(Don’t) Do That to Me One More Time
Have you heard that ad for a behavioral program that helps you get your unruly teenagers to obey? I always turn the volume up on it when my boys are in the car and I act really interested. Anyway, I really don’t need to. I have a technique to get the boys to tow the line that work so well, it’s almost unfair. I thought I’d share it with you, so you can save yourself some grief and perhaps some coin. You might want to take out a pen and jot down some notes.
There are two actions you can take that your children fear above all others. Singing, and dancing, especially in front of their friends.
Here are my recommendations about what to sing. You might think, “Gosh, that’s a lot of lyrics to remember,” but trust me, you’ll never get beyond the first verse before your teenager crumbles and agrees to mow the lawn. And wax Mom’s car. Or even wax the lawn.
Let’s start with a fairly recent release by the Black Eyes Peas, “My Humps.” Once your child recalls the lyrics say “my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps,” it’s all over. By the way, I throw in some descriptive hand movements over the “lovely lady lumps” part.
Olivia Newton John’s entire canon is a rich area to mine. “Physical” is hard to beat, especially if you jump up and down to it like Olivia does in her video. Believe me, your kids do not want to “see your body talk.” For extra points, wear a headband.
Even though my kids probably haven’t heard the song “At 17” by Janis Ian, the title alone says “danger, danger” to them. A good one to experiment with.
But there’s one song so powerfully effective, I almost hesitate to mention it. It’s embarrassing to teenagers on so many levels. You can probably guess it’s by The Captain & Tennille. “Do that to me one more time.” I close my eyes when I sing that verse, to help bring the emotion alive for them. And the dishes are finished by the time I open them.
Eventually your teenager will call your bluff. You can’t be faint of heart. You have to sing in front of his friends, and maybe dance. So many parents don’t follow through. You have to have the courage of your convictions. Throw in a little shimmy. Do the bump with your wife.
I don’t know, maybe you should get the other behavior modification program. It’s probably just as effective, and in the long run, less expensive: My kids’ therapy bills are killing me.