Nagging at 11 Year Old Boy to Do Everything

Updated on April 24, 2018
M.S. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
14 answers

I feel like my 11 year old boy should be governing himself by now as to what comes next as far as his schedule. He is always messing around when he should be doing his chores or getting ready to go somewhere. Is this normal?
What can I do?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Anchorage on

This is so normal, and is still an issue with my 14 year old (although he is better at it then he was at 11/12). Their brains are just so cluttered at that stage, it is also why many have issues in school around 6th/7th grade and improve by 8th/9th. You just have to ride this one out and give him incentives and tools to help keep him on track.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Totally normal, well into the teen years, and very frustrating.
Instead of nagging use natural consequences.
"You can turn on the TV/video games after you've cleaned up your legos."
"You can have breakfast after you are dressed."
"You can play outside after you've cleared the table."
This frees you from the constant nagging and puts the responsibility directly where it belongs, on your child.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Never nag. No point (as you can already see). I offer "choices." For example:

Joe, I expect that you will have your room clean by bedtime - otherwise, no video games tomorrow. The choice is yours.

Joe, I expect that you will be ready to leave for the store at 3 p.m. If not, no TV time after shower tonight. The choice is yours.

Follow through. Every time. Never back down, never compromise. Never yell. Never nag. Ultimately, you are giving him choices and if he fails to follow through, the only person he has to "blame" for his consequence is himself.

I've raised 6 teenagers, this is an effective way to stop nagging on your part, and create a sense of responsibility on your child's part.

Good luck.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There is nothing magical about the age that says he "should" be self governing. That is a skill that parents need to teach kids. It's hard, of course, because the best way to teach it is to actually let your child govern himself and then fail and suffer the consequences.

Before you go straight to consequences, however, you can engage him in problem solving: "Son, your not doing your chores and not being ready on time to go places is putting a strain on this family, and that's a problem. We're going to talk about that tomorrow afternoon and between now and then, I'd like you to think of some ideas on how to shift this."

When you meet and he still has no ideas, you present your ideas. Your ideas will depend on your family, but like any good brainstorming sessions, you should put as many ideas on the table as you can think of.

Possible ideas include:
If you don't do your chores, and someone else ends up doing them for you (because the table does need to be set if we are going to sit down to dinner),
.... there will be an $X deduction from your allowance.
.... you will spend Saturday doing extra chores with Dad.
.... you will not eat dinner that night.
.... you will lose electronics privileges until tomorrow.
.... you will serve everyone at dinner and keep our water glasses filled during the meal.

Sometimes, a list of ideas will jog a child's own creativity and in the face of consequences, he will come up with some of his own. For example, he might agree to putting an alarm on his phone and request one (nonjudgemental) reminder from Mom.

If the issue only affects him, then you just need to be clear ahead of time about what your expectation is and what the consequence will be. Let's say he wants to go play at a friend's, just tell him that you have time to take him between time A and B, but after that, he'll be on his own. If he is not ready by B, oh, well. When he gets angry (he's not used to you holding the line after all), just acknowledge his upset and assure him blithely that you are sure he will choose to be ready at time A next time.

You can also have him earn your chauffeur services in advance. Let's say he wants to have a play date at a friend's who is 15 minutes away. That's a 30 minute round trip for you that you probably really don't want to make. Let him know what he needs to do for you that would make you willing to take him. You might request he help you with the grocery shopping on the way, or that he help you fold all the laundry. While he is helping you be pleasant and grateful. You want to send the message Isn't it great when we all help and look out for each other? If he has had to earn the privilege ahead of time, chances are he will be on time!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It's normal, it's frustrating, it's unsustainable. So, at 11 and barring any developmental disabilities (which I assume you would have mentioned if they were a factor), he's plenty old enough to make choices about his own situation. That means choices that have consequences. He will not do things when you nag him, and there are few if any consequences because you are, basically, making sure he doesn't have any.

So, change it up. The shock alone will wake him up. At first, he'll think, "Oh great! She's off my case!" Shortly thereafter, he will see that his life really sucks when he makes certain choices. The first thing you have to do is to ask yourself, "What is the worst that could happen if Joey doesn't ____?" For example, what's the worst that could happen if he doesn't get ready for school? He's not going to flunk out, skip college or have the truant officer at the door, right? So for me (when my son didn't want to get ready), the worst was that I would have to drive him to school (when I felt like it) and check in at the office (where I told him he'd be explaining his reasons for later arrival to the principal since I wasn't about to lie or write a note), or he'd sit on his bed all day with no toys or TV or attention, or he'd go to work with me and sit in a corner on a hard chair with no video games and absolutely no opportunity to "help" my coworkers with even menial tasks.

If he doesn't pick up his laundry and put it in the hamper? Oh well, it's HIS CHOICE to not have his favorite shirt or clean underwear. Guess what? He goes to school in whatever is dirty or wrinkled. He will survive, you will not be labeled a "bad mom"!

He forgets his homework? Oh well, it's HIS CHOICE to stay after school for detention or extra help for what he missed. He forgets his lunch? Oh well, he can borrow money from a friend (and either dig into his savings or earn enough to pay it back by doing odd jobs for neighbors, not you) and buy a gross school lunch.

I'm sure there are chores that cannot wait - the garbage has to go out and the dog has to be walked. So, if you have to do those, do them silently and then be too tired or too far behind with your other chores to do what he wants or expects. If no dinner is made, oh well, his choice. If he can't get a ride to a friend's house, oh well, his choice. You can't take him out to buy a birthday gif for someone's party so now your child cannot attend, oh well (be sure to clue in the host parent that there's a problem, as a courtesy). Be sure you pick things that impact him - you staying up past midnight to get stuff done doesn't impact him at all.

The key to this is that he has made a choice. You are not a mean mom or a drill sergeant. You are a household manager and everyone has responsibilities. If he doesn't do his, you can't do yours. He has choices to not do things/ You have the consequences.

I would take the conversation out of it entirely. I think a written chore list on the back of his door or on the fridge is fine, or a calendar listing on the computer, but that's where your responsibility ends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

No one likes nagging.
No one likes being nagged either.
While some kids catch on earlier than others - some don't get there before college.
Late elementary / early middle school years can be a tough transition for a lot of kids.
But it's better if he figures this stuff out now than later in high school.
Try taking it in little steps - work on one thing at a time - and compliment him when he's doing well.
You don't want to overwhelm him.

Natural consequences will probably be your best bet.
Tell him something once - maybe twice tops - and if he doesn't do what he's suppose to when he needs to do it - then he does without.

This is a great time for him to start doing his own laundry.
Show him how to do it once.
Walk him through it a few times - you watch while he performs the tasks.
And then the job is his and you let it go.
Don't remind him - let him set his own laundry schedule.
If he doesn't have clean clothes to wear - it's on him.

If he can't get ready to go somewhere on time - then he's either late or he doesn't go.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on


We still do this with our older kids.

I think it's when the work is done, then you get to have fun. Some version of that. You hope as they get older, they do this for themselves. I'm still waiting for this (some days are better than others) :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I think it's normal. My son still needs reminders all the time and he is 14. I remember my brother drove my mom crazy till maybe he went off to college! She was surprised when she went to visit him and he kept his place relatively neat. It finally sank in I guess. I notice some of my son's friends are more responsible and mature and some of them are still really immature, self absorbed and easily distractable. My son falls somewhere in the middle. I think it's a personality thing. TIP - my son will give himself reminder alarms on his phone and it helps a LOT. And he's taking responsibility for himself which I like.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Something to keep in mind, he is 11 not 18. You are correct in laying the foundation but at this age/stage they are still developing. Their brains are still growing and filled with all kinds of developmental things: continued growth, maturity stages, learning difficult subjects at school etc. I remember a time in my youth where I wasn't completely on task with chores and it drove my mom crazy. However, she laid the foundation (gave me some chores, told me what was expected, showed me how she wanted them done) and today I run my household just fine even though in my youth I would forget things or become lazy at times. I set timers to let my kids know in advance when they need to be ready by. I, also, set a timer & shout out a 30 minute warning before school and sporting events so we aren't late and get to things on time. They have chores that are reasonable for their ages, they get a small allowance, have banking accounts (1 for college, 1 for whatever). Some things are just expected as they age (clear your plates, help mom bring in groceries & dishes, help with the trash/gardening, basic picking up of the house). He will get there. You are laying the foundation, using gentle prodding & reminders, showing by example and also letting a kid be a kid for a time for the day will come when the fun is over and we all have to work, clean, cook and pay taxes. Show by example, set reasonable limits and goals, have some fun, allow some free time and don't give to harsh of a natural consequence.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Very normal as a matter of fact I have the same problem with my 11 year old daughter. I had to yell at her this morning because didn't have everything ready to leave for school. I told her I figured I didn't need to tell her basic things any more but I still do. Hopefully it will get better soon.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Totally normal. My 15 year old does the same thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic is an excellent resource for helping teens (and preteens) realize their responsibility in decisions/consequences. It was a tremendous resource to me and took some practice to implement (only because it was not my first natural response). You can probably find it at your local library or used very cheaply. It is so good and an easy read.

What you're experiencing is normal. Frustratingly normal :) However, you can stop nagging (which doesn't work anyway) and let his decisions have natural consequences which teach him more in the long run.

Consistency and placing responsibility where it lies is key. Very calmly, matter of fact, no drama, no arguing. Three of my very favorite Love and Logic based replies are "I love you too much to argue with you" and "I'm sure you'll figure this out, let me know if you need help" and "I'll be happy for you to go visit your friend as soon as your room is clean"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It's normal. The pre-teen brain is pretty cluttered, with new experiences, physical and mental growth, expanding sense of independence, and the contrast between still being a kid and almost being a teen.

If you want him to be more self-reliant in terms of doing chores, or getting ready, first make sure that you have put into place the skills and tools needed to accomplish those tasks.

It may not be enough to say "get ready to go". He may need a timer set. And are his chores clearly set out, with the standards clearly established? For example, if he's supposed to keep his room neat, what does that mean? It can mean different things to different people. If by "clean" you mean no dirty clothes on the floor, bed made, wastebasket emptied, then make a checklist for him to follow. He may think "it's clean" because there are no half-eaten granola bars laying around and no empty water bottles lying on the floor. Or he may think that if all the dirty clothes are in one pile on the floor, that's good. If he's supposed to load the dishwasher, give him a time limit (by 7 pm each evening, for example) and make it clear that he's to rinse the dishes, for example. Make sure that he knows exactly what is expected.

Then, make sure that the consequences fit the violations. He lost track of electronic devises? He loses all electronics for a time. He didn't put his dirty clothes where they belong? Then he doesn't have clean clothes and he can't go hang out with a friend because he doesn't have clean clothes to wear. If his chores aren't done, he can't have any free time (tv, bike rides, video games, etc).



answers from Oklahoma City on

Please see if you can find a Love and Logic Parenting class in your area. Not only will this help you figure out how to let your child have his natural consequences for his choices it will also help you stop taking the choices from him.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions