How to get a teen to do something they don't want to?(13 Posts)
My problem is my dd has anxiety and self esteem issues which have escalated dramatically in the last few weeks. Agencies etc involved. There is a small group running which I feel she would get something out of but she does not want to go. I have tried talking to her and re-talking to her wording it another way but she still insists she does not want to go. I did think of bribery think its technical term is transactional parenting but is this the way forward? I just want her to go once and see if she likes it. Ideas and suggestions very welcome as I am sure people will (as always) have some great ideas. Thanks
Tell her you absolutely don't want her to go.
If she has anxiety issues to the extent that external agencies are involved then insisting could lead to breakdown or last-minute refusal.
If she is adamant she doesn't want to go to this group, can you find out why and work out a solution, like a friend goes with her, or you wait with her until she's happy so she's got an easy exit if necessary, or you go and scope out the place first so she knows what to expect.
If there are no acceptable solutions, then are there other groups that she might be amenable to attending?
Is she able to say what exactly is putting her off? If she just thinks it'll be boring/a waste of time then bribery should work. If she's nervous, can she find out more about it in advance, or take a friend?
I think unless it's a doctor's appt or therapy then it should be her choice ultimately. If you force the issue then she will really resent you.
lol @ cdtaylor.
I'd bribe. I suspect mine would do that for a McFlurry. If she can she sit in the group & say nothing (to be agreed in advance). All you're paying for is open-mindedness.
Depends on which of my teens it is - different tactics work for different people.
Also, depends on what it is I'd like them to do - generally speaking, I try to work on the principle that I'll introduce them to things / facilitate them attending (ie pay subs, transport them there, provide equipment or whatever) , but, ultimately, they need to make decisions about their lives, not me, so it's not often I would be trying to persuade them to do something.
I use bribery with my DS, who also has anxiety issues. Sometimes I bribe him to try something – so I might bribe him to go to the first two sessions and then leave the rest up to him. Bribery is very good for getting him over the initial "hump" of resistance.
Just stick to the rules for effective bribery: be clear about what she needs to do and what the reward will be; only give her the reward after she’s done what you agreed, never before; if you repeat a reward then keep it steady, don’t increase it; and do remember to add a compliment along with the reward, “I’m very proud of you for giving the group a try” or whatever.
for you and your DD.
Thanks so much for all the great advice. The group has been very much suggested by her counsellor and it does sound like just the kind of thing that would help her current needs. She doesn't have any friends so couldn't do that also it's very much invitation only as a safe place for up who are really struggling. I totally get what you are saying about her making her own choices but previous choices she has made have very much contributed to where we are now. Work is being done to address her 'unhelpful thought processes' if I can just get her there once I really think she would like it and want to go again.
I don't know how old she is, but if she is a teenager has she read: "The Fault in Our Stars"? This book/ film opens with a girl who doesn't want to go to a group (in her case a cancer support group for teens), and it is very popular at the moment. It might be helpful to refer to.
I would also try bribery, but I would make her agree to 2 sessions, and I would definitely check with the group leader to see if DD can simply sit and watch without having to participate in any way, or be introduced, etc.
By the way if you decide to bribe her to go to two sessions then think about whether to give her a separate smaller reward for each session or a big one for both, or whether to offer a reward just for staying ten minutes. Earning the reward has to feel achievable to her. She probably wont try even for a very big reward if it feels too scary.
I'd never heard of "transactional parenting" but "concrete rewards" (bribes!) are an acceptable parenting strategy, not for everything but for some things. Some people get sniffy about rewards (and even praise!) because if you reward someone for doing something that they already want to do, then when you take the reward/praise away they don't want to do it any more. (You can even use this method to break a bad habit.) But this is not the situation your DD is in - she doesn't already want to do it so "external motivation" (bribery!) may help.
I have bribed/rewarded my children and don't have an ethical problem with the approach when used judiciously. I've also discussed it with them, so for example ds (just 16) needs a brace but doesn't brush his teeth well enough for the brace to be fitted. We talked about why he found it hard to get into better habits, I asked if he thought a reward would help, he said he thought it might and we agreed on a suitable option (nice gaming mouse) and the terms of that (pink gums that the ortho is pleased with). I'm not at all sure it will motivate him enough to brush twice a day every day, but I feel like a better mother for trying!
Thanks for your supportive thoughts. I think I will offer a reward and include 2 sessions by then hopefully she will feel a bit more relaxed. Her counsellor is hanging around at the first one (as other yps counsellors do) so maybe that will help. Thanks x
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