During active addiction, many teens miss out on learning and developing important skills. When their lives are in chaos, many normal formative milestones are missed. Some of the skills that seem to fall by the wayside include developing basic household skills. Perhaps they have been doing some chores and are ready to learn basic household skills for their future. As they become stronger in recovery, you have the opportunity to teach your teen some essential household skills they will need in the future.
The Importance of Giving Your Teen the Opportunity to Work
Parents may look at their teen in recovery and want to give them plenty of time to relax as they heal. This is a natural reaction when your child has gone through a lot emotionally or physically. While it is true that teens in recovery do not need additional stress, the opportunity to be productive and contribute to the household by doing basic chores can actually help their self-esteem and their recovery process. Parents who offer consistent expectations actually decrease the risk of addiction in their children.
There is often a fine line between too few expectations and the pressure of having too much to do, which can cause a relapse. Keeping in mind their other responsibilities with school, extracurricular activities, and possibly a job outside of the home are all important when determining how much work to ask them to do in the home. Particularly during the summer months, though, when they may have too much free time, household chores can keep them busy and also give them a sense of purpose.
Teaching Basic Household Skills to Teens
Whether your child has always done regular chores around the house or if this is their first time doing household tasks, making sure they know how to properly clean and perform household tasks is important. This includes basic skills such as:
- Washing dishes
- Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming
- Cleaning surfaces
- Cleaning bathrooms
- Cleaning mirrors and windows
- Ironing clothes
Teaching may be the most challenging part of this job, particularly if your relationship is strained. Your teen will learn best by your example and working together at least the first time or two to understand how to properly complete each task. Patience will be needed as they learn, often in their own way, and they may not complete chores perfectly at first.
Instilling the Values of a Job Well Done
When teaching new skills, praise is always more effective than criticism. Always give them positive feedback about something. You can still expect more and encourage improvement; demonstrating by example is the most effective way to do this. You can also do your best to instill the values of doing a job well.
Teaching them to take pride in a job well done can include pointing out to them and other family members how great something looks when done well. You can also reward them by allowing friends to come over and revel in their handiwork as a bonus. Helping them understand the satisfaction of not only completing a task but also giving it their best effort will serve them well now and in the future.
Learning How to Organize in the Home
When household chores have become routine for your child, teaching them to organize is another essential life skill. Organization does not usually come naturally to everyone, and this is a skill that can benefit them in the home, at school, and in the workplace.
Demonstrate how to organize cupboards, closets, drawers, and desks. There is no single way to organize, so be sure to allow them the opportunity to organize in their own way, provided it accomplishes the same goal of being neat and tidy. They are developing into adults, and their minds may organize differently (e.g., by color rather than by size), but giving them the basic skills will greatly benefit their future.
Cultivating Yard Care Skills in Your Teen
Adolescents are one step away from adulthood and will be caring for their own living space sooner rather than later, so they need to know how to take care of a home inside and out. Male or female, they need to understand the basics of caring for a yard. Having them assist and learn skills such as raking, lawn mowing, watering plants, weeding, and other outdoor chores will give them some good physical work to do and also some outdoor time to clear their minds. Learning about what is involved in tending a yard, how often it needs to happen, and what to expect during different weather conditions and seasons will be a valuable resource for their future.
Giving your teen the opportunity to learn household skills and work while in recovery can help them be productive and give them a sense of purpose while building essential skills for their future. Teaching them basic household tasks as well as skills like organizing while instilling in them the value of a job well done will help them become better adults in the future. Helping them understand what is involved in caring for a home inside and out will help them be more prepared to be independent adults. Sustain Recovery is an extended residential treatment center for adolescents with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We strive to give teens the skills they need to be successful and help families heal from addiction together. Contact us at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is right for your family.