Almost 11yo and chores - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I'm getting quite frustrated with my 10.5yo and chores.

She is a super-duper sensitive child. If I speak to her with the slightest note of anger in my voice, she'll shut down and do absolutely nothing.

If I give her a list of things to do, she'll forget to do them.

If I tell her things must get done "right now" she feels overwhelmed and flips out- and then shuts down and does absolutely nothing.

Right now she's reading a book. I asked her to complete cleaning her room. She asked to finish the chapter first. If I don't let her finish the chapter first, she'll have a complete meltdown. If I do, she might forget what I asked her to do by the time the chapter is over.

What often ends up happening is that the 12yo ends up doing all the chores and then severely resents her little sister for it.

I don't function well in a messy house. I've been insisting lately that the dishes and the laundry get kept up with. I have a problem if I can't prepare a meal or get dressed in the morning. I truly beleive these are age-appropriate expectations: empty the dishwasher (I do it sometimes too), clear the table, change the tablecloth when necessary, refill the dishwasher as needed, or at least get the dishes piled neatly in the sink if the dishwasher is full. We do all of these together. Laundry means I wash the clothes and the girls put away their stuff. I also expect their room to be reasonably neat and tidy- I should be able to walk in there and help hang things in the closet if DD2 needs help.

At the present moment, there is a mattress on the floor blocking most of the walking space between the door and the closet, "hangup" laundry on said mattress, a pile of blankets on the floor. Plus there's another load of laundry in the bathroom (getting tripped over) that also needs to be put away. This just came out of the dryer.

Why is there a mattress on the floor? Because DD decided to rearange stuff in the room, by herself, without doing prep work (such as making sure the space under her bed was clear before taking the second mattress off the top of her bed) after explicitely being told to put away laundry before dealing with the mattress. Moving the mattress from the top of her bed to underneath it could have taken about 10 minutes if we'd worked together and done things in the proper order. Instead, it's been blocking all the floor space for several hours.

Yes, I'm angry. And so is my 12yo. I don't know how to keep that out of my voice, or if I should. DD needs to understand that her behavior isnt' always appropriate,yet I don't want her to just start shutting down again. I've found I'm a lot calmer when the house is in order, and the kids have noticed that as well. But then I get royally pissed off when I'm the only one cleaning (again, I'm talking about dishes and laundry and basic tidying up here, I'm not making anybody scub the toilet.) Is it really that hard to NOT throw your coat on the living room floor?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
Ruthla is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 05:42 PM
Banned
 
~member~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: on a lily pad
Posts: 11,133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I hear your frustration. I don't have any advice, but wanted to share that my 10 yr olds do their own laundry and clean their own rooms. They don't do dishes and they don't sweep or mop. They do scrub toilets, bathtub and sinks.
I think for us it was taking into consideration what they WILL do and going with that.

Hope you get some answers that will work for you and your family.
~member~ is offline  
#3 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I'm just fed up with re-washing clothes that fell on the floor before anybody put them away.

Having the kids wash the clothes themselves doesn't seem to work very well because there is one washing machine and dryer for all of us to share, and I can't have the kids doing laundry when I need to do a load, or leaving stuff in the machine when I need it, etc. It messes up my routine which messes up my equilibrium. So now I'm pressuring them to get the laundry put away promtly so it doesn't fall on the floor before it gets worn. They resent that but I see it as a natural consequence of all the laundry falling on the floor if they dont'.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
Ruthla is offline  
#4 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 06:16 PM
 
3lilmonsters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can totally understand your frustration. I've had to deal with kids that age in the past and it can be frustrating, imo. I think most of what I've encountered is that they're so big and seem so old...yet in someways they aren't that much different from the little ones.

What I've done with kids that I've babysat that age (I do realize this is different because they aren't doing stuff like laundry and dishes, but I do require that they pick up after themselves a reasonable amount) is not that much different than what I do with my own children. I base their jobs on their preferences whenever possible. When we're cleaning up my dd will often fold laundry or wash dishes and my ds will often pick up the entry way just because those are the jobs each one prefers. When we need to clean up, I've found the key in getting cheerful help (or as close to that as I can get) is to give plenty of warning. For example, my kids (well, the older two) put their own laundry away when i'm done folding it. When the dryer stops I'll warn them that I'm folding laundry now. They know that in about 5 minutes they'll have to put their clothes away. When it comes up they just do it...whereas if I just ask them out of the blue to put their clothes away it turns into a struggle.

Another thing that seems to help is to have everyone do their work together. We have tidy times throughout the day (often around the time I'm finishing folding laundry) and everyone just takes a few minutes to help straighten up. It seems to be better when this time is right before a transition, like a meal or going out. It gives us all something to work for.
3lilmonsters is offline  
#5 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
OK, so how do we "all work together" when the girls start bickering every time they're in the same room together?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
Ruthla is offline  
#6 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 10:19 PM
 
3lilmonsters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That I'm not sure I can give much advice on. The kids I've babysat I've had for limited amounts of time so it was easy to head of the arguing by distraction - or separation (for example having one hang up the jackets and putting the shoes away while the other cleans up from snack or what have you). Though this is quite obviously a short term solution. Unless your house is huge, I can't see it working.

I come from a good size family, and I have to say that not only do I think that conflict between sibs is normal, but I think that it's healthy. Allowing them to work it out on their own to some extent will teach them valuable lessons in work ethic and communication, imo. That's not to say that I think you should just let them go at it. I just mentioned this because I don't know what size family you come from and I have really been surprised at the number of people I have met that were only children that thought that their children bickering meant they had somehow completely screwed up as a mom.

Just to clarify, when I mentioned doing your work together I didn't mean necessarily all tackling a task together. I just meant at the same time. When I would like the kids to clean their rooms it gets done alot faster and with no complaints if I'm doing mine at the same time. Or if one knows that the other is upstairs getting laundry while they're downstairs clearing the table (and of course I'm somewhere doing something to help too) there seems to be more motivation to get the work done and less resentment.
3lilmonsters is offline  
#7 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 11:20 PM
 
GuildJenn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 4,517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm kind of talking out of my behind here since I'm years away from this but with my niece I know she gets overwhelmed by a general task like "clean your room." She does much better with something like "I'm going to set a timer for 5 minutes and you work on tidying up your desk; go!"

So I wonder if both breaking down the work to be done into smaller segments and setting a timer would help, at least as a bridge to more independent chore work. (You could use good music instead and when it ends the chore time is over.)

Obviously it won't help with something like the mattress, which I guess was a choice on her part. :-)

My other suggestion is to ask her what would help her with it. At her age she might have some good ideas.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
GuildJenn is offline  
#8 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 11:53 PM
 
3lilmonsters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think that sort of thing has to do with personality, and recognizing it can help alot. I have an adult sister who is like that. She either breaks each task into very small segments (like instead of cleaning the living room she would list neaten the computer desk, straighten the book case, clear off the end table...) I think she's just to dynamic to be bothered with a big long task of cleaning the living room all at once.
3lilmonsters is offline  
#9 of 12 Old 02-26-2007, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lilmonsters View Post
I just mentioned this because I don't know what size family you come from and I have really been surprised at the number of people I have met that were only children that thought that their children bickering meant they had somehow completely screwed up as a mom.

Just to clarify, when I mentioned doing your work together I didn't mean necessarily all tackling a task together. I just meant at the same time. When I would like the kids to clean their rooms it gets done alot faster and with no complaints if I'm doing mine at the same time. Or if one knows that the other is upstairs getting laundry while they're downstairs clearing the table (and of course I'm somewhere doing something to help too) there seems to be more motivation to get the work done and less resentment.
I grew up with one older brother and we always had our own rooms, plus a living room AND a den, and a soundproof basement.

Now, I'm living with 3 kids in a 4 room, 2 bedroom apt. The only sofa is in front of the TV, making it hard to get lost in a book if somebody else is watching something.

Growing up, we had complete freedom to trash our rooms (with clutter) because the door could just be closed and it didn't really affect anybody else. My kids share a room so the clutter affects a sibling. There's less overall space than I had growing up- no "own room" to retreat to, no "living room" to read in while people were watching TV in the "den."

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
Ruthla is offline  
#10 of 12 Old 02-27-2007, 12:52 AM
 
3lilmonsters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New England
Posts: 386
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When I was growing up there were 6 kids, 2 adults in a three bedroom small-ish place. It was crowded. Sadly my parents were under the impression that children should not fight (my father was separated from his brothers for alot of his childhood so it wasn't like they had real sibling type relationships and my mother had two siblings, but one was significantly older, the other significantly younger, so again it wasn't typical). And so they pretty much banned us from fighting. We still fought, but behind their back, and without a parent there to intervene when it got too intense....it just wasn't good.

But that's a whole 'nother story.
3lilmonsters is offline  
#11 of 12 Old 02-27-2007, 06:05 PM
 
lolar2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 6,403
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Some people (kids and adults) do well with scheduled chores. Not a to-do list for the day or week, and not a "do this now" thing, but like a year's worth of "it's my job to vacuum the living room every Wednesday at 9 p.m. and sweep the kitchen every morning after breakfast" or whatever. Or I've heard of some families doing a rotation monthly. Maybe your 10.5 yo is one of those people.
lolar2 is offline  
#12 of 12 Old 02-27-2007, 08:03 PM
 
Teakafrog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 368
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
Some people (kids and adults) do well with scheduled chores. Not a to-do list for the day or week, and not a "do this now" thing, but like a year's worth of "it's my job to vacuum the living room every Wednesday at 9 p.m. and sweep the kitchen every morning after breakfast" or whatever. Or I've heard of some families doing a rotation monthly. Maybe your 10.5 yo is one of those people.
That's what we do with our 10.5yo son. He knows to clean the cat box, feed the cats, feed the dogs, then clean his room. He has a list he can check off when it's done, but he doesn't usually use it anymore--he did at first. Knowing that there is a routine for a certain time of day (after school) helps keep him on track. He does need reminders, but we just go down the list and say "Is this done?"
Teakafrog is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off