How do I get my teen to do chores?

So you don't want to lecture your teenager, but you don't want to be passive either. How do you
motivate your teenager? Well, we're going to talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My name
is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping
kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the Private Practice
Teen Therapy Center, and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both
here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer
your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's. You gotta help me, Kent. I'm really stuck
with my son. He's 14, and he's really hard to motivate. I can't get him to do anything around the
house. I feel he's at the age now where he can start doing stuff like folding his laundry, helping
with the dishes, washing the car, that kind of stuff, but it's really hard to get him on board.
My approach has been to ask him nicely or explain to

him that it's important and fair for me to ask him for help. I've lectured him a little bit about
learning to do these things, kinds of things, and work ethic, et cetera. I don't really wanna
punish him, but I don't wanna be passive. How do I get results? Thank you for your question. I
think it's a very poignant question for a lot of parents of teenagers. There's a couple things
that motivate people in general. One is connection and trust. The other is incentives. So let's
talk about connections and trust first. Generally, when you have connections and trust with
people, they're more cooperative, more collaborative with you, but also I wanna acknowledge
that 14 -year -olds are naturally pushing away from parents and they're pushing away from some
of that connection. So I understand that that can be not as close as when he was eight years old.
I'd also say that getting him to start doing stuff around the house probably starts earlier
than 14. It should start six, seven, eight years old,

small little things, but we are where we are. He's 14 years old, you're trying to get him to do
stuff around the house, he won't do it. If the connection, the trust thing is not enough, you
may need to start using some incentives. Now, some of you may be saying, wait a minute, I'm not
gonna incentivize my kid to do something they're supposed to do already. That's great. And
if that works, wonderful. But if it's not working, you need to find alternatives. And so I wanna
introduce you to the concept of allowance. Again, it's like, wait a minute, I'm gonna pay my
son to do chores? Perhaps, because it's better than punishing. Having incentive -based, meaning
something that's more positive, reduces some of the arguing. I have a link down below in the
comments of an article series I wrote about allowance, just about this. It goes into more detail
than we're gonna talk about here, but I'm gonna give you an overview. So first of all, incentives.
Two incentives for teenagers most of the time, money

or screen time. Pick one, doesn't matter which one it is. I think all teenagers should be on some
kind of allowance. They should have some financial responsibility. I think it's important
to learn financial responsibility while you still have a roof over your head, food in the fridge,
all that stuff taken care of, so they can make mistakes with money. I think it's really important
to make mistakes with money when you're 14, 16, and not at 26, or just make less mistakes when
you're 26. I think that's important. So here's a basic idea of what you wanna do. So you wanna
have financial responsibility. So you have to figure out what is your kid responsible for that
you're no longer gonna pay for, whether it's buying video games, was it clothes, is it going
out with friends, whatever that budget is, you gotta figure out what is he responsible for,
and kind of work backwards. Let's say for the ease of math, it's 20 bucks a week. Now, your house
may vary. This is not what I'm recommending. I'm

just doing a very simple math exercise here. So 20 bucks a week, let's say it's a five -day workweek.
Again, simple math. 20 divided by five is four. So let's say there's four things a day that you
don't wanna argue about him. You don't wanna nag him. You just want him to do it. Let's say it's
emptying the recycling, clearing the dishes, and helping with the dishes after dinner, making
his bed, and brushing his teeth. All right, so $4 a day. Each thing is worth a dollar. Simple math.
And everything is time -sensitive. So the recycling has to be done by 6 p .m. If it's 6 to 1, he hasn't
done it, all right, he doesn't get that dollar. No worries. Now you think, a dollar? He's not
gonna do it just for a dollar. But wait, there's more. There's a bonus. If everything is time
-sensitive, he's done everything on time that day, and again, you can't remind him. He has to
do this on his own. He's done it on his own. He's done everything on time. He gets a dollar bonus.
You're thinking, a dollar bonus?

What's the big deal with that? Well, a dollar bonus every day is $5. So now, not only could he earn
$20, he can earn $25. And maybe that's a little extra incentive. Don't worry. He's rarely gonna
earn $25. In fact, in the beginning, he's gonna do horribly. The first three to six weeks, he's
gonna tank. Instead of 25, he's gonna earn $3, or $4, or $0. And on payday, whatever day that is,
when you give him the cash, or you transfer that money to his checking account, wherever that
is, and that should be time -sensitive too. If you say 12 o 'clock on Sundays, you've gotta be
on the spot 12 o 'clock on Sundays. So let's say he's earned $5 instead of 25. You hand the 25, and
you bite your tongue, you lower your raised eyebrow, and you don't mention it, you don't judge
it. You say, here's your $5. All right, let's go have lunch. And you don't mention it, you don't
judge him, because if you do, you're getting in the way of the lesson. You want him walking away,
looking at that $5 bill, going,

I wanted $25. I needed $25. It's the same reason why you need, he has to need money, right? If he's
got $5 ,000 in his checking account that he can access anytime he wants from his bar mitzvah,
it's not gonna work, right? He has to need money. Just like for all of us, if any of us had $100 million
in the bank, and you showed up late for work, and your boss got mad, you wouldn't be that worried,
because you know what? Okay, I'll just go do something else. I'll fly to Paris for lunch. It's
not a big deal if I've got $100 million in the bank, because I'm never gonna run out of that money.
$5 ,000 in the bank for a 14 -year -old is $100 million. He will never run out of that money in his
mind, right? So he needs to need the money. And you also wanna budget out where he has enough money
to make some choices, he just can't do everything, right? He has to make some, just like the rest
of us, we have to make some smart choices with our money. And after about six weeks, if you've
picked the right

incentive, you'll see it kicking in gear. And if he's getting 70 % of his stuff done, you're doing
great. Now, some of you may say, I don't wanna introduce money in this, so do screen time. Now,
I'm gonna do a simple math problem. Again, this is not how much screen time your kid should have,
it's just simple math. Let's say you say two hours a day of screen time, and there's four things,
each thing is worth a half hour. If he does all four, he gets a half hour bonus. He misses one, he
misses out on the bonus, right? And then each day is its own day, right? You don't tally up for
the whole week, because then it'll just be nuts. Just do day by day by day by day by day with the
screens. But again, it's a big topic, you gotta figure out how does that work in schedule, bedtime,
this and that, there's a lot of negotiating and solving of problems with this. So don't jump
into this lightly, make sure you guys are having a conversation, make sure your son is involved
in the conversation and the

planning, because if he is, he's more likely to be on board. Again, there's an article down below
that goes into much more detail about this, I'm just kind of skimming the surface on this. It's
a great question, a lot of parents go through this, you're not alone, trust me. When your kids
really get responsible with their own chores is when they're in their own apartment. That's
when they will see that the trash needs to be taken out. If you're waiting for them to just notice
the trash needs to be taken out, they never will, because an extra wrapper can always go on top.
Anyways, that's our question for today. Thank you so much for tuning in. Again, my name is Kent
Toussaint. If you like your question answered here on Tips on Teens, email us at tipsonteens
at teentherapycenter .com or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your
questions. Thanks again, I will see you guys next week, Wednesday at 12 on Facebook Live. See
you later, bye -bye.

How the heck do you motivate a teenager?

So, your kid won’t help out around the house. How the heck do you get that teen to do chores? Well, you probably should have started with the chores way back when they were six or seven, but “we are where we are” right? No judgement from us!

There are two main components to motivating kids that we talk about in this video: 1. Connection and Trust and 2. Incentives. We’ve talked all over this site about connection. It may be harder to leverage your connection with your teen at a time when they’re instinct is to push away from you.  Which brings us to…


Find out how to use the incentive of money or screen time to get what you want. If you’re saying “wait a minute, I’m going to pay my teen to do chores that they should be doing anyway?” You might think it’s not for you, but just watch the video first! Here’s this week’s question:

“You gotta help me Kent. I’m really stuck with my son. He’s 14, and he’s really hard to motivate. I can’t get him to do anything around the house. I feel he’s at the age now where he can start doing stuff like folding his laundry, helping with the dishes, washing the car, that kind of stuff. But it’s really hard to get him on board. My approach has been to ask him nicely, or explain to him that it’s important and fair for me to ask him to help. I’ve lectured him a little bit about learning to do these kinds of things and work ethic, etc. I don’t really want to punish him, but I don’t want to be passive. How do I get results?”

Check out our blog series on allowance for Teenagers for more information.

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.