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Getting Teenagers To Help With Chores










QUESTION:

I'm in a relationship with my partner who has 2 teenagers, they are great kids but are very lazy.

We have our own beautiful boy who is now 6 months old and I love him to death as I do the other kids.

Problem is that I work hard and put in a lot of hours, so when I get home and ask the older kids to help out by doing small chores, I get the rolling of the eyes and the "why do I have to do it " thing. Lately, it's really frustrating me to the point of anger. I don't want to argue with them and wish they could help mum and me but I feel its spiraling out of control. Can you help?




ANSWER:

I've been there. The best strategy with teenagers is to start them on chores when they are toddlers. All of us, having failed in that respect, generally resort to pleading, frustration and anger, which only digs the hole deeper. In essence, as our beautiful children become teenagers, their minds innately begin carving out their own path based on a very self-centered set of wants and needs. They also start throwing off family anchors; for example they probably don't care whether you like them or not, which was essential to their preteen versions.

They do respond to wants and needs, and you need a specific task and reward system for chores. You can be creative and have fun too; i.e., a reward for teaching your six month old baby something new. In the long run, the interaction between your teenagers and their little brother will be huge for his growth and development, and getting them into big brother/sister mode in this regard would be a great place to start. The more they know how important they are, the more they will take interest. Baby brains grow in capability with every new experience, that's why dads being different brings so much to the table. Teenagers are definitely different than dads and moms. They also may not be around home and their little brother much longer.

Chores are much tougher and will require collaboration with mom, so start with her. Appreciate that she has had them since they were babies, can still remember when they were sweet and cute, and will likely be inclined to continue to treat them as such. Point out the value they have to their little brother, that pitching in is an essential life skill for teenagers, and work it out. Keep it simple, and be consistent. Ask their dad for advice, and then his cooperation.

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