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Chores for Teenagers: We Asked, What Chores Should A Teenager Do?

We’re always talking about chores. How much is too much? Should our kids get paid for doing them? We thought, why not ask some parents and kids what happens in their homes. Here’s what they say about the chores teenagers are responsible for. Not surprisingly, parents and teens have very different opinions about and approaches to completing chores.

Parent Responses:

  1. My kids are responsible for doing their own laundry and putting it away. They also have to clear off the dinner table and help rake the leaves. I gave them the task of cleaning out the dishwasher, but there was always an argument over that so it wasn’t completed.
    Liz, Fairfield, CT
  2. Cleaning the cat box is a punishment—the dishwasher, a fight. My 17-year-old does errands when needed, vacuuming, dishwasher loading and unloading, cat box cleaning. My 15-year-old does the dishwasher loading and unloading, cat box cleaning, vacuuming. No one gets allowance for any of it, they have so much already.
    MB, East Norwalk, CT
  3. I stopped doing laundry when clothes were put in the hamper half inside-out, socks rolled up, etc. Whoever cooks dinner doesn’t have to do dishes. I also don’t change beds. Every-thing gets done, not always when I want it done, but it is done! The only thing that I used to have my kids do that didn’t get done was scooping cat litter. The litter box is in my bathroom—out of sight, out of mind I guess. I gave up.
    Melissa, Chagrin Falls, OH
  4. Empty dishwasher, walk the dog, make dinner when I work late. But making dinner isn’t a chore because my daughter enjoys it and is more creative than we would be.
    Mindy, Jericho, NY
  5. My daughter always mopped the kitchen floor when she was in high school. Now that she is in college the floor looks really bad. My son empties the dishwasher, mows our lawn, does any yard jobs, takes out the recycling, shovels numerous times during a storm. Basically he runs our household. Ben holds down the couch. He does the trash.
    Suzanne, Scituate, MA
  6. Regular chores don’t really work well in our home, so instead I just assign them tasks as needed—they are expected to clean up after themselves, including their own rooms.
    Michelle, Raleigh NC

Teen Responses:

  1. I am usually told to set the table and to clean my room. The way I get out of the first one is by claiming I have too much homework and need 10 more minutes to finish it. By then someone else has already set the table. I get out of the second one by just making my bed, or just putting away my laundry, then pretending to think that my parents only wanted one part of my room clean.
    Joanna, Pepper Pike, OH
  2. I’m asked to either load the dishwasher or fold clothes (second is less often). In my opinion, unloading the dishwasher is easier, so, if he’s home, I get my brother to load and I unload.
    Tara, Jericho, NY
  3. My parents ask me to make my bed and maintain my room, bathroom, and car. Unfortunately, I do not normally ask to get out of chores. However when I forget to do them (which sadly is quite often), I normally just apologize and promise to do them as soon as I can.
    Ben, Orange, OH
  4. My sister and I rotate doing the dishes every night after dinner. I usually do them, but if I don’t, I might say that I have a lot of homework or a test to study for.
    Maddie , Shaker Heights, OH
  5. My mom asks me to clean my room and the bathroom. Usually I get out of them by staying busy with other things like school work and activities.
    Hayley, Chardon, OH