Who'd have thought Hollywood was the right place to find tips on how to keep your teenager from becoming a self-absorbed twit? Believe it Mom and Dad. Abigail Breslin is one of those celebrity teens you don't hear about much.
Like Angus T. Jones of Two and a Half Men, she's majorly successfully, but not especially high on the paparazzi's "it" lists. She's starring in the hot new kiddie flick, Rango (mmm, Johnny Depp), but the 14-year-old isn't in rehab. By every account I have ever heard/read/etc., she is a good kid! So what's the magic secret?
In the Breslin household: chores. Their Academy award-nominated daughter has to:
- Dump the trash
- Feed the dogs
- Take the dogs out
- Clean her room
This is up from a few years ago, when she was making $13 a week to do things like feed the cat. Her parents have made it clear that they believe in building up responsibilities as their children age.
OMG, could it be so simple? A few things to do around the house (I'm not talking about turning them into your slaves here)? Parents who are already doling out the chores may think I'm jesting, but consider this: surveys all point to a complete lack of chores for teens in the average household.
In 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported the average kid only spent 24 minutes on chores, which represented a 12 percent drop from the amount of time spent by kids in 1997 and a 25 percent drop in the amount of time a kid spent in 1981. That was three years ago; imagine how much more it has dropped since!
Last year, a British survey found less than a quarter of teens had ever loaded a washing machine, and 75 percent had never cleaned a bathroom (another 63 percent didn't iron, but frankly, neither do I!). And in 2007, a study found only 29 percent of kids got an allowance tied to chores while more than half of kids just get money from their parents whenever they ask for it -- whether they do anything around the house or not! They're just opening their wallets and handing the stuff over. No wonder kids think money grows on trees!
The fact is, Abigail Breslin's parents are doing what a lot of parents aren't. They're taking their talented, successful daughter and teaching her that being part of a family means everyone pitches in. The adults maintain the heavy load (naturally), but the kids have to do something around the house. Nothing like a little taking the dogs out (and ugh, scooping their poop) to make you realize the comforts of home are pretty darn grand, huh?
Hey, it works for Abigail Breslin. It could work for your family too.
What do you expect your kids to do around the house, if anything?
Image via Splash News