Find myself not asking DD 10 to do something for fear she will snap at me... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-05-2002, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Now generally, my daughter is a delightful girl and we get along fine and she still tells me I'm the "best mommy I could ever have." But when I ask her to pick up after herself, or help me with a chore, or practice her instrument, she often gets upset and says things like, "I know, I know, you don't have to remind me all the time," (though she won't get to it otherwise) or my personal (NOT) favorite, "In a minute." I feel like I'm just buying into her plan of avoiding her responsibilities when I edit myself like this. At the same time, I wonder if I really am trying to control her too much.

Doesn't feel to me like I am--just want a reasonalbly clean house and have everyone pitch in.

Any insights?
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#2 of 6 Old 08-05-2002, 02:08 AM
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I think the first thing I would look it is whether all of these were things I needed to be making her do. My daughter (9) does theater, and her rehearsing, line-memorizing, and singing practice are all her deal, between her and the director. If she's not off-book by the required date, she may be cut. Softball and soccer work the same way - if she doesn't practice, she won't get to play the positions she wants and she won't do as well during the games. I am available to help if she asks, but I'm not going to take over those reponsibilities.

My daughter hates it when I remind her of things, to. She;s been doing a play these past couple of weekends where she plays 2 characters, and one has a total costume change. I was driving her berserk asking if she had her Lily-shoes and her fishnets and her red lipstick ... finally I sat down and wrote everything she needed to bring on the whiteboard (I love our whiteboard!) and we tried to bag everything by character, and then before we left we went down the list... maybe you could come up with something like that?

I also try to be really aware when asking for help... sometimes it looks like Rain isn't doing anything, but she is taking some much-needed relaxation time, or she's planning something, or whatever. I try to be aware that I may be interupting something important with my requests. I usually phrase it as "When you get a chance, could you please___?" and then I walk away and don't say anything for a few hours - she does a lot more if it's on her schedule, not mine, and she seems happier aboput helping when she feels more in control of it.


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#3 of 6 Old 08-09-2002, 01:53 PM
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I was getting pretty annoyed and burnt out a few months ago, too, about this very thing, and resentful of being put in the position of being a nag. I do still have to be a sort of foreman in the mornings and at transition times (8yo D), and I have found that remembering to thank her even when it's something she has to do has helped a lot. For instance, letting her know by thanks and appreciation that it really is a big help to me to have her wipe up the bathroom well every evening after she's done using it. I've gotten stable in terms of making sure everything gets done; as school starts next Wednesday I'm going to relax a little, expect reminders and remind myself to be *really*nice about it, and flexible too. Once we've adjusted to school I would like to move toward less reminding. This may be an unrealistic expectation.

As the last reply said, I've also found that giving her a chance helps with a cooperative attitude. I can't be so open ended as "when you have a chance?" (I'm sure it won't work, though that tells more about me than her! ), but I do say, "when you reach a good place to take a break," "how much do you have left in that chapter? oh, that's a while... could you mark your place and just do this real quick?" "the cats are hungry"- those statements from How to Talk So Kids Will Listen... are really helpful now she's 8

There's still plenty of grumbling but no snapping anymore, and it feels much nicer. I probably sound nicer too, and when I have to be firm, those times when I have to say, "take your shower *now* please," are more effective, and less exhausting for me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has to think about this, though, because I often look at baby pics and wonder, "where is she? where'd she go, and when did it happen?"
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#4 of 6 Old 09-02-2002, 09:56 PM
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There is a great book about alernative ways of dealing with people in problem situations called Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. It's an older book and I have also been to a presentation by Pryor that was great. Rather that asking (telling) your daughter to do what she should know she should have already done there are a number of other ways you can handle the situation. The one I use often is say it in a note. I'll put a note on the bathroom door like pick up clothes in room by 10:00. This gives the child some flexibility on when and how to do it.

Another good book is How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and there are workshop supplies you can order and start a group to learn better skills to use with kids.

My problem is that when my kids fail to do basic stuff I feel that they don't care about me. Logically I know that isn't the reason but the feeling washes over me. I have mobility disabilities and I hate when they leave things on the floor and I can't get around.
Usually kids (men) don't do things with the intent of making you feel unloved - they are just that way. It is important to not feel like you have to do everything for everyone to take the easy way out. My grandmother did that with my mom and she is a very difficult person to live with because she expects everything to be done for her. She has not had one good relationship in her life.
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#5 of 6 Old 09-10-2002, 09:44 PM
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We've used a couple of approaches. In the morning I would tell them what needed to be done for the day and expect it would be done by dinner time. I found that they were getting to the point that dinnertime would come and the task wouldn't be done. I started giving them less of a time frame to work with. Instead of giving them the whole day, it would have to be done by lunchtime instead. A smaller space of time made it harder for them to forget what they were supposed to do.

If we're still having trouble, I don't give them a choice, I tell them what they need to do and it needs to be done right away. I make it clear that when they are regularly doing the assigned task in a timely fashion (not dilly dallying or goofing off) that they again will have the freedom of choosing when in the day it will be done.

Another thing we've done is had a general chore time. I set a time for 15 or 20 minutes and we all work together, everyone has a task to do and we work at it for 20 minutes. At the end of the 20 minutes they are free to go do what they want, but if the task isn't completed we'll have a 20 minute time again later in the day. We get lots done this way and they often enjoy it, they'll play their music while cleaning their room or make a game of how much they can finish in the allotted time. The timed cleaning is by far the most effective and the most fun for all of us. If we have lots to do in a day, we'll set our timer for 15 minutes, everyone works for the 15 minutes and then an hour later we'll do it again, so they have time to do what they want, too. We get a lot done that way, but no one feels like they spent all day cleaning, if left open ended, we all get sidetracked and not nearly enough gets done.

Sorry this is so long, it's one thing we've worked very hard at. Our children have been taught from very young not to talk back or whine or be disrespectful. We give them opportunity to say what they think and to give input, we give choices whenever possible. We treat them with respect and expect the same in return.
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#6 of 6 Old 09-16-2002, 06:06 PM
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I have tried all of the above to little avail with my 12 year old son. My partner is at the point where it is going to become an all-out war with my son (his DSS). I have a tough time with the whole thing - DS says that he will do a certain thing when we divvy up the family chore list and then will rarely follow through. My partner is getting angrier and angrier and it has developed into a full-blown power struggle between the two of them.

The qualifier for me (not for my partner) is that DS has been facing many challenges over the last 2-4 years - the breakup of my marriage with his father, his father pairing up with a woman that doesn't like children, losing me to full-time employment for 2.5 years, the arrival of my partner into our lives, a new baby brother and then, moving to a new community at the beginning of Grade 7. How's that for tough stuff to cope with?

Anyway, during the school year last year, he wasn't coping very well in his social interactions and this year, he has taken an entirely different approach. He is finding his way there and seems happy about it - I was very close to pulling him out and that is still an option. The reason I haven't done so far is that he does very little that he is asked to do and I can't handle him being here sitting around, not actively engaging the world in some form. And, my partner is vehemently opposed on the same grounds.

So, while I think his behaviour is the result of a low "emotional gas tank", my partner does not see it this way. He thinks that, if we let DS continue to make the choice not to participate, he will grow up to be the kind of person who lives off the efforts of others. This, to my partner, is an anathema (sp?). He (my partner) also believes that this is unfair to the rest of us - I have some sympathy with that perspective. So, my partner is making decisions and showing anger far above the level with which I can cope. I also doubt that this escalation will result in a change in behaviour and I'm sure that it will do nothing to help refill the emotional tank. I want a peaceful home but, if that's not achieveable, I at least want a home with an absence of war. Any suggestions?
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