17 May 2012

Can teens learn time management?

Angela has sent in a great request.

‘Great to get some practical tips as a parent.  Do you have any tips for a teenager who is lacking in time management? I would like to empower her with some skills rather than continually nag or comment on her lack of time management! She seems reluctant to learn from me at this age.’

That sounds so familiar, Angela! Teens of a certain age almost all think their parents don’t know much! I’m glad to say it does eventually change – a few more years and they’ll appreciate your wisdom. Hang in there, sister!

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Is there anyone you can put your young one in front of? I’ve found that late teens will often listen to an external person but not their nearest and dearest. (I’ve been used in that way on many occasions over the years.)  It might be a high-achieving and organised older teen or young adult whom she respects.
  •  A family ‘team meeting’ – when people are calm – about household responsibilities and expectations sometimes helps.
  •  Rewards always work. I try always to focus on the behaviour I want to reinforce.  Nagging is about the least effective method. They switch off, as I’m sure you know! The story I’m about to relay was for a different age and a different issue but it will illustrate the point.My son James, when about 9, constantly moaned and complained about any jobs he was asked to do.  I realised that my response to his grizzles sounded pretty similar!‘Who’s the adult here?’ I asked myself.Then I remembered a course on Positive Parenting I’d done at Play Centre. ‘Reinforce the behaviour you want’ was the message I’d retained. So I made up a chart which went on the fridge and James and I had a conversation. ‘Every time you do something without complaint you get a tick. When you’ve got 10 ticks you get an ice-block. And if I don’t notice that you’ve done something without grizzling you can tell me and then put your own tick on your chart.’ From memory it only needed about 2 ice-blocks and the behaviour become normal.  What positive thing(s) can you focus on with your teen? Whatever we focus on expands.
  • I’ve shared my daily and weekly planning methods with teenagers with pretty good success. You’ll find that explained simply in my free report ‘How to Master Time in Only 90 Seconds’. There’s an enrolment box on each page of www.gettingagrip.com.  I’d suggest that you encourage her to enrol herself (if she has an email address) so she personally receives the ongoing support materials, videos and reports.
  • Goals are always the starting point for effective time choices. Has she got a clear written list of goals? My short ebook  Getting A Grip On Life – Goals Toolkit gives simple guidelines on this.  And read John Goddard’s story at http://www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm .  He wrote his first list of goals at the age of 15 and it shaped his life in an amazing way, as is told in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’.
  • One quick idea, if she’s messy and you’re trying to get her to tidy her room.  Try this: ‘Clean up your room before you leave for school in the morning. Anything left lying around will be thrown out and you won’t see it again.’The first time you might put left-around gear in the garage just to give her a shock. The next time give it to the Salvation Army. I’ve known others throw clothing, music, shoes or favourite toys out the window – wet or shine.If we tell our kids a certain action will have a certain punishment, don’t weaken.Stick to it – they will always test us. A threat not carried through is worse than wasted words – it teaches them to ignore your requests.

I’d love any other reader to chip in with your favourites, just as a number of you have done in the earlier blogs about time management for parents of younger children. Your contributions are awesome and it makes the blog even more valuable.


1 thought on “Can teens learn time management?”

  1. Excellent article! We will be linking to this great post on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

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