Teenage Kids and Household Chores

6:31 PM

Most parents of today try to be super humans who do everything for their children. A big part of that may mean exempting them from household chores. There is a view held by some parents that assigning chores to kids robs them of their childhood. The opposite view says that kids have to be taught the realities of adulthood early on because those realities are sure to come and will most definitely include household chores. 

Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

There are 3 main aspects for parents to consider when assigning household chores to teenage kids:

Age Appropriateness

Age appropriateness refers to the physical, psychological, and emotional capabilities of a kid to handle a task. Although most teenagers of today have a tendency to act like adults, this does not necessarily mean that they have matured that far. Assigned chores should not expose kids to unnecessary danger.

Some of the tasks that teenage kids or younger can easily tackle are putting away their belongings; sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting; feeding and walking family pets; washing and putting away dishes; and washing the family car, among others. There are still actually a lot more and family members can just agree how household chores are divided. No one has to feel burdened by doing everything while other able-bodied household members do nothing. 

Responsibility vs Punishment

Parents should introduce household chores as a responsibility of all family members. Everyone should contribute as a team member in ensuring the upkeep of the home. Doing one's part is expected and not to be seen as a form of punishment.

A home that is in order benefits the whole family. Many parents give household chores to kids in addition to suspending privileges as a form of punishment especially for serious infractions of household rules. While it can give the kid something constructive to do (if he does it), presenting household chores as a form of punishment only, negates the purpose of establishing a sense of responsibility. That is the very reason why introducing household chores to kids at every appropriate level is important, instead of using it just to punish erring kids. A reward system which does not necessarily involve money but hinged on availing of privileges such as more computer time for example, for a task done right and on time, may be an option.

Workable Structure

Kids should not be put up for failure in performing household chores by unrealistic demands in time and nature of the tasks. Parents cannot expect kids to make an efficient job if it interferes with their non-negotiable obligations in school, social life, and personal life. A structure has to be worked out within the family because there are always consequences if one member fails to do his share.

Expecting kids to finish school assignments and cleaning his room at the same time is unrealistic. The tasks are physically and mentally impossible to do at the same time. A proper work around would be to schedule cleaning the room on a weekend or assign a chore that can be done in between studies like washing their own dishes after use. The regularity of the motions lessens objections when minor household chores are seen as part of daily life and not as obstructions to more critical responsibilities.

My Say

I personally believe that making kids do age-appropriate household chores is necessary to their full development. This is especially so for teenage kids who are nearing the adult stage. This is just part of parents' job to prepare their kids to survive real life. 

That said, making teenage kids do household chores can easily turn into an uphill domestic battle.Nagging parents and indifferent kids are common scenarios. Families will have to continuously work it out between and among their members. There are no hard and fast rules to go about it, just an understanding that every member needs to do his share for the family and the place they all call home.

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