Teens and Chores

Updated on May 21, 2008
S.P. asks from Parsons, KS
5 answers

Summer's coming and my teens have been relying on me too much. I want to get them into the routine of chores again. We have several different chore charts in the past when they were younger, but I wanted to see how other mothers of teen approach chore time. I will be taking a difficult summer class as well as working 2 days a week. I don't want to spend my summer nagging and being ticked off when the work isn't done. Even my husband has been lazy about stepping up to the plate. I used to stay home full time and they got used to me taking care of everything. However, I'm now working part time and going to school part time. But..... my household duties have stayed the same. I really don't think that's fair. I calculate that I spend between 40-50 hours a week between work, school and study time. What works for you all?

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answers from Kansas City on

I have a 16 year old girl and recently my 19 yr old son moved out.
What has worked for me is to post the chores for each person and
the day it is to be done. I also give a time such as grass mowed no later than Saturday at 3 pm.

I don't nag...
If the chore does'nt get done(done properly- not sloppy) then that same day they lose all electronics for the next three days.
This means, ipod, computer, tv, game system, so on...

They just hate losing that stuff and don't let it happen often. Of course if they have to work or there is a special event then they have to arrange with me a compromise of the time or day.

I hate to nag... and I hate to be nagged. Just make sure you follow up with the punishment right away and stick to it or it doesn't work. Once, I gave in when my daughter was about 13 and it created many more problems!!!!!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Here's what we do in my house of 4 teenagers and one pre-teen. Chores are done on Saturday morning. The rooms of the house are divided into 5 equal jobs, plus they have their own rooms, and those with pets have to clean up after them. The first one up on Saturday gets the first choice of jobs. Second one up gets second choice and so forth. The last one up gets the worst job! When they spend the night at someone's house, they call to say they are up and want to know if they are first and if not, what jobs have alraeady been taken! They don't get to watch TV or go on the computer or anything like that until the job is done.

With just two kids, the math doesn't work quite the same. But what you can do is list jobs in column A and column B. Column A jobs are the big ones and column B are the smaller, easier jobs. So, maybe there are 4 jobs in column A and 6 in column B. First kid up picks two jobs from column A and 3 from column B. Second kid up gets the other half of the jobs.

As for daily chores, all we really focus on is dinner. I usually have one kid help with cooking - or just setting the table, and have two kids handle clean up. I assign the cleaning team during dinner. They know not to complain anymore because I've told them many times that if they didn't plan the meal, pay for the food or prepare the meal, they should have to clean up - and anytime they don't have to clean up, that's a gift. When I hear "I cleaned up yesterday!" I counter with "Did you eat yesterday?" If you are making dinner every night, then your husband and one of your sons should handle the clean-up while you go relax. Or, the three of them should rotate - either your two sons clean up or your husband and one son work together.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I feel ya. I spent HOURRRSSSS yesterday cleaning the house- it was spotless. I asked my husband to pick up the dinner dishes because my feet hurt so bad (9 months prego). Mind you we ate on paper plates so he had a grand total of 5 dishes to do. His idea of doing them...soak them in the kitchen sink overnight. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Somedays I feel like stopping it all so they see what all I do!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on


I've been waiting and watching the other posts just out of curiosity. We're not overly disciplined or regimented, but it works for us.
I don't work outside the home but am very busy starting a business and with volunteer duties. Irregardless of whether or not a mom works outside of the house, the kids still need to take responsibility for things around the house. We tried an allance and paying for chores, but that was more trouble than it was worth. Plus, we feel there are certain things you do to be part of the the family.
Laundry drives me nuts, (I swear the clothes pro-create on the floor). So what I started doing is telling the kids when I was doing laundry. If their clothes were down, I'd be happy to do them for them. If not, they did their own. Both kids, (17 yo boy and 13 yo girl) have really started doing all their own laundry.
I don't drive myself nuts about dinner either. I firmly believe in the importance and value of home-cooked, family meals, but as you know with teens, life sometimes can be a whirlwind. So we may have YOYO nights a couple times a week. YOYO stands for Your On Your Own! Which is usually leftovers or I always have sandwhich stuff in the fridge. We do have mandatory family meal nights which is usually the ONE night a week that no one has anything going on. So you can't plan something that night~
If I have a particular busy day, I will leave a list of things that need to be done. I don't care who does what, but all has to be done by the time I get home.
We have 1 dog, but he is MY dog and I take full responsibility for his care. Although, again, when asked, the kids will help.
That probably didn't help much. I am so proud of you for going back to school. I finished my BSN married, working full-time, pregnant and with a 3 year old at home. I think it made me a much stronger woman! :) Your family should be very proud of you too.

All the Best and in good health,

L. K



answers from St. Louis on

HI S.,
From working with Teens prior to "mommy-hood" and also being reminded by watching the "Super-Nanny" the other night. (The first time watching it since ever). Anyway, what your teens have is called "lazy-teen-itis" or the "my mom will do it for me" syndrome. Teens and young-one's are the same when it comes to chore charts. Do a chore, get a reward. The difference: young-one's get a smiley face and/or a sticker each time, with teen's their reward is collected at the end of an entire week of obedient chores. Rewards vary and are only one per weekend, usually payable on Friday and/or Saturday whatever day the parents decide and the teens have a choice of awards, but cannot collect the same rewards over and over again, they have to be rotated, to avoid taking advantage of the parents---allowance/movie/mall trip/clothes(one item)/spend-the-night/friends over/dinner out/favorite meal cooked/skate/game night, etc... Teens are old enough to clean their own rooms, vacuum, dust, dishes, do their own laundry, take out trash, mow the lawn, wash the car, walk and feed the dogs/. There is absolutely no reason why You-Mom are doing more than your share...As for Dad, hide the remote and tell him---He has to be your partner and an example for your boys or they will not make good husbands.
Good Luck. God Speed,
M. N.

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