I was recently asked about the following situation.
“My son left school at the summer break. He is joining the army in November and I find myself wishing the time away .I am really at my wits end with him. He does as he likes and has no respect for his father or myself. He seems to go around the house littering everywhere with his belongings .I am fed up taking dirty dishes out of his bedroom. If I did not take his clothes and put them in the laundry, he would have nothing clean to wear. His bedroom is chaotic and I wonder what his friends think of how he chooses to live? When I speak to him about things-which is all the time, he becomes more offensive or walks out claiming I am nagging. He has not tried to get work so far to fill in his time and I seem to be constantly handing out money!”
So, you have reacted in the way that a lot of people do when they are faced with adult children behaving in this way. You have COMPLAINED.
I am not too surprised that his behaviour has continued. You have given him little reason to change.
Now it is time to show him what the consequences of his behaviour will be if he doesn’t make some changes. You will be doing him a big favour as the army will come down very hard on him if he is still functioning in this way come November.
1. To start, tell him what is going to happen if the desired changes do not come into effect.
2. Let him realise that you cannot be relied upon to do everything for him.
3. Remind him that he has left school, -he is sixteen and he must now behave in an adult way accepting the responsibility for his own behaviour.
4. Remember this is his home but it is your house and he has to live by the rules you set out. This is a lesson he will learn throughout the years.
CONSEQUENTIAL LEARNING occurs when people learn from their own behaviour.
Stop talking and take ACTION
My suggestions to you are:
1.Make the rule that he eats meals at the table as a family. This allows opportunity for interaction essential in maintaining relationships.
2.Until he brings his dirty plates down and washes them do not prepare his meals. Tell him this will happen. Do not allow him to do this for himself. Lock the kitchen if you need to.
3.Don’t pick his dirty clothes up. Tell him you are putting a laundry bin in his room and say that unless clothes are in this you will not wash them.
4.Perhaps his friends have not commented on his room because you do so much cleaning up for him. Ask yourself if it is reasonable for you to feel embarrassed about how your son chooses to live .This is really his responsibility not yours.
5.He won’t look for work to earn money if he has a ready cash machine in you! If he has no money to buy the things he needs or to socialise with friends, he may gain the motivation to get a job.
6.Be prepared to be tested. The atmosphere at home may well become tenser in the short term as he tries you out. Always be consistent in what you do and if you make threats, carry them out
This article was submitted by Mary Lennox an experienced counsellor and intuitive life coach. The combination of her education, career background and life experiences enable her to have an empathic understanding across abroad spectrum of circumstances. Visit her website http://www.lifecoachinggym.com for more free articles or to subscribe to her free bi monthly newsletter “WORKOUT.”
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