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Of course, teens complain when you ask them to do stuff: household tasks suck.
No one on the planet actually enjoys household chores. Even adults struggle to keep their laundry folded and apartments clean.
For teens, it’s even worse because they’re transitioning out of dependence and into independence.
This doesn’t mean you should let your teen kick back and relax all the time while you do all the work – that won’t prepare them for real life and it’s not fair for you.
It’s all about how you approach house chores for teens.
(Hint: bribery through a chore chart probably won’t work.)
How to Approach Household Chores for Teens without Resorting to Nagging
It’s frustrating when your teen repeatedly “forgets” to put away their clean and folded clothes.
After all, you already went through the work of cleaning and folding them, right? The least they can do is put them away.
It’s hard not to get angry in situations like this, but that doesn’t help teens learn why house chores are important and it doesn’t get them to actually do the chore. It just widens the already blatant “us and them” dynamic between teens and parents.
Change Your Thought Process (You Can’t Change Theirs)
No matter how hard you try, you can’t change someone’s thoughts and actions through force – especially not a teenager.
You can, however, change your own thinking and how you approach the situation. This doesn’t mean caving into their demands, but changing how you talk about household chores.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Stay away from phrases that imply guilt or that your teen is ungrateful. Your teen hasn’t managed a household before, they don’t understand how much work it takes.
- Get them to understand that tasks are an important group effort.
- Remember that no one likes household duties.
- Avoid applying gender roles. Your teen may live on their own one day so they need to learn how to manage everything themselves.
- Make sure every member of the household is responsible for a broad range of duties. If a teenager sees dad watching TV while mom cleans all weekend, why should they feel responsible for cleaning?
- Incorporate jobs into the daily routine. Build good habits instead of letting messes pile up.
House Chores Your Teen Should Feel Responsible For Completing on Their Own
Your teen should feel certain tasks are their responsibility.
Don’t make them feel guilty: they should arrive to a feeling of guilt on their own.
Remind them that they’re gaining independence: adults usually don’t have maids following them around. Just like every other aspect of life, independence comes with responsibilities.
Teens only have a few years before they’ll be out in the world on their own. It’s important to build a healthy sense of independence while they’re still under your roof.
Start with jobs that help foster autonomy and make them feel capable:
- Laundry: Keep their laundry separate and have them do it themselves.
- Dishes: Mom or dad shouldn’t have to clean up after a teen.
- Cooking: Teach them to cook basic dishes so they don’t resort to microwave meals.
- Pets: Caring for the dog, cat, or fish tank should always be a group effort.
- Small Repairs: Hanging fixtures, replacing lightbulbs, fixing leaky sinks – prepare them for real life.
A New Spin on the Traditional Chore Chart
Responsibilities are inevitable.
When most parents make chore charts, they make them for the kids and teens with specific tasks and maybe some rewards.
Kids and teens aren’t the only ones doing duties, so why should they be the only ones on the chore chart? This approach implies that they’re helping mom or dad with duties instead of holding any responsibility.
Everyone should do their part.
Include parents on the chore chart. This way, your teens will physically see all the important stuff you do around the house that they take for granted.
Here are some tips for making a well-rounded chore chart:
- List daily, weekly, monthly, and as-needed duties.
- Switch up everyone’s jobs to build a wide range of important skills.
- Again, don’t gender jobs. Dads and sons should take turn vacuuming while daughters should learn how to make small repairs.
- Hold everyone accountable. Parents should be held accountable when they don’t complete their tasks – just like teens. If you get a pass but they don’t, they’ll notice.
Household Chores for Teens Should Prepare Them for the Real World
Your teens will live on their own in a very short amount of time. Home jobs for teens are important for instilling responsibility and accountability.
These skills will help carry over as they start jobs, live on their own, and build long-term relationships.
No one likes responsibilities and jobs, but they’re something we all have to live with.