Overload: Chores

Chores and teensChores and teens: Is there any subject that causes as much conflict between teens and their parents?

“But, I Don’t Have Time for Chores”

Thirteen-year-old Kaylee stuck her phone in her hip pocket as she came into the family room. “Mom, I’m swamped with homework tonight. Is it okay if I put off my chores?”

Jennifer looked up from her work. “Hi, sugar. Other than too much homework, did you have a good day?”

“Mostly. Mrs. Jackson was in a bad mood. Okay if I do my chores later?”

“It’s up to you except for unloading the dishwasher. That needs to be done this afternoon. Also remember—we have family plans Saturday so chores need to be done before the weekend. What about tomorrow?”

“Friday night? Callie’s having a sleep over. Remember, I already asked if I could go.”

“It sounds like your schedule is stacking up. I bet you’ll figure out how to make it work. Just remember—chores done before Saturday.”


Chores are the topics of many arguments between kids and their parents. Most parents find it easier to do the work themselves than to teach their children and to follow through to see that the work is done.

2 Reasons Chores Are Important

So why do we even bother? There are two primary reasons:

  • Kids need to learn the care and management of a home since they will someday be on their own.
  • In the words of my dad, “for the privilege of putting your feet under the table.” Every family member needs to contribute to the work.

Should chores be dismissed because of the kids’ work, school, or study schedule? I don’t think that is a realistic picture of how life works. I had a full-time job and night classes at the university, but I still had to take care of our home. Requiring the work is one way we teach our kids time management.

Prep for the Real World

Chores have intrinsic value that has a major impact on who your child will be as an adult. Also, remember that everything we teach our children is preparation for their entry into the adult world. In that world, there is seldom someone who will say, “You go ahead and have fun, and I’ll do your work for you.”

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