How to train your teenager

Look, I am not saying I cotton onto things quickly. I am not one to take an issue, research the background and come up with practical and effective solutions. I am more likely to stumble upon a solution and tell everyone I can about how amazing it is.

Today, if you have a teenager, I am going to unlock the key to how to deal with their often frustrating and emotional behaviour.

So you really need to go back to the beginning. At the sign of the first eyeball, you need your wits about you. You are basically dealing with a 6 foot toddler now, whose whole life again, revolves around themselves.

A toddler temper tantrum should be ignored. So should a teenage tantrum. Allow me to demonstrate, using a real life scenario which played out over the weekend at our joint.

Horatio woke in a bad mood, which is nothing remarkable or new. Having emptied the fridge of his contents, he went back to bed. This is where I was feeling brave.

“Dude,” (call them dude, they respond to it) Your room is a tip. Clean it up please.”

The gnashing of teeth, the flailing of arms and the use of several profanities could be heard from the hallway. Ignore it.

A few minutes later, go back in.

“I mean it. Get up and sort this mess out!”

Cue the response of a person suffering from a grand mal seizure. Do not respond. Just stand there with your arms crossed and a dry, rye smile on your dial. Teenage tantrums escalate quickly if you lose your shit. Watch as he reluctantly collects all of the glasses and plates from his room and dump them into the sink, before again retreating to his lair.

“Sweetheart, come with me….”

Beauty and the beast return to the kitchen. I point at the crockery in the sink and say..

“Now, what do you think needs to happen here?”

Flashback to teaching a toddler things. “Where does that block go?” Tying shoelaces, wiping ones own arse effectively, learning to drink from a cup, sharing toys. You have to go back to the start and retrain them.

Horatio starts filling the dishwasher.

“Would you consider that dishwasher to be full?” I enquired.


Ignore and point to the dishwashing tablets. Teach the man-toddler how to turn on the dishwasher. It was a success!

“Now, the reason why your room has that particular smell is that there are a lot of dirty socks in there. Be a good boy and show Mummy how you can fetch all of those dirty clothes from your room. Now, where do you think THESE things should go?”

He fills up the washing machine with deadly stinking garments and without prompting, pours in some washing detergent and turns on the machine while I jump up and down on the spot, clapping.

“You are such a good boy and you made Mummy so proud!”

He comes in for a hug, as positive re-inforcement works. I sniffed him and almost pass out.

“Can you take me driving now?” for he is on his L Plates.

I dare to take that one last step.

“Mummy would love to take you in the shiny car, but sadly our sense of personal hygiene is currently not in alignment.”

His adult brain kicks in. You can actually see it. So after a hot shower, where he used the soap and hung up the towel, we went driving. And had a marvellous chat about the 2020 NRL Roosters line up.

All was right, good and proper. The end.

Teenagers in your house?

How are you coping?