How can I teach my children to be more reliable?

My 17 year old daughter is the epitome of responsibility, but my 15 year old son, and 12 year old daughter are the exact opposite. They never remember to set their clocks to wake up for school, or do their homework or chores - I consistently need to remind them. How is it that I raised a perfect 17 year old and failed with the other two? How can I get them to be more self-sufficient?

Answer #1

Was your 17 year old as reliable as she is now when she was 12 and 15?

Maybe try letting them be late to school a couple times and when they have to serve detention maybe they’ll learn to remember to set their clocks? Sometimes people dont learn unless they’re learning the hard way.

Answer #2

Yes, she’s always been a good kid….the problem with them being late, is that their school is in another town…their bus ride is a 45 minute commute, and they wouldn’t get detention - they’d just get to stay home because I can’t drive them in. I do agree with learning the hard way, though.

Answer #3

Awh, those nauty little kids. Make them take the public bus? Unless that’s dangerous.

Answer #4

naughty* I cant spell today.

Answer #5

Well, do you have consequences for their behavior? If not, you really should. If you do, then maybe you should change it up a bit.

If they forget to set their clock, and don’t get up in time for school, don’t take them…let them stay home. The whole day they are home, make it miserable for them. No TV, no games, no computer, etc…and extra chores.

That will make them WANT to remember to set their clock and get up on time for school. :)

Answer #6

lol…we don’t have a public bus

Answer #7

There are consequences - they have privileges taken away, etc….but I would prefer not to allow them to stay home…I work from home, remember? lol

Answer #8

:O Weird.

Answer #9

Haha, you sound like my Mom. I was the “good child” and now my two younger brothers are always getting into mischief somehow. I think with the school bus it sounds like you’re going to have to push them to do it, because they just have to get on there to get to school and there’s no way around it. With the homework and chores it seems like it should be more of a learning experience, especially for the fifteen year old, he should be doing his homework on his own, wouldn’t he be in high school by now?

Answer #10

He is in high school, that’s the part that worries me - what’s he going to do when he’s away at college and mommy isn’t there to remind him to get to it?

Answer #11

Yea, but it wouldn’t hurt to do it one time. I doubt they’ll want to stay home again. lol.

Answer #12

He’s got to want to do it himself when he’s in college/university. I’ve learned here that if you don’t want to do something, it’s very easy to fall into a bad habit of not doing it. University might come as a bit of a shock to him if he needs you to remind him about his high school work. What if you bought him some kind of whiteboard for his room or something? He could record all his homework and things to do on there. I know I need mine or I forget everything. Maybe they just need different tools to remember to do things?

Answer #13

I guess some kids are simply like that…if they have some sort of responsible backbone then they will automatically make sure they do everything on time & in the right way meaning them being a perfectionist! Perhaps your 17 year old, like me, is a perfectionist…unlike the other kids…which seems to be the same with my brother! Can it be possible that you spent more time teaching ur 17 year old that she had to be more responsible about helping you with chores & helping with the other kids?! They say people do everything 100% with their first born, yet tend to be less strict with their other kids…can it be possible even a tiny bit? If so, it will be the reason. Also dont forget they may be different characteristics…depending on their birthday/sign! what signs are they(just for a bit of input!)

Answer #14

Every child is different. I see lots of families with parents who raised all their kids the same yet their kids turned out wildly different.

Everyone has different challenges. It is unproductive to ask kids to do anything they are not capable of. Don’t look at this as indifference or a moral failing. Some things are just harder for some people than others. I’m wildly disorganized myself. It still causes me problems but I’ve learned to use rituals, mnemonics, alarms and checklists for the things that are most important.

As far as alarm clocks go why not get one that can be set to go off every weekday instead of expecting your your younger kids to remember to set her alarm every night? This way your kids will only need to change it for the exceptions. For homework and chores why not make your kids take care of them first before they have the privilege of TV, video games, computer time, or talking on the phone?

You are not going to “fix” your kids or cure them of disorganization it is just the way they are. You should try to help them learn how to manage it though.

Answer #15

When the children that I take care of miss school, they get grounded to their room for the whole day and aren’t allowed no TV or fun things. It works for them. You could try that or use rewards for when they do good?

Answer #16

It is our duty as parents to instill good moral teaching to kids from young to be obedient, reliable so they grow up to be useful citizen of a nation. From young they should be taught to be god fearing and the rest will be easy to mold them.

Answer #17

Ok…not cool….this “god fearing” stuff - you need to keep that out of your advice unless you know the asker is a believer. You’ve offended me by telling me that my atheist children need to fear God.

Answer #18

Well, if my views are not acceptable then just ignore it as this is strictly my personal views and one is entitled to their own opinion. It is not my intention to offend anyone in this public forum.

Answer #19

You need to be careful what you say - tolerance goes both ways

Answer #20

Also, my goal as a parent is for my daughter to have the fullest life possible, not to be the most useful tool of society. I also have no interest in molding my children; I wish for them to find their own shape and purpose in life.

To me it seems like a form of child abuse to tell kids that they risk being tortured for eternity if they don’t pick up their socks.

Answer #21

If they forget to turn their alarm clocks on, and consequently sleep in late for school then Oh well looks like they will have to stay home and wash the dishes, and vacuum, and clean the bathroom, and cook dinner, and weed the garden, and brush the cats (that’s going to take them a while!), and mow the lawns, and do extra credit work that they would be doing at school!! That will be the last time they oversleep!

I think the problem is with this age group, that they are too comfortable in their day-to-day routines. I can’t imagine your children being lazy or unmotivated, they will most likely grow out of it when their lives become a bit more full on (like when your son goes to College). Everybody is different, and most kids around 12-15 are like this (All of my sister’s friends are anyway…). Think of it as a blessing that you had such a self motivated, hard working Eldest daughter, and a challenge that your other two are a bit more mainstream. Maybe, giving them something to look forward to at the end of the day some days would be a bit motivating. Such as going to the pools every second Wednesday, or Cooking classes Friday afternoons (then you can also say Ok- you can cook dinner tonight! haha), Sports will also keep them more awake and happy. Just fiddle around with what suits your family.

Answer #22

If you did believe in “God” why would you want your kids to fear him? I thought “God” loved everyone? Ha.

Answer #23

Some people are just more organized (OCD like brains) and some people arent. Birth order also has a lot to do with it, oldest children tend to be the more responsible ones. It has nothing to do with your parenting. You just have to figure out how to make it work. The alarm clock should be easy. I have an alarm that goes off at the same time everyday (if they forget to turn it off on the weekend, that’s their problem, they wont like being woken up at 6am and they’ll learn). I wouldnt worry too much about college. My mother always woke me up, she’d make me lunch, make sure everything was done. When I got to college I had to learn to make my bed (roommate), pump gas (stranger), cook (trail and error), get organized and be responsible. When my mom’s in town, I still forget to take out the trash because she’s here and I know she’ll do it. When mom’s around, it’s too easy to let her take care of stuff. They’ll figure it out when you’re not around to check up on them.

Answer #24

Depends on your brand of Christianity. The Universalists, for example, believe that everyone eventually becomes reconciled with God and saved. Other branches are less optimistic and teach that the road to salvation is straight and narrow so any deviation means that your soul is lost forever. Fearing the wrath of God is a large part of many branches of Chistianity.

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