Teen Son's

Updated on October 30, 2006
W.F. asks from Oklahoma City, OK
14 answers

I have 3 boy's two of whom are 16 and 18. I have never been a parent of teenage boy's nor did I grow up with any brothers. My question is if they are not working because they just refuse to go out and find a job do you continue to pay them for chores that they do around the house? Brandon who is 18 had a job over the summer but didn't not save one dime. Now he has a girlfriend whom enjoys being taken out, but Brandon has no money. Therefore, he is constantly asking me for money. I made up a chore list of things he could do to earn money, but I feel as though he is taking advantage of me there also because he doesn't put any pride in his work and just half *** does the chore.

I am welcome to any constructive criticism or advice. Just wondering what other Mom's out there with teenage sons are doing?


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So What Happened?

You all are an awesome group of Woman and Mom's. Thank you so much for all your wonderful encouragement and advice. I think I got a little out of each and every one of your replies. I am going to be taking the time today to edit my application for chores and come up with some major consequences for not keeping there rooms and bathroom clean. I really liked the lightbulb idea. I am also thinking of removing the keyboards from the the computers.

Again thank you all,

Featured Answers



answers from Rockford on

I hate to say it but when I was that age my mom wouldn't give me money for anything if I wanted it I had to have my own job and pay for it myself so a good thing to do is make them get a job.

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answers from Tulsa on

W., I have two adult sons. At the age of 18 if they wanted to live at home they had to pay rent,($50 a month). then on the utilities, I would divide the bills by the # of people in the house then they would have to pay their portion. the same with cable and food. if they didn't pay they had the light bulbs taken from their rooms. they could go to a friends to eat, and i definitely charged for doing their laundry. if they didn't pay they got a 30 day eviction notice, and i stuck to that. they won't find it cheaper out in the real world. if they are adults, they have to act like one or live on the streets for awhile to learn that life isn't free or always fair. it will be hard to stick to your guns, but right now you are not only enabling them. and that hurts them and you. best of luck, stay tough.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Hi W.:

Your question was whether you should continue to pay your 18 year old for chores he completes.

I’ll answer this as if he’s still in High School, or maybe in College. However, if he's neither in High School or College, I say it's time to put your foot down and he needs to find a job yesterday. ;)

If he’s still in HS -- I'd say a great big yes, it's ok to agree to pay for completed chores. I believe that a student’s first responsibility is to go to school and to keep up their grades. After grades comes taking responsibility for their own space and keeping it clean. Beyond that, if you want to pay for chores to be done that help you out, go for it. Teens are very social and those movies, dates and other stuff add up, quickly! If he wants this, he’ll need to earn it.

I’d let him know that you definitely desire quality work – quality work that shows his mom employer that he truly wants the job, ergo, the part where you said, "I feel as though he is taking advantage of me there also because he doesn't put any pride in his work and just half *** does the chore. "

When Dad goes to work, he's expected to perform specific tasks. At home, you are too. As a team at home, we rely on each other to perform these duties so that the household works in rhythm.

You might discuss what job openings you have, what they pay, what requirements they have and what your expectations are. If he doesn’t meet the requirements, or the meet expectation, you’d prefer to do them yourself, or offer the deal to your 16 year old.

If needed, describe some visuals for him --

As Mom, your task is to wash laundry, but you only washed it, because you were busy, so everyone else should simply understand that it's wet and use it anyway.

Or, you're only taking him half way to somewhere that is 5 miles away, because half way is good enough and you consider the job to be done.

What would happen if you only completed dinner half way? Could only half of you eat? Would anyone get to eat at all? This could be a big problem and the rest of the team cannot depend on a team member that doesn’t pull through.

The deal is, I'll respect your need for money for the things you like to do, and at the same time, I desire respect from you when you are performing these tasks for me.

* * *

Our 16 year old used to do lots of chores around here. As the teen years arrived and the summers came on, he's cut back because he picks up several lawn mowing jobs on our street. This gives him enough money that he doesn't need to do the chores we were paying for, however, he's still responsible for his personal responsibilities, such as his room, his bathroom, and any other areas of the house he sets up shop for a project he’s currently working on.

The first of this last summer, he was 16, and the lawn mowing wasn't enough for him -- or shall we say it wasn't keeping him busy enough for "me." There was too much computer and hanging out in his room, day and night. I told him he needed to find a job, and until he found his job, his job would be finding a job.

Since it was summer, I required he place 3 applications a day, and even if something looked promising, he still needed to continue placing applications. An interview would equal 2 applications in order to be fair on his time, and mine too! The one place he kept putting off because the application was too long, ended up being the place he was hired, offered the most money, and he loves his job! And my does he love his money! The threat of having to quit if he doesn't keep his grades up seems to be doing wonders. But most, most, most of all...he’s so proud when he makes a purchase and can say that he earned this money and paid for it himself.

* * *

If you’d really rather your son get a job, it’s a great time of year to do that. I would encourage him to do whatever you personally feel is best for him. If he seems to want the chores most, then have reasonable requirements, and expect them to be met.

Good Luck molding your teen into a wonderful and responsible adult!


answers from Dallas on

Hi W.,
I too am a SAHM of 5 but the other way around, I have 2 boys and three girls. My teenagers are a 15 yo daughter and a 14 yo son. I DO NOT pay them for doing chores. We have given them a regular set of chores that they have to do. My husband and I tell them it is the price for having such a large and wonderful family and that it is their duty. They should be more than happy to do their share of helping each other. Their payment is letting them go out on the weekends. They are not allowed to do anything (not even the phone or computer) until all of their chores are done. I do realize that my teens are a bit younger and that may not be how you would deal w/ older teens. I will say that at 18 your son should be providing for himself. ( Just my opinion ). My children are not old enough to get jobs yet so they babysit my younger children and some of the neighborhood kids to have some spending money. Also, anything that is outside of what we ask them to do on a regular basis we may give them a little money for helping out. One bad habit they have gotten into is saying "I'll pay you back". I don't like to do that. I think they need to learn how to save up money for the things they want and want to do. We have told them they that "they will never be without". But I would definitely believe that your 18 yo needs to learn how to take care of himself. We have told our children that when they turn 18 and graduate from HS they need to be going to school or helping pay for the bills. There will be no free rides in this house. (Of course that is what we say to our 15 and 14 yos. You never know how you will until you are actually in that situation).
I wish you all the best of luck. I know teenagers can be a real pain in the butt. I am in NO WAY the mom with all the answers and my kids are in NO WAY the perfect kids. You basically have to live and learn and do what feels right. And always remember it is OK to piss your kids off as long as you are doing what you know is best.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, I don't have teens yet, but I can tell you what the rules were when I was a teen.

1. Starting at about 12-14 we only got our allowance when we actually wrote out our budget of how we planned to spend our money and showed it to our mom. We got an extra $5 the following "pay day" if we stuck to our budget for the previous "pay period".

2. At age 16 we had to pay for all extras. Our parents provided the basics (food at home, basic hygiene products, enough clothing to last one week) and we were responsible for everything else. If we wanted a different brand of hair care products, toothpaste, or extra stuff then we had to buy it ourself. If we wanted anything other than school lunch we had to pay for it ourself. If we wanted to date, we had to pay for the dates ourself. If we wanted to attend school functions or participate in extracurricular activities, we had to pay for them ourselves (there were a few exceptions, like if we were going as a family). And so on and so forth. Their reasoning was that at age 16 we could legally work part time and could earn money to pay for these things. They would pay us for extra things we did to help out around the house, but we were still expected to do the basics like helping with meals, keeping our own areas clean, and other simpel chores mom asked and got no allowance.

3. At high school graduation we could choose to go to college or not. We could also choose if we stayed home or not. My brother went to college and got a scholarship that covered his room and board. My mom and dad still helped with a few basics occasionally, but he was pretty much on his own. I decided to stay home and started working almost full time. In addition to all the extras that I was paying for previously I was also expected to pay my own car insurance and a portion of the gas (until I saved up enough to buy my own car, then I was responsible for all my own gas). I ended up getting married less than a year after I graduated high school, so I don't know what would have happened if I'd stayed at home longer. I'm sure they would have started asking for rent at some point, but I couldn't tell you how much or how they would have decided.



answers from Lawrence on

It is not just your son. My husband has his 16 year old daughter living with us and she is the same way. Refuses to get a job, half***** everything, takes absolutely no pride in anything and refuses to contribute to the family at all. I am currently 9 months pregnant with my first child and she will sit and watch me vacume, mop and clean the house and refuse to lift a finger. I yell and scream but it does no good. It just blows my mind that a human being could act like this. I understand that it is my husband's doing and I have spoke with him so many times don't know what to say anymore. I know it maybe mean, but I have ensured that my husband go to refresher prenatal and parenting classes as when he says I have done this before, I respond with "lets try and do it right this time." Please, if someone responds to you with a good suggestion send it my way. I am not sure that I want to put up with his daughter any longer and I truly fear her impression on my son.



answers from Wichita on

Hi W.,

If you are asking them to do chores around the house that you would pay others (maids, lawn service) to do, then I think a fee for their work is justified. However, if their work is not done with pride, then I would pay a "reduced" rate. For instance, if your rate is $20 for mowing the lawn and they've done only a fair job leaving spots unmowed, then have them go back and correct it or they will get $10 instead. Also, I wouldn't pay them for chores which I feel they should be responsible for such as cleaning their own room and doing their own laundry. However, if you ask them to do your laundry, vacuum the house, or do a sinkful of dishes, then you can pay them for it. Also, if their own room gets untidy and you can't stand it, then you can place the stipulation that they have to tend to their own room and do their own laundry before gaining the privilege of doing chores around the house for money. Don't just give them money when they ask for it. They should work and earn it just like you did. By doing so, you will be teaching them some work ethic. Hope it works out.



answers from Rockford on

Our son and daughter both had jobs in high school from age 14 all the way through. The only chores they had were their rooms, mowing or shoveling and putting the garbage out for garbage day. They were very busy but very proud of themselves. We gave them a set amount for clothes and extras and if they wanted more, they bought it themselves. They took pride in working and respected what they bought with it because they had to work for it. There is nothing wrong with kids working while going to school as long as they don't let their grades suffer....it keeps them from being bored, teaches them about the value of money and how to save and budget, it teaches them responsibility (showing up on time, doing a good job, presenting themselves in a proper manor), self confidence, pride, and it keeps them out of trouble. In my opinion you should not be financing your son's dates or spending money, he should be earning it himself. When our kids graduated they started paying rent too...$25 a week...and their own phone bill...from there they saved enough to get out on their own or paid a quarter of earnings a week for rent and we never had to ask for it because they knew how much more it was to get their own place. If you don't teach them to be resonsible adults they are shocked when they get to be one. Sure they will have excuses not to work and why you should foot the bill, but if you make them get out and earn a living, they will thank you for it later. Mine can't believe some of their friends who whine and gripe and refuse to work and they have no respect for those friends at all. When our son moved back with his son for a while, he paid $100 a week plus he bought half of the groceries, all of his son's needs and now since he has moved out he pays us for daycare even though we don't ask for it. Your kids will only be as responsible as you make them. :) Good luck!



answers from Wichita on

I hate to say it, but you are being taken advantage of. It is completely irrelevent wether your children are boys or girls, if they are wanting things above and beyond the norm. For example, food, shelter, clothing and some occasional entertainment, (not the entertainment of their friends &/or girlfriends), and they are of a normal working age, in my opinion, 15-16 and older, then they should be providing this money it takes to pay for these extra things for themselves. As long as they are fully capable of working, then there is really no reason why they shouldn't. Besides it will provide them with a good a work ethic in the long run as long as you put your foot down and say "no" and make them use the money they make from work for the extra things they are wanting to do that are above and beyond the norm. Here is a personal story for you from my own childhood: My parents told me that if I wanted a car when I turned 16 that I had to come up w/ 1/2 the money, so when I turned 15 I got my first job at a local Dairy Queen, I saved 1/2 of every pay check, and I got my car and was driving on my 16th bday. It was one the most rewarding things in my childhood. Besides I did this and maintained good grades, friends, ect. It can be done don't let your kids fool ya'!!



answers from Lawton on

Hi W.
My son never had a job while he was in high school and right after he went straight to college, now he has two jobs and will graduate this year.
I would say that you need to get your boys together and tell them that soon they will be adults and that the world outside of your home requires them to have a job so that they can not only pay the bills but be able to support that girlfriend or wife and children they may someday have. I would say stop giving them money if they only do the chore half way, until they do it to your satifaction, because if you were their boss at a real job they probably would have been fired by now. I am sorry to say but you and your husband are going to have to show some tuff love.



answers from Wichita on

Well I don't have any teenagers, yet, so can not speak from experience but can give you some advice. I would have my kids get out the paper and see if there are any jobs that they think they would be qualified for, then take them (if they do not drive) to pick up applications and turn them back in. If they do not want to get a job well that is their choice I guess, I would still pay them for the chores, but if they do a half *** job give them half *** pay, maybe then they willstart doing them correctly! Good luck to you! I am not looking forward to the teenage years!



answers from St. Louis on

Everyone's advice is right on the money. When I was in HS I wasn't allowed to work during the school year except for the occasional babysitting job. I got a set allowance if I did my chores (and if they weren't up to my mom's expectations, she made me do it again! I learned quickly to do it right the first time!!!) I was expected to get summer job. The allowance I got during the school year was like $5/week. Needless to say I had to save my summer money b/c that didn't go very far. My parents were pretty invovative. If I left my stuff lying around, I would get one warning, and if I didn't pick it up, my Dad would throw it outside in the trash can. If I didn't do my chores (we were expected to take turns with the dishes, cook dinner for the entire family one night a week, and on weekends split up all the house chores. My mom would make a list and my brother and I would pick and choose until we had divided up the entire list), my mom would deduct it from my "pay". There were weeks I ended up having to pay her!! I remember my mom standing over my shoulder and criticing my way of cleaning the bathroom. After she showed me "her" way of doing it, she would inspect it after I did it. And if I just half***** it, then she would make me do it again. Be creative with your punishments. (I like the light bulb idea!) I am sure they will be pissed...but they will get over it, and appericate that you taught them how to take pride in the work, in the long run.



answers from Kansas City on

I think you're on track. Kids need to learn the value of money and working for it is the best way. In my opinion, the best place for them to learn (having been through this with a couple of kids) is out there working for someone else. Kids have spent their lives figuring out how to "slide" around parental mandates, so your sons' attitude about doing chores is just normal child behavior. To learn a real work ethic probably requires working for someone else.

I don't know whether your boys have worked before, but if going through the application and interview process is intimidating them and deterring them from getting a job, you might want to help them. Spend an afternoon driving them to fast food joints, DVD rental places, ice cream shops, etc, and have them run in, ask for an application, and bring it back to the car. Then have them sit in the car, fill it out, and take it back in. Have them ask for the manager, and then ask the manager what they do with the applications, and whether they can get an interview. Pretty soon they'll be old pros.

If you still want to let your kids earn around the house (after all, it IS convenient labor), tell them they will get paid the way you would pay a stranger - for a job done well, not a half-done job - just like anyone else you would hire. Tell them you expect a schedule for finishing the job, and that you will not pay for either a job not completed on time, or a job done poorly - just like a real employer. Tell them paying them and then having to turn around and finish or redo a job is not worth your money. Then stick to it.

Good luck! This is a hard age, but it does get better!



answers from Tulsa on

Hi W.!

My heart goes out to you, because I was put in a similar situation! I had no idea how to handle an 18 yr old boy. I had never raised one and had, of course, never been one =). My husband's brother, who is over a decade younger than we are, moved in with us when he was 18. He wouldn't clean a toilet to save his life but still wanted all the perks an 18 year old feels that they deserve! I tried being his friend--got ran over by him. I tried to "mother" him--failed miserably because there was no sense of responsibility in him. My 3 year old is better about picking up than he was! So, my husbnad and I sat down, made up our game plan, and stuck to it. He was 18. A man. He needed to act like one. We loved him, but we were not his money tree. We approached him as a team with our expectations of him, and that did wonders. We helped him find a job so that he could take care of his finanical responsibilities, and he got to learn some important lessons. For example: How many hours of work do I have to do an minimum wage to pay for a trip to the movies? After a couple of weeks, he realized that it hurt to spend money more if he had earned it. He also learned that he needed to make larger amounts of it if we wanted to live well. He didn't feel that college was for him, but he did weigh out some options. He is 19 now, and next week he is entering boot camp to go serve our country.

I wish you and your husband all the best in guiding your son on his life's path! All we can do as parents is prepare them the best we can for that first step from the nest =).

J. P

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