The ten-second rule
Pick your battles wisely and keep requests short and simple .
IF you want the end result – that is, socks picked up and the dishwasher unpacked – then this is my advice. Pick your battle carefully and then keep your requests short and simple. Let me explain.
The reason why your teen isn’t listening could simply be that you are using too many words. Parents often think that using more words will give them a higher chance of their request being heard. Unfortunately not. If you converse for longer than 10 seconds with a teenager, chances are the stakes will swing in their favour.
When too many words are exchanged, parents often get dragged into long-winded debates with their children. By explaining the why and why nots of their requests, they give their teens ammunition to argue and manipulate with. In turn, parents get worn down and give in. Mums, this is especially true when it comes to us! We tend to overtalk and attach way too much emotion to our words.
One thing that railroads parents’ requests every time is when they talk to their teenager about their personal needs and feelings. They might say to their teen “I need you to understand how much this is affecting me” or “You need to know how tired I am right now”. This is a BIG mistake. Teenagers barely understand that their parents have feelings, let alone care about those feelings. They also smell their parents’ fear, and have been known to use it against them. Harsh but true!
Let me give you some 10-second examples …
Say: I need you to put that phone down and have a shower. It’s time to get ready for bed.
Say: In the next ad break, go and pack your lunch and get your uniform ready.
No more words.
If you are a parent reading this, you are now asking me, “What do I do when they don’t move?” If you ask your teen to do something and you don’t get a response, politely ask one more time. Everyone deserves a second chance. If you still don’t get a response, don’t keep asking. That will only make you look desperate. Talk less and do more.
Think of it like this. If the police simply asked people to stop speeding, I highly doubt they would get results. That is what speeding fines are for. Issuing the right kind of consequence, in the right way, will help motivate a teen in the right direction. It will also save you hours of ranting, explaining and overtalking with no results.
These tips will help parents get the socks picked up a bit quicker this week!
Tip 1: Find the right bargaining tool Finding the right consequence is critical, but far more difficult than it looks. A consequence must make your teenager stop and take note, quickly, without being over the