DEAR GRANDDADDY- A Teen, Parent, and Educator Advice Column BLOG #46

Dear Granddaddy, why can’t my teenage kids help around the house without being asked? Jenny O. – frustrated mom.

Bestselling and award-winning author, speaker, educator, and TV host.


Wow, Jenny! I sort of feel like you’re living in my house and I’m having this same conversation once again with my wife, Jennifer. As a matter of fact, Jenny, I bet mothers everywhere feel like you are speaking to them, too.

There’s no easy answer for us parents when it comes to kids pulling their weight. Well, to tell you the truth, there are a few simple answers, but they certainly aren’t easy, nor are they very palatable for most of us over-worked parents. Let me explain. One simple answer is that our teens are still just kids. Even though they may be taller than us, their brains are not nearly as developed as ours. And their roles as kids versus our roles as parents just naturally make them seem more immature and self-absorbed to us. That’s just the way it is.

Recently, my wife and I experienced the following scenario. I came home from work and found my two oldest children watching television. My wife soon walked in the door with our three other children and she was flabbergasted that our older kids hadn’t showered, packed up, and begun at least some cleaning of the beach cottage so we could go home that night.

I asked her if she had given them specific instructions to do this when they left the beach. My wife said she shouldn’t have to. They were old enough, and they knew we were leaving that night. I agreed with my stressed out wife that she shouldn’t have to, but unfortunately, she does have to tell them because they’re still teens. If we don’t tell them what to do, then they probably won’t think to do it on their own. And that is normal, even though it sometimes drives us crazy.

Well, Jenny, I know I didn’t really solve your problems, but, hopefully I made it a little bit easier to stomach. Keep telling your kids what to do and someday they may surprise you!

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Dan Blanchard is a bestselling author, award-winning speaker, and educator who has appeared on over 100 television and radio shows. To find out more about Dan or to submit a question to him, please visit him on his website at: