How Should You Punish a Teenager for Not Doing His Chores?

As a child grows into a teenager, chore time can become more challenging. Gone are the days of the youngster at your elbow pleading to help you sweep the floor or wash the dishes. As you search for an effective way to motivate a teen to help around the house, approach the situation carefully. Traditional punishments might backfire as you try to get a teenager to do his chores.

Avoid Traditional Punishment

The Psychology Today website cautions parents against traditional punishment in connection with a teenager not completing chores 1. If you punish a teen for not doing chores, you show the child that he actually has a choice about whether to do the job. If he doesn’t do it, there you are, ready to hand down the punishment for noncompliance. Instead, your message to your teen should be that doing household chores is a non-negotiable responsibility.

Two-way Street

Most teenagers have a running list of what they need from parents. Your child’s list might include transportation and money. It’s reasonable to make these needs of your child conditional on your teenager completing household chores. You might call this concept a two-way street as you explain it to your child. The family helps your child and your child helps the family 2.

Supervise Chores

The chore scene in your family will entail a certain amount of supervision. Left alone and unsupervised, your teenager might forget to do the chores or do substandard work. Instead, keep tabs on the chores that need to be done and ensure that your teen completes them in a timely manner and in a way that meets your standards. Yes, this might involve nagging and hassling your teen sometimes -- keep at it though. You need to be more stubborn and tenacious than he is.

Cause and Effect

Despite your nagging, if your child refuses to comply with chores, you’ll need to institute a cause-and-effect lesson. If your child refuses to take out the trash after repeated reminders and nagging from you, it’s time to teach him a natural lesson. The next time he asks you for a ride or wants you to wash his laundry, your message is this: “I’ll be happy to help you with the things you need, just as soon as you help the family with the chores we’ve assigned to you.”