Get Your Tween to Cooperate -- Here's How

Bribery isn't the only way to convince your child to cooperate

Set firm expectations with your tween.
Nagging won't help your child get the work done, positive encouragement might..

Does your tween roll his eyes when you ask him to pick up his room? Does your daughter keep putting off her chores, or does she ignore them completely? Even children who were once so willing to cooperate can become difficult during the tween years, and bribery isn't likely to convince them to  get with the program. But you can convince your tween to work with you with a join goal in mind -- be it cleaning out the pantry or following basic family rules.

Below are simple strategies to convince your tween to cooperate.

How to Convince Your Tween to Cooperate

Ask for Input: If you want your child's bedroom cleaned before a party or before you leave on vacation, sit down with your tween and ask for his input. Ask him if he'd like to pick a particular time to clean his room so that he's not doing it at the last minute, or when he should be packing or is already committed to something else. If necessary, consult the family calendar so that your tween will understand the difficult challenge of time management. By giving your child a little ownership in the project, he'll be more likely to get it done. 

Make it a Joint Project: Sometimes it's just more fun to get things done together. If you've been nagging your tween about finishing something, try doing it together. For example, if your tween is having a hard time starting is homework, sit down with him and work on your grocery list while he begins his assignments.

Having you nearby and busy might be enough to convince him to tackle his own responsibilities. 

Be Clear and Fair: Sometimes tweens and teens don't cooperate because they simply don't know what is expected from them. The next time you ask your tween to do something, be sure you're being fair and that your child is capable of executing the request.

Ask yourself what other responsibilities does he have at the moment, how heavy is his homework load, etc. Also, be specific about your request. For example, you should say, "Would you please clean the downstairs bathroom and sweep the front steps?" instead of "Please help clean up around here." 

Be Firm with Consequences: Letting your tween fail may be an unpleasant experience, but it can also help him learn to cooperate in the future. If you told your tween that he couldn't go to the movies unless his room was clean, than be sure to follow through with your punishment or consequences. The next time you ask for his cooperation, he might be more willing to give it, knowing that if he doesn't things might not work out in his favor. 

Be Appreciative: Tweens may be older but they still crave your attention and your approval. When your child follows through on a project, or takes the initiative to find a project of his own without your prodding, be sure to say "Thank You" and acknowledge his hard work.

A little gratitude can go a long way with a preteen. It's also important for your tween to know that you're available for advice should he need it, and that you want to help him learn how to improve his life skills. 

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