A home is a project that is constantly evolving, and it’s a project to which parents generally contribute the most effort. Teens don’t necessarily have home improvement skills, so they aren’t included in efforts to update or maintain things around the house.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Including teens in home improvement sessions is a great idea, believe it or not. Here are four reasons parents should consider a team effort.
1. DIY projects teach teenagers new skills and help them gain confidence.
A lack of confidence usually has its roots in a lack of knowledge, and one area that’s getting a lot less attention in formal education is industrial arts. Shop classes, as they’re currently known, are losing status in schools that need to focus exclusively on academics. As a result, many young adults exit high school—and even college—without even a basic grasp on how to complete home improvement projects.
This might not be an issue as long as people are students—living in a dorm room doesn’t generally require improvement projects—but once people are out in the world, the ability to fix or improve simple things around the house (whether it’s a rental or not) is one of the most useful skills to have. Not everyone needs to be able to hang drywall, it’s nice not to have to call on Mom and Dad to hang a shelf or put a new coat of paint in the living room. Increased support means increased independence, so start sharing those projects with teenagers while they’re still living at home.
Don’t forget—adults can set an example by tackling projects that require learning new skills for them, too. Show your teens that being proactive is the way to go.
2. Working on projects together is a great opportunity for connection.
It’s not always easy to get through to teenagers, but DIY projects can give parents and teens some common ground. This is particularly true if parents choose a project that has a direct influence on their teenage children—think repainting their bedroom or constructing/installing a new piece of furniture. This kind of effort puts parents and teens on the same side (It’s us against this paint job!) and provides an atmosphere to talk to each other naturally while you work. Less pressure, more conversation.
3. Sharing in DIY projects gives teens and adults alike a sense of accomplishment.
Working on a project together gives teens an opportunity to contribute to the household outside of completing “chores.” Most household improvements are enjoyed by everyone in the family in a more immediate way, so the benefit can be more obvious than, for instance, taking out the trash.
Finishing a project is also a big step. DIY projects have tangible results: furniture is built or fixed, rooms are painted and brightened. Accomplishments that are clear and lasting can mean a great deal to teens frustrated by the seeming busywork of the academic process or the gradual benefits of exercise—things that can take years to see results from.
This is true for adults as well. Many parents have careers in which projects are constantly ongoing. Nothing’s more frustrating than work without completion. What could be better than sharing the satisfaction of a job well done—and finished!—with your teenagers, all while teaching them to take ownership of their household responsibilities?
4. Teaming up makes DIY projects more enjoyable and can create fond memories.
Let’s face it. Home improvement projects aren’t always fun. In fact, they’re rarely fun—it’s the kind of job that most people just slog through until it’s finished…or give up when the project is complete enough.
Teaming up with capable teenagers makes the workload smaller for everyone. Anyone who’s ever painted a room knows that the job is significantly easier with more than one person, and even projects that aren’t as fun—has anyone sanded down a large armoire before?—can be elevated with the injection of a little humor. A lighthearted attitude can even make mistakes into joyful learning experiences.
Completed projects that remain in the home also provide a jumping-off point for pleasant memories. The paint job might not be perfect, but family members will long remember the time spent together.
It might seem easier for parents to just do projects themselves, but including teenagers in home improvement projects will increase the value of the investment immensely. The benefits of working as a team are wonderful for families, so don’t hesitate to take the time and share your knowledge of home improvement with your teens. You might end up with a better result than you ever imagined.