Over the next three days, I will present information and ideas about teenagers and chores. If you began early teaching your teen to work and be an integral part of the family operations, you will probably not need a lot of the information in these three days’ posts.
However, if you find yourself still begging your sixteen year old to unload the dishes or you actually find yourself fearful of asking your teen to help with household work (“walking on egg shells”), please consider the next three days’ posts carefully. We owe it to our teens (and anyone who will be involved in their lives (spouse, offspring, employees, neighbors, and more)) to help prepare them for life.
“I’m walkin’ on sunshine… I mean, EGGSHELLS…”
If you have indulged your children to such an extent that you feel as though you are walking on eggshells every time you ask anything of your teens, you do not need to be told that something is very wrong. It is a paradox of parenting. We want to raise our children to be Christian, responsible people, yet we feel this irrepressible urge (oftentimes) to make them happy and comfortable. When we follow the latter inklings more than the former, we find ourselves surrounded by self-absorbed young adults (teens) that are neither Christian-like nor responsible.
Ray and I have made many mistakes in parenting. When we have found one of our kids in bad shape in some area of life due to our erroneous parenting skill, we have had to admit it and ask for the child’s forgiveness. If you are walking on eggshells with your teens much, much more than you are walking on sunshine, you might need to do the same. Depending on the age of your teen, you have a limited number of years left to turn around irresponsibility and laziness that you have caused in an effort to make him happy and comfortable. My approach would be to go to the teen (with your spouse, if possible), and say, “We have made a drastic mistake in our parenting that we want to talk to you about. We realize that in an effort to be “good parents” and ensure your happiness, we have not equipped you for the future. We have had low expectations of you in terms of diligence, responsibility, and time management and have crippled your ability to work hard, study well, etc. Please forgive us. We want to discuss ways that we can teach you to work hard, learn household skills, be responsible, and work towards a more successful future for you.” Then I would start by letting the teen throw out some ideas of how he can start working around the house, learning more life skills, and being more responsible. My goal would be to end this interchange with definite steps that we would take immediately to remedy this.
Drastic sounding? Overly dramatic? Maybe, but maybe not. We all know young adults who do not know how to set up study schedules for college and end up having to drop out. We all know young adults who cannot hold down jobs because they are lazy and irresponsible. These bad character traits are formed at home—when we parents emphasize happiness over holiness and comfort over character.