This is a guest post I did a while back over at In Be-Tween Moms.
Kids and chores is always a tough combination and I think the teen years are the hardest of all when it comes to chores. We are so good at the nagging and criticizing part, but we aren’t always as good in the appreciation department. Ironically, showing appreciation is so much more likely than nagging to get us the result we desire.
One of my managers had a great plaque displayed in his office that stated this principle very clearly:
Actions that are recognized and rewarded will be repeated
I love this saying because it’s very all-purpose. Notice that it doesn’t just say Positiveactions that are recognized…. It means ANY type of action, positive or negative. If you reward your teen for whining by giving him what he wants, that negative action will be repeated. If you reward your daughter by ignoring her breaking of a rule, that action will be repeated also. Similarly, if you allow a child (or a husband!) to slide by on an assigned chore without consequences, that action will be repeated as well.
But if you come home and thank your son sincerely for unloading the dishwasher, compliment him on how nice the front lawn looks, and tell your son how proud you are that he has kept his room clean for the last few days, how likely is it that these actions will be repeated?You might even take it a step further. I’ve been known to reward chores done well with surprise rewards of candy bars, liters of their favorite sodas, or other unexpected treats. My adult son Matt moved back in a few months ago to help us after my husband had some surgery. He still had his room in a complete shambles – unpacked boxes and stacks of books and papers lying around, a huge mess. After a few polite reminders over a couple of weeks, I got tough with him and ordered him to get it done. He took a whole day but he did a magnificent job of it. I rewarded him with a $10 Target card I had on hand. He even thanked me for giving him a push in the right direction.