Jeremy, barely awake, is walking towards the staircase going downstairs. Mom has placed a full basket of his dirty laundry at the top of staircase with a note that reads: JEREMY PLEASE CARRY THIS DOWNSTAIRS. Jeremy walks over the basket, not looking at the note. Jeremy gets downstairs where his mother awaits.
Mom: Where is it?
Jeremy: Where is what?
As a bonafide, card carrying lazybones, I totally understand Jeremy's behavior. Just this weekend, after looking at a discarded clothing tag from a recent purchase lying on the floor of my bedroom for over a week, I finally decided it might be time to pick it up. I have stepped on it, walked over it, walked around it, but it just seemed like too much work to bend over and pick it up. I am a mother's worst nightmare. Actually, maybe I was my mother's worst nightmare. I am clean and neat, but it's just those small things that I am just too lazy to pick up until company is coming, or I have a little extra energy for the bend-over. I know this may seem stupid to some of you who are saying " how hard can it be to just pick it up." Well, like Jeremy, or maybe your teen, it just doesn't bother me enough to pick it up, and when it does, I will.
So what do you do, when "your Jeremy" does not throw away his food wrappers, or take down her laundry for YOU to do, or put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher that HE used, or put away the clean laundry that YOU did for her, and on and on and on....? Well, you have a few choices here. You can groan, and just do it yourself, focusing instead on the bigger things so that your entire relationship with your teen is not focused on getting on them for all the millions of things that they don't do. You can withhold favors like rides and money by saying : " I'd love to drive you to the mall as soon as you put your laundry away, or you can choose not to put the laundry away, and find another way to the mall. that's fine too! Whatever you want to do"(said without sarcasm, really I mean that!!!!) Of course you'll get a groan and some muttering, (which you just ignore) but if it's important enough to them, they'll do it....otherwise they won't! And you can go about your business as usual.