Friday, September 12, 2014

Chores For Teens: They NEED Them

Since a very young age, Junior has been EXPECTED to help around the house.  We always figured that maintaining the house was a group effort and there was no reason even a little kid couldn't help.   As he's grown, his list of chores has varied, primarily due to his time constraints and my low level of patience in getting them done. My son used to be in charge of emptying the dishwasher until I got tired of having a sink piled with dishes awaiting my trusty “emptier.” Some of the tasks he's done or is still doing include:

  1. Matching socks
  2. Vacuuming the first floor of the house
  3. Shoveling snow
  4. Raking leaves (which even his little sister helps out with)
  5. Babysitting (since age 13)
  6. Cooking microwaveable meals                                                                      

  7. Dusting
  8. Helping his father assemble things (furniture, our gas grill, toys, etc.)
  9. Taking out the garbage

  10. Taking the recycling to the curb
  11. Wheeling garbage and recycling containers back to the side of the house
  12. Clearing the table after meals

  13. Helping his little sister with her homework

This year, we're giving him even more responsibility. He spent weeks complaining about how our Wifi is “lagging,” so last night, when it crashed, we had him call the cable company. He spent 30 minutes on hold before speaking to the firm's representative; then he had to give the rep our account number, etc., and go through the directed diagnostics to fix the problem. When the call was over, Junior said to me, “Mom, NOW I know how much time you've spent on the phone and why you've been so frustrated calling companies over the years! Now I get it.” Next week he'll start making his own appointments: barber, dentist, doctor, etc.

Other benefits of giving your teens more and more to do include:

  1. It helps them prepare for being on their own.
  2. Kids develop confidence in themselves.
  3. They empathize with you for doing it for them all these years.
  4. It helps them acquire a sense of responsibility and pride in their accomplishments.
  5. Chores help them see themselves as important members of the family.
  6. It helps them give back to the family.
  7. It frees you to other things.
  8. It provides a positive model for younger siblings.
  9. It gives them a chance to fail and learn from their actions.
  10. It emphasizes the need for order and keeping things clean. 


Sure, he complains about some of his chores and I sometimes have to repeat myself a bit more than I'd like, but overall, the kid is rising to the various challenges. I make sure that I'm flexible and sensitive to his schedule and that I praise him when he's done. Junior is earning his money, but more importantly, he's becoming more assertive and independent. And that's a process I'm privileged to watch. 


Thanks for reading!  Come back again, won't you?  


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