My fourteen-year-old son is incredibly lazy. He won’t do anything to help around the house. He just doesn’t seem to care. What can I do?
He may be lazy, but more likely you haven’t made it clear, over time, what you expect of him. Or, maybe you didn’t link responsibilities and privileges.
Set out expectations. Build in consequences. Privileges should be earned, not just freely given. He has to have clear responsibilities. If he does what he is supposed to, he should get his privileges. If he fails to complete responsibilities, he must not get the rewards.
Each family will have different responsibilities and privileges. In some families, keeping the room clean is important. In others, it is not. For some families, privileges will be an allowance, or a ride to hockey practice.
Teenagers hate being treated like little kids. So, be business-like. Have a meeting. Write down a contract. Nagging hardly ever works well. Getting angry might work once or twice. Being clear and firm is more likely to work in the long run. It is best to negotiate his responsibilities and privileges with him, not impose them. Renegotiate every month or so.
You have to be in it for the long run. You have to be consistent over time. You have to keep your end of the bargain. You have to take the time to insure he is complying.
Let’s say you agree that he has to set the table or keep his room clean, or walk the dog. Define what is meant. Agree when it is to be done and what the consequences are. Then follow through.
Don’t worry if he cares, just get him to do it. He will learn to care once he contributes.