Sandy Sez
Sandy Sez

Dear Sandy Sez,
      I am another person writing to you about my teenage kids. I have read your column and am trying to do some of the suggestions that you have given. I use the system of rewards for good behaviors, and I talk to them about rights and responsibility. The problem is that my kids still tell me that I am nagging them when I ask them to do simple things around the house. What more can I do to get out of this crazy cycle with them?


Dear P.J.,
      I am glad that you are applying some of the ideas I have offered. If you are doing them consistently, you should be having an easier time of things with your teens. When you are asking your children to help out around the house and with the household responsibilities, you are asking your children to begin to accept personal responsibility for themselves, the space around them and people around them. This is a very important concept to teach them that will have a direct impact on the quality of their lives and relationships.

      It is important to let adolescents know that what you are asking of them will benefit them. Adolescents tend to look at situations only in regards as to how it relates to them. When asking them to help out with the dinner dishes, if you say you want the help because you’ve had a hard day, they will be resistant. They may think that they have had a hard day too and that you are not being fair.

      Try approaching your children with the concept that you are teaching them personal responsibility so that they will have good lives. This can be quite effective. For example, “I expect your clothes to be picked up and put away because I don’t want your marriage to be about fighting about socks are on the floor.” and “I would like you to start doing your laundry so that when you are out on your own, you will be prepared to take care of yourself.”

      Avoid too much dialogue about this, particularly in the beginning, as it can become argumentative. Let your children know what you expect of them and how their accomplishment of the task will positively impact their lives.


Dear Sandy Sez,
      I am 17 years old and in high school. My mom said that I should write to you because I am lying a lot and skipping school. I am failing some of my classes. I know that what I am doing is not good but, I don’t think it is a big deal. All of the kids in my school do this. I am just being normal.


Dear H.L.,
      I think what you are doing is more common than normal. Here is what I know: It is easy to lie and skip school. It is harder to be where you are supposed to be and to do what your parents expect of you, especially when your friends are lying and skipping class and expecting you to do the same. I also know that doing the wrong thing, even if it is common, begins to wear on your self–esteem. When that happens, you begin to make even poorer choices.

      If you are willing to start turning things around, ask for help from your parents and teachers. They will understand and if you are serious, they will help you. Let your friends know that you need to go to class so that you start doing better. The ones who are your true friends, will support you. You have to be willing to let the “friends” that don’t support you doing the right thing go. People are not your friends if they want you to fail.

      Lastly, if you are lying, it is because you are not proud of what you are doing. Make the decision, and follow through with your actions, to do behaviors that will make you proud of yourself.


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Published in the Mar/Apr 2011 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

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