motivating your teen



circus2We have a pre-teen in our household, plus a wannabe pre-teen and a little guy.... so how in the world do I have a clue what to say about dealing with teens?  [and honestly, do any of us know really how to deal with teens?] 

I taught for a while, specifically middle and high school.  The standard response when people hear I taught teens and pre-teens: "Bless your heart."  BUT I LOVED IT.  I had a ball with the kids, despite [or perhaps because of] the severe angst and the daily struggle with becoming consciously aware of life in general. 

But I do understand how the frustration battle begins.  Teens get frustrated and because they are not entirely sure how to deal with it, parents consequently become frustrated and the battle of wills begins. 

So I don't claim to be an expert.  Farthest thing from it.  But if children are small-sized versions of adults, then teens are medium-sized versions of adults.  So at least when we are contemplating how to introduce the responsibility station to teens (or motivating them after they have been doing it for a while), let's start by thinking what we would like.  What motivates us?  Start there, then read on for more tips!  And even if they roll their eyes and talk to you like you are pond scum, don't forget to tell them you love them more than they can possibly understand.


Best of luck,

jennifer beck 




teach independence
[one day soon they will fly from the nest] 
I had one child say, as I sauntered through the front door of a customer's home, "There's the chore lady."
I laughed out loud and thought to myself that it's really so much more than that.

Our number one goal should be to teach our kids that our family is a team.  We all have responsibilities that we do just to help out the team.  But at the same time, we have to teach them how to manage money and be financially wise.  This is where the chores come in.  I really tried to find another word than chores...that's such a boring mundane word.  Alas, we have our children choose for their chores, but this is where we need to remember that we are teaching our kids how to be independent.

When you are writing your teens' chores on the chore sticks, think of all the different things we do in our day to day life that we take for granted.  It's not just's things like learning to fill up a gas tank, shop for groceries, mow the yard, cook a healthy dinner, and budget your income.  So just imagine back to they first time you were on your own and responsible for it all.  What did you wish you knew how to do?  What did you wish you could do better?  What did you not do that you should have been doing, but you had no idea?  Take those tasks and teach your child.  THAT'S the point of the chore sticks.  Teach independence.

Nobody wants to clean toilets every day.  So vary the routine, make the lessons applicable to life, and be flexible.  Be sure to check out the article to the right about chore ideas for teens.

But we are so busy
[so can we still do this?] 
One of the reasons we devised this system is because none of the products on the market were as flexible as we needed it to be.  Our schedules are crazy! We needed something that we could stop one day and pick back up the next if need be.  The point of life is happiness and peace, not stress and frustration.  There are LOTS of ways to make this system work for your family's busy schedule.  Let's start with the basics...

Have you ever had a day during which you MEANT to do the laundry but by the end of the day, you didn't get it done, so put it on your mental calendar for the next day? [that's rhetorical]  If we have to be flexible with our own schedule, shouldn't we be flexible with our children's schedule?  So is it a big deal that they get everything done each day or just by a certain time?  For example....I wasn't able to get the carpet vacuumed yesterday but I know I will get it done before we entertain company this Saturday.  So we took a hint from some of our test families; we give our children their daily responsibilities (we do expect those done each day) but the chores we ask them to do just need to be completed by Saturday afternoon.  That way, we have time for our practices, our meetings, our lessons, etc. and we don't get stressed out that EVERYTHING isn't done perfectly each day.

Don't be afraid to be flexible with your expectations, either.  There are some days we just have to tell our children: No chores today.  Life is too crazy.  One day here and there isn't going to undo all the effort we have put forth to raise responsible, independent children!  I guess a subtle lesson with this system is also time management...

A lot of teenagers work outside of the home as well.  But before your response is, "But she works so hard I don't want her to also have to do chores at home!", think about our adult life.  Just because you have a job doesn't mean you get to ditch the rest of your responsibilities.  This is a great time to focus on WHAT you are asking your teen to do.  As mentioned in the article above, the chores you are asking him to do should be realistic and life-applicable.  After a day at work, the last thing I want to do is to clean a toilet....but cooking dinner can be fun and a stress release as I cook and listen to music in our kitchen.  So it will be with your teen.

Finally, if you realize the system is just too much and you need to pare it down, don't be afraid to admit that and redo the list of responsibilities.  It won't show you are weak or a pushover!  It will only show you are realistic and you care about your teen.  Kids and teens still need a balance between work and play (just like we do). 
About fisherkids

We are a family-run business trying to foster a world of responsible family at a time.  To date, we have more than 1500 kids around the world using our system!  Our mission is to help parents navigate the often tumultuous waters of raising responsible, respectful children while making the brief time we have with our young family the most memorable it can be.  Thank you for helping us!
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Ever So Gratefully,
The Beck Family



In This Issue
teach independence
but we are so busy!
chore stick ideas
teen table topics
dinner spinner
teen chore stick ideas

chore stick


-cooking dinner (or part of dinner): this could also include healthy menu planning

-grocery shopping: there are actually lots of things important to teach with grocery shopping such as couponing, branding, nutritional comparison, etc.

-budgeting: I think there is a fine line between teaching your child about cost of living and stressing them out!  But teaching how to budget is imperative.  It isn't always bad, though, for teens to understand true cost of living.  It always cracks me up when our children say, "I will save for a phone, mom! If you'll just let me have it, I will save for it!" Then comes the lesson about data plans and texting limits you pay for each month!  Teens need to understand the ins and outs of credit card debt, loan debt, debt-to-income ratios, etc.  If you think they don't really need to know that, please watch the documentary Maxed Out. Although I do believe that we make the choice to spend, it is interesting to see how students are bombarded with credit card offers from the moment they are old enough to open an account.

-car care: not only is it empowering to know how to change a tire, check air pressure, check oil level, add washer fluid, and of course how to pump gas, it is also for your teen's safety.

-yard care: mowing the yard, keeping up gardens, pool care, even giving them the responsibility of a small vegetable container garden to grow herbs, veggies, etc. 

-home maintenance:  things like changing batteries in smoke alarms, changing light bulbs, changing air filters....things you need to know about when you live on your own!

-washing the car

-cleaning the garage

-ironing (even if it's just the napkins!)

-this one will seem very odd.....writing letters! I know it's a dying art.  I know it's cheaper to send an email than a stamped letter.  But how nice for Nana to receive a hand-written letter from your teen.


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feedback from our customers


Hi Jen,
Just thought I would let you know that we implemented the Fisher Kids system two weeks ago after we returned from holiday and our two children (Henry 11 and Charlotte 7) have taken to it very well! It's such a great idea and hopefully Fisher Kids will spread across the UK!
Thanks again for all your help with our  order.


Essex, United Kingdom 


teen conversation starters

teen table topics2

The teen edition offers engaging question for teens to talk about with other teens - at parties, on the phone, online - or even for a fun, casual chat with Mom and Dad. Includes great questions like... Who's the funniest person you know? What 5 foods do you wish were banished from the earth? If you could shop for free at one store which one would you choose?


Our Price: $25.00 plus s+h

new product spotlight

dinner spinner

Our oldest daughter, Anna,  came up with a brilliant idea for a fun spinner for your family....the dinner spinner!  There are two blank spaces for y
ou to fill in something appropriate for your family.  Our favorite ideas for the blank spots: conversation starter, dinner game master (check out our Table Topics!), free night, funky napkin folder, and next-night-menu-planner!  Be sure that parents spin, too.... remember: we are teaching our children that the family is a TEAM; as parents, we are certainly part of that team! 

Next month, we will show you what our daughter Claire has come up with....WE LOVE IT!  [and if you know our Claire you would know it is RIGHT UP HER ALLEY.]


Our Price: $15.00 plus s+h



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