I need help, how do I make my teen understand why she must do her shores - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 08-10-2010, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an overall good teen, she has good grades, she is a good sister, she trust me with her school drama, etc. But, she is driving me crazy with her "I forget do my shores", is not only the shores but almost anything I ask her to do. She most of the time ask me to do it later and she end up "forgetting".
Now, if I told her to do it right away she would, but do I really have to keep telling her what to do even if she has been on charge of the dishes for 3 years?
I understand teen and no so teens forget about things that we don't really care, I actually forget sometimes about things I care, but this is getting very frustrating and I don't know how to deal with it anymore.
Almost everyday she forget to do the dishes, last night I ask her to pick up her stuff from the floor in a commercial but the stuff was there still today morning.
I don't want to keep just repeating my self over and over, is any way I can make her understand why she should do it without me asking?
She doesn't have a phone (she lose it) and she doesn't have a computer, only thing she has is an allowance.
She is into reading and drawing, and even if she has friends at school she really don't see them out of school, so I ma at lost in how to punish her since reading is actually something I like her to do so I don't want to punish her without books.
Any help?
Sorry this is too long, I am very sad that the great relationship we use to have is being destroy by her "I forget"

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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#2 of 27 Old 08-10-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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We're a family that doesn't have assigned chores. So, take my advice for what it is.

Perhaps you should have a talk with her about what she views as her responsibility around the house. If she has some buy-in and choice about what she helps you with, she might be more likely to get it done.

Your last comment makes me feel sad: I hope you're not letting your great relationship be ruined by her decision to not engage in housework. Be frank and open about it and don't let things fester, but at the same time be sure that you are being reasonable and not nagging her.

Hope this helps you.
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#3 of 27 Old 08-10-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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I think you have a couple of options.

If she's not good at doing things later, you could try telling her she has to do them right away when you ask. No "pick up your stuff during a commercial," turn off the tv and make her do it right away.

My mom was the champion of doing your chore for you and making you wish you'd done it yourself. You left your clothes on the floor? Oh gosh, she put them in the laundry for you. All together. Cold water wash. Cycle started right before you got up, sweetie, I'm sorry, I guess that did make it hard to shower. Oh, and you wanted to *wear* that shirt today? Too bad. Dishes not done? They're just piled up in your usual spot at the breakfast table, hon. I'll put the breakfast dishes with them and you can get to them later. It was kind of diabolical, but it worked.
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#4 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the advice. I am trying to don't let this chores thing affect our relationship but some days I just get so upset and mad that things don't see to get any better and that we are just running in circles.
I'm going to talk to her and see if there is a reason why she keeps procrastinating, maybe Onlyboys is right and she just think I am asking too much.
I really don't think I am but she may does and maybe that is why she is acting like this.
I had a good laugh for MeepyCat, your mom sounds like mine too, lol.

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#5 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 02:34 AM
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My sons have few chores, but the ones they have are insisted upon. When they get lazy or "forget," I tell them that if I have to spend time doing their work, then that's less time I have to spend with them or taking them places. It's also less time I have for my own work (the kind I get paid for), so that means less money to do fun stuff or buy things. Usually that gets the point across.

I have also done like MeepyCat's mom has done...especially with the dishes. Four people eat here; all four can help with dishes. If the dishwasher doesn't get unloaded, then the person responsible gets to unload AND reload the sink full of dirty dishes. Dirty dishes sort of gross my kids out, for some reason.

Also, having a set time every day for certain chores makes it easier. Work now, play later.
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#6 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 03:08 AM
 
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we dont have an assigned list, i just tell him when to do something and he does it
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#7 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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We don't have chores either. When something needs to be done, I ask one of the kids to do it, and they do. Perhaps your daughter is tired of dishes and needs another chore? Maybe she could do vacuuming or sorting laundry for a while. Dishes do seem like drudgery if you do them every day.

When my kids were balky or "forgot" to do something I asked them to do, I "forgot" to take them to a friends house or that I said we would go out for lunch. It got through better than constant nagging did (and I nagged for a long time before I finally saw the light).
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#8 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 12:38 PM
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We don't have chores either. When something needs to be done, I ask one of the kids to do it, and they do.
I just want to mention that that sort of thing works best when everyone is home together for most of the day. I WOTH and go to school, and my teenagers are here, there, and everywhere. It's most helpful if the kids help around the house without me having to chase them down and ask them. Sometimes I leave for work and DS is still asleep, and then when I get back from work he's gone to a friend's house. When am I supposed to ask him to unload the dishwasher?

DS1 leaves for work at 6am. I'm still in bed. When he gets home, I'm frequently at work. When I get home, he's frequently gone to bed. The trash still needs to go out.
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#9 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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I didn't mean to imply that I ask them to do something and it happens immediately. I have some of the same issues you do. I ask them, or leave a note - the trash needs to go out tonight, please empty the dishwasher before I get home, have a salad ready so I can fix the rest of the meal.
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#10 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 01:33 PM
 
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I just wanted to say-- I really wish that my parents had given me more chores as a child/teen. Not only did I not know how to do anything when I left the home, but I don't have the discipline to do maintenance chores. I also feel ashamed of how little I helped out at home, now that I see other teens helping out so much more.

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#11 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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[QUOTE=enkmom;15724330
When my kids were balky or "forgot" to do something I asked them to do, I "forgot" to take them to a friends house or that I said we would go out for lunch. It got through better than constant nagging did (and I nagged for a long time before I finally saw the light).[/QUOTE]

Awesome advice!

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#12 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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I just wanted to say-- I really wish that my parents had given me more chores as a child/teen. Not only did I not know how to do anything when I left the home, but I don't have the discipline to do maintenance chores. I also feel ashamed of how little I helped out at home, now that I see other teens helping out so much more.
i come across that a lot at work. we get peole fresh outvof hs not knowing how to cook or clean. its really important these life skills are taught
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#13 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I had a chore list. I liked that. We had a reward for doing it (allowance) and if we didn't, we had to do it anyway within a time-frame, or we couldn't go out.

One thing my mom did NOT explain to me, that I think would have at least maybe got through a little more, was that in a family, everyone has responsibilities. Shared labor allows us to live together and get more done. Food gets cooked because mom's not scrubbing the tub. We can't afford to eat out, so your alternative is cold cereal. You might feel this is obvious and perhaps it is but it wasn't to me as a teen.

So, in addition to a chore list with a specific reward (however small), plus a daily chat at breakfast (a chat being--look at your chore list/umph), you might want to explain why it's important to you that she do these things.

It's not only that she needs to learn them. She WILL learn them when she really needs to (her roomates are pissed at her). It's that she is benefiting from being part of the family and she has concomitant obligations to help.

If she wants to re-design those, you can look at it, but if she does not wish to pull her weight, she needs to find a job to buy you all some meals. (Maybe she'd rather cook the meals?)

I think that would have hit home for me. I need things spelled out and hammered in.

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#14 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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My mom was the champion of doing your chore for you and making you wish you'd done it yourself. You left your clothes on the floor? Oh gosh, she put them in the laundry for you. All together. Cold water wash. Cycle started right before you got up, sweetie, I'm sorry, I guess that did make it hard to shower. Oh, and you wanted to *wear* that shirt today? Too bad. Dishes not done? They're just piled up in your usual spot at the breakfast table, hon. I'll put the breakfast dishes with them and you can get to them later. It was kind of diabolical, but it worked.
That's kinda how I do things too.

My Mom was the rant, rage and overreact type. So, I try really hard to never act like she does.
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#15 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One thing my mom did NOT explain to me, that I think would have at least maybe got through a little more, was that in a family, everyone has responsibilities. Shared labor allows us to live together and get more done. Food gets cooked because mom's not scrubbing the tub. We can't afford to eat out, so your alternative is cold cereal. You might feel this is obvious and perhaps it is but it wasn't to me as a teen.

So, in addition to a chore list with a specific reward (however small), plus a daily chat at breakfast (a chat being--look at your chore list/umph), you might want to explain why it's important to you that she do these things.

It's not only that she needs to learn them. She WILL learn them when she really needs to (her roomates are pissed at her). It's that she is benefiting from being part of the family and she has concomitant obligations to help.
.
Edna, I share your point, I know eventually she will have to do this things on her own(when she moves on) or leave in a mess. I also know that teens are difficult but they get better (I am hoping for this, lol). my mom told me I was like her, or maybe worst, so much that she one day told me she felt sorry for his grandkids (she told me this when I was 15 and haven't any kids) because I was so messy she is afraid I would not even pick up their diapers. You have no idea how much that stuck on my head, no need to say that even if I am not the most anal person I am not as messy as I use to and I learn to appreciate the order and keep everything in the right place.
I just wish my daughter would understand why is important to be part of a team and to learn to do this things that in a future will help her.
I wish we could spend more time talking and enjoying things instead of argue about the same thing, I really hope this is just a face and that she will be back my sweet girl, I miss her a lot and I start doubt my parent skills

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#16 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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I learn to appreciate the order and keep everything in the right place.
I just wish my daughter would understand why...
This is what happened to me. Just as I got a handle on organizing my own stuff and keeping my place clean we went and had a child. And so the cycle begins again...

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#17 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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My mom was the champion of doing your chore for you and making you wish you'd done it yourself. You left your clothes on the floor? Oh gosh, she put them in the laundry for you. All together. Cold water wash. Cycle started right before you got up, sweetie, I'm sorry, I guess that did make it hard to shower. Oh, and you wanted to *wear* that shirt today? Too bad. Dishes not done? They're just piled up in your usual spot at the breakfast table, hon. I'll put the breakfast dishes with them and you can get to them later. It was kind of diabolical, but it worked.
Would NOT work with my almost 16 yo. But if I have to supervise her, and it eats into my time, then...

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When my kids were balky or "forgot" to do something I asked them to do, I "forgot" to take them to a friends house or that I said we would go out for lunch. It got through better than constant nagging did (and I nagged for a long time before I finally saw the light).
It does help, but not immediately.
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#18 of 27 Old 08-11-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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Get her a cell phone and program reminders for the chores into it.
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#19 of 27 Old 08-12-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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Edna, I share your point, I know eventually she will have to do this things on her own(when she moves on) or leave in a mess. I also know that teens are difficult but they get better (I am hoping for this, lol). my mom told me I was like her, or maybe worst, so much that she one day told me she felt sorry for his grandkids (she told me this when I was 15 and haven't any kids) because I was so messy she is afraid I would not even pick up their diapers. You have no idea how much that stuck on my head, no need to say that even if I am not the most anal person I am not as messy as I use to and I learn to appreciate the order and keep everything in the right place.
I just wish my daughter would understand why is important to be part of a team and to learn to do this things that in a future will help her.
I wish we could spend more time talking and enjoying things instead of argue about the same thing, I really hope this is just a face and that she will be back my sweet girl, I miss her a lot and I start doubt my parent skills
It is just hard for modern teens to see how work gets divided, is all, because so much is automatic. I'm sure you're not a bad parent! I mean... she's living in aplace where if stuff doesn't get picked up, there are no natural consequences. She can leave it there (unlike on a dirt floor) for weeks and even months and then it gets washed and it seems okay.

But clutter isn't good for the mind, though I recall being so cluttered as a teen I couldn't think straight anyway, so a tidy room was the last of my worries. LOL.

Can you tell her, in one sentence, that you're frustrated because the family is lagging, and ask her to come up with a chore schedule that she feels is fair considering the benefits that you all get? Sit with her while she does it. Perhaps give her a list of ALL the stuff EVERYONE does, including work outside the home. She can divide it up herself. Then she can see that you're not asking her to do something for YOU--you're asking her to do it for the family.

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#20 of 27 Old 08-12-2010, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Get her a cell phone and program reminders for the chores into it.
You know, this maybe work, I know I use my computer to remind me of doctor appointments so she may will need this extra help too.

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#21 of 27 Old 08-15-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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The underlying problem here is that you're feeling frustrated with her, not that there's clutter on the living room floor or that the dishes aren't being done. She's making promises and not following through, and your'e getting angry and feeling taken advantage of.

You need to sit down and talk with her. Let her know how her "forgetfulness" is making you feel. Work together to come up with alternatives that work for both of you. Maybe you need to switch the chores around, give her something less "time sensitive" to do and take care of the dishes yourself. Maybe you need to stop giving her "ok, 5 more minutes" or "next commercial" to do chores. She's proven time and time again that her brain just isn't working like that right now- she's too easily distracted and simply won't get back to the chores later, so they have to be done "now."

Do you have a DVR? We're able to pause TV shows in the middle and then restart them a few minutes later without missing any of the show (and then be able to fast forward through commercials later.) If you have this device, then it's truly not a big deal to pause wherever she is and do chores immediately. If you don't, then it's added incentive for her to get work done BEFORE her shows come on.

I have one "forgetful" teen and one "responsible with chores" teen. The challenge in my house is to keep the chores fair and not let the "responsible" one do more than her fair share, which leads to her being resentful and makes all of us miserable. The "forgetful" teen isn't given "repetetive, time sensitive" chores such as emptying the dishwasher- she takes out the trash once a week, scrubs the bathtub once a month, does major cleaning/decluttering projects once every few weeks ,etc. She also does laundry when I specifically ask her to do it "right away," though I'm generally the one in charge of laundry. She pulls her weight around the house but isnt' expected to to the little things that she's going to forget to do. My other teen takes on more of those kinds of chores.

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#22 of 27 Old 08-15-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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I was recently diagnosed with ADD inattentive type. Growing up, I forgot things ALL.THE.TIME. Doesn't matter if it was stuff that was REALLY important to me or things I was used to for years. It still managed to slip my mind.

Apparently that is normal for girls with ADD especially with no one catching it.

Now I don't know much about your daughter so I could be way off base but maybe there is something going on that truly makes it HARD for her to remember. With her being a good student, does she seem to require going above and beyond to get homework done on time? Does she seem to have other challenges besides being really forgetful? It might be worth it to look down other avenues of possibility.

ADD or not, I would agree that the best thing to do is make a chore chart. I had one and it was posted right on the refridgerator. I had it til I moved out at 18 and some odd months. I couldn't forget what my chores were for the day because anytime I wanted to eat, there it was reminding me. If she has her own bathroom, it might help to have things posted on the mirror in there too to help remind her.

If she is anything like me at all, she probably feels guilt for being so forgetful and hurting you. She probably does understand the importance of doing chores as expected. I'd definitely have a talk with her about it and working together to problem solve such as the reminders posted wherever works best.

As for me remembering... ADD wasn't noticed in me til I had a baby and needed to learn to juggle things. It took over a year of completely drowning with a messy house well worse than the 'don't worry about it, baby comes first' schpeel people give for new babies as well as a serious marital problem caused before I got it figured out and am now working to be and feel better.

Yes, eventually she'll have to learn. She'll definitely have to learn to do all this for herself someday. Hopefully though with your guidance, she'll learn before she has to hit bottom.

I'd also like to add that ADD is more common in those with a family history of it. I am POSITIVE my mom has ADD inattentive type as well but has learned unhealthy ways of managing it. My brother is also being diagnosed with it as well and unusual for boys, inattentive type for him too. Based on your same problems as a teenager, it would definitely make sense. Of course, I'm only going off ONE symptom here.
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#23 of 27 Old 08-15-2010, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's making promises and not following through, and your'e getting angry and feeling taken advantage of.
Maybe you need to stop giving her "ok, 5 more minutes" or "next commercial" to do chores. She's proven time and time again that her brain just isn't working like that right now- she's too easily distracted and simply won't get back to the chores later, so they have to be done "now."

a) I feel that she knows how to work me, I mean, I make a very bad mistake, I let her do the "Let me watch this before" or the "5 minutes later", just because I want her to learn to do this things not just to make ME happy but to teach her how to live better her whole life.
I also think that I normally get upset and after being upset I calm down and talk and everything go back to normal so she only have to hold on and she will get away with it.
I want her to do this her part because she understand that everybody in the house has to cooperate one way or other, and because I want her to learn to do this things for her own good.
Honestly, sometimes I spend more time talking to her and trying to make her understand that the time it will take me do the dishes my own.
But while I wait to see of I found the formula for do this I think that at least it wont be any more "5 more minutes/next commercial".

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#24 of 27 Old 08-15-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd also like to add that ADD is more common in those with a family history of it. Based on your same problems as a teenager, it would definitely make sense. Of course, I'm only going off ONE symptom here.
I actually thought about this at one point, I do have very bad memory, to the point to forget important things in my life.
However, I see a difference between her bad memory and mine.
When I am studding it takes a lot for me to memorize or learn any paragraph, for her, she barely study and get good grates.
She remember very good things that are good for her while I many times forget things that are good for me.
Now, my bad memory probably have something to do with her attitude, because many times I ask her to do something and I forget until maybe the next day when I need a glass and we don't have any clean ones, or when I get really mad at her and 2 hours later I am colling her like nothing is going on until I remember, wait, I was mad at you.

[/QUOTE]If she is anything like me at all, she probably feels guilt for being so forgetful and hurting you. She probably does understand the importance of doing chores as expected. I'd definitely have a talk with her about it and working together to problem solve such as the reminders posted wherever works best.[/QUOTE]

I think sometimes she is, not always but sometimes I really can see in her eyes that she gets mad at her self, I can see that in her mind she is going to change, but for some reason she doesn't.
Sometimes when I see her like that I wonder if maybe she is trying but I am asking too much.
But is difficult for me to digest this because I came from a poor family where my grandma had to cook for all her brother and sisters, where my own mom was taking care of her older sister and be in charge of many chores at the house and where me at her age I was already doing a lot stuff.
Many kids/preteens back in Mexico are doing more then she has ever have, I don't say that she should go and work to pay her own food or that she should do as much things that some of these poor kids do, but is sad for me to see that she is the first generation (American) in my side of the family that is not capable of follow one chore without me having to ask her everyday, it scares me to be honest. I look around and I see how much she has (well, we are not rich but i mean how much she has in comparation of me and my mom) and I am wonder if maybe this is all my fault, maybe I am just a bad parent that haven't teach her the joy of hard work and take proud of being capable of being independent.
I have feel so bad because all we went through back in Mexico that I have being trying to pay her back all this by giving her stuff and allowing her to "do later" or be afraid of her being more disapointed at me.
Oh my, I think I am having a revelation right now, maybe she is doing this because she knows she can get away with it because she knows that I feel bad for what we went throught?!!
That will be very awful, I really will don't know how to what to do in that case, I think I would rather her being just a very lazy teen.

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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#25 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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I doubt that she's consciously doing this because " she knows she can pull at your heartstrings and get away with it," although that might be happening subconsciously.

My younger daughter (the "forgetful" one) probably has ADD, and I probably have it as well. I really don't like labels; I prefer to say "this is the way her brain works, that's the way her brain works, and they need different techniques to keep the chores fair."

If your DD does have ADD, then the TV itself could be making her symptoms worse- something about the rapidly flashing lights affecting the ADD brain's ability to focus.

Try not to get mad at her for not being able to do what she's not capable of doing. Instead, you need to set the limits around her actual abilities. I can tell DD1 "please clean the kitchen" and she'll usually do so. But DD2 needs to be told "clear the kitchen table: put the food away, transfer leftovers into containers and put those containers in the fridge, put the dishes in the dishwasher, take the dishes from the sink and put them in the dishwasher, put the silverware in the dishwasher, wipe down the counters and the stovetop, add detergent and run the dishwasher." If I forget to mention a step (like putting the dishes from the sink, and not just from the table, into the dishwasher) it simply won't get done.

I can bet that the poor kids in Mexico, even the ones with ADD, aren't being distracted by electronics: they have chores to do, and if they forget to do something, a relative will quickly (and loudly?) remind them what needs to be done.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#26 of 27 Old 08-23-2010, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:
I have tried all your advice and add some of my own. We had a long conversation, I told her how exactly felt with this. I told her I just needed to see some light, she told me how she felt too. She felt I was always after her and yell for anything. I told her I was just so tired and that I was at that point that even little things seem bigger because we haven't able to fix things that have been going on for years (like doing her chores without everyday reminding).
We made a deal, I will stop arguing and she will change at least one thing of her bad behavior (to show me this can work).
All since then, she keeps forgetting running the dishes
My husband got her the Sims game, I wasn't happy but I thought it would give me another option to make her do the dishes, didn't work either, she did start putting the dishes at 7pm (that is the deal) but didn't run the dishwasher before go to bed.
I lost my head yesterday and I spank her
I feel awful, I really do. I am against spanking, specially at this age, she is a teen!
But this thing has going on for so long, I am just tired.
Still, she forgot dishes again last night, I don't know what to do anymore.
Today I just thought a new approach, I am putting all my hopes on it.
I draw a very colorful paper with big, clear laters saying:
Have you do your chores today?
I hope this really work because I run out of ideas and I totally don't want to lose my head again.

SAHM, married to my geeky husband and mom of 12 year old girl and 2year old
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#27 of 27 Old 08-24-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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Turning on the dishwasher takes less than a minute. Loading up the dishes is the time consuming part.

Every day, before you go to bed, go through the house to double-check that things are done. If she forgot to turn on the dishwasher, then YOU turn it on.

This little detail- turning on the dishwasher- is HARD for her to remember. It can't be done too soon or she can't add another dish or two that she might find 5 minutes later. So she gets into the habit of loading the dishwasher but not running it yet. Then, by the time she's sure she's got all the dishes in there, she glances around the kitchen, sees no more dishes to add to the machine, and walks out of the room, completely forgetting to turn it on.

If she was hand-washing all the dishes (much more work total) she wouldn't have to do this- she'd be washing them as she went through the work.

Once again, you're expecting something of her that she can't do, and getting frustrated when she doesn't follow through. You need to change your expectations. Her job is to load the dishwasher, but it needs to be YOUR responsibility to make sure it's run before bed.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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