Recently a friend was lamenting to me about how the younger generation does not seem as inclined to help out around the house. Upon reflection, I can see where that might be the case, especially since young people today are socially more connected and have access to so much technology for entertainment.

Wouldn’t it be nice to regularly hear offers like these from your children or grandchildren?

  • Hey Mom, what can I help you with today?
  • Grandpa, I’ve got lots of time today if you need help with anything!
  • Nana, how about I do the dishes tonight? You always do them.
  • Hey Dad, I can help with the pruning if you show me how.

Well, if you are not hearing those conversations, don’t make a big deal of it. It doesn’t mean that your kids or grandkids are lazy or inconsiderate. It simply means they are not offering.

Actually, most kids would prefer to help out and add value to the family. In fact, it’s one of the things that makes teens resilient in a difficult world—knowing they add value at home.

Try this: Ask for what you want!

Novel idea? Not really. Don’t expect your kids to read your mind. If you have a thought about getting some help with chores or a project, just ask. But ask in a thoughtful way that respects that they might not be able to help right this moment. A little notice might go a long way.

  •  Trish, would you have any time tomorrow to help me go through my clothes and prepare for a trip to Goodwill?
  • Seth, I could really use an hour of your time sometime today in the yard. When might work for you?
  • Ruth, tomorrow is trash day. Would you make sure the trash and recycling containers get filled and set out this evening?

We all fall into roles and patterns in our families. Setting a different pattern often requires asking for it—not hinting…not wishing…asking. 

Actually, having thoughts about wanting someone to be more supportive or helpful but not asking is quite common, both in teams and in families. There’s an old saying: It never hurts to ask!