I DON’T KNOW Ask Karen!


My teenager is driving me crazy! He seems to forget how to do his chores, even the simple ones like taking out the garbage. How many times do I have to tell him to take it out? I am frustrated and want to quit yelling at him to do his chores.


I hear your irritation! It can be extremely frustrating for parents to continue to remind their kids to do their chores.

During the teenage years, teenagers are metamorphasizing  (as I call it).  They have so much going on in their bodies and heads at this stage of development. With the computer, cellphone and television, they are inundated with information overload.  Add to it friends, sports, family obligations and other commitments, it is no wonder why they are so forgetful.

Ask yourself how many chores he is doing in relation to his other activities. Remember, the goal is to teach responsibility, and overwhelming him misses the goal.

However, there a couple of tricks to get help him to remember. First of all yelling and getting more frustrated with him just overloads him and he tunes you out. So, remember to remain calm.

Ask for a meeting with him when you are both in a place to listen. Let him know that it is frustrating for you to have to remind to do his chores and you would like to solve this problem where he is helping and you are not yelling. When you engage kids in the negotiation process, they are more likely to remember and stick to their chores.

Ask him if he has any suggestions on how he can remember. Most kids are very creative and think outside the box. Some of his ideas might include hanging up a poster listing the chores, changing the time and days that chores are done, changing chores, having less chores or even being paid for some chores.

The idea is that he feels successful at accomplishing chores and you don’t have to yell for him to accomplish the goal. Be open to negotiating, as this is a life skill that teenagers need to attain for their adult life. Enjoy the process of doing this exercise and take pride in knowing you are teaching one more life skill.

If you have a question for Karen, email her at kjloftis@cox.net. Karen Loftis is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Ramona. Her website is karenloftismft.com.

Answers are based on limited information and should not be taken out of context, as individual situations and circumstances may vary. Consult a licensed professional for specific assessment and intervention.

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Posted by Staff on Nov 13 2011. Filed under Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “I DON’T KNOW Ask Karen!”

  1. marshall

    Use upsees.com! That's what we do. We'd be at each others' throats all the time without it. In fact I don't know what we did without it. It makes sure everyone pulls their weight.

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