Asking your teen to do something versus telling them

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Asking your teen to do something versus telling them

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Well as any mother or father of an adolescent knows, when you ask your teen to do something or tell your teen to do something, probably wont' do it right away. In fact, I want to say to parents, its better to ask at this age than to tell. Younger kids we can give commands. Teenagers we need to do a little more requesting. But then, what do they say? "Later. In a minute. Sure. I'll get to it. Don't worry." And that drives us parents crazy. So what do I tell parents? Listen to what they said. "Later. I'll get to it. In a minute." What is that? That's a yes. Your kid is saying yes. Be happy. They didn't say "no way." They said "yeah. Later. I'll get to it." I want you to respect that. Because they're in a different time zone. Your teen is on what I call Eastern Adolescent Time. And what I mean by that is you're in one time zone, they're on another time zone. You want it done right now. They think 3 hours would be good. Maybe you come up with a compromise in between. So Eastern Adolescent Time, the East Coast is 3 hours ahead of the West Coast. I know it doesn't work nationally. But there's a little alliteration. It sounds good. Bottom line is, they're on their own time zone. Try to respect that. If you're demanding things right now, you're going to find, give it a little time. Say thanks when they say later. And you may find your kid actually later does it.

View Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW's video on Asking your teen to do something versus telling them...

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Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW

Director, UCLA Parenting & Children’s Friendship Program

Cynthia G. Whitham, LCSW, Director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program, has been training parents for over 30 years. She is the author of two books, Win the Whining War & Other Skirmishes: A family peace plan, and The Answer is NO: Saying it & sticking to it, which have been translated into nine languages. In addition to her UCLA group classes, Ms. Whitham has a private practice on the east and west sides of Los Angeles. In 2000, she spent a month training clinicians at the National Institute of Mental Health of Japan. A lively speaker, Ms. Whitham does presentations and trainings for schools and organizations. Ms. Whitham raised two happy, healthy, and (relatively) well-behaved children (she thinks that may be the best credential of all). Daughter Miranda McLeod is a fiction author and is in a PhD program at Rutgers University. With sadness, Cynthia tells us that her son Kyle died in 2007, within months of graduating from San Francisco State University.

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