Overview: Got a son who doesn’t do anything you’d like? Discover how to motivate boys to do what you want. It’s simple and it works. You’ve got to try it!
Got a son who never seems to want to help out around the house? Do you feel like you give and give until you have nothing left?
Do you find yourself frustrated because you feel like you are the only one who does any work around the house?
The above scenario happens quite often in families for one simple reason – women often are happiest when they are giving.
Even if they are doing something they don’t enjoy, they receive great satisfaction from knowing that they are laying down their own desires to show love to their family.
Because women give as a way to show love, it only makes sense to them that their husband and sons would also give of their time and effort to show their love. They think, “If they really loved me, they would see that the dishes need to be done… or the garbage needs to be taken out… or the vacuum needs to be run and they would do it without me even having to ask.”
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for a very simple reason.
Our husband and sons are not women.
Because we think and feel a certain way, we assume that the men in our lives think and feel that same way.
That is certainly not the case. While women are generally givers, men are often takers.
I don’t say this in a derogatory way. And believe me, learning this was a surprise to me as well.
God created men and women for different purposes.
Our modern society has brainwashed many women into thinking that men and women are (or should be) more similar than is actually the case.
In fact, I have been called a sexist on more than one occasion for simply saying that men and women are different and tend to have different strengths and weaknesses.
It saddens me that saying such a basic truth can be so infuriating to some people in today’s society.
Something important to keep in mind is that we are all unique individuals. Men generally tend to think a certain way and women tend to think very differently. However, there will always be exceptions to every rule… so you’ll have to use your own judgment when it comes to what makes your own sons tick. 🙂
I’ll say it again. Men and women generally think, act, and are motivated quite differently from each other.
Fortunately, if you’re feeling frustrated, it is usually much easier than you might think to motivate the men in your life to do whatever it is you would like them to do.
I discovered these techniques in an awesome marriage seminar DVD by Mark Gungor called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.” I HIGHLY recommend this series to anyone who would like to take your relationship with your husband and/or your sons to the next level.
Mark is a pastor and he shares some amazing insights into the differences between the way men and women think. I learned a TON from this video series and I feel like I understand the men in my life so much better than I did before.
5 Easy Ways to Motivate Boys (Husbands and Sons) to Do ANYTHING:
1 – Ask Them
This may sound simple but men can’t read our minds. They can’t anticipate the needs of others the way that women can and they don’t know what we want them to do.
If we want them to do something we need to ask. We need to stop expecting them to figure it out on their own. This is something I’m working on at our house!
2 – Be Willing to Ask Them More Than Once
Often, the first time you ask your sons or husband to do something, they won’t hear you. Don’t be afraid to ask them more than once.
Also, before talking with them, be sure they aren’t doing anything else.
Men can’t multitask as well as women. If they are doing anything else while they are talking to you, they aren’t actually listening to you. Even if they respond in some way, your words likely didn’t register in their heads.
Get them to stop what they’re doing first. Then talk to them.
3 – Be Sure You’re Asking the Right Way
Use a calm tone of voice. Don’t insult them or speak with frustration in your tone. That will only make them more resistant to whatever you’re saying.
If you ask nicely, they will likely be more than willing to do what you’re asking.
This isn’t always easy to do. I know I often find myself frustrated because it’s hard for me to ask for help. And when I finally ask and my guys respond but don’t actually get up to do what I’ve asked them to do, I have to fight the urge to raise my voice.
But believe me when I tell you that things go much better when I’m able to remain calm and ask again.
4 – Train Them With Positive Reinforcement
Whenever your sons do something that you want them to do, give him a reward. This doesn’t have to be monetary or anything large. In fact, appreciation is often the best reward.
→ Related Content: 11 Ways to Motivate Your Teenage Son
Men LOVE to be appreciated.
Appreciate their efforts, no matter how small. Appreciate them even if they’re doing something you expect them to do like picking their socks up off the floor.
The more you appreciate them, the more they will want to do things for you in the future.
5 – Barter with them
Make your sons aware of something that they want to do. Then tell them that as soon as they do X for you, then they can do that thing that they want to do.
This works really well!
If you are doing the above steps and your son still doesn’t do what you’ve asked him to do, then you may need to get your husband involved. There will be times in your son’s life, especially during the tween years, when he won’t want to listen to you.
That is when Dad will need to step in and have a “Come to Jesus” meeting with your son. He will need to set the expectation that your son WILL listen to you and give you the respect that you deserve or he will answer to your husband for it.
We had several rocky years in our house where our oldest son did not want to listen to me. This was extremely difficult for both of us, especially since as homeschoolers we never got much of a break from each other.
I’m happy to say that once this son turned 14, he mostly emerged from that frustrating phase. He now listens to me the majority of the time and is very pleasant.
In fact, this same son will now defend me when his younger brother tries to put up resistance while I’m talking to him. I’ve caught this son lecturing his brother on more than one occasion. He says things like, “Mom is too nice to demand that you do something. When she asks you to do it, she means, ‘Do it!'”
This always makes me smile. He now thinks that I’m nice! At least part of the time.
The men in our lives do love us! They want to help us out, but they need us to be willing to direct them.
In his marriage seminar, Mark says that when women are asked to describe their ideal man, they often describe another woman! Ouch!
God has created our sons in such as way that they will accomplish what He wants them to accomplish on this earth.
Men and women are equally important however, they are not carbon copies of each other! When we understand this, we can learn to appreciate our differences and can have much more harmony in our homes.
QUESTION: What do you think? Do your sons help around the house? Have you found the above techniques to be true in your home? If you have any other advice you can give us, please leave a comment below.
22 thoughts on “5 Easy Ways to Motivate Boys to Do ANYTHING!”
my son is only 6 months, so I’m not sure yet. But these sound like good tips for me to use with my husband. Lol. And I totally agree with you about women being different than men!
Thanks, Jen! Yes, Mark Gungor’s video was about motivating our husbands… I just extrapolated that information to help us with our sons as well. 🙂
Thank you! I like that you say, “Ask”, “Ask again”, “Ask with a nice tone”! My neighbor has given the same advice about appreciating the snot outta our guys. I may not like it or think I need to make a big deal, but being appreciated does go a long way!
That’s so true about appreciation. Feeling loved is the top need of most women. Feeling respected or appreciated is the top need of most men. It may feel strange to say, “Thank-you SO MUCH for picking your socks up off the floor!” Especially when you don’t think they should have left them there in the first place. But, if it will get them to eventually stop throwing them there, then it’s definitely worth it. 😉
This is very true. I’ve used these and similar techniques with my son and they work well. He also loves to be trusted and GIVEN things to do. Not MADE. He was helping me with dishes at two and would gets upset sometimes when I don’t LET him help!
Excellent point, Jayson. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Good advice, but this only works for normally behaved and calm boys. Boys with ADHD or other ’emotional growth’ challenges may need further guidance. Many moms may find this article frustrating to implement in those cases.
My boys don’t have ADHD… but they are strongwilled and this advice has been helpful for them. Like I said in the post, we’re all unique individuals so I can’t guarantee that this will work for all boys. However, it’s definitely a good starting point. Sometimes, moms get derailed on the very first step – saying something to their boys and thinking they’ve heard it when that isn’t the case. Even just making sure our sons actually hear us is a good first step.
The frustrating part for me is that it can get old asking and being ignored because it’s not important to them. I truly see what you are saying but I just get tired of the “women you need to change the way you communicate with men” posts and no reciprocal ones. Don’t mind me.
I hear you. It is hard to be ignored! In Mark’s marriage seminars, he talks to men about how they need to communicate with and care for women… and he talks to women about how they need to communicate with and deal with men. Because my blog is all about helping parents (mostly moms) to understand, enjoy, and educate their boys, I only wrote about the relevant part of the picture for my audience.
For things to run smoothly in any household, however, EVERYONE needs to understand and think about each other’s needs. It’s not all about women changing when it comes to a husband and wife relationship. When moms are dealing with their sons, however, it really is about us changing the way we communicate with them. As our sons mature, we can work on helping them to understand women so that they can also modify their behavior… but in the meantime, it’s really on us. I hope that makes sense!
My 8 year old son and I seem to be at each others throats 98% of the time. He has no respect for me or his step dad and he refuses to listen to anything. As a matter of fact he is grounded right now for his attitude yesterday. I am grasping a straws for answers and I am so thankful for this post! Praying it works out for us! Thank you so much for sharing your insight.
I hope it works for you, too, Heather. I’ve been through difficult stages with one of my sons where we were also at each other’s throats. Fortunately, things have gotten WAY BETTER for us this past year, as he is starting to settle into his new hormones. Believe me, I know what you’re going through. I have written some other posts you may also find helpful:
Do Your Words Inspire or Demoralize Your Children?
Are We Frustrating Our Children?
5 Ways to Enjoy Your Boys
“Please Listen to Me!” : 5 Important Tips for Listening to your Child
Confessions of a Strong Willed Mom
5 Ways to Thrive During Difficult Parenting Stages
I hope you’re able to glean some helpful stuff from these. If you have any other specific questions, please feel free to ask here – or email me at [email protected]. 🙂
I would also add that I think that it’s extremely important to give kids as much freedom as they deserve and can handle well. That has given my three boys much more willing attitudes to help me and it gives them responsibility and self-confidence. My three boys do a TON around our house. My 12 & 13 year olds just went to church camp and I realized how much they did around the house. I was really knocked out by how much I appreciate what they do and with absolutely excellent attitudes. My 9yo boy, not so much. But he’s learning and getting a lot of input from his brothers to follow their lead. And conversely, I give my boys a lot of freedom to choose their bedtimes, what they eat, when they eat, what they do with their time and how they do their lessons. I let them scooter to stores and leave them at the skate park for hours by themselves. And when they don’t live up to my expectations, their level of freedom goes down a notch until they prove they can handle more. I respect them and they respect me. Quid pro quo.
Agreed. Level of freedom rises and falls with the level of expectations. That’s a great point! My boys definitely thrive as they are able to make more of their own decisions and have more independence. And that’s the ultimate goal, anyway… to raise responsible, godly sons. Thanks for the comment, Kim!
I don’t like asking it feels like nagging. I have a chore chart and my son knows that when he gets his list done he is free to do what he wants. If I have extra things that need to be done I ask him for his help and give him a choice of when he wants to do it (right now or in 5 min). Also I let him decide if he wants my help or wants to do it on his own. Most of the time he doesnt need me and he feels grown up when he takes responsibility -but he always knows that I’m willing to help. I love this article – boys really like to feel appreciated and respected : )
I don’t like to ask, either. Especially when it comes to my husband. It feels like he should just know what I would like him to do. That was a huge point that Mark Gungor made. They DON’T always know what we would like them to do – or think they should do. It doesn’t come naturally for us women to ask, though, that’s for sure!
BTW – Mark also talked about the difference between asking and nagging. He said it all has to do with our tone. If we ask nicely, even if we’ve asked before, then it isn’t nagging from a man’s point of view. That was good to hear!
I’ve heard this before. I would like to know your opinion on what to do if you don’t have a husband in the house. I divorced my abusive husband and now I have to raise my boys on my own. There is no man in the house to have a “Come to Jesus” meeinting with….. They see their dad every other weekend. Their father and I are not on friendly, cooperative terms at this time.
That would definitely make it a lot harder, Mandy! I’m so sorry! I would recommend you try to find a good, godly man who can be a mentor for your sons. Usually churches realize the heavy load that single moms are under and there are men who are willing to give of their time to come alongside the fatherless boys to help model the kind of male behavior that God desires… and to give them the tough talking they need, on occasion, as well. If you attend church, I would recommend you have a talk with your pastor to try to get some help finding a few of these good guys for your boys. Also, I would pray and ask God to bring the right men your sons’ way.
I am a recent widow with two boys 8 and almost 14. Trying to define life right now is hard, getting chores and schoolwork done has to be done almost with bribery. We take so many days off. thankfully learning through friends and life’s lessons we can check mark off some stuff. trying not to use the computer/TV/Roku as a reward these days but then they still learn something.
Sorry for your loss, Julie. I can’t imagine how hard that is for all of you! I would say that you need to do whatever works right now to get through this difficult time. I’m glad you’ve found ways to motivate your boys through their grief. My heart goes out to you!
This is fresh insight for me. Thank you!
You’re welcome. It was new to me as well. I hope you find it helpful! 🙂