Should Teens Be Paid to Do Chores?


Picture by Sheehwa You

For most students, it’s natural to come home from school with a mental list of chores. The tasks assigned to each kid is bound to differ in each household, but the real divider between children is whether or not they get paid for completing these chores.

Money is an important factor for growing teenagers. This whole generation seems to be wanting the newest, fastest, and flashiest item a week before it is even officially released. At first glance, an allowance seems tempting; kids are encouraged to do their chores while also learning to manage their money. However, chores are a basic responsibility, and teenagers should not expect to receive pay for completing them.

Children have a responsibility to assist around the house as they not only contribute to the chaos at home, but also because they benefit from having an organized home. Granted, getting teenagers to help around the house can get tricky without some motivation. Offering money, though, is only going to make matters worse in the long run.

In her book Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not): A Parents’ Guide for Kids 3 to 23, Beth Kobliner says, “Unless you’re willing to negotiate each time you want your kid to empty the dishwasher or put his clothes in the hamper, steer clear of systems that pay per chore.” Eventually, teens will start to get the idea that the chores they are doing always demand pay in return, even if all they have completed is something so effortless such as taking out the trash. And, if they don’t happen to see that five dollar bill waving in front of them, they may not want to lift a finger.

Of course, parents also want to teach their kids more than just responsibility around the house; they want their kids to gain experience with money. While it is important to teach them this life lesson, giving teens money for chores won’t do the trick because, as previously stated, they will distort the idea completely. It is best to simply give children an allowance that is uncorrelated to doing tasks around the house. This way, everyone wins: parents will not need to dig into their pockets to pay for every assignment done, and teens will still have the opportunity to learn to be wise with their money.

It is important to have teens do chores. They begin to have exposure to maintaining tidy living quarters, a skill that will serve them when they move to college, have a roommate, or settle in their house as an adult. In addition, teens are a part of a family that can only function if everyone lifts their own weight. The basic responsibilities of helping around the house should not be viewed as reason to be paid, but rather a lesson that will be beneficial to teens wherever life may take them.