Clearly communicate your needs
Listen carefully to the responses you get
Keep communicating your needs
Continue to listen and communicate as the family dynamic shifts and changes
Yes, it’s a big job and somedays will be more challenging than others. Keep reminding yourself it’s important your needs are met. It’s imperative your needs are met. A happy parent equals a happy family.
Learning to speak your needs and stand your ground until you get them met is a gift you give yourself – and your family gets to unwrap it.
When you are able to state your own needs clearly, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. Because then they know where they stand. And their choice to meet or not meet your needs is a reflection of them, not you.
If you are struggling to get your teenagers to empty the dishwasher, it is on you to state your needs. And it is on them to own their follow up actions. Call a family meeting, or make time to chat privately with the main offender.
Your I message will sound something like this, “When the dishwasher isn’t emptied, all the dirty dishes pile up on the bench. I end up having to find the time to empty the dishwasher and clean up the bench before dinner can be cooked. I feel super resentful that it’s all being left.”
You will get one of three possible responses:
“Oh, sorry mum, I didn’t realise it was such a problem.” This is a conflict of needs and it is an easy response to sort.
“Oh, sorry mum. I am trying to get to the dishwasher but I have lots of homework to do because my assignment is due tomorrow.” This is a conflict of hidden needs and can be worked through fairly easily using a combination of rapport, active listening skills and win-win thinking.
“Whatever.” This response shows there is a conflict of values and it is now that your parental communication skills as an influencer will become the main tool to use. A suitable immediate response to your teenager’s disrespectful reply would be, “Well, I have a different opinion, can we talk about that?” Staying calm and keeping the attitude of “I’m here to teach you how to be able to do what you say you’re going to do” sets the tone for a powerful and productive conversation with your teenager.
If you value having the dishwasher emptied cheerfully without reminders then persevere. You are, after all, training your adolescents to be good flatmates and future partners.
And those things are important. Who knew a dishwasher would play such a crucial role in getting our world’s future to step up?
Parenting is the world’s most important job. I believe investing in yourself as a parent is the most critical action you can take. To schedule a private exploratory call to work with Melanie, click here.