We love our babies and then they become teens.  It's not that we don't love them just as much, but more like we often simply don't recognize them.  One minute they are hilarious, sweet, adorable, and we can't get enough of them.  Five minutes later, they are freaking out that their towel fell off the hook and onto the bathroom floor.  If it wasn't so funny and if it didn't make us pleased as punch that we are no longer a teen, it would drive us insane. 

Which brings me to the image of teenagers across the US and various other countries being presented with a responsibility station.  The internationally cumulative groan when they are told they have to pull chore sticks out of a bucket makes me giggle.  So let's discuss ways to make teens everywhere a little more willing to participate, and ways to make us not want to jump off a cliff when they roll their eyes at the mere mention of a responsibility station.

Patience is key....and a great sense of humor.  This too shall pass, and they will come out the other side as responsible adults.  At least that's what we will chant to ourselves to keep us from going nuts.

The Beck Family 

using the responsibility station with teens
modifications to make it easier   
Some teens like the idea of chore and reward, others consider it simply elementary.  We will discuss FAQs and situational issues in other articles, but let's discuss ways to physically use the responsibility station in your home.

We include a responsibility magnet with our station.  The point of this is to teach our children that there are some responsibilities we have simply as part of the family team.  They are expected of us, not financially rewarded.  That said, there still has to be a way to teach our children financial management skills.  So we include the chore bucket/chore sticks so they can earn money rather than be "allowed" it.  The purpose of choosing chores is to teach our kids independent living skills (not just cleaning!).  For teens, perhaps choosing chore sticks is indeed elementary.   What if you ditched the bucket and sticks (the buckets are quite handy around the house) and just put their chores right on the magnet.  Perhaps the ones that are mandatory as part of the family team are starred, or in a different color, etc. 

Another issue that often arises with teens stems from their busy schedules, often with a job as well as school activities.  To ask them to complete all this AND their chores/daily responsibilities is sometimes just too much.  Let's think about our own daily activities.  We wake up and plan to get the house vacuumed by the end of the day....things come up and we push it to the next day.  It does eventually get done, but just not precisely when we thought it would get done.  It's important that our children learn how to manage their time and to learn not to take on more than they can handle.  But let's stay realistic.  Maybe tell your teenager that they do have chores to complete, but as long as the daily expected family team responsibilities are done each day, they can simply finish all the chores by Saturday (for example). 

The beauty of our station is that it is flexible.  Not every week is a clone of the previous week.  Routine does become mundane, especially to teens.  Some semblance of routine is needed to establish boundaries (what is expected of your teen), but change up their responsibilities occasionally.  Stay realistic, keep flexible, and talk to your teen....

We get so wrapped up in our role as parent that we forget to talk to our kids!  Teens are opinionated (right?) but in this instance, that's a good thing!  Once you let your teenager know that this is not going to be an option, explain that you are teaching them how to live on their own once they get to college and beyond.  Remember that chores are not just about cleaning.  Talk to them about going off on their own and ask what they would like to learn to do!  

Finally, keep realistic tabs on their commission.  Again, think of it like our own financial goals: we need to be motivated to achieve (both intrinsically and extrinsically).  So if we set our teen's commission too low, then their financial goals become out of reach and therefore out of mind.  If we set commission too high, then they are getting an unrealistic expectation of earning money in the real world.  This is a fine balance, but it's important to keep it real (no matter what your friends pay their kids, and no matter what your kids think they need to be paid). 

this month's discount
tag-a-towel magnets

Speaking of teenagers freaking out that their bath towels hit the floor, let's have a sale on these great little inventions....color code your kids' towels so they a) don't throw their towel in the dirty clothes bin every single day making a mountain of laundry and b) won't freak out that they might be using a sibling's towel and therefore getting sibling cootie disease.  These are great for dorm rooms, too!  Enter code FREAKOUT at checkout to receive 20% off Tag-a-Towel magnets.  From now until the end of the month.  Sold in packs of two, choose either blue and pink or orange and green.

Please tell your friends!

fisherkids in the community...
austin, texas


I purchased this system after buying a [online coupon]. I received it in the mail promptly! I have been going through a LOT of physical changes (our house flooded and was remodeled) and recently I've been going through a divorce. The FISHERKIDS responsibility station stayed in the box for months in the closet till I got around to opening it and screwing it to the wall! I was scared about that part, but it ended up being really EASY! Anyway, the kids were actually begging for me to hang them up everyday for weeks! Imagine that, kids wanting to do chores so they could earn money????!!!

Well, up they went 1 week ago. It happens to be spring break week so it worked out perfect because I have time and the kids have time to learn how to do their chores properly! I can not begin to tell you the positive changes it has made in my life and theirs!!!

1) They wake up every morning and excitedly get ready and do their routine. Their beds have been made perfectly, hair combed, teeth brushed, dressed, scriptures read, breakfast eaten. ALL without 1 nagging word from me! Evening time routine too!

2) They are excited to go to their sticks and pick out a chore and have me show them how to do it! They love working with me and they love to see what they can accomplish! Nightly, they have had so much fun filling out their commission sheets! ( I followed your suggestion and they have to do at least 2 a day)

3) My house, cabinets, baseboards, fridge, pantry, playroom, floors, bathrooms,car, garage ARE CLEAN!! They are cleaning machines! They do a better job than I think I may even do and I could never get around to cleaning this much stuff in 1 week! As a busy, single mom this has been amazing because I went from feeling so overwhelmed with the demands of the house to feeling like I can manage cleaning my room, cooking, dishes, and keeping up with laundry! My three kids handle the rest!

4) One of their chore sticks is to write love notes, thank you notes, and birthday cards. This has been so fun to receive a weekly thank you note from my children! It brings such love and joy to my heart! It's kinda like a paycheck to me! PLUS I think its really important in relationships to show gratitude and I know that them learning to write thank you's and notes of love will help them in their future relationships with bosses, colleagues, and spouses!

Just wanted to put this gratitude into practice and show some to you for this wonderful fun system!! God Bless YOU!

inventory sale

We had planned to offer the spring break sale, then a back to school sale for you. But our latest shipment of inventory has come in a bit ahead of schedule.  You can see from the picture that we are in desperate need of space to breath, so our claustrophobia is your sale.  Just so you know, the new inventory includes white bags rather than colored bags.  Also, when we begin our new inventory, there will no longer be a teen station, as all the kits have been updated; in order to modify it to a teen kit, all you will have to do is order your child a goal-setting checklist when (s)he is ready!  But if you don't really care about the color of the bags, then take advantage of our sale!

So from now until May 12, we will offer the same sale as before: 30% off all fisherkids products.  Please remember that all personalized products may take up to 10 days to process, print, proof, and send out.  Usually not, but just in case.....

No code is needed; just order to your heart's content and we will do the rest.  Please spread the word so we can get to our new inventory! 

more dorm room ideas
gifts for the new graduate

Personalized plates
Box Sign reminders
Personalized Stampers  (on sale until 06/30/82012!)
have your graduate's new student address on a stamper
black border stamper  
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In This Issue
using the station with teens
tag-a-towel discount
fisherkids in the community
inventory sale
dorm room decor #1
FAQs for parents of teens
my teen has a job, too!
stamper sale
dorm room decor #2
teen table topics
goal-setting checklists
we are so social

what if my teen.....
FAQs from customers with teens

1)  "My teen doesn't like to spend money.  He just saves it all and we don't think that's healthy." This is often considered a good thing....your child saves money and doesn't spend it on frivolous items.  But we all need to learn balance.  When children (or some adults for that matter) are given a lump sum of money without direction, it is often difficult to organize and prioritize.  I am reminded of the professional athlete that is suddenly offered a contract worth millions of dollars, then two years later files for guidance.  With our responsibility station, children are taught balance: you give some of your earnings to serve others, you save some for life's larger expenses and emergencies, and you spend some for needed items or sometimes for frivolous items!  As children get older, the spend money becomes a true budget: gas, insurance, groceries, the shoes they want but have to save for, etc....  
2) "My teenager gets mad at me when I remind her to complete her chores." I actually hear this often and my immediate response is that you are the adult and they are the children.  Of course they are going to get mad when they don't get their way....but the point is that they don't get their way for a reason.  You protect them; that is your job as a parent.  Explaining this to your kids is perfectly fine: "My job as your parent is to teach you independence, but before we can loosen the reins, you have to learn boundaries to keep you safe."  Again, you are not your child's best friend, you are the parent. 
3)  "Our son has a difficult time managing his homework, his job, and his sports.  We hate to add one more thing to his plate." Keep it realisticHere's the deal: as we get older, we have more responsibilities, like it or not.  We can learn to deal with them and succeed or push them aside and fail.  However, everyone deals with responsibilities differently.  Keep it realistic; if your child is having a difficult time, but you feel like (s)he is not prepared to go off to college in a few short months, then begin to add the responsibilities weekly, not daily.   We all have to have clean clothes, full gas tanks, healthy food in the fridge, and a healthy living space, but we can do these things as adults on our own schedule.  Require them from your kids but require it on a more flexible schedule.
4) "Is the consequence spinner okay for my teen?" The spinner is probably a bit too elementary for most, but some teens might prefer it to the immediate "You're grounded!" scenario.  I think this decision is best left up to the parents of each individual teen.  We don't want you to spend money on something that would be ineffective in your home.
5) "What kind of chores do you recommend for teens?"  Remember that we are teaching our kids how to live on their own one day.  Daily living is not only cleaning the house.  The word CHORES has a negative connotation in most people's brain (we have tried desperately to find a better word) because it conjures up images of scrubbing toilets and monotonously dusting the furniture.  Think of all the things it takes to run a healthy and successful home: keeping air filters clean/replaced, light bulbs replaced around the house, car inspections maintained, car tires checked, dinner menus planned, gardens weeded and yard mowed, smoke alarms checked and batteries replaced, the list goes on forever.  These are GREAT to teach teens!  I know it was a total shock to me when I realized I was supposed to change the air filter in our first non-dorm apartment.  It was simply repulsive and a total shock to us all that we didn't get some form of lung disease from it.  Go through your weekly/monthly routine and delegate some of those responsibilities to your teen(s).  You know your teen(s) best, so you will know what is age-appropriate.
6) "How much should I pay my teen?"  Well this is a sticky subject because it really is quite individualized.  The general rule, though, is to give your teen enough to motivate them and allow them to truly set financial goals, but not so much that they have superfluous funds to spend money on anything and everything.  You still need to be able to keep track of what your child is spending money on; too much freedom is not always a good thing.
7) "Our daughter makes poor decisions when it comes to her spend money."  This is a very difficult lesson for many parents to let their kids learn, simply because we see hard work behind every dollar, so to see it spent frivolously makes our hair shock a gray streak.  But it is indeed a lesson; if Sally spends her money on cheap items that either wear out quickly or break easily, eventually Sally will save her money for better quality items.  The catch to this, however, lies within the previous question about how much to pay your teen.  If (s)he has superfluous money, or no needs for financial goals, then this will be difficult to get under control.  Once you implement the responsibility station in your home, you as the parent have to make the commitment to buy your child/teen only things they need or the occasional birthday/holiday gift.  If we are always buying them the latest and greatest of everything, what goals can they possibly have?  Give them something to strive for!
8) "What is the difference between the teen kit and the child kit?"  Currently (for the next month or so), the main difference is the look of the paycheck and chore bucket, and the addition of the goal-setting checklist.  This is about to change, though, and will save you all a few bucks in the process.  Coming soon (we will send out a facebook and newsletter announcement), there will only be one single responsibility station to purchase, then you can purchase the goal-setting checklist separately when you kids are ready.  We think this will streamline the ordering, minimize the confusion, and allow you to appropriately set up a system for your child. (see the section about the inventory melt-down sale!)   
9)  "We currently give our kids an allowance.  We don't think we should pay for chores."  We don't believe in JUST paying for chores either.  Our system is built upon the idea that a family is a team and there are things we are expected to do simply because it helps the team win.  We tell our kids this same thing and explain to them that although we get paid to be at work each day, we also have responsibilities that go unpaid, like grocery shopping, making meals, caring for the home inside and out, caring for the cars that take us where we want to go, etc.   That said, we do want to teach our children to manage their money wisely (maybe this will be the gleaming light of this economic downturn....our children will learn from it?).  So in addition to expected instrinsically rewarded responsibilities, we also expect you to learn to live on your own.  Instead of "allowing" our kids money, we will have them earn it and then teach them how to manage it.
10)  "Should we use the add-on kit or have a full station for each of our teens?"  This is an individually answered question as well.  We certainly don't want you to spend money that isn't necessary to spend; so here is the general consensus:  if your teens are amicable towards each other and close in age, go for the add-on kit.  You can always buy a completion kit later to make it a full size station.  If your children are territorial or if there is a wide age range, we suggest each teen has an individual station (assuming your house has room for that of course).  Hints on how to use the add-on kit effectively can be found in months August, 2010 and May, 2011 of our archived newsletters.   You can access our archives here. 
my teen has a job... do we also use fisherkids?

This is a tough one for many parents and teens.  It's difficult to watch your child go to school, work a job, come home to homework, and then have household responsibilities, too.  Again, though, we are teaching our children how to live responsibly and unfortunately, busy schedules chock-full of responsibilities is par for the course.  There are MANY lessons to learn here and it is important to guide your child not steer for them. 

We all have to learn (at some point in our lives) how to manage our time, how many things we can commit to, and what it takes to keep our lives running smoothly.  Our kids might drop the ball, but better to drop it now while their responsibilities are ultimately minimal than later when families, households, and careers are at stake.

We do, though, need to keep it realistic. Keep it challenging, yet attainable.  
dorm rooms will never be the same
organize with pegboard!

dorm room decor
oh, how we love this one...

online and ready to ship in plenty of time for freshman orientation! 
teen table topics
oh, the things you will learn about your child! 

teen table topics2   
$25.00 plus shipping 
goal-setting checklists
teach your teen to set goals  

$6.00 plus shipping 

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