisfied that “all minds are clear,” express any additional instructions that may be needed, then send the child off to complete the assignment.

Once the child has completed the task to your satisfaction, reward the child verbally, or with the reward agreed to in advance. This helps reinforce to the child the importance of “doing what you are told to do” without coming off like a dictator.

If you, as a parent, fail to see the importance of training your child to do what he or she is told, this could lead to greater problems in the child’s adult life someday. For instance, if the child can’t or won’t learn to respond positively to instructions at home, he will have problems in society – problems that, eventually, a police officer may have to correct. Do you get my “drift?”

Article written by Bill Harris, former TV news journalist and two-time Emmy Award Winner

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