"My 18 year old has finally got a job & is doing well, but we are experiencing terrible problems getting him up in the morning in order to get to work on time. He won't take any responsibility for this himself, but shouts abuse at us when we try to motivate him. What advice do you have?"
Unfortunately, you can't motivate him! Do yourself a big favor and get out of the business of playing “alarm clock” – “waking up” is your son's job.
The more you take responsibility for your son “waking up,” the less responsibility he will take. The problem is an ownership problem. Let go of ownership of your son’s employment. No more nagging him to get up. This problem belongs to your son. When you give up ownership, your son will have to make a choice - he'll have to decide if he will or will not accept ownership of his employment. And he'll lose the power of pushing your “employment buttons,” to frustrate and worry you.
Out-of-control teens intentionally try to keep parents in the position of taking responsibility for “waking them up.” Often parents are in a never-ending cycle of their teen’s sabotage. Since parents are continuously telling their teens how important it is to get to work on time, their teens use this information to anger them. The more parents try, the less out-of-control teens work.
Many people who are successful in life performed poorly early in their teenage “work life.” Remember your high school reunion, and remember the people you never expected to do well because they couldn’t keep a job for very long -- but they did do well eventually.
Your son is not going to end up sitting on the street corner with a tin can waiting for coins to be handed him from sympathetic passersby because he can’t find or keep a job. Get rid of the fear that his choice to "sleep-in" will damage his future. When he decides it's time to take responsibility for getting up and off to work, he will.
Buy him an alarm clock. If it goes off and he chooses not to get up – it’s his problem. He may have to get fired a few times before he “wakes up” and figures out that mom is not going to continue to treat him as though he were a small child. You must let him make mistakes and bad choices. He’ll not learn otherwise.
My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents