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Moving That Teen From Texting to Lawn Mowing

Nothing heats things up around the dinner table (or the counselor’s office for that matter) faster than the issue of teen family chores left undone. Parents will turn shades of scarlet as they splutter on endlessly about responsibility, survival in the real world and tales of milking camels in snowstorms when they were growing up. Teens will offer some Shakespearian blend of sulking, eye rolling and bored indifference punctuated by a perfectly timed yawn guaranteed to send a parent zooming right off the edge of rationality.

Score one for the kid.

First of all, household chores, which I actually prefer to call “family contributions”, are important. It is important that every citizen have a sense of contributing to the whole. That is as true for a citizen of a family as it is for the citizen of a nation. Passive freeloading is corrosive to both the whole and the individual and will eventually bring down both. Don’t believe it? Take a look at our economic and political situation.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when prodding a kid from the couch to the kitchen sink.

After you have done these steps a few times you’ll be amazed at how responsible your teens will have become.

Mark L. Taylor MA LPC SAC is a Wisconsin licensed counselor who works extensively with adolescents and their families. He also founded the RoundRiver Institute LLC, a learning center near Genoa, WI. Permission is granted for personal use of this material. If you pass it on to other individuals please include a link back to this page. If you wish to use it in a newsletter or publication please contact Mark at:

© Mark L. Taylor and RoundRiver Institute LLC