Family Life

Teen behavior: The expectation VS The Reality

Don’t you just sometimes feel like a total failure when you’re trying teach your kids something for the longest time and it’s just not happening? This is how I’ve been feeling for the last couple of months. It’s like I don’t have any control over anything anymore. I mean, how did my mom do it? She was a single mother of two who worked full time, sometimes over weekends too and she had other things like church and Sunday school every week.

I have a 5 year old, 11 year old and a 13 year old. Surely the older two should know by now that their beds needs to be made every morning before school, dirty clothes belongs in the laundry basket and to pack anything you’re done using, away.

I swear I could scream when I walk through the door at night when I get home from work. What I want to do instead is go to my room, crawl under the covers and cry until my eyes are puffy and I’m unable to see all the things they were supposed to do but didn’t do.

It’s just so frustrating!

The expectation

In the morning they should make up their beds, pack away their pj’s, if they wore any (a norm in my home) and brush their teeth. When I get home from work I expect of them to be either done with their homework or halfway finished, their rooms tidy and done washing themselves. Whatever they used in the kitchen while making or eating lunch, needs to be cleaned and packed away and keep the living room neat and tidy.

The reality

They get up, do their business in the bathroom WITHOUT brushing their teeth, get dressed and go sit in front of the TV. I have to remind them (especially Jaymee) to make up his bed and ask them if they have brushed their teeth. Why is brushing their teeth not done when they go to the bathroom the first time around? Then most days I get home from work and I see the kitchen sink with dirty crockery and cutlery, stuff that could have easily be rinsed out after it was used. The living room is strewn with papers and colour pencils cos Jody suffers from “write-on-as-much-papers-as-you-can syndrome”. I get to their room – and this is where my husband usually starts making threats of how they will never see their cellphones again or never be able to watch TV ever again. There’s books and clothes everywhere.

When does it start to sink in? Jody is still young and I wouldn’t expect him to do most of the things I expect the older two to do. I know and have heard that teens are messy but isn’t your daddy’s OCD tendencies  maybe hereditary?? Wishful thinking I suppose but it’s worth a shot though. Looks like the expectation is rarely the reality.

How did you get your kids to the point where they form better habits? Let me know in the comment section below.

Till later.

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  • Shaveh

    ahhh, we have same problem. I’ve only started working on one thing at a time and have used a term called “currency exchange”. So instead of losing my cool with them everytime – I just politely say that my request was to have a bed made and since you haven’t done it (for the 60th time in a row) I then make the bed and say thank you for paying me with one session of gymnastics. (this is their most favourite thing) I’ve had to repeat it once or twice but every time the message sinks in the moment I start making the bed for them. I reckon find their “currency” and exchange it with a smile đŸ˜€ Then once that habit is formed, then you move onto the next one and it’s wonderful to see how it sinks in because they immediately know you’re serious. But I’ve had to follow through. So even though I’ve paid for the gymnastics and there’s a competition coming up – they feel the weight more than I do…….. I hope this makes sense. <3

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