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#1 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This came up in conversation with my Mom last night...

She was giving me a huge guilt trip because my DH and I do our cleaning on Sundays... every Sunday, wether DSD is with us or not.

We work opposing shifts and I can't do some of the more physical type jobs, and he doesn't want me playing with any checmicals... it works for us to work as a team and bust out all the cleaning when we are together, then it's done.

My Mother was saying we should not be doing any house chores while DSD is with us because we only get her EOW now. She said we should be playing with her and entertaining her the entire time...

I asked, "But our house still has to be maintained... our life still has to be functional and we can't just throw everything to the wayside just because it's a DSD weekend... in that line of thinking, what are we supposed to do when the baby gets here, not pay the baby any mind those weekends because we should be totally devoted to DSD every minute?"

She didn't really have a response but feels we should limit our cleaning/chores to EOW on times we don't have DSD... but this makes no sense to me! It's not like we are neglecting or ignoring DSD... most of the time she helps us clean and she has fun with it. She doesn't seem to mind it too much anyway. She LOVES the duster wand. lol


So thoughts? Should mundane life be pushed aside EOW? And in the future how does that make our other DC feel?? If we have to do all chores on weekends their sister isn't with us, when we both have to work all week... in essence they are only getting "quality/non chore" time with us EOW too. I just don't get the logic here...

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#2 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 10:36 AM
 
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we struggle with this too. I don't think dsd is going to suffer b/c we have to run to home depot or grocery shopping. I don't think it is beneficial or fair for anyone to have every moment be an event while she is here.

Personally, I think it is better for dsd to be a part of our household. I don't want to have dp be the "Disneyland Dad", or to have her be a visitor who needs to be entertained the whole weekend. When she is here, she has chores too. When dd takes a nap, often she takes quiet time too to read a book so that we all get a break. She also gets lots of time to play, both with all of us or one on one with her dad. Just like I spend lots of time playing with dd, but I also spend lots of time cleaning/running errands/etc. I think it would be frustrating for everyone (including dsd's mom) if every weekend was a huge party with no work/chores/responsibility.

I'm sure that you and your dp maintain that same balance too-cleaning has to be done, and I think it is great that you are sending hte message to your dsd that she is a part of your household too, and therefore that she participates in these things. And the same goes for when the baby comes-it will be an adjustment, but if you include your dsd in babyminding tasks then she will feel like a part of that process too.

Okay, dd needs some attention

Can you tell I've thought about this a little bit!

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#3 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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Cleaning and other mundane things are "quality time," and I firmly believe that children should see their parents doing it, and help their parents with it to the extent they are able, regardless of whether they "live with" or "visit" their parents.

I also think it's good for a child to see both Mom and Dad doing chores. My ex-husband never saw his dad do anything--not even mow the lawn. He grew up believing that he didn't have to do anything around the house.


You're doing fine.

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#4 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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The fact that she is joining in on it makes it time well spent IMO. DSD helps us around the house here, too. She loves doing it. We obviously don't mind either. I don't think it is up to anyone else to say what is the right or wrong way to spend your time with her when you are clearly spending time with her. kwim I can't tell you how many of my friends complain that their ex's just sit their child in front of the tv all weekend so that aren't bothered by the inconvenience of caring for them.

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#5 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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No way, it shouldn't be a vacation to go to visit the other parent, the child should be welcomed as a normal part of the family. That means day to day activities and even helping with chores. My parents were split up and whenever I visited my dad it was all junk food, amusement park visits, no chores, and sitting alone watching tv or reading books. Cleaning or yard work or cooking and eating together would have been awesome as long as it's together.

Also, most cleaning jobs can be done without toxic chemicals, I use baking soda or vinegar or borax for most things.
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#6 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 12:10 PM
 
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My parents had joint custody of us so this really wasn't a concern when I was growing up. I think that I would look at it from a perspective of how much time was spent cleaning vs how much time does your DSD spend with you? If you clean for a couple hours on Sunday, that's just normal maintenance. If you clean for the entire day Sunday and she's only there part day Friday, all day Saturday, and part day Sunday...then that's a huge portion of the time that she's with you. And she's helping you clean something that was a mess that she didn't create.

I don't think your house should fall into disarray/dishes shouldn't be done, etc. But, I do resent it when, as an adult, I visit my Dad twice a year and he doesn't take time out of his day to talk to me. Whenever my wife and I visit him, he just continues on with whatever he was doing with my stepmother and their kids. We don't have a good relationship, and this is definitely part of the problem.

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#7 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My parents had joint custody of us so this really wasn't a concern when I was growing up. I think that I would look at it from a perspective of how much time was spent cleaning vs how much time does your DSD spend with you? If you clean for a couple hours on Sunday, that's just normal maintenance. If you clean for the entire day Sunday and she's only there part day Friday, all day Saturday, and part day Sunday...then that's a huge portion of the time that she's with you. And she's helping you clean something that was a mess that she didn't create.

I don't think your house should fall into disarray/dishes shouldn't be done, etc. But, I do resent it when, as an adult, I visit my Dad twice a year and he doesn't take time out of his day to talk to me. Whenever my wife and I visit him, he just continues on with whatever he was doing with my stepmother and their kids. We don't have a good relationship, and this is definitely part of the problem.

We have her Friday after school til 7:00 pm Sunday night. Fridays I generally take her to my parents house and her and my Mom do coloring and such, or we all make dinner together and when my Dad gets home he takes her out to the pasture and they feed the horses together. DH meets us there when he gets out of work at 8:00 pm.

When we go home DH is there for the brushing of the teeth ritual and he snuggles with DSD as I read bed time stories.


Saturday is usually planned events... I have a huge family and there is usually a birthday party, or family get together of some sort. DSD loves these and has become buddies with my cousins kids that are her age and she has a blast. If there isn't a family event going on, we typically do something, the park, in October was the Halloween pumpkin patch, next month is when we go do the touring of Christmas lights, things like this. But all day Saturday is fun stuff.

Sunday it's do some chores, take a break and play, do some chores, take a break and eat... it lasts all day, but that is because we take breaks to play with DSD and stuff too. And really our house isn't all messes to be cleaned up. lol Just basic maintenance stuff of vacuuming, mopping, etc.

However, DSD does help clean her room that she makes a mess of. We also give her an allowance for helping with these things. She has a pet hamster here that she helps clean his cage when she is with us, and helps clean her room.

So I do think there is a good balance of fun things as well, as a PP said... we make it a point to show she is an equal family member here, and we involve her in our house.

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#8 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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I think you probably have it nicely in hand, JSMa. And I completely agree with you that your DSD should be involved in your day to day household stuff. I was much older than your DSD when I had to deal with living in two houses. But I would have been unhappy if I was there for 2.5 days every 14 days, but had to do an equal amount of housework with people who were there 14 out of 14 days. And then also had to pitch in for my share at my mom's house.

I guess what I'm saying is, that from my perspective as a stepkid...I think the hardcore maintenance cleaning should be done on one of those other 11.5 days (if at all possible, which it may not be). That's not the same thing as saying that every day your DSD is with you should be like a vacation day.

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#9 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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I guess what I'm saying is, that from my perspective as a stepkid...I think the hardcore maintenance cleaning should be done on one of those other 11.5 days (if at all possible, which it may not be). That's not the same thing as saying that every day your DSD is with you should be like a vacation day.
All Hardcore work is done around here when all the kids are home because we have more help! Stepchildrens' ages are, btw: 13 & 17. I have a son, 17 and we have one together and he is 3.

As a matter of fact this past rememberance day weekend we raked and cleaned the backyard. We have some huge trees in the back that cover the yard in leaves every year and it's a lot of work for just two people. So, Monday late afternoon we all got out there and raked, put leaves in bags etc. Because we were all doing the work it was done in half the time.

Dh has a great relationship with his son. When he built a shed in the backyard his ds helped with a lot of the heavy worked they had a great bonding weekend. As a matter of fact 'we' also built a slide/swing playset for our lo this past summer and dh's son helped. While we were working he (dhs' son) said conversly: "when I'm a dad I'm going to build things with my son"

Dhs' hard work ethic is good role modeling (imho) for his son.

Chores are not left exclusively for the weekends however when things need to get done we don't work it on the 'kid' weekends or not. If something needs to get done we do it. Yes, we do 'fun' stuff too.
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#10 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 02:19 PM
 
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The examples you gave, anitaj71, are different IMHO. Building a shed is a fun, educational activity. Dusting or mopping are not fun, educational activities.

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#11 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 02:25 PM
 
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The examples you gave, anitaj71, are different IMHO. Building a shed is a fun, educational activity. Dusting or mopping are not fun, educational activities.
Eh, my stepdaughter loves to clean the toilet, so we let her. (She's also here about 40% of the time.) Go figure.

We also run errands with her, in part to show that, yes, it's possible to enter a store and leave with ONLY the boring stuff on the list. (Her mother admits she always buys a candy bar or a small toy if she takes SD shopping, because she's tired of the whining.) We'll usually end up doing something fun right after the errand.

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#12 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 02:37 PM
 
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I WISH my parents had cleaned with me. I wish they had taught me cleaning was a normal, healthy, positive activity (which it can be with the right mindset) instead of something to be dreaded.

I remember reading that in Japan, school children help make their own lunch at the school, and help clean up. This seems like a much healthier attitude than the American one that cleaning is so loathsome it must be done as a specialized job, by those at the bottom of the social class.

As long as you balance cleaning with fun over the weekend, I think it's great.

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#13 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you'd have a hard time convincing my DSD that dusting isn't fun. lol You should see her giggling and having a grand time. Sometimes when we are not cleaning yet she will go get the broom or duster and start herself. She just gets a kick out of it for some reason.

Same with vacuuming... she likes to be chased by the hose and runs around giggling and shrieking... we make it sort of game.

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#14 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 03:12 PM
 
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I think you guys are doing fine. Both you and your dh work during the week, you have to clean sometime.

Especially when there are other children in the mix, I think that consistency is best. If you clean on Sundays, you clean on Sundays. It sounds like you guys are good about making it fun.

This sort of thing is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. Kind of the opposite of your problem. We generally only do fun activities when DSD is here. Once the other two kids are older, that will probably change. It isn't fair to them to only be able to go to fun places when DSD is with us.

I would rather our family schedule revolve around what is best for the whole family, not just what is best for one person.

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#15 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 04:08 PM
 
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I think you are doing fine. As a custodial mom....I want my kids to have a good time and feel like everyone is happy to see them but at the same time it does get on my nerves when the other house is a vacation spot and mine is the land of toil. Balance is a good thing.
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#16 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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The examples you gave, anitaj71, are different IMHO. Building a shed is a fun, educational activity. Dusting or mopping are not fun, educational activities.
Building a shed is a lot of work and there was bitching on dhs' sons' side trust me. Dh's sons' comment about building with his own children was about his relationship with his dad. He may have been whining one minute about the work he was doing but he 'got' that, 'that' is what he does with his dad hence he will do that with his kids. The normal everyday stuff. Life is not a party all the time.

You should have heard the whining when we were all raking the piles of leaves in our back yard. My point is not how much fun the kids were having my point is this is their home too and they are treated as such. It doesn't matter that they are here only every other weekend.
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#17 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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You should have heard the whining when we were all raking the piles of leaves in our back yard. My point is not how much fun the kids were having my point is this is their home too and they are treated as such. It doesn't matter that they are here only every other weekend.
I think it's reasonable for kids to be unhappy about this sort of thing. Kids who move from house to house should do one "whole" set of chores. If they're with you 2 days out of 14, but they do as much yard work as you and your DH do, then that's not equitable.

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#18 of 48 Old 11-12-2008, 09:47 PM
 
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I am not currently in a step/blended family with my dh & kids, but I come from one.

I would ask the child. My sister, who was the youngest of us at the time of divorce, remembers the parents, all the steps, trying to read minds while pissed off, and none of those folks ever asked her what she wanted during all those years of Wednesdays and EOWs.

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#19 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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think it's reasonable for kids to be unhappy about this sort of thing. Kids who move from house to house should do one "whole" set of chores. If they're with you 2 days out of 14, but they do as much yard work as you and your DH do, then that's not equitable.
That was the only 'chore' the children were asked to do on a 4 day long weekend. (no dishes, washing or drying, housework etc. ) I make them (including my own children) 3 squares a day including snacks, clean up and do general household maintenance over the weekend. Their dad is driving to and from the rec centre for skating, swimming and their friends' houses. We do some yard work as a family and it's not equitable? It is expected that they whine. That's what kids do when they are taken away from their big screen t.v. , video game(s) etc. to actually get outside and get some work done with us. Poor babies. This also includes my own children

The two family, eow guilt is hard to avoid. There has to be a time when the guilt is let go of and we move on. This situation is not going to change and we have to make the best of it. Good or/and bad.
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#20 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 09:07 AM
 
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I think it's reasonable for kids to be unhappy about this sort of thing. Kids who move from house to house should do one "whole" set of chores. If they're with you 2 days out of 14, but they do as much yard work as you and your DH do, then that's not equitable.
It is too bad that the parents of the kids in blended family situations couldn't just get together and discuss what chores the child does at each house to ensure that the workload is appropriate. I know a lot of co-parents have volatile relationships, but this sort of thing would be ideal. In fact, I will probably bring this up to my DH. We really have no idea what DSD's responsibilities are every-other-week.

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#21 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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Ummm... regardless of whether you have a cleaning schedule or not, is it really a good idea entertaining the child the entire time? I know you may want to, because you don't see the child very often, but it's a good idea for the child to have some time to entertain themselves as well. My Hubby was a "Disneyland Dad" for three years before I came into the picture. My Hubby and my Father-in-Law would literally devote every waking second of every other weekend soley to be entertaining my stepdaughter and doing "fun stuff". I'm sure personality plays into it, but, to this day, she can't stand to be alone and to not have everyone's attention. When she can't have it, she doesn't know what to do with herself and just watches tv.

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Eh, my stepdaughter loves to clean the toilet, so we let her. (She's also here about 40% of the time.) Go figure.
Pssst... ProtoLawyer... I live in Westchester NY and I have two bathrooms...

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#22 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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I know, in our case at least, it is not like we are trying to squeeze a whole week's worth of chores into one weekend. When we are all doing chores, dsd gets a chore to do too-i.e. I might ask her to go and empty the compost bucket while I do the dishes, her dad cleans the bathroom, and my dd cleans with a rag (she's only 19 months). I think it would be unfair if I was, say, telling her that since she wasn't here this week she needs to clean her room, feed the dog, mop the floor and take out the trash too since that's what the other members of the family did. (Obviously this is just a made-up example!). When my dd is older, I'm certainly not going to make dsd complete the same list of chores in the shorter time period that she is here, KWIM? But she is responsible for doing her part while she is here.

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#23 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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I think you are doing fine. As a custodial mom....I want my kids to have a good time and feel like everyone is happy to see them but at the same time it does get on my nerves when the other house is a vacation spot and mine is the land of toil. Balance is a good thing.
Yeah. Kids need to see the realities of life, not just some fantasy. It gets annoying to be the custodial parent and doing the vast majority of the work while the other house is all about fun.
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#24 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ummm... regardless of whether you have a cleaning schedule or not, is it really a good idea entertaining the child the entire time? I know you may want to, because you don't see the child very often, but it's a good idea for the child to have some time to entertain themselves as well. My Hubby was a "Disneyland Dad" for three years before I came into the picture. My Hubby and my Father-in-Law would literally devote every waking second of every other weekend soley to be entertaining my stepdaughter and doing "fun stuff". I'm sure personality plays into it, but, to this day, she can't stand to be alone and to not have everyone's attention. When she can't have it, she doesn't know what to do with herself and just watches tv.

Bolding mine... this is how my DSD is. Her Mom does not have her take responsibility for anything at their house. She doesn't have to clean up her toys or anything, she is baby'ed a lot. She refuses to play by herself for even 10 minutes while I get together dinner, it can lead to meltdowns... she has gotten better with this though.

At her Mom's they live with her Grammy and Uncle, plus her Mom's boyfriend, so there is always an adult available to dote on her. It isn't realistic for our house to run in the same fashion, especially when baby gets here and we are trying to prepare her for when the world is not going to revolve around her anymore.

I think children need reality in their lives as much as we need to preserve their innocence...

DSD's major chores are helping to clean her room. She has her own room and she should be able to put away the toys she takes out and plays with, we shouldn't have to pick up after her just because she is only here EOW. Her other major chore is helping clean her hamster cage. My DH cleans it on weeks she isn't with us... but the weeks she is, she helps... it is her pet.

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#25 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 11:22 AM
 
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Are you talking this harshness about the 4 yr old in your siggy?


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Bolding mine... this is how my DSD is. Her Mom does not have her take responsibility for anything at their house. She doesn't have to clean up her toys or anything, she is baby'ed a lot. She refuses to play by herself for even 10 minutes while I get together dinner, it can lead to meltdowns... she has gotten better with this though.

At her Mom's they live with her Grammy and Uncle, plus her Mom's boyfriend, so there is always an adult available to dote on her. It isn't realistic for our house to run in the same fashion, especially when baby gets here and we are trying to prepare her for when the world is not going to revolve around her anymore.

I think children need reality in their lives as much as we need to preserve their innocence...

DSD's major chores are helping to clean her room. She has her own room and she should be able to put away the toys she takes out and plays with, we shouldn't have to pick up after her just because she is only here EOW. Her other major chore is helping clean her hamster cage. My DH cleans it on weeks she isn't with us... but the weeks she is, she helps... it is her pet.
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#26 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How is it harsh?

She is expected to clean up at school... why not at home?

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#27 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 01:09 PM
 
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I'm sorry for your dsd that you can't see it. It not uncommon for four yr olds to have meltdowns, even when they are with people who adore them. The child is 4; when I was reading your post, I thought you were talking about a young teen.
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#28 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am fully aware it is not uncommon for 4 y/o's to have meltdowns.

However, to have one every single time she cannot get her way or just because seemed a bit much to us. And this isn't just my opinion, but my DH's, other Mom's I know with children this age and other family members with children this age and younger all have commented on it.

Not that all children develop the same... and she has had a rough year. I am not trying to be "harsh" or unrealistic.

I have noticed a significant decrease in the meltdowns over the last month.


We respect her feelings and talk to her about why she may be unable to do something at a given time or why we can't do something with her at a given time... but we can't let her call all the shots either. Or dinner would never get made, and I think it's important to feed children.

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#29 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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I just wanted to very nicely add that I think it is really, really important for the chores the EOW child has to do are in fair proportion to the amount of time they are in your household. I know PP have said this, but I can tell you that my DS, who is almost 11, makes some comment about how he had to clean up someone elses whole room or or do this or that while he was with his father. He gets very frustrated by it, he knows he has to do his part, because he does at home, but he doesn't like to go there and clean the bedroom he 'shares' (none of his stuff, not even a bed for him are in it) with 2 stepbrothers while they play. Yes they are told to clean (they are 9 and 5) but don't get in to trouble when they don't, but DS does get in trouble if he doesn't clean so he ends up cleaning the whole room. His comment to me is usually something about why should he clean up their mess, if he picks up what mess he made, should he have to pick up after them too?

Just something to think about.

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#30 of 48 Old 11-13-2008, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodmomma76 View Post
I just wanted to very nicely add that I think it is really, really important for the chores the EOW child has to do are in fair proportion to the amount of time they are in your household. I know PP have said this, but I can tell you that my DS, who is almost 11, makes some comment about how he had to clean up someone elses whole room or or do this or that while he was with his father. He gets very frustrated by it, he knows he has to do his part, because he does at home, but he doesn't like to go there and clean the bedroom he 'shares' (none of his stuff, not even a bed for him are in it) with 2 stepbrothers while they play. Yes they are told to clean (they are 9 and 5) but don't get in to trouble when they don't, but DS does get in trouble if he doesn't clean so he ends up cleaning the whole room. His comment to me is usually something about why should he clean up their mess, if he picks up what mess he made, should he have to pick up after them too?

Just something to think about.

I would never allow this sort of thing to happen in our house. I beleive in equality and fairnes. Everyone who makes the mess should help clean it up... I beleive in teamwork and responsibility for oneself.

DSD is never asked to clean up messes that are not her's. She does not share a room. No one even goes into her room when she is not here, except perhaps me to check on laundry and do it if her basket is full.

Once DD is old enough to play with DSD... they will be expected to work together to clean up any mess they make. I do not beleive in having different rules for different children. Obviously pending on ages, one may need more direction than the other. But we all work together as a family.

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