Whining, Unappreciative, Lazy Teens: Advice From A Fellow Teen
Harrison is 17 years old from New Jersey, and loves playing guitar, tennis, and learning about current events. He wants to be a doctor when he’s older and hopes to travel around the world.
(Vanessa’s Note: We are working on a guest post for Fans of Being Moms and this question was submitted to us. Harrison’s answer was so awesome I had to also post it for our readers. Stay tuned for more questions and answers from our teens.)
“I am very open with my kids as well always have been, about any thing they ask or wanna talk about. When it came to raising my first 2 who was boys , I never had the whining problem , now my 15 year old daughter whines all the time ,when i try to get her to do chores, or do things for her self . All i ask of her is to do dish once in a great while , keep her room tidy , and do her own laundry and you would think her world was at an end . Yet she thinks that my husband and i should give her money when she wants, and allow her to go when she wants , and if not she whines. how can i make her learn more responsibility, but still not look like a bad mom.” –Tonya
Luckily for you, your teenage daughter is completely normal and acts just as any other teenage girl is supposed to act. As I’m sure you know, at the adolescent age, girls tend to act more moody and whine a lot more than boys. This is a result of the hormonal changes that are taking place in their body at this time. (aka puberty.) It also can result from the daily stresses of life, such as ones you mentioned, like chores, or peer pressure, school, siblings, or even the way that parents act toward them. But don’t worry, with good parenting and lots of patience, she will get over it! This may seem radical, (ironic, I know) but my advice would be to:
1. Stop cleaning her room for her. Once she realizes her room looks like a pig-sty, and probably smells bad, she will clean her room herself and make a habit out of it.
2. Stop doing her laundry for her. My mom actually recently taught me this lesson after I complained about one of my jerseys not being clean for my tennis match. She went out to Target, got me a cheap laundry basket, and told me that I should keep it in my room, put my dirty laundry in it, and do my laundry as I please. As a person who likes to wear clean clothes, I do my own laundry all the time now, which I actually like, because my socks don’t get mixed with my brother’s, and I don’t have to sort my clothes out of everyone else’s in my family. I taught me a great deal of responsibility and I have no problem with doing my own laundry now. If your daughter doesn’t know how to use the washer machine, just kindly teach her how to, and make sure she’s always supplied with detergent/fabric softener.
3. Doing dishes- you can’t really copy the same approach with the laundry as the dishes, because I’m sure that your family shares the same dishes, and she doesn’t have any personal silverware that she just uses. Something my Mom does is that she doesn’t let my siblings and I leave the kitchen after a meal until our dishes are clean. If we have something important to do, or rush out the door, she won’t let us leave the house or relax after we get back from that activity, until the dishes are clean. In my family we do our own dishes, so that it lightens the load on everyone else. (So after a meal, everyone does their silverware, plates, cups, etc. that they used while eating, dries it, and puts it away where it belongs.) This helps clean the kitchen and teaches responsibility at the same time.
4. Tell her she can’t leave the house until her chores are done and maybe even help you around the house a bit. Don’t soften up on this rule, because if do do even once, she will remember it and think that she can get away from doing certain things around the house and sneak past you to have fun. Being tough is important, and making sure that your rules are consistent is even more important, so that you don’t send mixed messages to your daughter.
5. Set an allowance for her, and don’t give her any extra money on the side. Meet with your husband without your daughter to discuss this, and what chores you want her to complete, and whether it will be on a weekly or daily basis, and how often and how much you will be paying her. Once you decide on all of this, set up a chart and then present it to your daughter with your husband. Explain to her that she needs to learn responsibility and you can’t keep just giving her money all the time to go out with friends- she has to earn it- either get a job or get it through allowance at home. Here’s a website that I found that can help you with that- there are plenty of other sites like this on the internet if you don’t like this one: http://www.chorecharts.com/
6. Make a contract with your daughter that incorporates everything I said, sign it, make your daughter sign it, and keep a couple copies of it, and leave one hanging in her room, and one for you as well. This is to make sure that she understands and agrees with these rules- make sure that she knows that she will be rewarded by being able to relax, go out with you for fun, go out with friends, and get an allowance if she does all of these things, which really aren’t too bad once you look at it.
Now for the part about looking like a bad Mom. There are sure to be a few “I hate you’s” and “Stay out of my life’s,” as it is with every teenager and their parent at some point, especially in a situation of frustration. Just let her know that you love her and you are doing this to help her become a better person and learn responsibility. Once she understands this, even if she doesn’t say she does, she will become more responsible- but I can’t guarantee she won’t stop whining, this is just a plain old teenage-girl thing, there’s no solving that!