How to Get Your Teen to Clean His Room

Parents complain about the mess found in their teen's room, curfew rules and what their teens wear. They are constantly nagging and fighting with their teens. There are better ways to get our kids to do what we ask.

To get our Teens to listen we have to understand where they are coming from.

Teens are in a stage where they are trying to individuate. A teenager needs to separate from his/her parents and become their own independent person. It seems as if they live by the principle of "You can't tell me what to do!" This is a natural result of their struggle to find themselves. They relay this message to their parents and teachers in their words, their actions, their physical stance and their attitude.

In my classes I advise parents not to engage their children in conflict during this sensitive phase of their lives. Teens get defensive easily and will not hesitate to argue with their parents. Faber and Mazlish, encourage parents to gain cooperation by using indirect language and effective communication techniques.

Two skills that can ease the tension between parents and their teens and get teens to listen are:

Giving Information and Describing the Problem.

Instead of Commands:

"This room is a pigsty. You better clean it up now!"

Give Information: "Banana peels belong in the garbage"

Describe the Problem: "Banana peels get germy, moldy and smelly when left out"

Instead of Accusing:

"Are you crazy, its pouring outside, you can't wear those shoes"

Give Information: "Rain boots work better than sneakers for rainy days"

Describe the Problem: "Your class trip is a walking tour. It is supposed to rain the whole day. Being wet can't get pretty uncomfortable."

Instead of Warning:

"You better be home by curfew tonight!"

Give Information: "Just a reminder, curfew is at 10pm on school nights."

Describe the Problem: "When you come in late, I get real worried and concerned about your whereabouts."

When we give information we use a neutral and non-confrontational tone. Giving information reduces conflict.

Similarly, when we describe the problem, we avoid giving orders. What needs to be done becomes obvious in the context. It is the child's conclusion, not the adult's command. When decisions are self- inferred children are less likely to resist and more likely to cooperate.

To learn more skills like these come and visit and register for one of our parenting workshops.

See You There!

Adina Soclof, a certified Speech Pathologist, received her masters degree from Hunter College in New York in Communication Sciences. Adina worked as a Speech Pathologist in preschools for the developmentally disabled in the New York area before staying home full time with her family. She reentered the workforce as a Parent Educator for Bellefaire Jewish Children's Bureau facilitating "How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk" workshops as well as workshops based on "Siblings Without Rivalry" and "Raising a Spirited Child". She has been featured at numerous non profit organizations and private schools in Cleveland. Adina developed TEAM Communication Ventures and conducts parenting, teacher and clinician workshops via telephone nationwide. You can visit her website at Adina lives with her husband and four lively children in Cleveland, Ohio.

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