how do you get teenagers to help around the house?

Karen - posted on 06/09/2009 ( 50 moms have responded )

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not picking up her room, not washing clothes, dishes, etc

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Carolyn - posted on 09/16/2009

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You need to stop doing all those things, just cause she does not. If she won't pick up; leave it do not do it for her. Close the door and do the rest of your home. Do not wash for her, make her a seperate place to put her clothes and it helps if you put that basket in her room, in her sight not yours. So when she wants to wear something you can reply did you wash it. Cause I did not, you are responsible for your self. It worked for me.

Anne - posted on 06/09/2009

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Hi Karen, does her room have a door? Make her keep it shut. One thing you will need to deiced is what battles you want to pick ,just make sure you win the battle. For our daughters from the time they were about 10 and I knew they were great readers and could reach the knobs on the washer and dryer, if there clothes were not in there dirty clothes basket on laundry it did not get done. I really was not interested in having to do a sniff test to see if there clothes on the floor were clean or dirty. It only took a few times for them to not have the outfit they wanted to wear clean before they either did there own laundry or followed the rule. If they were not willing to help around the house during summer and the weekends I was not available to cart them all over. We live about 7 miles from town so they either helped or found there own way to things. My husband backed me up and we both felt that during the school year the battles I wagged and won were the laundry and respect. There main job during that time was to get good grades. I think that helped us to not feel slighted when they did not call for 2 or 3 days when they were away at college. Both girls go to college out of state. The oldest is finishing up her degree and lives in NC our youngest will finnish her 4 year degree in 3 and a half this Dec.I hope this helped. One more thing I have had a bad back and my hips replaced so they did help more than a lot of their friends. They have been and are wonderful young women, as I am sure your teenagers are also.

Tamika - posted on 09/16/2009

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This is what I do, I ask them what if I did not feel like paying bills, going to work, and buying things for you.

Cheryl - posted on 09/10/2009

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Not doing chores in our home means not going out on the weekends - our kids have always had chores and always had consequences for not doing them

[deleted account]

Quoting Naomi:

Hi Karen, I have a 18 year old daughter, and I have just give up completely. She is so lazy it is,nt normal. Im 43 and do 10 times as much with 10 times less rest. Just close the bedroom door, and refuse to go in. It's amazing how quick they learn to use the washing machine and the iron when they run out of clothes. I think by ignoring them, you are not stressing yourself out and if you don't open the bedroom door you don't know whats there. You can't take anything from an 18 year old because they are really an adult, so my advice is if they want to be an adult then they need to act like one. Good luck



I have to agree with Naomi,  I have an 18 year old piglet who likes to waller in her own filth muck.  It is shameful but she does not see it or even care right now.  I do not understand the mentality of anyone who wants to have a pig sty for a room but there you have it. When she moves out she better make sure she gets all her stuff because mama is going to "clean" the room out!  LOL. 

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Blanca - posted on 09/15/2009

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Homework first, chores come second. If not done, NO fun for the weekend. If it gets done, they get paid to out on that weekend.

Marie - posted on 09/05/2009

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Let her know that this is a place of dwelling and it need to look and feel healthy, just like she take shower each day to feel refresh and healthy, because next time u see things laying all over the floor u will be getting a black plastic bag and assume it is garbage and start dumping, it work on my kids and I tell them don't ask me for anything. As to the dishes get her disposable cups and plate she will learn, my girlfriend got that for her family. If she don't wash her clothes let her know she can't come near u until she do but u still love her, that's why she have to be responsible starting now. and I am sure she don't want u telling her friends that she is nasty, lazy and wearing dirty cloths. hope this help.

Dyanne - posted on 09/03/2009

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Syop giving them money and things until they help out around the house...time to teach them that there are 'no free lunches'...everyone who lives ther should be doing their part.

Susan - posted on 08/29/2009

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Hi Karen,

I have decided that my home will not be tidy until they leave home!.

I live in london england and kid's are the same all over the world.

I have tried to ask nicely,demand scream bribe, and none of it worked so for my own sanity i have decided to sit back have a glass of wine and chill out.

If this is the worst problem they bring to me then i figure life is pretty good.

Hope it helps

Regards Sue

Valori - posted on 08/21/2009

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good luck on that one. I have one that likes to clean and one that doesn't. I constantly have to put my foot down to get the youngest to clean anything.

Betsy - posted on 08/19/2009

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I started simple chores with my kids when they were younger than teens. They have always had chores and consequences if they weren't finished in, what I consider, a fair amount of time. As teens, though of course they get lazy, so I started a new rule. If their jobs aren't finished in a sufficient amount of time, I add on an additional job. That's seems to work pretty well.

[deleted account]

i dont think you can just shut the door and let it go theyll figure it out , i have the same problem just got my 24 yr old back and was really enjoying my almost empty nest (have another one in collage) but i live in ga and dont want bugs that come with the not picking up dishes or vacuming the floor also we know have four animals instead of two and the smell from her dogs not being washed and bedding not clean is horrible so im really feeling for you .

Jo - posted on 08/17/2009

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When I was a teen, I started keeping my room clean when my mother let me choose new furniture & coverings. I was proud of what I put together & wanted to keep it looking nice.
With my own children, (5 of them 11-21), I often negotiate - you want food, you clean (no not quite that bad!). I make their beds, they keep the rest of the room clean, I fold the washing, they put it away. I make it very clear to them that I am not their slave or servant & they must contribute to the running of the household. Teenagers can be very selfish & demanding, as parents, we can't be scared of making them work for what we give them. I know it is hard, but sometimes they have to learn the hard way & we have to learn that they really won't hate us if we make them be responsible.

Estella - posted on 08/12/2009

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I have learned it a give and take if they want to go ut and do something they must have assigned chores done rewards for doing a chore is satisfying to both you and the children positive reenforcement always a good thing it will not happen over night but it does work Being a mom and a step mom who is physically disabled i have alot of help when the girls here een the oldest who in college fulltime and works she stillmakes time to help me with the house work

Bonny - posted on 07/17/2009

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I let my teens keep their room however they want.. its their territory. but the door must stay closed and none of my stuff is allowed to go in there. And I dont go in to clean it.. its their job.

As to around the house jobs. If they dont help their pocket money or other things depending on age (eg borrowing the car) are affected. We are a family so we all have a part to contribute. It works for us. Working kids.. pay board,and pull their weight around the house if they wanna live here. (again their room is up to them). HOpe that helps. Bonny

Kelly - posted on 07/16/2009

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Hit her where it hurts. Her wallet. If she regularly recieves money( allowance, or job) then fine her everytime she doesn't do what you ask. How much is up to you, and be creative with where you put the money. We put it into an account for our daughter that she did not know about, but when she needed something, that is where the money came from. Teenagers love their money! Hope this helps.

Annette - posted on 07/15/2009

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Take it from a 50 year old Grandma. Rewards do not have to be money. Can't go out until .... is done. Always thank them when completing the task.

Rachelle - posted on 07/15/2009

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My personal battle has been keeping up appearances even while Dad is deployed. I have always had the kids do their own laundry as soon as they were big enough to reach the buttons! And they were encouraged to make supper since for a long time I worked in the evenings. They either made their own food or they starved! We do have problems keeping up the dishes. I often have to start doing it myself and then say, "Ok, your turn!" I have recently been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease. Fancy terminology for osteoarthritis! Makes doing anything a major endeavor! But my kids know how to do a speed clean and they keep their own bathroom up and their own bedrooms. My daughter is a bit of a slob, but she's 16. Her 18 year old brother keeps his room pretty clean. He's got OCD anyway, so he likes it clean! But the rest of the house, he realizes he has less control over it. My 20 year old is stationed overseas but when he came home recently, he offered to make chicken noodle soup. He used to be our main cook so he knows how to make something delicious. He actually had a recipe published! I'm glad the kids all know how to keep house. I guess the main thing is to remind your kids that they are part of a family and everyone needs to pitch in. I've used the pay your kids thing, but it kind of backfired on me. I've homeschooled for years and it's one of the required things in our house. They help me shop for groceries and remind me when there is a certain ingredient missing in the spice cabinet. They also know how much laundry soap is available and if we need more cleaning supplies. I really appreciate that. I have no doubt that if I became disabled, my home will still be run with great kids like these. Maybe if you approached your teens with this line of thinking, maybe they would realize that you won't always be there to pick up after them.

Sandra - posted on 07/14/2009

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Give them money as an incentive, at that age all they want is money. I have found that when I tell them I will pay them the chores are done!

Brenda - posted on 07/13/2009

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When my son is home from college, he keeps his own room and still cooks if he wants something to eat between meals. I just tell him unless he wants me to go live with hin at school he needs to continue to do the same at home that he does away from home. My daughter still lives at home, she does her own laundry and keeps her room and bathroom clean. If she wants clean cloths, or if things do not get done I get her phone and car keys.

Tina - posted on 07/13/2009

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Teens are not giving, unselfish people by nature, so expecting them to help out with anything without getting something of value in return is wishful thinking!! My daughter (now 18) washed her own clothes because she liked them to be hung up and wrinkle free! (Her choice) Her regular chore was to do dishes nightly and occasionally something extra and if she babysat, then I paid her a few bucks/hour. I would take away things of value to her....computer, cell phone, going out with friends, if she didn't do the things she was supposed to do. As far as the picking up her room, grab a thing or two that you KNOW she will miss, and hide it for a couple days and when she whines about it, comment on how disorganized her room is. If that doesn't get attention, let the bedroom thing go, because that is after all, her space and one of the few things she gets to control right now!!

Annette - posted on 07/13/2009

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Its tough with teenagers because all they want to do is.....be teenagers. Just set rules and chores and if they dont follow them, take away privelages. And never threat...if you say it, mean it!

Donna - posted on 07/13/2009

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first try the matter of fact approach that they live there too, you are their mother, not their maid. If there is a man in the house, and you do everything for him, and he has no responsibility for himself, thats why they feel you should do everything for them as well. Try the logical approach...your not the maid and everyone needs to do their share. Make a list of who is responsible for what. If it is not carried out, take away the things that matter the most..phone, internet, time with friends, car privileges, etc. It takes time and REAL determination on your part. The best advice I can give is:say what you mean, and MEAN what you say! If you say no to something or set a punishment, stick to it no matter what!

June - posted on 07/13/2009

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I pay my son allowance based on task that he performs, so when he doesn't make his bed, or any other chore, he misses out on a portion of his allowance every other Friday. It works, I just had to be consistent.

Brenda - posted on 07/11/2009

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When she runs out of clothes 'OH Well" she will soon learn... Don't do any chores for her

Paula - posted on 07/11/2009

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I limited the landry room access they had ot do it at certain times. I clsoed the bedroom door. And walked away. I had a neat kid and a slob. Both girls. The later one everntlay learned. In my home everyone had chores. Allowing them to do them at their own pace paid off well. If they were not done. Oh well. Then there was no free time to do fun things. It was a home and the chores were shared. Their own rooms were left up to them to clean. If they wanted to be a slob their so be it. I closed the doors to the bed rooms. I did not have to look at it. Setting goasl for the kids sucha s chores they see how things are run. If the shores are all done we have free time. time to hit a movie, Go out or realax and play a game. Time mangement comes young. Some learn it fast others take longer. She will catch on but maybe at not at your pace. But she will learn.

Towanda - posted on 07/10/2009

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My daughter will be 13 and I have the same problem but what I do is tell her that she has to stay in the house over the weekend or stop from doing what she enjoys doing

Jennifer - posted on 07/10/2009

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you have to be tough on this one. we had and sometimes still have a hard time with our girls, but the following is what has worked best. explain that they need to be responsible and help, and respectful of your hard work. ask for their input as to what they think they should be expected to do to help out. then buy alot of post-it notes. at the beginning of the week i post a list on their bathroom mirror of chores that must be completed before Saturday night at a certain time. then i don't bug them, but if the chores arent done on time they lose the privilege of going anywhere the next week, (except church). they also have daily chores that must be completed before they can leave the house, even if it means they are late to something. it's hard when they get mad, but if you let them no the consequences beforehand, and even let them help decide on them,(within reason) you can calmly respond, "I am sorry, this is what we decided). Lax up a little - their rooms are nowhere near what I'd like, but we decided daily their beds must be made and all laundry and trash off floor. Lots of praise and encouragement! And prayer!

Shonya - posted on 07/10/2009

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I went on a strike!!! I put up signs letting them know that due to being understaffed and under paid the chef would not be serving making it a self serve kitchen, drop off laundry was closed and it also was now self service, the bank would not be giving personal loans and the transportation service was closed til further notice.After 2 days , I came home to find the house spotlist and they did thier own Laundry, I never seen that look in my Boy's faces when the beg the chef to come back to work!!! now when I need chores done I always mention I am glad I have the help cause I would hate to go on strike again,just in case of resistance!!!!

Mona - posted on 07/08/2009

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My boys are 14 & 17... I have the same problem. They are each responsible for certain things which together cover unloading dishwasher, taking out kitchen & bath garbage, keeping their bathroom clean, keeping their rooms clean. Once my husband or boys start slacking on their responsibilities I start slacking too. It used to be a hard thing to do being a once-upon-a-time-neat-freak. I would get so upset when things weren't as they should be. It's gotten easier. At the moment I have a sink full of dishes... I can't load that dishwasher until it's unloaded. We're a family and everyone has to do their part. I don't have guilt (well much). If I do everything for everyone I become a very bitchy woman and believe me no one wants that. I've always told them they need to be able to cook and clean for themselves so they do go off and marry the first woman who will do it for them.
Strike, Strike, Strike, Strike

Sandra - posted on 07/08/2009

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Take away the power cord to their computer until you get the work done. Works good with my 15 year old.

[deleted account]

Hi Karen, I have a 18 year old daughter, and I have just give up completely. She is so lazy it is,nt normal. Im 43 and do 10 times as much with 10 times less rest. Just close the bedroom door, and refuse to go in. It's amazing how quick they learn to use the washing machine and the iron when they run out of clothes. I think by ignoring them, you are not stressing yourself out and if you don't open the bedroom door you don't know whats there. You can't take anything from an 18 year old because they are really an adult, so my advice is if they want to be an adult then they need to act like one. Good luck

Anita - posted on 07/07/2009

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yes i did use the tactics, till room cleaned no pocket money will be handed over or no perks. but its irritating these blacmailing. dammit i want it to be done without me forcing it...why do u hve to try 20 clothes n throw it n walk offff
to top it she says i have ocd of cleanliness...can u beat that.....................how do they survive in these chaos?

Anita - posted on 07/07/2009

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But what do u do, when guests are going to come n their room is like hurricane visited. i always go thru these periods when i just wont clean up ur room. do it. n she just doesnt care. then when we hve guests visiting, i just lose battle n tidy it up. to avoid embarassment.
i feel bad cos, dammit if i visit entire morning straightening, its as if i dnt hve hobby or i wont prefer reading a novel etc.she doesnt value it.

Susan - posted on 07/06/2009

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I always found that if allowances and car keys were tied to getting chores done, I got less resistance. You just have to mean what you say. No chores - No money or privileges.

Denise - posted on 07/06/2009

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Stop doing things for them... I stopped doing my sons laundry because they would not bring it down in time. I did mine and when they had no clean clothes left to wear they did their own laundry.
As far as seeing things that are dirty around the house... they are blind.. they don't see what needs to be done. I have made a list with everyday items, MWF items and weekly items... all chores need to be finished by noon on Friday or they don't get paid. Money talks at my house and I haven't had a problem since I made the list. On the list they have to initial what they have completed so I don't have to ask them. (And I don't "nag" as much either) and my house is clean too! (I've done the dishes only once is 2 weeks) I LOVE IT!!

Jeanette - posted on 07/01/2009

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my advice either shut the door or stop doing for her see how she likes it if she dosent want to help. she lives there to right.

Lori - posted on 07/01/2009

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depending on how old the teenager is.. if 13-17: rules at my house, school and family come first...homework, then chores.. if it isn't done there isn't computer, phone, tv..no friends...i pay the bills and test me, it can and will be shut off...teaches cooperation participation..the more they abide by the rules, the more they get to do..and if their laundry isn't done? its gonna stay undone and they have no "me" time maybe they learn a valuable lesson that we are parents not slaves...my 18 yr old lives on his own and will be attending college in the fall and he knows the house rules are the house rules.. you make a mess you clean it up when he's over for a visit...part of being a family is sharing the work load..kids included.. besides that by enforcing such lil things as chores, believe or not you are giving them life building skills they will need when they get out into "the real world"...good luck..

Debbie - posted on 06/30/2009

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I agree with Anne if the clothes didn't make it to the basket then it wasn't washed. They finally got the hint. Dishes I'd always ask before I turned on the dishwasher if anyone had any dirty dishes in their rooms. The need for gas money does make a difference - oops I don't have it because I was unable to go to the bank because I had to hurry home and cook/clean.....or if I was late picking them up from a school event I would remind them I was doing laundry if they would have helped the night before I might have been on time. College made a difference in both of my kids. They were more helpful around the house without even asking.

Connie - posted on 06/29/2009

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sounds cruel, but the extra trips here and there simply stopped until I had some help around the house. I am a single working mom and without their help I spent evenings preparing meals for the next day and my entire day off cleaning the house. My 13 year old son is responsible for the vacuuming, and my daughter prepares supper the nights she doesn't have band or dancing. A little bit of help goes a long way. It also now gives me time to do those little extra things with them in the evening or on Sundays.

Hazel - posted on 06/24/2009

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If the house gets to messy because you have to do all the work and can't keep up, they'll get it eventually and want to help. My kid's do their own laundry and often make their own food.

[deleted account]

If she is a college student living at home for the summer treat her as an adult: she picks up after herself, does her own laundry, and even offers to cook supper and do dishes occasionally. If she is in high school she still follows the house rules, and as Anne said if her clothes can make it to the basket that is her problem not yours. Ditto for helping around the house.

Tina - posted on 06/11/2009

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Just because they have left for school....they are coming back home....your home, where you pay the mortgage....the RULES STILL APPLY.....nothing has changed at home, just them coming and going.....that is how you get help around the house!!!!!!! You are not being mean by asking, you just like your home nice and clean :-)))

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