6 Ways to Get Teenagers to do Chores Without Nagging

Resist the temptation to nag your teen to do his chores.
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Chores can be a major source of contention in many families, especially when teenagers are involved. It’s common for teenagers to say, “I’ll do it later,” when told to take out the trash or clean their rooms. When hours passed and chores still aren’t completed, many parents find themselves nagging their teens to get the work done.

But nagging will only make your child's behavior worse. He'll be less responsible and less motivated if you're always giving him reminders about what he should be doing.

Teach him to be responsible and independent so he can get his work done on his own.

1. Assign Specific Chores Ahead of Time

Asking your teen to do a spontaneous chore can lead to an argument. If you see your teen watching TV on Saturday morning and you suddenly ask, "Can you please clean the garage now?" you're likely to get met with resistance.

When possible, make your expectation clear ahead of time. Assign regular chores that you expect to be completed routinely – such as emptying the dishwasher and cleaning the bathroom. Make spontaneous requests to complete extra chores as infrequent as possible.

2. Offer Some Flexibility

The teenage years are the perfect time to learn valuable life skills, such as self-discipline. Offering a little flexibility and freedom around chores gives your teen an opportunity to practice these skills.

Tell your teen he can go to the park once his room is clean. Then, leave it up to him to decide when to get to work.

He'll learn to manage his time better when he's able to make some of those choices on his own.

3. Pay for Chores on a Commission System

Nagging will prevent your child from experiences natural consequences (which can be some of the best teaching tools). If he doesn't earn money for doing his fair share, let him experience the consequence.

Don’t hand over an allowance each week regardless of whether or not your teenager completes his chores. Instead, make it a commission-based system. Only pay him for the chores he completes. Then, leave it up to him to decide how many chores he wants to do.

Don’t pay him any money if he didn’t earn it. Then, when he doesn’t have enough money to go the movies with his friends, or he can’t afford to buy something he wants at the store, he’ll be reminded that he didn’t earn the money because he didn’t do his chores.

4. Establish Clear Consequences

Make it known what will happen if your teenager doesn’t do his chores. Whether you simply don’t allow him to earn any money, or you take away his privileges, make sure your teen knows it's up to him to decide his fate. If he chooses not to do his chores, follow through with the consequences, without giving him reminders.

5. Avoid Buying Everything for Your Teen

If you purchase everything your teen wants, he won’t be motivated to earn money by doing his chores. Agree to cover the basic necessities, but don’t hand over spending money because he’s going to a concert with friends and don’t agree to buy that video game for him. Instead, use it as an opportunity for him to learn how to earn, save, and spend his own money wisely.

6. Offer One Reminder Only

The goal is for your teen to eventually be able to complete all of his chores without requiring any reminders. After all, you won't be there to nag him to clean his room when he's 30 (hopefully not anyway). But, if your teen needs one reminder in the beginning, go ahead and give it to him – but stop at just one reminder.

You can offer an “If…then” statement to remind him of the consequences. Gently say, “If you don’t get the bathroom cleaned before bedtime, then you won’t earn your money for today.” Then, leave it up to him if he is going to do it or not.

If he chooses not to do his chores, follow through with that consequence.

Avoid lecturing or shaming him, but instead make it clear he can choose to do his chores in the future.

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