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Teens just not listening - the frustration !

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Teens just not listening - the frustration !

Super frequent scribe

Re: Teens just not listening - the frustration !

Hi @Beingme2017 . Welcome @Lidya.


I know what you mean! Sometimes it's those minor things that can be so frustrating.


Like for me, it's the same thing every friday night: "put all your dirty school clothes in the wash basket." I've been saying this for the past 10+ years but do they listen?! no. (I'm sure we're not the only household having this discussion!?!)


then I realised that I was getting more stressed out about it than they were. so I just left it. if they don't want clean clothes or have any school socks to wear on Monday, so be it. (but sometimes I would still go chasing and getting their clothes).  I find it tricky. I guess some things we have to decide what's worth pursuing and what's not.... what do you think?

Star contributor

Re: Teens just not listening - the frustration !

@AeroGirl Have had similar encounters with endless unwashed items next to the kitchen sink with my youngest brother.. Sigh! I think you're onto something. The amount of energy we expend in pursuing them to listen and execute a task can be more trouble than it's worth for our own mental health.

I wonder what is an out of the box strategy? My grandmother used to pull the ol' "hide all the dishes" until I I realised the importance of cleaning them when I was a teen (as a result I had nothing to eat my toast off every morning!) I learnt fairly quickly. I wonder if there's an effective way of showing our adolescents the importance of learning these tasks for themselves..?


Re: Teens just not listening - the frustration !

Oh my god !! You have all been in my house ! @Beingme2017@AeroGirl  @Lily17@taokat @TOM-RO.  Wow I thought that sometimes  my husband and I really were bad parents and our kids would be damaged by the few incidences of yelling  and discord and poor  parental judgement and the wonderful loving times  and great parenting moments would pale into insignificance  and influence in their wake . 

It's so comforting to know that other parents go through the same psychological pattern :


Ask nicely , ask nicely , ask nicely again -  THEN yell get very purposeful  and angry looking -  " Oh ok,  now Mum / Dad are on the war path this means business -  better do as we are told ." ... Magic - GET RESULTS . 😤

Its parenting in reverse- We teach kids how to treat us . They know the pattern , even if it's only subconscious .  They cruise and ignore in the hope it will get forgotten about . Like most humans what they can avoid successfully they will . 

Soooooo circuit breaker - TAKE NOTE : If you ask them ONCE  , wait , if it does not happen then say thus : 

" I  asked you nicely to empty the dishwasher, you have not done it and it's now 3pm  , if you have not done what I asked by 5pm the internet  gets turned off , you don't get to go out with your friends Tuesday night etc " . Follow through !!! 

When they start to argue back , listen to what they say , repeat back to them  what you heard in your words , check they get that you get them ! Then tell them it's your final decision and it's no longer open to discussion or negotiation. If they come back to re-engage you ( manipulation efforts ) don't buy in and don't bite back . Repeat at the same level and tone , that it is no longer  up for debate and walk away or change the topic of conversation . Don't take the bait ! Don't take the bait ! If you fail don't beat yourself up about it , keep trying .  Parents say stuff like " oh tried that it doesn't work " They just tried it for too short a time period .  They get lazy or distracted or bloody overwhelmed ! 

Its hard work but as @taokat can attest it does work if you commit to the process ! So do yourself a favour 😊



Super star contributor

Re: Teens just not listening - the frustration !

I definitely think it's a matter of choosing our battles @AeroGirl! We'd be at war constantly otherwise, and I agree @TOM-RO, that we need to look after our own mental health too. The battles we do take on, the only way to win is to be calm and consistent - that is taxing enough!


Something I gained from the coaching was to sit down with my daughter and make an 'agreement', about chores and consequences. We need to re-negotiate now she is working, and we're yet to do that. But I've found that when she has a say in what the consequences are, she is more accepting of them when she has to face them - usually.


You and your husband are certainly not alone in getting to the end of your tether and shouting @motherbear! And you are so right in not repeating yourself. Once consequences have been made clear, the choice is then theirs to make. If they have helped in setting fair consequences during calm times, they're more likely to abide by the consequences. There are still times I get nowhere though - being ignored completely still happens, and is infuriating! 


And I like what you say @AeroGirl, about letting them have dirty uniforms if they don't put them out to be washed. They'll soon learn that if they want them washed they need to be put in the wash in time. My daughter went to work in just an iron dried uniform (so still wet, particularly her pants) one day as she left it for me to wash. I didn't know her shift was an early one, and didn't put the washing on until 20 minutes before she was starting work. She washes it herself now! She was so angry, but I didn't take any of it on as she's old enough to be responsible for organising herself.  


I was talking with my daughter last night, after a friend commented how lovely it was seeing the connection she and I have. I asked her about how she ranked me as a mum, and she said I was a perfect mum. I asked her about the times I stuff up, and she said that didn't matter because she understands I am frustrated or upset or sick myself. We had a really indepth conversation about it all, and I learnt a lot Smiley Happy


So I say we're perfect in our imperfections - and we can teach them more because we are imperfect human beings. 

Active scribe

Re: Teens just not listening - the frustration !

One thing I’ve found helpful is to have a conversation with my son as though I’m a consultant.  The way I do this is to ask what he wants and why, then outline clear expectations on how to get there. 

For example, he wanted to buy a car and we sat down and came up with a plan.  I asked him what he would need and so we priced a car at about $5,000, then he came up with different ideas for jobs, and then we discussed how to get started.  I didn’t tell him what to do, I just helped guide him and talk through ideas.

My son and I have used a lot of the lessons at a site I found to look at different topics without me having to lecture him.