Not doing what they're told

Often people within families argue about not being able to do what they want because there are many competing priorities. Parents and carers have a responsibility to keep young people safe and often this can mean a need to discuss boundaries.

  • Going out and coming in times
  • Staying home alone
  • Going to parties
  • Going on holiday with friends
  • Bedroom
  • Decision making
  • Facebook
  • Trust
  • I get frustrated
  • I lose my temper
  • I feel angry
  • I find it difficult to trust them
  • I worry about them
  • I feel disrespected

What can I do to make things better?

  • What do you need?

    Try to explain to the other person what you need and why rather than what the problem is. Example:


    “You don't come in until 9pm during the week.”


    “I want you to come home early enough to prepare your stuff for school and get a decent night sleep.”

  • See it from their side

    Try and see the situation from the other person’s shoes. Example:

    Person 1

    “There are certain rules if you’re living under my roof that you need to follow.”

    Person 2

    “I would like to be able to make my own decisions about stuff. I’m old enough to decide when to turn my phone off at night.”

  • Be honest

    Ask questions and explain how you feel. Example:

    “I don’t want you going on Facebook late at night because…..”

    “Does this make sense?”

    “Can you explain what you feel would be reasonable?”

  • Consider alternatives

    Consider lots of options to solve the problem.


    “I’m constantly on at them to keep their room tidy. Why can’t they just do as I ask them?!”


    Consider what “tidy” means. People have different ideas about what this could mean. It’s important for young people to have a space that’s their own. Lots of parents and carers expect a certain level of tidiness. For example, dirty clothes not left on the floor, clean clothes put away, and rubbish emptied.’

What can I do to make things better?

After working through the steps above and considering your own situation, you may find it helpful to know more about conflict resolution and mediation.

Kerry is much happier now that she and Sam handle their disagreements better.

If you get together and talk about it, I've often seen people come up with much better solutions themselves.

Paul Burns, Mediator

We still have our arguments, but we deal with them a lot better now.

Kerry, Sam's Mum

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