Should chores change as teens get older?

Yes, chores should change as teens get older, with the more ability they have translating into the more responsibility they can assume. In addition, the very chores that they did when they were younger gave them skills and self-confidence to tackle more complex jobs. For example, a 13-year-old who was able to make a salad and scrambled eggs for lunch may be able, as a 17-year-old, to cook a meal of vegetable soup and baked potatoes and chicken for dinner. Your teen's increased height and bulk can open up a whole new world of chores, since while you may have felt hesitant about asking your undersized 14-year-old to help you carry in the heavier groceries, by the time your teenager is 17, you might have him or her do all the shopping, bring the groceries home in the car, and save your back the stress.

The older your teenagers become, the closer they're getting to the time when they'll be on their own and responsible for their own laundry, cooking, cleaning, banking, shopping, etc., so you want to prepare them gradually for their independence. Consider what skills they still need and try to assign chores in those areas, first demonstrating exactly how the job is to be done and giving positive feedback. Be flexible when your teen is loaded down with homework or is in the middle of putting together a performance or other project, and be open to ideas from your teens on what type of chores they have an affinity for.

An older teen can change light bulbs, unclog sinks, fill up the car's gas tank, do some household repairs, paint, mow the lawn, iron, or take younger siblings out of the house so you can work, depending on how much you've trained him or her. The older your teens are, the smarter they'll hopefully be and the more ideas they may come up with to make your home function more efficiently, too.