One mom described her frustration with coming home from work to a house where her three teens had left a mess. Although the kids were home all day due to summer vacation, they didn’t manage to pick up after themselves. Seeing their stuff lying around the house, she wanted to scream “Do you think I’m the maid?” To add fuel to her fury, her kids told her that she’s always in a bad mood.
She reported feeling like she hates them right now. She also revealed how rotten it felt to say those words and wondered if she were being too demanding or expecting too much.
Her expectations were quite reasonable; however, she hadn’t found a way to get her kids to do their share around the house. In situations like this, it can be helpful to list out all the tasks that need to be done to keep your family going (including things like going to work to earn money, paying bills, providing rides). Next, sit down with your kids at a time when everyone is calm and discuss how to divide up these tasks.
It is perfectly realistic to expect teens to do more house work in the summer when they have free time. Giving teens responsibility for things like planning and preparing a dinner will help them learn important life skills while also contributing to the family.
For more ideas on handling chores, see Lesson 6 of the Priceless Parenting online parenting class.