If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.
~Abigail Van Buren
I’m feeling pretty radical about the necessity of chores these days–both for children and teens–but especially teens. And not just to establish good habits or to build a work ethic, though those are worthy goals.
What I’m finding most important about chores for teens is the “grounding” aspect of them.
As a Let Your Yoga Dance instructor, I see much of living in terms of “energy,” and in my experience, it’s the very first chakra that is linked to teens and chores. The first chakra is described in this way by author/teacher, Anodea Judith:
Located at the base of the spine, the first chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane.
You don’t have to be a chakra expert to realize that a sense of grounding and connection is vital during the turbulent expansion of adolescence.
If your teen has a regular chore schedule, then you already know that his participation leads to connection, and that this connection leads to belonging, and that his sense of belonging creates greater harmony in the home.
Teens can be so prickly that many would rather leave them to their own rather than have the hassle around participation. But I think the hassle is worth it–for both the teen and the family. Better yet, get these chore habits in place before your kids come of age, and then it’s pretty much auto pilot.
(More next time on establishing routines so that chores are hassle free–well, almost.)