Ep 14: Chores and Responsibility
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Dr. G, author of Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate!, explains her philosophy on how to instill responsibility and a strong work ethic in teenagers. In Dr. G’s opinion, cleaning your room isn’t a chore. Chores are things teens do for the greater good of the family and household.
Full Show Notes
Want your teenager to start doing more chores? Good idea.
Studies show that requiring teens to pitch in around the house and community for the benefit of the greater good has all kinds of positive benefits.
But, of course, it isn’t so easy to actually convince your teen to take on more responsibility. What’s the answer?
Dr. G, author of Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate, is a national expert on raising responsible, respectful kids.
In this podcast episode she talks at length about how to instill responsibility and a strong work ethic in teenagers. She reveals how, exactly, you should ask teens to do their chores, what you should do about allowance, tips on getting teens into volunteer work, and much more.
Re-Thinking the Definition of Chores
An important question is: what chores should your teen even be doing? Cleaning their room? Doing their own laundry?
Actually, no. These aren’t even true chores. Yes, your teen should, of course, be doing all of these things.
But chores, Dr. G explains, must be things that teens do for the greater good, not just for themselves. This means cooking dinner for the family, washing everyone’s laundry, cleaning out the stable, doing the family grocery shopping, etc.
And how much of this stuff should you expect your teen to do? Probably more than you think. Dr. G has found that teens need to be doing chores every single day…
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1. Get your teenager thinking about how they can use their passions to help others
“Listen, I know I haven’t always been the biggest fan of your skateboarding. But you seem to love it and you also seem to be working really hard on it. Would you be willing to teach a class on it one Saturday morning at the community center for kids who are much younger than you?”
2. Explain the need for chores in terms of the life lessons it teaches:
3. Make teens feel needed and responsible when they don’t finish their chores:
4. Assign your kids more chores by framing it as part of a move toward independence:
5. Get your teenager to take on more responsibility by saying they are more mature than you realized:
6. When your teenager wants to make an important decision on their own, use it as an opportunity to get them to take on more responsibility:
7. When your teenager is complaining about something messed up in the world:
Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview
1. Stop Taking Responsibility for Your Teen’s Happiness:
One very damaging belief that many parents hold, Dr. G told me during our interview, is that their teenager’s happiness is their responsibility. I see the same thing with parents who consult with me about their teens. Parents resist doing anything they know will upset their teen. They tell me they feel like they are walking on eggshells around their teenager. Like they feel completely powerless. Do you ever feel this way? Maybe part of the reason is that you are taking on responsibility for your teen’s happiness. If you give your teen feedback in a constructive way and they can’t handle it, that’s not your fault. They are responsible for learning how to manage their own emotions. You can certainly offer to help, but you can’t do it for them. On a piece of paper or a note in your phone, write yourself a brief manifesto stating that you will no longer hold yourself responsible for your teen’s emotions and you will no longer hold back around your teen because you are afraid of hurting their feelings.
2. Start Requiring More from Your Teen:
About Dr. Deborah Gilboa
Respected parenting and youth development expert, Deborah Gilboa, MD, is the founder of AskDoctorG.com. Popularly known as Dr. G, her passion for raising kids with character makes her a favorite family physician, media personality, author, speaker, and social influencer. A mom of four boys, she inspires audiences with relatable stories and easy tools to develop crucial life skills in children ages 2-22.
Her work with the deaf community has received national recognition and was the focus of her service as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow and she has received multiple awards for clinical excellence in teaching, including the Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award as a Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.
Dr. G is the author of multiple books including Get the Behavior You Want Without Being the Parent You Hate! (Demos Publishing) and parenting activity books focusing on building her 3R’s of Parenting: Respect, Responsibility and Resilience.