Getting Your Teenager to Do Chores As Well

“Why can’t you put the linen basket away when you’ve emptied it?” I shouted at my son in frustration. “I’m already fed up with tidying up after you most of the time. Don’t you think I’ve got better things to do with my time than clear up after you?” I continued to rant.

But his eyes had already glazed over. He stood patiently waiting for my rant to finish, but I just went on and on, letting out all my frustration. “Okay, Okay” he eventually shouted and stormed off upstairs to his room.

It’s easy and simple to forget that our teens need to learn how to do chores or household tasks which is part of the learning process for them to make mistakes. It’s then even easier to point out these mistakes to our teens. But at what cost?

Focusing on the negative characteristic of our teenagers is rarely helpful. In fact the more we look for the negative the more examples of it we will find in them. The result is often a feeling a failure and disappointment to both for the teen and the parent.

But focusing on the positive engenders a feeling of hope, of pride and of success. That doesn’t mean we need to take no notice of mistakes or praise poor performance; it’s about acknowledging what our teenager has done and using mistakes as feedback for better performance in the future.

How To Get Chores Done Well

Anticipate your teen to make mistakes. When learning anything new it’s common to make mistakes and not do things as we would like or miss out portions of the job altogether. Use the mistake as a basis for future learning and education.

Give clear and precise instructions about exactly what needs to be done and accomplished. Often we presume that teens know how to do things being done. So include all aspects of what needs to be done.

Then show them the proper way to do it. Sometimes verbal instructions are not enough for them to understand. If they’re using a new piece of equipment they often need to be shown how to use it, seeing it by itself. Show them first and then let them have a go under your guidance and watchful eyes.

Always praise the effort done even if the result is not what you’ve wanted. Notice all the positive things that they did do. Often their mistakes come from not having understood the task and instructions properly. This can either be due to you assuming your teen knows what to do (see above) but just as likely, your teen assumes they know what to do and won’t listen to what you’re saying. The latter is particularly true for those teens who need to learn by experience.

Let your teens know your standards. Do not accept sub-standard work, but realize that your teen may not achieve your standard on the first attempt. Set them a standard they can reach and gradually move to perfection until it meets your own.

Explain the reason behind what they’re doing. Even if they don’t agree with it at this stage of the instructions, it’s important for them to realize that they’re not doing something just for the sake of it. Let them know there’s a purpose behind their every actions.

Let them know when they’ve done an excellent job. Far from going to their heads, appreciation, compliment and praise are likely to get you a repeat performance.

AUTHOR: Carol Shepley

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