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Son unable, unwilling to complete tasks


My son does not see the importance of performing a task properly the first time. I have tried demonstrating how a particular task should be carried out, but he does not seem to listen and/or care. When his execution fails to meet my expectations, he responds with “Oh yeah, I forgot,” or “Oh, Mom.” 

I follow up by first pointing out the things he has done well or correctly. After I have complimented him, I then indicate what he needs to improve on, and then I once again request that he complete the task. When I check up on his progress, I find that he has still not carried out my request. Out of frustration, I order him to do it. 

I don’t want to fight with my son. But I do want him to complete tasks to the best of his ability and take pride in doing so.



To continually have to redirect your child to complete a task is frustrating and is a problem with which many parents contend. It is great that you compliment your child on what he is doing right rather than just criticize him on what he is doing wrong. Re-teaching how he should do it is also important.  However, this is not working effectively for you. You need to change your strategy to affect a change in your son’s behavior.

So, think of a task you are sure​ to ask him to complete. Now write down in numbered order the steps needed to complete the task. The next time you ask him to complete a task, hand him the list, review the steps with him verbally and ask him to check off the tasks as he completes them. Ask him how long he thinks it will take him to complete the task. Then check to see if he has any questions. 

Hold him accountable by saying that you will check to see if he has completed the task after the designated time passes. If it is completed to your satisfaction and according to the checklist, reward him with your praise and a privilege. If it is not finished or does not meet your expectations, he then forfeits a privilege.

Be consistent regardless of whether the task is involved, such as cleaning his room, or simple, such as taking a shower. Remove all distractions while he is working on the task.

You are most likely frustrated because you are more invested in this than your son is at this point. So make it worth his while to comply. He has to care more than you.