Ms. Jacobsen reminds her son to start on his chores. His typical response is: "Would you just leave me alone, I'll do it later, sheesh!" Mother then reminds him that she has asked politely several times, and he had said that he would do it "soon." "Yeah," says her son, "…it ain't soon yet," and giggles in his amusement. Mother says that he is "…acting like a brat," and "…why can't you do the simplest things that I ask? Do you remember who bought new tires for you car? Didn't I sneak you twenty dollars when your father wouldn't give you any money for pizza the other night? Why do you treat me this way?" Her just looks at her like she has raccoons climbing on top of her head and continues with his video game action, an obvious addiction that he must feed. Mother throws up her hands and stomps off, aggravated again that she will end up doing the chores, "…why do I have kids?" she mutters.
Parents will often complain that their children react to them in this manner, reporting that "…my kid expects me to do everything for him, and when I ask for something all I get is him being rude in return." What we must recognize as parents is that we get what we give, as in respect or annoyance. Our biggest mistake with children is that we continue to interact with them even though their treatment of us, as parents, is intolerable. How is a child going to ever recognize that these behaviors he exhibits are impractical for use within a family, and the rest of the adult world, such as at school, unless he has to deal with some level of consequence? Allowing children to be rude to a parent, to neglect chores, and be irresponsible, is our mistake, not theirs. It is our mistake.
When a parent engages with a child, that parent is basically informing the child of that: When you act this way, I will be attentive to you. Believe it. When the child begins to understand the world, it is then he sees his actions are creating action in others: Your baby cries, you feed him. Your child falls down, you pick him up. Your youngster hits another child, you look at him. It is all the same to the child, when we respond to him. Any behavior he exhibits is acceptable, regardless of the consequence, as long as the consequence involved you interacting with, IMMEDIATELY. So, should you wish to see a behavior in you child, in someone, anyone, be sure to look at them, talk to them or touch them when they perform that behavior.
Now, your teenage child has refused to do as you have directed, what do you do? You wait Patience is a virtue, right? So, be patient, it is your strength. You wait some more until your child has need of you and your services. Now is your chance. Your child, who had earlier said, "sheesh!" and "…it ain't soon yet," now requires some money, a ride somewhere or help with an activity. You can now say, without looking at, or touching the child, "…I will be happy to speak with my child after he has done as I requested earlier." Simple, and now you wait. No eye contact, no reminders, "…Gee if you had jut done as I asked earlier, you wouldn't be in this mess." Those types of remarks are not helpful; it just teaches the child to be sarcastic with us. You wait. Your child will now try to bargain, "I'll do it later, I promise," or even complain that you are "not being fair, Come on, I have to go NOW!" But you wait. He may complain, curse, cry, still you wait. He may need to go NOW, but he also is expected to be respectful to you and do as you direct. Nothing is more important at this moment with you and him, than for you to win this challenge. You wait and say nothing, because you have already said it all: When my child has done as I directed I will be happy to speak with him. This is the tactic to employ from now on. Tell the child what you chore you expect to be completed, have him repeat it back to you, so that you are sure he heard it right, and wait. You child will eventually learn that should he require your assistance at a later time, it is best to do as you order now. It is our duty to train our children, to do the right thing, to be respectful. Your responsibility is to train your child to be successful in the adult world, and no one is going to offer him continual breaks from responsibility like you do, except maybe in the unemployment line. Do respect yourself enough to require him to respect you as well. He will thank you later, respectfully.