Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

1 Bump

How can I get my 12 year old son to actually do what I ask him to without both of us getting resentful?

I ask "please pick up your dishes, wet bathing suit/towel off the floor, feed the dog", etc. and I barely hear an ok or a grunt, and then 10 minutes later ask again nicely and he says in a minute, then another 10 minutes and I holler and he holler back, "You don't have to yell, I was just finishing (a computer game, chapter of his book, etc.)!" Then we're both peeved...Age old problem, and I've tried reasoning when we're in a good mood, but he still persists. What do you do to engage cooperation in your tween?

Answer Question

Asked by dflygirl7 at 7:17 AM on Jul. 5, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 12 (751 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • There are some things to decide: does the task need to be done now, are you clear in communicating your time needs, how much talking back can you stand. Ok, here are my answers for my kids: if I want it done "now" that is what I say; if it can be done when they finish something - that is what I say; I tolerate NO talking back; however, I try to not set us up. Remember, you are in control of how this goes. It is a form of manipulation, but you are manipulating tasks and chores which ultimately manipulates behavior. Just say "when you finish, I need you to ___.", or "put your game on pause, I need you to help me right now and then you can go back to the game." Maybe this will help. Don't let him talk back to you. In his mind, he has put himself on the same level you are on and he isn't. He is the child and you are the parent which is a position of authority.

    Answer by jesse123456 at 7:23 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • Discuss with him that things like putting up the dishes and wet swimsuit issues get done right away and do not sit around for hours. Something like feeding the dog can be done by a certain hour. Ask him to look at you and acknowledge he heard you. Sometimes we are talking to a "wall" and they may not even hear us. Maybe you should discuss his tasks for the day each morning or the night before. Would a chart help? Withhold whatever is most important to him as punishment if things do not improve. You should sit down and dicuss this all with him if you are going to change how you will approach this. And then some of it has to be attributed to his age and the fact that he is just being 12!! Pick and choose your battles. Good luck

    Answer by elizabr at 7:27 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing how you have disciplined him during the previous 12 years. If you have always demanded instant obedience to your authority and respect for your position as his mother, and this rebellion against that is brand new, it is one thing. If you have allowed him to obey occasionally and had a tendency to let things slide, then that's quite another. My best advice would be to get the book THE AGE OF OPPORTUNITY by Paul Tripp and read it. Since your son is 12, it might also help you to read SHEPHERDING THE HEART OF A CHILD by Tedd Tripp. These are excellent books on parenting and will help you to understand the motivations behind any given behavior. They are not for the faint of heart, but the methods set forth are basically the way we parented our children, and they have all turned out extrememly well. In the meantime, I would tell him once and then take something away.

    Answer by NannyB. at 7:32 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • At a time when both of you are calm talk about this issue. Tell him/her that as a member of the family he needs to help out around the house. Point out that when he needs a ride, needs clean clothes, food etc you don't stomp around and complain. Then tell him that when you ask him to do something you expect him to do it right then, not in 20 minutes. He can pause the game. It doesn't matter if he gets resentful, either, as long as he does it. Tell him that the next time you ask and he doesn't do the games will be done for the day. Then he can really be resentful, but maybe next time he'll do what he's told to do. Good luck!

    Answer by azhlynne at 7:56 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • I disagree that a parent is a position of authority. I think children should get a say in what they do and what they do and decide for themselves if they want to help and not be forced into it.

    Why don't you talk to your son about it and LISTEN to his side of things. Maybe that way you can compromise but its important you listen to him. IF he doesn't want to do something I don't think that its fair to force or punish him over it...that will only lead to resentment and also he will only focus on the punishment and will do things out of fear of consequence as opposed to actually wanting to be a decent human being and help out.

    Communicate and make things work as though your son is another human being as opposed to someone you can yell at and tell what to do all the time. The point is your son has a point of view too...many he thinks the things you are asking him to do are stupid, pointless or unfair...but you won't know

    Answer by keyaziz at 8:05 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • that until you actually listen to him.


    Answer by keyaziz at 8:06 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • Actually I have to recommend this book to you: Naomi Aldort: Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. She has a website too: Excellent.

    Answer by keyaziz at 8:08 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • One task at a time. Allow him the opportunity to finish the chapter, get the game to a pausable point, etc. That gives him the chance to do what you ask. And ask, don't yell. I find that yelling at teenagers (and preteens) is counterproductive and actually telling them calmly gets their attention faster.
    After 10 minutes of no action, do it yourself and put something of his in a "to be earned back" box. Like ipod, cell phone, computer (take the power cord), game system (take the power cord), etc.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 10:56 AM on Jul. 5, 2010

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.