Okay, now I'm feeling bad for asking guests for help. There is a family that my family spends a lot of time with. (We have dinner together at least twice a month and are at each other's houses several times a week.) When they're over for dinner I've never thought twice about asking the teens to help with the finishing touches on a meal and setting and clearing the table. I've even been known to recruit their friends who come over with them to help. In my defense, I've always served them the same thing as everybody else, and I've never asked them to do dishes.
Do you pay them? Or compensate them in any way? I understand where you're coming from, but asking the teens for help exclusively without ever offering anything in return really doesn't sit well with me.
Agreed. And this is why it gets sticky with having family/people who are "just like family" over and they end up "helping." No way. It's a nice and generous gesture for a guest to see the harried host/ess and say "gee, Pat, would you like me to set the table?" It's another to say "good, you're here! Mary will set the table, Susie will get the glasses out, and Mark will pour the drinks." Those aren't guests - that's unpaid help.
It's also a great way to build resentment - I have a few relatives who did that to me when I was a teen, and I don't think back of all the great holidays at Uncle Joe and Aunt Susie's. Instead, I remember having to wash the dishes, and how my aunt screamed at me when I almost dropped a huge crystal vase. It's really unfair - the "kids" work, while the adults cool their heels. Either *all* of the guests pitch in, or the host/ess just cleans up after everyone's gone.