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Deserving, Lazy & Ungrateful Teenagers-Why?
Thomas and Bonnie Liotta -- The Parent Helpers Thomas and Bonnie Liotta -- The Parent Helpers
Seattle , WA
Monday, February 04, 2013

Too Lazy to Run Away from Home.
 Everywhere you look, like on Facebook, Twitter and Dr. Phil, teenagers are getting a bad rap. They are deemed the rude teenager, the deserving ungrateful teenager, or the lazy teenager. Although in many cases I agree this is true, my questions are: Who raised these teenagers? Is there anything parents can do to change it? And if there was, do the parents really want to know the answer?

Parenting skills are developed through how an individual is raised by their parents. Other ways parents may develop their parenting skills may be through parenting articles, parenting programs and parenting workshops. Proactive parents will reach out and find parenting solutions while they are raising kids. Otherwise, it is just like hatching an egg and then waiting to see what happens next. This is called reactive parenting and it sets the teenager up for failure.

Here Are 5 Positive Parenting Solutions for Parenting Teenagers.

1. Decide exactly what you wish for your teenager to be, do and have.

It would be very difficult to do any job without a job description, including doing the job of parenting teenagers and having the factor of teenagers being teenagers. Your role as a parent is to teach your child life skills so that they have the best chance to succeed in life. You are required, as a parent, to provide food, clothes and shelter. Anything else they acquire will occur with an effort from them, which teaches them to earn privileges in their lives.

Make a written list of every skill, characteristic and habit you wish for your teenager to learn by the time they are 18. Make another list of the daily things you wish for your teenager to do, such as jobs around the house. Next, ensure your teenager knows precisely how to do everything on the daily list by showing them, step by step, what you expect. Show them by you doing the project, such as making the bed, then you put everything back the way it was and you watch them do it. Repeat this process until they are doing their chore or expectation exactly the way you want it. Much resistance will come when the teenager does not know exactly what you want and feels stupid asking.

2. Stop doing everything for your teenager, stop paying for everything and stop rescuing them every time they make a mistake. Put more responsibility on your teenager.

Many parents make the mistake of doing too much for their teenagers. They forget, or are unaware, that there are natural transition times throughout the child's life for their child to take on more and more responsibility. It may seem easier in the moment to just do it yourself than to follow through with having your child or teenager complete the task, like taking out the trash.

You have an entire arsenal of ammunition 3 times a day at mealtimes, not to mention 300 plus channels on cable TV, computer time, and cell phones! These luxuries are not owed to your teenagers. These are all privileges that the teenager must earn by cooperating with your expectations as a parent.

3. Use the positive parenting technique of praise when you see something you like.

Many well-meaning busy parents neglect to offer praise for what did get done or they will focus most of their attention on what they don't want. This is easy to see with babies. In working to protect them and keep them safe it is easy to say, "No, no, no..." and "Don't touch that." In fact, an average baby will hear no nearly 400 times a day! Just look at the rules at your local pool; it tells you everything you can't do, but does not tell the children what they can do.

Every time you see a positive behavior that you had placed on your list of what's essential for you to have them learn, praise them! You have written out and shared with your teenager exactly what you expect them to do, right? You have already established the rewards which are important to them to earn, like TV time, cell phone time, and Facebook time, right?

4. Make preapproved decisions and offer your teenager choices.

Now that you have everything in writing and you both know each other's expectations, you can have conversations with your teenager and pre-frame them for success with "already parent approved decisions." For example, let's say that a cell phone is your daughter's number one motivator. You can set up your expectations in a positive way with your daughter, using her cell phone as her fuel to action, regarding what is important to you.

You say to your daughter, "I know you love your cell phone. A cell phone is a privilege which must be earned. If you do one of the things I have asked you to do by the time I am home from work, you will earn 30% of your potentially available cell phone time next week. If you do two things on the list you may use it 60% of the time, and if you do everything on the list you can use it 100% of the time." This way your teenager is earning her cell phone, TV time, or anything else that is crucial to her while she is doing things which are vital to you. The essential factor is that you can always say yes; you can always be in the loving emotion, guiding their behavior.

5. Have your teenager begin to earn the rewards which are important to them.

I know it is important for you to have your teenager help around the house, go to school, and have a good attitude. It is also important to many parents to have their children be happy, and to do this they buy them expensive gifts, vacations and family outings which the parent believes the teenager desires to have. By not finding out what is actually important to the teenager and then trusting in them enough to let them earn it on their own, the teenager actually feels like they are being bought and they begin to doubt their own abilities. Worse yet, the brain develops a welfare system mentality and, when they become an adult, they never learn the skills on their own to maintain the lifestyle you had provided.

It is easy to discover what is important to your teenager by the things they are asking for. "Mom, can I have a sleepover?" Excellent! You have ammunition to let your daughter cooperate with you exactly the way you choose, but it will be by her choice. When you stick to your guns on this you will experience some ridicule, then violent opposition, and then, finally, your teenager will accept you with self-evidence when they discover that you do believe in them and they will begin to believe in their own abilities to create good things in their lives.
Thomas Liotta
Creating Champions for Life
Seattle, WA
Cell: (206)391-0223