Children do as you do, not as you say. If they are exhibiting behavior you do not like, consider it is their interpretation of something you are doing.
Your Problem: Your teenager comes home with cell phone in hand talking to someone, drops bag on the floor, and turns on the television. You look in their room; it’s a mess. You ask if they’ve done their homework, they grumble something about not having any (again). You watch them grab Cheetos out of their bag and power on the computer (while on the phone with the television on). You’re thinking WTF?!
Their Problem: You come home later than you said you would, and it meant you missed the grocery store before it closed. You yell from your room – as you wrestle off your heels and elastic waist skirt – asking if homework is done, if the room is clean, and if they’ve eaten. Before your child can answer your barrage of questions your best friend calls to ask how your day/your presentation/your conversation with your man went. You share, loudly, as you whip up something quickly in the kitchen to eat. They’re thinking, WTF?!
Before getting upset about the behavior of your children, take inventory of your behaviors and actions. This 'I’m the adult; they just need to do as I say' value system is out-dated, damaging and will result in your children needing to go to the Landmark Forum at 8 years old to simply avoid becoming bitter 11 year olds. And at the end of the day, the truth is that everything you want from them you should be doing. If you think they should be doing homework after they’ve spent 6-8 hours in school, you should be doing something to expand your mind after work. And as far as the room is concerned, I’ve learned that displaying integrity in all areas of your life will increase the chances of your children doing the same.
A Public Service Announcement: If you want to see a shift in your children, play Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and apply accordingly.
[NOTE: Integrity should be read here to mean whole, complete, nothing missing. So, to demonstrate integrity inside of family would include spending quality time, creating opportunities to grow as an individual and as a unit, celebration, reflection, and wellness mentally, physically, emotionally and materially.]