Top Ten Tricks to Outsmart your Teen

I am by no means an expert – just a fellow parent in the trenches and, since kids fight dirty, I thought I would share some hard earned strategies. Some, you may already know, some, may be new, but I have found that these ideas work in the real world of parenting. In the age old defensive technique of never let them see you sweat, I have developed an arsenal of techniques cobbled from parenting books, other parents, and primitive desperation. Remember, this isn’t just parenting – it is survival of the fittest.

Trick One: Getting them do something you want them to do.

We have all been there; when we ask our teen to do something and they brush us off, say they will do it later, or just look at us with a wide-eyed stare as though we are speaking in tongues. They leave us with our vocal cords tripping on mumbled expletives, not knowing what to do next. The trick is in the set-up – you never ask them to do anything directly; you frame it in a way that they think it is their own idea. Remember, they are stronger, but you are smarter.

When you want your teen to do something, and they are being their usual co-operative, cheerful, hormonally balanced selves, don’t just ask them to do a task; rather, frame it as their choice. For example, don’t say, ”Johnny, can you take the trash out now?” Try instead, “Johnny would you like to take the trash out now, or in fifteen minutes?” Once Johnny thinks he is the one making the decision, the one in control, and the one getting one up on you by electing to do it later, he will not be as confrontational or oppositional, and hey, you won’t have the trash ready until later anyway. Then when fifteen minutes passes, remind Johnny of the time and, surprisingly, since he doesn’t think you are telling him what to do, and he made the choice in the first place, he will likely co-operate.  You didn’t force, co-coerce, threaten, bully or plead – you outsmarted him without even chipping a nail.

Do you have ideas to share? Let the rest of us know what has worked for you. After-all, there is strength in numbers. 

Stayed tuned for Trick Two: how to deal with the Bickersons (A.K.A. fighting siblings)





1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Julia P July 11, 2013

    Great advice, I will definately use this tip to outsmart my teens! 🙂


Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.