Chores are a constant source of stress and conflict for some families. Moms may repeat their requests multiple times with no result. They will do it later, or they don’t feel like doing it. There is also the response in which it seems like doing a simple chore is going to ruin their entire life.
Parents all over deal with this same conundrum. How to get their teens more actively involved when it comes to doing chores. Having some different strategies at hand can prove to be effective, depending on the teen, of course.
Setting Expectations For Your Teen When It Comes To Chores
Setting clear expectations right from the start will help moms get over a major hump. That being said, their teens cannot act as if they were not aware of their responsibilities. This also helps moms to communicate with their teens.
According to Karen Stephens, the director of Illinois State University Child Care Center and instructor in child development for the ISU Family and Consumer Sciences Department, communication is an art of parenting that takes practice. Parents often wonder why constant reminders and threats have little impact on their children.
One reason is that kids don’t always have good short-term memory. It’s worse when they’re tired because their brains can’t process short-term memory as well as they can when well rested.
It takes practice for children to adjust to their parents’ expectations. It is an ongoing process in that, as children get older, parents’ expectations of them change. If moms can try to be more conscious of this, it may help with the frustration. Sitting down and having a discussion prior to just raising expectations may improve communication between a mother and her teen.
Making A Chore List For Your Teen
Having a chore list for your teen allows them a visual reminder of what they need to do. Parents can also include other important reminders and/or appointments on this list if they so choose. Having this list doesn’t mean a teen needs to do it all at once. The chore list might be for the week.
Teens have a lot going on, even when they aren’t busy, they seem to be busy. The chore list is there as a reminder to them that at some point during this week these certain things need to be done. If a parent wants to make the chore chart for a shorter or longer time frame, that is okay too. Just having one in place helps.
When parents relinquish some control over their teens and give it to them, they are often surprised as to what gets done. Teens like to be independent. They don’t want to be told what to do. The chore chart helps in that respect because they can do things on their schedule and mark them complete.
According to Psychology Today, decision-making is an incredibly important skill that teens must develop before they can be truly independent. Letting teens make their own decisions vs making decisions for them gives them really valuable practice.
Teens will learn to look within themselves to hopefully try to understand their inconsistent behaviors, motivations, and feelings. They learn to establish their own values. They consider the values their family has instilled in them as well.
Teens will gain experience making decisions by having a set time to complete their chores. They need to work it into their schedule, and be accountable for the consequences of their decisions should things not get done.
Consequences For Teens Who Don’t Do Their Chores
Some parents like to pay an allowance to their kids. Do your chores and get rewarded with money. Other parents have faith in natural consequences. And finally, it is parents who enlist the consequences themselves. There is no right or wrong answer here.
All the consequences listed have pros and cons, for example:
- Pros of allowance: Children learn the relationship between work and pay. Using an allowance as an incentive may motivate children to get their chores done.
- Cons of allowance: Allowances may undervalue the importance of children contributing to the family. Children may get the perception that anything they do deserves a reward instead of simply doing their fair share for the family.
Ultimately, it is each parent’s choice on how to handle their child. Child Mind Institute recommends not being a dictator. When moms sit down with their teens and discuss the consequences together, it once again gives their teens some control.
Parents still have the final say on what repercussions will take place, but explaining them and giving their teens some options will help in making them seem more reasonable. Lastly, moms should try to focus on follow-through. There is no point in causing consequences if they aren’t going to be used.
Sources: Karen Stephens, Psychology Today, Child Mind Institute