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How to Get My Teenager to Help Out at Home


How can I get my teenager to listen to me? How can I make him clean his room, pick up after himself and help out around the house?


Those are great questions! Unfortunately, we don’t have a simple answer, and there isn't just one thing we can tell you to do that will make your child listen. Without much information about your son or your situation, we cannot provide a lot of specifics. But we can give you some of our basic parenting strategies to try.

Use positive and negative consequences to change behaviors. Positive consequences (time with friends, for example) increase the chances of a behavior happening. Negative consequences (such as the loss of privileges) decrease the chances of a behavior happening. 

When using consequences to change a behavior, keep these five things in mind. A consequence should be:
1. Important to the child
2. Immediate
3. Appropriate in size
4. Relate to your child's behavior
5. Appropriate for your child's level of development

Use consequences to teach your child, not to punish him. When you issue a consequence, remind your son of the appropriate behavior that he is supposed to have. Even though you may have told him three times yesterday, remind him again today because he still does not have the appropriate behavior.

If you are already issuing consequences for your son's behavior and are not seeing changes, you might need to reevaluate the consequences. Consequences will change as your child changes. Sometimes as parents we have to be creative in order to keep our consequences effective.

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