Humor

Have you ever used one of the following methods to try to get your teen to comply with a request to do something for you? 

 

 

The Mellow to Maniac method - calmly asking your kid to do some chore and when it's not done by the 4th or 5th time you ask, losing your temper and screaming at him. 

 

 

The Humiliation Method - attempting to get compliance by putting your kid down. For example, "you call THAT washing the dishes?" 

 

 

The Badgering Method - some call it nagging. Who hasn't done this at one time or another? 

 

 

And finally, the Bribery Method - we usually use this when all else fails. Of course, at times we go straight to bribery and skip the first three. 

 

 

Instead of these techniques, which more often than not don't really work, use a little wry humor to make your point. 

 

 

For example, imagine you are paying for your teen's cell phone, which is in your name, and that payment is based upon his doing certain chores around the house that are not being done. Instead of screaming or badgering, you can say, "hmmm, looks as if I won't be able to get in touch with you tomorrow because your phone won't be working." 

 

 

You can also try laughing at yourself over some silly mistake. Let your kid see that you don’t always have to be right or take yourself so seriously. They’ll appreciate it and follow your model. 

 

 

While humor works much better than many other techniques, we must understand that sarcasm or hurtful humor will make the problem worse. Use humor when you know your teen will understand the point you are making and not as an attempt to put them down. 

 

 

As parents we have a responsibility to teach our children acceptable from unacceptable behavior. Before resorting to punishments which are often useless, give humor a try.

Mark Littman

Therapy and Counseling Center
 
for teens & adults in Newton, Sparta, Vernon 
and Sussex County New Jersey

 MA, LPC, NCC

973 . 300 . 5338

Text: 973-632-6617