Family Assistance Activities Makes for a Happy Adolescent?

Some may believe that encouraging adolescents to engage in family assistance activities (e.g. taking care of younger siblings and performing household chores) may be overly demanding and stressful for them and thus create more family conflicts. Although this can be the case some of the time, a study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that adolescents that engage in family assistance are likely to have higher happiness levels. This study was conducted on a sample of ninth graders from Asian, Latin American, and European American backgrounds. They were asked to complete a daily diary over the course of 14 days. Each day, they would fill out a survey to indicate whether they engaged in family assistance activities, such as running an errand for the family or helping to cook a family meal. Additionally, they reported the amount of time that they spent on these activities each day. Adolescents also answered questions about their psychological well-being. Results showed that reagrdless of ethnic differences, the more that adolescents assisted their family, the happier they felt both on a daily level and overall. Researchers suggested that participating in family assistance activities provides adolescents with a sense of purpose, which can increase both self-esteem and happiness. Although balancing the demands of both family and social life can be a difficult task in the adolescent, I believe that fostering an environment at home that encourages adolescents to help out the family will do them more good than harm. If you ask me, it almost seems like a win-win situation: you have a clean house AND a happy adolescent. Don’t be afraid to integrate your adolescent into the family!