Should a 12 year old be helping with household jobs? My daughter cleans her own room, but she won't help with anything else in the home. Should I force her to help, or be happy she cleans her own bedroom?
Join Circle of Moms
Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.Join Circle of Moms
Tim - posted on 08/18/2012
Hi not sure I should be on here but im a dad, struggling with a 16 year step son who has lived with me since he was 2. Im having the same trouble but was wondering if it was me asking him to do to much but having read these posts I guess my requests are reasonable. I dont really ask much of him only to not lie in bed till midday and keep his room tidy. You'd have thought I was asking him to do 12 shifts. What has been useful ladies as its made me feel better and given me some inspiration to make the decisions i need to. Thanks
Trisha - posted on 08/18/2012
NO!!!! i do not think any twelve year old should be doing any chores let alone cleaning her room, i think the mother and father should be doing all of the work, like my daughters, i have 4 daughters, 16, 15, 13, and 11, i and my husband clean all of our little girls' rooms, we also reward our daughters, each get $50.00 a week, children already have wayyyy to much to do... don't you think :)? and i think the system works great !!!! all of our girls have very good grades like c's and b's.....and if our girls have good behavior they either get more money or more texting minutes, and when they each turn 16, they all get unlimited texting, i am soo happy for my girls, i also think you should reward your children like on the weekends go get your nails or hair done or go to the mall to go shopping, you should never make your children clean, that is pure abuse, i hope this helps, ta-ta for now sweety :)
Katie - posted on 08/13/2012
When I was 12 years old, my mom had me starting the laundry or finishing it. Learning how to cook (supervised, of course). Honestly, I'm glad she had me starting to do that stuff. Now that I live with my husband I didn't cry the first time i had to do laundry or touch raw meat to get dinner started. I was never given an allowance but if i wanted to go to the movies with friends my parents knew that i'd helped with laundry or dinner or whatever other household chore they'd given me so they gladly handed over the money. In fact, once I got older and didn't want to do those chores once my mom got home from work and saw they weren't done she says it was game I refuse to believe it still but it was called "Add-a-Job" We had to go back and do the original chore PLUS another one. And it did affect our going out money. I think it's a great idea to give children simple chores at a young age like the one i saw above, changing bathroom trash cans or bringing laundry up to be folded and adding more or larger chores as they get older. It doesn't hurt them only makes them stronger.
Christine - posted on 08/05/2012
I give my daughter chores..when I was a single Mom I had her empty of the bathroom trash and put a clean liner in it..bring the clothes from the dryer upstairs and put her clothes away..help me carry the food from the store and put away the food. Now that i'm engaged and we moved in w my fiance..I'm trying to think of chores for her to do. But my fiance does most of the chores..he's very domesticated and does all the chores..I may have done the wash once maybe twice since I moved in. But I do agree w giving her chores..for extra money..
Louise - posted on 06/15/2012
Hi, since posting last comment about my 12 year old helping with the housework, I am happy to report that I have taken all your suggestions on board, and she, as well as my 10 year old son, are now doing their fair share of chores. Thankyou all for your help. Louise xx
Kristin - posted on 06/15/2012
All children should have chores. I gave my children chores to do by the time they were 3 years old. I feel my job as a parent is to teach, guide and support my children.....not to be their servant. Also, in my belief they need to learn the neccessary life skills (cleaning, laundry, cooking, money management etc..) to be able to become responsible young adults and valued members of society. People may think I am harsh but I also dont believe in the allowance system, as I dont feel I need to pay my kids to help clean up their messes. My 6 year makes his bed every morning, helps put dishes in the diswasher, he will try to take the garbage out ( This one I have to help him with as he is not quite big enough), he will help me dust, he helps with his baby sister, and he has to clean up all his toys when he is done playing with them. My 16 year old will cook supper for us all (he loves to cook) does his own laundry, takes the garbage out, vaccums if asked and will do pretty much whatever is asked of him to do (he may not like it but he does it lol). My 16 year old son also has a part time job as well as school and he is an honor role student and he also saves his money and buys the things he wants. Now dont get me wrong I will help my kids with whatever they need but I dont feel that everything should be handed to the,m they need to earn it
Carolyn - posted on 06/15/2012
Absolutely......Household jobs should be the responsibility of all family members that live in the home........It teaches responsibility.....and teaches them what they need to appreciate.......The longer you wait the harder it will be to get them in the realm of it all. I'm not saying deep cleaning as we mom's do.........I always did room checks.......They became more frequent as they became older.........I instructed them of my expectations of a room check.......made sure everyone was clear.......Then whenver......I'd out of the blue say; Room Check......... If I walked into the room and all appeared tidy and nothing on floor I'd say; Looks Good......... However...if not.......then a deep cleaning would happen immediately.....them doing.....me instructing. They'd dust and sweep their own rooms........I'd make sure nothing was crammed anywhere......then at the end of the month I'd do my own deep cleaning...........There were times I'd hear a panick request of; Mom......give me five minutes please......... lololol That'd work.........
Linda - posted on 05/15/2011
Yes, absolutely. I wouldn't pay allowance for normal chores, it's a bad message. Allowance in our house is for extra work, everyone has to do their part regardless, that's how families grow together.
Maybe rotate the chores?
Jo - posted on 05/14/2011
OMG YES! Your the mommy not the maid, right? You have been doing all the chores for the past 12 years, it's her turn to start helping out kids need responsibility and the sooner the better. My 16 year old daughter has been doing her own laundry since she was 12, after I kept finding clean folded clothes in the dirty clothes hamper I let/made her see how much work/time doing laundry takes. She now is responsible for the dishes since I do all the cooking which is just as much as a chore as doing the dishes. If she doesn’t keep up her chores or if she gets an attitude I simply turn her texting off her cell phone.
My ex fiancé and myself had very different parenting styles, so different that we broke up. I believed kids need chores and responsibilities and should only get new stuff after they earned it except for Xmas and B-days.
He believed kids didn’t need chores because kids need to enjoy their childhood and have fun all the time and bought them whatever they wanted year round. My son is graduating from Navy flight school in 3 months, his son is a pot head that can’t keep a job even at his dad company and he is a dead beat dad to 2 babies he doesn't even know.
I see him once in a while and I just want to say to him “I told you so”
Justine - posted on 05/12/2011
yes i do believe they should help around the house .
i have an 18 year old who helps she has a good moan about it but like i stated i cook her dinner and wash her clothes whn i dont wear them so we all do jobs we dont wanna do , there are currently 5 of us in our house so we all do our fair share , our 9 year old has to tidy his bed make his bed and dry the poys after dinner , i also have a four year old who has little jobs like replacing the toilet rolls and help to put bits of shopping away that she can , i think it teaches them more respect for belongings and to look after things
Louise - posted on 05/04/2011
Thankyou all so much for your advice...I am really taking it all on board and my kids are starting to help. I think as the weeks go by, they will start being very helpful around the house, if this last week has been any indication! I can't believe that I was doing everything myself because now I am getting some help, I can see how much I did do. My daughter is even ironing now and even wants to learn cooking! All it took was talking to her and letting her read what all of you wrote, (money incentive too), and things are going well so far. Not to mention our family time has also improved! Will keep you posted...Thanks again.
Karli - posted on 05/03/2011
I have a friend who's kids are are older than mine but I vow that when my kids are this age I will use this technique. If one of her children wanted their allowance or presents,treats etc. She gave them chores, it was on a chart on the fridge for all to see everyday. It wasn't much, maybe wash and dry dishes or clearing the dinner table, loading the dishwasher, sorting laundry. They sat down together as a family and together made this chart with her kids choosing the chores they wanted so they couldn't say it wasn't their choice. She did not harp or remind them, the rule was it had to be done by bedtime. If it did not get done, she would deduct a pre-determined amount of money from their allowance. When they asked for their money she would give them whatever was left and a little piece of paper with an explanation of the deductions. She never used a single word. They figured it out pretty quick and now the chores get done without any issues at all. I have even witnessed them offering to take on some of her chores for extra money. Cleaning and doing chores is simply a part of life and it will be a rule in my house that we all live here, we all contribute to the mess and we can all help clean it up. No negotiations.
Vickie - posted on 05/03/2011
Absolutely! As young as age 2, my son used to empty the dishwasher on his own (under my supervision of course). This was something he decided to do on his own. Now at 14, the older he gtows, the more he helps us with chores he can handle. He understands that this is one way he earns his allowance & many times, we don't even have to ask him to do things, he volunteers on his own.
Dionne - posted on 04/29/2011
Here is a story of what happened to my in laws children when they moved out after graduating or dropping out.
When I started dating my spouse, his mother cleaned the house. I only saw the children wash dishes occasionally and the mom would redo them. The children basically had no supervision and did not have many chores, this was prior to teen years. Once they became teenagers, the parents tried getting them to do chores. They rebelled by saying they were abusing them, some moved out at 16, then the parents tried paying them allowance for the chores they did but it was a really big struggle the whole time. When all the kids finally had their own places, it took a long time for them to figure out the cleaning purpose but they did finally figure it out, except the one I married, go figure....
With my children, I gave them chores to do and have always tried to get them to help one way or another. I did allowance when I could afford it and that works the best it seems like. I was able to get the kids a savings account taught them how to put half their check/cash into savings and they could spend the rest. It paid off, my older daughter now on her own is doing a really good job of budgeting and saving when she can. She has overdrafted a few times do to math errors or forgetting to put a withdrawel/check into the register. But for the most part, she is very good with her money from that experience. My older son has a genetic disability and follows by example and unfortunately his father is buying what he wants when he wants without regard to cost and that is what my son is copying at this time. He does however know how to save his money for more expensive "I wants". I do encourage him to save and not spend every penny like his dad does but it falls on deaf ears mostly. Sad really his dad could set a better example for his son but he don't really care.
My opinion from what I saw from his family and what I did with my own kids, I would say get your daughter involved with the chores. It will help her when she moves out. It is a training like the going to school or practicing instruments or sports. The only difference is this will help her future when you are not there to do it for her. My daughter has a clean place, I like to think it is from my teaching her as she was growing up. Yes, there was complaining but she still did it. Find your daughters interests and use that to encourage her to help out. It is not always easy but it is for her benefit. Sorry if I repeated myself, it is what I do in my household due to the genetic disability.
Shavetta - posted on 04/29/2011
Of course a 12 year old should help out with household chores. I have a 9,12 and 6 year old that have chores. In my opinion It teaches them self dicipline, and it also teaches them how to respect property.
Cyndel - posted on 04/29/2011
She is part of the family...she helps. Don't give her the choice. A part of being a family is everyone helps take care of the family home, dishes, helping with dinner, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the floor, laundry, etc, it is all part of being a family. One person isn't the slave of the rest of the household, everyone pitches in to help keep the family parts of the house clean and in good shape.
My husband and I decided that our kids won't get an allowance nor will they get paid to do chores that keep our home a pleasant place for everyone. But we will have a list of jobs every week that need doing and what we are willing to pay for them to get done. If they aren't done by the end of the week I and/or my husband will do them and no one gets paid. I'm talking about cleaning and organizing a linen closet, or cleaning the outside windows, scrubbing outside toys, shampooing the carpets around the house or in the car, they will be age appropriate but starting around age five they will be able to do a few extra chores each week to earn some money if they wish. In this world money isn't free, nor do we get paid for doing a chore that simply lines up with keeping things pleasant for those in our day to day lives. So my children won't just be handed money, nor will they get paid for doing normal day to day chores that make life pleasant for them and their loved ones.
OhJessie - posted on 04/29/2011
I invested the extra time and effort to teach them how to help out when they were somewhere around 2. By 9 they were capable of doing their own laundry, dishes, making beds, vacuuming, dusting, doing simple cooking, and straightening up. Sure, it makes everything take ten times longer, but it was well worth it. And yes, I paid them a fairly fair wage for each completed chore, so there was little need to force the issue. At 2 folding laundry was a game; by the time it became work, they were well used to it. Couldn't help with starting at age 12, though - at 12 they could pretty much do anything.
Tamitha - posted on 04/29/2011
I wouldn't use the word "force" but yes, she should be helping out around the house. My 4 year old has to help - he's part of the family and what makes a mess. He cleans his room NIGHTLY and has to pick up any mess he made around the house. He also helps with after dinner clean up and has the dishwasher "silverware" to put away (minus knives). We're working on making the bed... But he LOVES to help clean and dust. It takes longer right now since I have to "supervise" to make sure it's done correctly, but with practice, he'll know what to do. He just likes helping/being wherever I am.
When I was 13, I was in charge of making supper (mom supplies the ideas) and watching my 3 younger siblings, along with household cleaning on weekends. My parents always stressed that if I wanted privileges of going out with friends, ect, then I was expected to help around the house when I was home. I don't know if I thought it was fair back then, but I do now.
Good luck with adding chores....
Louise - posted on 04/28/2011
Thanks everyone for your advice, it has really helped me to decide what to do. My husband and I have now implemented a roster for our kids to do daily. (I also have a 9 year old boy- and reading all your comments we think he could also be included) We will reward them $1 dollar per day, if they stick to there jobs- otherwise we will deduct it from their earnings. I'm sure when they realise they could earn $7 weekly, they will soon be asking for extra jobs! (laughs!) . I will keep you all informed how this goes and once again...Thankyou for all the ideas!
Anna - posted on 04/28/2011
I have 12, 11, and a 4 year old daughters, along with a 14 year old son. When each of them reached a certain age, they each got a chore (not yet on the 4 year old, although she has to keep her toys picked up and when she changes her clothes, the dirty ones have to go in the dirty clothes basket.). Anyway, my kids are to clean their room, do their laundry, and the chore that they are assigned for the week. I think that this helps to give them some sort of responsibility, plus they get that chance to earn their allowance. I believe that this helps kids because I see a lot of kids today that are very disrespectful and lazy, and expect things to be handed to them and done for them. This is only my opinion. I believe that it would help though in the long run.
Letitia - posted on 04/28/2011
Absolutely. She is part of the family, and the family takes care of the house.
Set up an allowance schedule for her if you haven't already. No chores? No allowance. If you have to badger her, or if she refuses, no allowance. Does she want you to drive her to the mall? Not if she doesn't do some chores. It's about respecting each other.
And yes, you will get push back as someone already said. Good luck, this stuff ain't for sissies! ;-)
Shawnn - posted on 04/28/2011
Well, of course your children (all of them) should be doing age appropriate chores! And, if this has been a system that has already been in place in your house, your 12 year old should understand that.
However, if this is the first time you've felt that she should do chores, and it's something new you're trying to start, expect trouble. Kids that don't have to do much around the house think that they are always entitled to not have to.
Do your other children have chores? Is this an expected contribution? If so, then she doesn't get a free ride. If this is something that you've just started (Because now she's growing up and needs to learn this), and you don't have "chores" for the other kids in the house, she's going to see it as extremely unfair.
My kids have household chores, as well as room responsibility, and their bathroom. They have had age appropriate chores from the time that they could start to help. Does that mean they automatically do them? Well...no, but they do most of the time, and the rest of the time a reminder works well. We also do not have an "allowance" in our house. If there is an activity that needs money, they work for it, or work it off.
If it's a "new" thing in your house, perhaps a rate schedule could be figured out...When I was that age, my mom didn't pay allowance, but we had chores that she'd "pay" for. So, say, starting a laundry load was worth 25 cents, switching the load was another 25, and folding the finished load got me a whole 75 cents. So, I'd end up with a buck and change in my pocket, and that load of laundry was done. Granted, these are 1970's era prices so...adjust accordingly. If you try this system, don't present it as a "bribe". She is earning her spending money this way, and if you have a list of chores around the house, and assign a value to each, she can choose how much money she makes. It worked great when we were kids. Granted, we still grumbled about "slave labor", but we knew that at the end of the week, we would be a couple dollars richer, and mom would be happier.
Best of luck! Teens are almost TOO much fun sometimes!
Kristi - posted on 04/27/2011
I would lose my mind if my kids weren't expected to contribute to household jobs at the age of 12. My 7 year old daughter has jobs and earns an allowance once per week for them. We figured out a deal where she had to finish all the jobs on her list in order to get credit for each day. She could have a bad day, but still earn a partial allowance for the days in which she did all her jobs. Things should be age appropriate, of course, and some things she needs a little help with. She "makes her bed" and picks clothes up off the floor, makes sure her birds have fresh food and water every day, practices her piano lesson 15 minutes a day, needs to be up and ready for school and church on time - dressed, teeth brushed, etc. She received $1 per day for doing these items on her list. I remind a little, but I won't nag. If I end up doing it myself, no dollar that day. She is earning about $4-5 per week. It made her proud to treat her dad and sister to frozen yogurt last week! I think a system where you don't expect perfection works nicely. I definitely think kids need responsibilities. If she simply refuses I would take away privileges, since she is not participating as a family member. No phone, no tv, no outings, etc. Take charge and good luck!
Heather - posted on 04/27/2011
Yes she should be helping... IMHO should have been helping for the last 10years at least.... The trick is to not turn it into a power struggle. (I know, I know, easier said than done LOL) Also, to be realistic with expectations of what she can actually do. Give her really really little jobs (1 at a time). Things like, empty the dishwasher. Or dry the dishes while you wash.... Avoid the "Chore" mentality and the "punishment feel". (again, easier said than done) and for heavens sake don't "Tell" her to do something then walk away. You are much better off to say "honey can you help me do 'this' " and then do it with her.
Forcing her wont work, for either of you.And letting her off without helping out around the house isn't doing her any favours either.
Theresa - posted on 04/27/2011
My kids have to clean their rooms and keep their toys and clothes picked up. They don't get any compensation for these things, that is just their job as being part of the household. Just like I'm expected to do laundry, make meals, etc. I don't get paid for these tasks they are simply my jobs as a member of the household. However if my children go above and beyond those things then they get compensated. They get paid to mow, shovel, do dishes, etc. We have a set price. If a chore comes up I will ask if they want to do it. If they do they get paid, if they don't they get nothing. We don't give our kids money otherwise so this is their only source of income. Usually they are willing to do things because they want money.
Jess - posted on 04/27/2011
I have 3 daughters, 13, 11 and 8 months. They have always helped around the house. As a child, I was "forced" to do more than my share of household duties, and boy did I despise it as a kid. As an adult I am THANKFUL that I learned responsibility, self reliance, respect for household things and cleanliness..... She should help. Reward her for her help. She will thank you in the long run.
Jenni - posted on 04/27/2011
Yes she should help. My daugter is 14 and son is 10 and they both have daily chores. I do have issue of my son doing his but he does get done but he has adhd. You just need to tell her do or she will lose something or privileges
Deanna - posted on 04/27/2011
All children should have chores. If they don't learn to do it at home where else will they learn those skills? Like most of life, cleaning is a habit that needs to be formed now. My children have daily chores. If they are not done by supper there is not plate set at the table for them. When the chore is complete they are welcome to join us. They learned to do thier chores before supper. I run a dayhome and cannot afford to have a messy house and I am too tired at the end of the day to do all the work for them. They need to learn to be responsible for themselves.
Constance - posted on 04/27/2011
Yes allmy childen have chores outside of their rooms. I have 4 children who have friends and my house is the kids go to to hang out. I cook for all of them but I am not the maid either. They have to do things as well. My oldest is 15 she washes dishes, helps with laundry, helps make lunches. My 10 year old also washes dishes, helps cook he lovess being in the kitchen. Even my 7 and 6 year olds help clean up the living room, dry and put away disshes. It teaches them responsblitiy
Kristi - posted on 04/27/2011
Yes your daughter should do chores other than clean her room. The younger you start them the easier it is to continue. Even at age 5 given them a rag to dust, no matter how good of a job they do, commend them. We tried a reward system with our daughter and it failed. All we asked is that she do the dishes in return for a cell phone. Well it lasted one year. I do agree with an allowance IF they do their chores on a weekly basis.
Beth - posted on 04/26/2011
First of all, let me say congratulations on getting a 12 year old girl to clean ANYTHING!!! I remember when my daughter was 12 and it was like pulling teeth to get her to clean her room! We finally had to set a schedule with her, Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings were times designated for her to clean up her room, and when she had it in her head that it was a firm rule, she got used to it and to this day keeps to that schedule even at college! I didn't give her an allowance or reward for cleaning her room, because I told her it was her responsibility since she lived there, and if it wasn't done to my satisfaction, as the 'landlord' I would take it upon myself to do my own cleaning and whatever was out of place might just end up in the garbage. After a couple of times of coming in after school on Thursday to find her room cleaned, but missing favorite clothing, shoes and games, cds, dvds, remotes, etc, she got with the program! LOL
As for helping around the house, she called that 'slave labor' and would whine and complain and do a horrible job at whatever task I assigned her until I figured out that the only way to motivate her was with money. 12 year old girls like to shop, and they don't have many ways to earn money or get money except from parents or grandparents, so I first had to cut off the money flow from the grandparents (they were really bad about handing her cash and gifts since she was the only grandchild), and her dad would slip her money whenever she asked and not let me know. So I had to get control over that first and get everyone on the same page for the good of my daughter. Then once I explained to EVERYONE that they could give her money ONLY if she EARNED it, she began helping do housework not only at home, but at my house, at her Dad's house, babysitting across the street during the day for two little boys, helping my father mow and work in the garden, and she even began giving my mother and father pedicures! The kid became a little entrepreneur, much like I was at her age! I loved it! She even organized the kids on our block into a yard service, with the girls working in flower beds, and the boys mowing and weed-eating, with her doing the marketing and schedules, and taking care of the money collection, paying everyone and taking her percentage for running the business. I helped her with this by keeping track of everything on our home computer, and that summer she had fifteen kids working together, and she made a nice little bundle, as did each of the kids! She proudly bought Christmas presents for everyone in the family and her friends with the money she made, and the skills she learned have translated into her majoring in Public Relations and Marketing at NC State!
Find what motivates your daughter, whether it is making money, getting privileges, or whatever, but know that the skills she learns starting now can translate into what she may become later on! You sound like you are doing a really great job already, KUDOS!!!!!
Louise - posted on 04/26/2011
Yes I was thinking I could get her to help and turn it into some sort of reward system, I will definately try it as she loves to have money...this way she can earn it, therefore respecting the value of it. thanks for the advise!
Trish - posted on 04/26/2011
Oh yes! Our daughter is 15 and has chores. She washes dishes, folds clothes, cleans her room and feeds the animals. It took a while to get her into the habit, and she's still not great about her room, but i've learned to pick my battles. And if you don't lay down the household laws, rules, and expectations and abide by them, it can backfire later. Some of today's kids have too much freedom to make up their own minds. That's why God made us parents. I know it's hard because you love them so much, but it's necessary. She's had these chores since she was 12 and now I hardly have to remind her. It's helped to teach her responsibility and accountability. If her chores aren't done, she gets her cell phone taken. We also use chores as a reward system - like pay her so much per day per chore. It has really helped.. and we get to chat sometimes while she's doing them - and once in a while, I help her so it's like ME helping HER out... Get's me on her good side. :)
Tasha - posted on 04/26/2011
I only have a 2 yr old son and another on the way but when i was 12 i was kind of stubborn myself. I do believe that it would help her as she gets older if she would start helping around the house now. When I moved out I was still pretty lazy and realized I got embarressed when company came over and thats when I really started cleaning but it was hard to get into cleaning, I felt like I really didnt know what i was doing LOL and I believe if i was made to help out more i wouldnt have had such a hard time...hope this helped