Question: I notice in your book How to Raise an Exceptional Child, that you put very little emphasis on giving teenagers chores to prepare them to be self-sufficient later in life. Can you explain your view on teenagers and chores?
Almine’s Answer: The general approach to occupy children with chores in order to prepare them for the daily maintenance of their lives and environment, as well as to keep them out of trouble, often backfires. The child, overburdened with demands at school and at home, seeks to escape these oppressive environments by spending more time in the company of their peers. In this way, we lose the ability to instill moral and other character-building values during these vital teenage years.
I have used a different approach to that of the rest of the world when it comes to chores. The following is my personal philosophy to prepare them for being able to cope with everyday problems in adolescence and adulthood. This alternative approach emphasizes learning by example and learning to prioritize. It also stresses that a child be allowed time for daily solitude in order to process what has been learned, and to avoid overwhelming demands that promote shallow thinking.
The child’s schooling becomes their paramount responsibility and duty. They learn the importance of education as a foundation for their future. Through parental example, living in an orderly and clean environment becomes a habit, and later, becomes a necessity that can be incorporated into their own living space.
This approach allows the home to become a haven from the demands of the world, rather than adding to the pressures.