Nov 2, 2011

Q & A from a Mother of Two Boys

Question: When my sons don't do their chores (especially homework) sometimes I will yell at them and then they will do it. First I will ask them to do something very politely and most of the time they won't listen. But when I yell, they will do what they're told right away. I don't want to yell at them and I have asked them why they don't do things when I ask them nicely. Please help.

Dear Anonymous,

It sounds like you are confused with how to use P.E.T. when you want your sons to do their chores because they respond quicker to you when you yell. You don't want to shout at them, but you also want their chores done in a timely manner.

It is common among parents to notice that P.E.T. skills sometimes don't work right off the bat. It's extremely important to remember that these skills are NOT an overnight, quick-fix, especially if punitive styles (like yelling) have been used on the children over an extended period of time. It takes practice and some patience to see a change in your relationships with your children. You might initially be met with resistance or skepticism when using the new P.E.T. skills, but this is certain: the long term benefits of using P.E.T. create more loving, trusting and responsible children. Using your parental "power" will do exactly the opposite; in the long and short term. Consider asking yourself: Am I trying to save TIME? Or am I trying to create healthy parent-child relationships so that my children will turn out to be self-disciplined and responsible adults?

I would suggest sending your children a preventive I-Message about their chores so that they know when you would like to have them done. You can also send a confrontive I-Message to express how it affects you when they don't do their chores on time. All I-Messages MUST include all three parts in order to be effective. And remember to shift gears into Active Listening if they respond defensively.

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