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The Importance of Chores for Teens

by Bonnie Crowe

It’s the job of every parent is to prepare their children to be independent and able to take care of themselves, once they leave the nest. A high school student is but a few short years away from going off to college, or making his way out in the world. While some kids might use this as an excuse to party, play video games and let mom do all the housework, it’s in their best interest to have them pitch in and help out.

Build Self Confidence

The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that teens build valuable self-esteem and learn to be team players by performing household chores. Helping out makes kids feel competent and lets them know that what they do matters to the family. Cooking dinner, washing and drying dishes, or cleaning the house, all are indispensable chores that make teens feel valued.

Teach Independence and Responsibility

According to Dr. Fred Provenzano, family therapist and clinical instructor at the University of Washington’s School Psychology and Counseling, chores teach teens how to be independent and responsible. A teen who whips up dinner or breakfast for his family will be able to cook for himself after high school, and a teen who knows how to do laundry and clean up after himself will be a responsible roommate. Dr. Provenzano adds that teens who do chores foster the self-discipline that employers favor. Chores teach teens basic life skills. Additionally, taking care of family pets teaches a child to take care of another living being, and to put the need of another being before his own, which is a valuable life skill for any child.

Allowance

Many parents wonder if they should pay for their teens to do chores by giving them an allowance. There are two schools of thought on this, some say it is fine to give an allowance, as it teaches teens to earn money and budget for the things they want to buy. Others think that paying teens to do chores defeats the purpose of instilling a team spirit in them, and that helping out the family should be enough reward, along with verbal praise for a job well done. The American Academy of Pediatrics claims that both ideas are valid, and that it should be left up to the parent’s discretion, whether teens should be compensated with money for helping out.

Monitoring Quality

If your child does his chores poorly, set him down and explain how you expect the tasks to be done. Show your teen how to do the task by doing it with him t first. Later, check on your child and praise him when the job is done correctly. Let him know how much you appreciate what he is done. This will reinforce him doing a high quality job and give him a sense of pride in his work. Try to be positive for his efforts at all times.

About the Author

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.

Photo Credits

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