I'm the disrespectful one??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I need some help her. DS is 13, he is a really good kid, usually super respectful, good listener, etc. Well lately he has gotten on this kick where whenever I ask him to do something, or am annoyed with having to ask him 5,000 times, he gets attitude and I tell him not to get attitude with me and he tells me that I am being disrespectful :
My issue here is that we are big on respect in my house and we talk about it a lot. But he is misunderstanding what disrespect means and is using it as an excuse for being mouthy and having a bad attitude.
I tried to explain this to him, but more and more he is driving me mad with it.
I try not to resort to the "I'm the mom, I will talk how i want" but I am on the verge because unless I am letting him do what he wants, I am disrespectful.
any ideas or is it something he is just going to have to accept?
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#2 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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Can you think of different ways to do the asking so that you don't end up i the same place?

When I started having trouble with 'nagging' I didn't speak to them unless I could look them right in the eye when I was asking them anything. Any problem with what I was asking was addressed there and then, the expectation of the job being done within a certain time frame or after xyz was negotiated if necessary and that was enough.

Is your ds upset with the kind of things you are asking him to do as wel as the asking? Is there the possibility of negotiating which tasks you need him to do and which tasks he can choose to do for you regularly then plan to do them without you feeling the need to nag?
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#3 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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I ask him to explain how he feels you are being disrespectful.
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#4 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 05:52 PM
 
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Yep... you need see if he can tell you what he is experiencing as disrespectful. When you talk to him try to use statements about yourself, and how you are feeling about/when "xyz" happens. If you can stop yourself from saying "you can't" or "you always..." or "you never..." it will go a long way to ending instant defensive stuff from him.

I see you mentioned that you are trying to get out of the idea that because you are older than him that you can talk however you want to. That is a very very good thing to try and break away from!

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#5 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 06:07 PM
 
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"Yep... you need see if he can tell you what he is experiencing as disrespectful. When you talk to him try to use statements about yourself, and how you are feeling about/when "xyz" happens."

This, of course, assumes that he is really feeling disrespected and not simply manipulating/using it as a method to get the result he wants from Mom.
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#6 of 58 Old 12-20-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bczmama View Post

This, of course, assumes that he is really feeling disrespected and not simply manipulating/using it as a method to get the result he wants from Mom.
It definitely does assume that. Probably because overall I have not experienced teens being manipulative. I've got no doubt that some can be. They are human and humans can do that sometimes.

Asking him to explain it will make things pretty clear either way though.

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#7 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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The more hormones my son gets the more careful I am getting. I think his developing minds and body has made him very "distractable". I found that eye contact, touch, et is more important when I get his attention.

I have found that getting interupted is even harder for him to deal with. I find that if I say "Get to a stopping point and do XYZ" or something like "Can you save that so after you get done with XYZ you can continue" gets better results. It says I respect what you are doing as valuable to you but I also need something from you.
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#8 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input ladies.
Yesterday we had another run in it went something like this...
"I need you to put the dishes in the dishwasher before you go back on the computer"
"Why do I have to do it? Mia should do it when she gets home from gymnastics"
"I will give your sister another chore when she gets home but I need you to do the dishes so I can make dinner"
(Headshake, mumbling under breath) walks past me and lays on the couch.
"what are you doing?"
"I am resting, I am tired from school"
"It you choose not to do the dishes, you will choose to be in your room for the rest of the evening"
"I don't care"
"I'm really disappointed with your choice and if you choose not to do what you are asked again, some of your privledges will have to disappear."


And that is how it goes.
dh did the dishes and ds was in his room for the evening.

What am I doing wrong?
I really made a concerted effort to be nice and to be firm.
I guess maybe he is just testing me. I am going to take him out tonight and talk with him one on one as long as there are no run-ins. I am going to specifically ask him to give me examples of me being disrespectful to him.

Also, as a side note, he goes to his dad's every other weekend and once a week in the evening. It is largely fun-fun-fun over there. In fact he does all of his homework at home before he goes so they can "hang out". I wonder how much effect this has as I am the bad guy becuase we have chores. I don't necessarily blame his dad becuase the time he does have with them he wants to actually be with them. But it sets up this unrealistic idea that at dad's it's better because he doesn't have to do chores.

I dont' know.
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#9 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 02:14 PM
 
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I hate chores and if you offered me an out I'd take it.

I don't rule with a rod of iron and our house is by no means spick and span but there is an expectation of everyone that some jobs just need to be done and I can't (or won't because my life is too short) do them all so everyone does a bit of everything and it all gets done less painfully.

We have talked about this since they were little so it's largely a non-issue now. For us the choice is about when and how to do something or trade one job for another perhaps: not to choose not to do it at all.

Do you talk about teamwork, responsibility and kindness to eachother as well as respect?
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#10 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 02:44 PM
 
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In our house we do not have set chores ... I also will just ask when I need something done. But if said askee does not wish to do said task ... oh well. But if you have things that you must have done, I wonder if your ds would benefit from set duties? - Ds empties the dishwasher every day at 4 -

Mom to DD born 1989 DS born 1993 and grandma to
DGS born 2005
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#11 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 03:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anasmommy View Post
Thanks for the input ladies.
Yesterday we had another run in it went something like this...
"what are you doing?"
"I am resting, I am tired from school"
"It you choose not to do the dishes, you will choose to be in your room for the rest of the evening"
"I don't care"
"I'm really disappointed with your choice and if you choose not to do what you are asked again, some of your privledges will have to disappear."

You come at this from the line of thinking that says "I am the adult and you must do what I say. If you don't do what I say, I will punish you." He told you a variety of things in this exchange, but you didn't really hear them (or you heard them, but you didn't listen. There's a difference )

Here's what you know:

1. You want him to do the dishes
2. He doesn't want to do them

I might have said:
"I feel like it's important for all of us to pitch in around the house because we all live here. What do you think about that?"

"I sometimes feel that you are passing on a lot of chores/jobs that need to be done. I hear that you are tired, and I want to respect that. I am often tired too. I think working together helps keep the load less heavy for any one person in our family. Do you feel that way or ? "

"What would be helpful to me is if we could talk about working around the house openly, and find something that works for both of us."

"Okay, a rest is fine. After your rest could you deal with the dishes?"


Maybe there are specific times that aren't so great for him. Like if you asked me to dust in the morning (or do anything other than breathe and drink coffee lol) I'm not going to be into that. Maybe right after school is not the time for him.



Quote:
dh did the dishes and ds was in his room for the evening.

What am I doing wrong?
I really made a concerted effort to be nice and to be firm.
I guess maybe he is just testing me. I am going to take him out tonight and talk with him one on one as long as there are no run-ins. I am going to specifically ask him to give me examples of me being disrespectful to him.
What do you feel was accomplished by making him stay in his room all night? (Not trying to be snarky at you. I am genuinely asking.) Do you feel like he learned anything about you or your thoughts on him and work around the house? Or do you think it just sets up more resentment and apathy? The punishment, IMO, only does the latter.

I think it's a great idea to go out and talk. I hope some good stuff happens for you guys!

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#12 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 05:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by anasmommy View Post
Thanks for the input ladies.
Yesterday we had another run in it went something like this...
"I need you to put the dishes in the dishwasher before you go back on the computer"
"Why do I have to do it? Mia should do it when she gets home from gymnastics"
"I will give your sister another chore when she gets home but I need you to do the dishes so I can make dinner"
(Headshake, mumbling under breath) walks past me and lays on the couch.
"what are you doing?"
"I am resting, I am tired from school"
"It you choose not to do the dishes, you will choose to be in your room for the rest of the evening"
"I don't care"
"I'm really disappointed with your choice and if you choose not to do what you are asked again, some of your privledges will have to disappear."

What am I doing wrong?
I really made a concerted effort to be nice and to be firm.
IMO, you *are* being too nice. You're trying to be friends with him, when it's time to enforce some hard truths about family. In this instance, he totally got out of doing what he didn't want to do, AND he got to stay in his nice comfy room so he didn't have to deal with you.

How about asking him to swap?
"Please put away the dishes"
"I don't wanna"
"Well I don't want to make dinner, but I have to. Life sucks that way. Want to switch? You make food and I'll clean up."
See what happens....

I offered that possibility to DSS and even though he's 10, he took it, because he hates doing the dishes THAT MUCH. He's learning how to cook AND learning that there are things in life that, though they suck, have to be done. Going to work sucks. Homework sucks. Cleaning the house sucks. Paying bills suck. What are you going to do about it? You just do it.

Your family is a cooperative of sorts, bringing together people of different skill set and abilities; you all contribute in one way or another to the proper functioning of the household. You also love each other and try to do nice things for one another. He's got to learn this. If he wants to treat your family like a boarding house where he comes and goes as he pleases, then he can start paying rent. Harsh but realistic.

An alternative:
He doesn't want to do dishes. Whenever he uses a dish and leaves it dirty, stick it on his bed. Don't wash any of his clothing. Don't give him any of the dinners you make. I give it a week or two, and then he'll start contributing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anasmommy View Post
I guess maybe he is just testing me. I am going to take him out tonight and talk with him one on one as long as there are no run-ins. I am going to specifically ask him to give me examples of me being disrespectful to him.
Of course he's testing you, especially since his dad is Mr. I'm So Fun, you get to be the nag. He's trying to see how much of an ass he can be before you pop. The whole "disrepect" thing is just the latest catch phrase he learned that makes him feel empowered and gives him the opportunity to grate on your nerves...teens LOVE that!

DSS used to compare our house with his mother's (where he doesn't have to do a thing, and once dinner is done, he can throw his fork down on his plate, stand up, burp, and walk away to go play video games ). We eventually got him to see that although mom's house is fun, it's ALWAYS a free for all, everything is misplaced, lost and late, and no one cares. After a while, he decided he'd much rather live with DH and me, even though we're strict, because his life is more peaceful.

Don't let up; good luck!
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#13 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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Quote:
"It you choose not to do the dishes, you will choose to be in your room for the rest of the evening"
"I don't care"
"I'm really disappointed with your choice and if you choose not to do what you are asked again, some of your privledges will have to disappear."
The choices you are giving him are not real choices, do not entail any real power, and he knows that. If you gave me these choices, I would feel disrespected.

A real choice would look like this:

"I need to start dinner at 5:00. Can we make a plan for what time you will wash the dishes, so that I have a clear space to work in when I go in there to cook?

Or, "The dishes have to be done by 5:00 so that I can cook. What time will you get started?"
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#14 of 58 Old 12-21-2007, 09:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
IMO, you *are* being too nice. You're trying to be friends with him, when it's time to enforce some hard truths about family. In this instance, he totally got out of doing what he didn't want to do, AND he got to stay in his nice comfy room so he didn't have to deal with you.

How about asking him to swap?
"Please put away the dishes"
"I don't wanna"
"Well I don't want to make dinner, but I have to. Life sucks that way. Want to switch? You make food and I'll clean up."
See what happens....

I offered that possibility to DSS and even though he's 10, he took it, because he hates doing the dishes THAT MUCH. He's learning how to cook AND learning that there are things in life that, though they suck, have to be done. Going to work sucks. Homework sucks. Cleaning the house sucks. Paying bills suck. What are you going to do about it? You just do it.

Your family is a cooperative of sorts, bringing together people of different skill set and abilities; you all contribute in one way or another to the proper functioning of the household. You also love each other and try to do nice things for one another. He's got to learn this. If he wants to treat your family like a boarding house where he comes and goes as he pleases, then he can start paying rent. Harsh but realistic.

An alternative:
He doesn't want to do dishes. Whenever he uses a dish and leaves it dirty, stick it on his bed. Don't wash any of his clothing. Don't give him any of the dinners you make. I give it a week or two, and then he'll start contributing.



Of course he's testing you, especially since his dad is Mr. I'm So Fun, you get to be the nag. He's trying to see how much of an ass he can be before you pop. The whole "disrepect" thing is just the latest catch phrase he learned that makes him feel empowered and gives him the opportunity to grate on your nerves...teens LOVE that!

DSS used to compare our house with his mother's (where he doesn't have to do a thing, and once dinner is done, he can throw his fork down on his plate, stand up, burp, and walk away to go play video games ). We eventually got him to see that although mom's house is fun, it's ALWAYS a free for all, everything is misplaced, lost and late, and no one cares. After a while, he decided he'd much rather live with DH and me, even though we're strict, because his life is more peaceful.

Don't let up; good luck!
Your post is contradictory. You say that a family is a cooperative and yet you give examples of dealing with these issues that will result in the total opposite of cooperation. Leaving dirty dishes in their room or refusing to wash their clothes only proves that parents can act even more childish than their so called children.

It certainly isn't a good example of modeling the kind of behavior and attitude you want to get from your child. It;s the equivalent of "teaching" a child to not bite by biting them back.

Your post also shows a total lack of respect for teens.
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#15 of 58 Old 12-22-2007, 11:57 AM
 
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Different strokes for different folks. If we all agreed, life would be boring

I didn't propose to implement both solutions at once or closely followed. I'd start with a negotiation of some kind based on the premise that a) dinner needs to be made and b) dishes need to be done, or at least organized/gotten out of the way/put in a corner somewhere to be dealt with later. That's the reality. The reality is when the dishes are dirty, they need to be washed; the reality isn't that when your dishes are dirty you go to your room and someone else does them for you. There are obviously alternative to how one deals with that reality. Maybe mother and son can take a 20 minute break together and chill, and THEN get stuff done, or maybe son can do dishes as soon as he gets home so it's done already, or maybe they can all agree to have toast and jam for dinner that night and to deal with the kitchen tomorrow...something can be worked out. But the main idea is that everyone's got to do something for the household to function and for needs to be met.

The hard-core alternative is just that: an alternative when all else fails. When any member of the household slacks off or stops functioning altogether, things fall apart and everyone suffers for it. If that person slacks off temporarily due to illness or whatnot, everyone else picsk up the slack for while. If child/teen/adult repeatedly refuses to function as a contributing member of a family, then that person can deal with the consequences of their decision. If you give nothing, you get nothing in return AND there are unpleasant consequences to deal with.

This is how my family functions and everyone, precocious-teen included, feels respected and heard. IMO it is disrespectful to one's child to teach him/her that reality isn't something other than it isn't; when they grow up, life isn't going to be nice and let them off easy.

But as I said, to each his own
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#16 of 58 Old 12-22-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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Actually at MDC it's not to each their own. The UA outlines that this website upholds certain parenting practices and philosophies.
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#17 of 58 Old 12-23-2007, 03:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
An alternative:
He doesn't want to do dishes. Whenever he uses a dish and leaves it dirty, stick it on his bed. Don't wash any of his clothing. Don't give him any of the dinners you make. I give it a week or two, and then he'll start contributing.
I find this approach to be anything but respectful. I would be extremely sad and frustrated if someone I loved/was supposed to love me treated me this way. Any "lesson" or message would likely be lost in the resentment I would feel. The golden rule comes to mind for me here. If I wouldn't want it done to me, I probably shouldn't be doing it to someone else.

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#18 of 58 Old 12-23-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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I can't even imagine refusing to give a child meals I cooked. As far as I'm concerned that is abusive.
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#19 of 58 Old 12-24-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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I think that sometimes kids don't really get how their behavior or lack of assistance impacts others. At least in my experience, talking about it doesn't always help them understand. Action does. And I think you can take action without being mean or revengeful about it.

For example, my 13 year old used to hoard her dirty laundry and then dump several loads into the hamper and expect them to be done the next day. I politely explained to her why this wasn't possible several times, but she continued to do it and then be angry with me when the shirt she wanted wasn't clean.

Finally, I gathered all her dirty laundry from the hampers and it put it in a basket on her bed. I left a nice note that said, "Desta, I can't get all this done in one day. After school I'll show you how to do a load of laundry. Love, Momma."

She didn't want to learn to do laundry, but I showed her anyway. I then told her that I am happy to wash her stuff for her if she puts her dirty clothes in the hamper on a daily basis, but if she hides them under her bed until she's out of clothes, she has to wash them herself.

Sometimes she hoards her clothes and has to wash them herself. She gets annoyed, but I stay out of it. She knows the drill now.

I'm also a big fan of the "After you do this, I can do this" line. For example, Desta will suggest something for dinner and I'll say, "Sure. After you unload the dishwasher (her chore anyway), I can reload it with the dirty stuff and then I will have enough room to make dinner." A few times she wandered off and didn't unload the dishwasher. We had peanut butter and jelly for dinner. She knows the drill now.

I try to stay pleasant and action-oriented. My daughter has some cognitive deficits that make it very hard for her to understand things unless they are extremely concrete. I make sure that my "consequences" are not just me trying to show her who is boss but that they spread some of the burden to her, because, honestly, if she doesn't feel the pain, so to speak, she's not moved to action.

I think that there are plenty of kids (people) who are like that ... my dh is one of them. I jokingly tell him, "If it's not a problem for you, it's not a problem!" Verbal processing is not his strong point. Telling him about it doesn't sink it. Letting him experience a bit of my situation does.

Blah blah blah. Anyway, in the OP's situation, I would have said, "Ok, after you unload the dishwasher, I can start dinner. You can choose to rest before or after you unload." If he didn't unload, I'd have served something simple that didn't require clean dishes or counter space to prepare. That's the reality ... no clean dishes, no counter space = no way to prepare a nice meal.

dm
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#20 of 58 Old 12-25-2007, 07:24 AM
 
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I find this approach to be anything but respectful. I would be extremely sad and frustrated if someone I loved/was supposed to love me treated me this way. Any "lesson" or message would likely be lost in the resentment I would feel. The golden rule comes to mind for me here. If I wouldn't want it done to me, I probably shouldn't be doing it to someone else.
Yeah, buuuuuut... If we're talking golden rule here, it wasn't right for him to ignore what was asked of him. Seriously, how many things a day do our kids ask of us? And mostly we comply, cheerfully even. I agree with your point, but it's a two way street, yk?

Ok, so I've had that same conversation. More than once. If I'm not in a great mood my response is usually, "Yeah, I'm tired too. I don't feel like cooking dinner, doing your laundry, helping you with xyz and yadda yadda. So I'm going to go _insert some random thing here_. I guess when you're hungry you can go make yourself a sandwich." Then I go about my business. Nine times out of ten, the job gets done and they sheepishly come apologize. If they end up having a sandwich once out of ten times, so what? Nobody melted down and eventually the job gets done anyway, on their terms, no fuss, no tears.

The other response is "Yeah, I'm tired too...etc. Why don't you come with me so we can knock this out together? Then we can go do _____."

It is extremely rare that I get a flat out refusal. Whining, yes, I do get that, but it's usually good natured. We aren't perfect, by a long shot, but I've found that making them aware that mom is a person too has gone a long way in smoothing out the wrinkles in our everyday life.
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#21 of 58 Old 12-25-2007, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love the lively debate. I don't want to be childish and not do anything for him, that is saying if you don't do what I want then I will do something worse for you.
I do understand that I am coming from a position of power when I say that I am going to punish him. But sometimes I feel like you have to do that. That is why children have parents, to expidite the natural consequences, before they are in the situation where it will really hurt them.
I don't feel like I can just say okay dinner doesn't get made becuase there are other members of the family who need more than a sandwich to eat and I am 100% sure he would be cool with not eating anything at all (which he can't do, he's type I diabetic) or eating a sandwich everyday for the rest of his life. I don't think he should have the choice on whether or not he does it. I really don't.
Anyway, this is what happened.
I took him to Target. He was quiet. I asked for a truce. I asked him to tell me about what is disrespectful, he said that I get a tone with him when he doesn't do what i asked. I told him that I was sorry, that our family runs on a schedule, I tried to get him to see that I have a ton of responsibilities in the short evening. It is stressful. He understood. I told him I would try to not get a tone. I asked him what I should do if he doesn't do what I need him to do. He said he didn't know. I told him that was precisely the problem.
We didn't really solve any problem, just maybe had a moment of understanding.
I think over break I will try to see what we can do to set a schedule of chores, maybe empty it at night before bed.
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#22 of 58 Old 12-25-2007, 10:17 PM
 
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I think it's possible that your son felt that your reassigning of his sister's chore to him simply because she wasn't home was unfair. I would have felt that way too, if I were a kid. Maybe that part of the exchange was the seed of the problem?

And PS, I'm really shocked at all the "life's a bitch so get used to it, kid!" attitudes displayed here. First of all, I don't teach my kids that they have to "obey" me or anything else - we get along and work together because of a give-and-take of mutual love and respect, not because I'm the boss. And seriously - your home is supposed to be your safe haven, not the place where your parents "toughen you up" to instill some vague concept of "maturity." What if they grow up and never do the dishes? Then I guess they'll be eating a lot of take out.
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#23 of 58 Old 12-25-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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I fully respect your ability to assert whatever degree of authority and control in your household that you see fit. Its totally your choice.

But for the sake of argument....

Quote:
That is why children have parents, to expidite the natural consequences, before they are in the situation where it will really hurt them.
I disagree. I think children have parents in order to receive nurturing and protection when they are vulnerable. And I think that children have parents so that they have a model for what it means to be human, to live as a member of a family and community, to love and to be loved.

And I guess finally, not washing the dishes does not create a situation that is likely to hurt him.
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#24 of 58 Old 12-25-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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I think it's possible that your son felt that your reassigning of his sister's chore to him simply because she wasn't home was unfair. I would have felt that way too, if I were a kid. Maybe that part of the exchange was the seed of the problem?

And PS, I'm really shocked at all the "life's a bitch so get used to it, kid!" attitudes displayed here. First of all, I don't teach my kids that they have to "obey" me or anything else - we get along and work together because of a give-and-take of mutual love and respect, not because I'm the boss. And seriously - your home is supposed to be your safe haven, not the place where your parents "toughen you up" to instill some vague concept of "maturity." What if they grow up and never do the dishes? Then I guess they'll be eating a lot of take out.
exactly
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#25 of 58 Old 12-26-2007, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I also agree mamduck. (I don't know how to do the quote thing). I believe another reason why children have parents is to protect, nurture, etc. But for the sake of arguement, all of us do things every day that we don't want to do, including dishes, work, etc. How were you taught to do those things? Self-discipline comes from a parent disciplining you, and by that I do not mean physically or even by taking things away. I mean by creating an atmosphere where you feel pressure to do things. And hopefully that pressure becomes internalized as adults.
I went to the peditrician with my older dd over the summer, the dr. asked her what chores she has, she listed hers, I asked the dr. why she asked and she said that studies have found that kids who do chores and help out their families are most successful in school and as adults. DUH!!! How was this lost?
Not doing the dishes unduely creates a burden on other members of the family. I truely believe that all members of our family have to pitch in.
I am a teacher and I can tell you from lots of years of doing that and talking to middle school and high school kids that the kids whose parents make them, (emphasis on make) do things are the kids who are getting good grades, paying attention, etc. In fact a friend and I used to ask the kids in the beginning of the year to raise their hands if their parents make them do chores and those are the kids who end up doing well.I have talked to lots of kids who tell me they just ignore their parents and manipulate their way out of doing things.
I mean what happens to those families where everything is messy, dirty, lost and disorganized? How many children do you know who don't have to do a single chore? My children tell me all the time that they are the only kids they know who do anything around thier house! How is that possible? I know that it is possible because I talk to a lot of kids about it.
I don't think my son is doing that necessarily, but I think if I was to say to my family, Okay, I am not doing laundry any more, I don't feel like it and everyone was like, okay, we can't force you. I would do it becuase I felt a sense of duty to my famiy. That is something that has to be modeled. My issue that I came here with is, how do you do that with out punishing? I feel like it's not proper parenting to allow a child to not take on thier duties in a family, for their own sake and for the sake of the rest of the family.
Did you not push when you were a teenager? Try to get out of things you didn't want to do?
I can tell you that my mother was a single mom of 6 kids and never made any of us do anything around the house. I was surrounded with filth and it was a very horrible experience for me. I left her house not knowing how to clean a bathroom, make food or do laundry. That is not proper parenting. Making kids do chores for themselves creates self-esteem and self-sufficient adults.

This is a sensitive issue for me I guess. I am conflicted about it, as I am sure you can tell.

dh is a stricter parent who says "who care if they are mad at you, they will thank you some day" I tend to try to explain and come to a compromise. Where is the line?

holy novel...sorry
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#26 of 58 Old 12-26-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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I was punished severely over chores, actually. I was spanked if the floor was not adequately swept. By the time I was 10 I was cleaning the whole house. Same with my brothers. Yes, I did well in school and have a lot of self-discipline. Neither of my brothers do. Neither of them went to college, neither of them seem quite able to pull their lives together as adults. There are, of course, a lot of other factors to consider. Which is true of all those kids you knew, and the kids in the studies -- there are a lot of factors to consider. Parents who ask kids to do chores are likely to spend more time with their kids, have different values about education, etc... there are so many variables.

Kids don't neccessarily internalize a sense of self-discipline as a result of consequences imposed by adults. Consequences imposed by adults are a type of external control. Internal control is a much more difficult thing to teach -- and with some temperments, external control actually inhibits the development of internal control. (eg. -- kids who do the right thing when mom is looking, but not when they are alone.)

Kids internalize a sense of self-discipline by seeing it modeled (and choosing to imitate) and by experiencing natural consequences (different than punishment.) Indeed, I think when kids DO become very disciplined and successful in relation to being punished, it is often a tainted, uncomfortable sort of self-discipline. Perfectionism, a sense of inadequacy, a sense of never being good enough -- these are the sorts of feelings that accompany "success" when it comes at the price of innordinate pressure and manipulation from our parents. Its probably not worth it.

The other thing I'm thinking is this: Your kid is on the old side of childhood! The most important things about self-discipline and family responsibility are already instilled (or not.) Being a teenager is a phase, and it comes hand in hand with a lot of feelings and attitudes that, in the grand scheme of things, are fleeting. I suspect that a lot of what you are living through is not so much about setting life-long patterns, as much as they are about gritting your teeth and getting through with your relationship in tact, kwim?

My oldest child is only 11, so I'm not sure how I'll feel when he is 14. I do ask my kids to do chores and help out, and for the most part they do. I have never punished over chores, but I have been firm in my own way from time to time. For instance, "I can't vacuum your room because of the mess on the floor. Do you need help getting organized or can you manage it on your own? On your own? Good. My next question is when??? Can you give me a time and stick to it, please?" Another recent conversations, "Your laundry time is Saturday mornings. I've noticed that you are not doing it at that time. I honestly can't think of another time that you could easily manage it. Can you? If you have another idea, I'm ready to hear it. But otherwise, you need to get on top of it or else you will have nothing to wear to school on Monday."

Regarding family chores, like the dishes, "I need some help! Can you boys come please and empty the dishwasher while I start dinner?" If they refuse, they have a grouchy and overwhelmed mother. They don't usually refuse though. Maybe we just aren't there yet??

I dunno. I have so carefully avoided power struggles and punishments, and I have such nice carefully nurture relationships with my kids -- I think that if chores became an ongoing problem -- I would have a sit down with them and try to make a plan that would make everyone happy, but I would avoid making it a battle at all costs, kwim?

Oh jeez. Now who's writing a novel? It is an interesting conversation -- thank you for indulging me!
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#27 of 58 Old 12-26-2007, 08:20 PM
 
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My issue that I came here with is, how do you do that with out punishing? I feel like it's not proper parenting to allow a child to not take on thier duties in a family, for their own sake and for the sake of the rest of the family.
Honestly? Through negotiation.

Does your own experience lead you to think that a lack of order is a sign of weakness and that you have to do something to make your son do things? You write about pressure and discipline but this is all coming from you. What is coming from him? Do you talk together about what needs to be done to keep the house in some kind of order? Has he expressed a preference for certain tasks? Is he good at some things and less good at others? What about asking him to help you do X so that it is done quickly?

My mum has a very tidy house and everything is neat and tidy. She doesn't have dirty clothes on her bedroom floor and her kitchen counters are always clear and clean. As a child she encouraged me to help her keep things tidy but my sister and I had only 2 formal jobs to do - lay the table with plates and lay the table with cutlery which we did alternately. Everything else we did alongside our parents or under their guidance, not on a rota or under pressure.

My house is much less clean and tidy than hers but I have four children where my mum had only two; I have had times when I have worked outside the home and now I do significant amounts of work for our business at home as well as homeschooling our 5yo and still regularly bf a toddler. I cook from scratch every day as she did and am thrifty and crafty like she is but I am in a very different situation to my mum and I am also of a very different disposition. I hate cleaning, I am rubbish at cleaning up after myself when cooking and I constantly struggle with the laundry processing. Friends who know me well joke that when my children leave home I will have lost my only believeable excuse for my own untidyness

So I had a 5star role model but I am still untidy. I was a straight A student at school and am still pretty good when I do assignments for uni I am also a Virgo a sign known for neat-freakery so what went wrong?

My children do jobs alongside me and they all have preferences for certain things. Ds1 will absolutely not put compost out into the compost bin becuause he thinks it is disgusting but he will happily sort laundry or hang out wet clothes on the line or hoover the upstairs rooms. We don't have a dishwasher but we try to rinse our plates and bowls straight away so that there isn't a great pile of dishes for one person to wash as well as all the pans at the end of the day.

I don't have to discipline anyone to do things around the house and I don't need to punish anyone either.

If you think about how you can work together you may find that you have to do less to get jobs done.

and this

Quote:
I suspect that a lot of what you are living through is not so much about setting life-long patterns, as much as they are about gritting your teeth and getting through with your relationship in tact, kwim?
Sorting out how to do dirty dishes is not going to be the biggest test of your relationship with your son but it could be the model of how you deal with other issues.
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#28 of 58 Old 12-26-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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FWIW - if he was tired, and this is an unusual occurrence - I would let him skip out on the dishes. Heck, if I am am really tired, I postpone chores as well

Now, if this is not an unusual occurance, a think a rehashing of "we are a family and jointly responsible for getting the work done" discussion is in order.

I think the discussion could have gone more like this:
"please do the dishes"
"I am tired"
"OK, lets skip them this time, we will catch up later"

or

"You have been tired a lot lately. Maybe your scheduel needs tweaking so you can have the energy necessary to help out in the house a bit".

Good luck!

Kathy
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#29 of 58 Old 12-26-2007, 11:51 PM
 
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Being a teenager is a phase, and it comes hand in hand with a lot of feelings and attitudes that, in the grand scheme of things, are fleeting.
That's true, but I also am unwilling to live with someone who doesn't help out around the house just because they are in a phase ... which is why I try to spread the burden to everyone and let everyone feel the pinch a bit when they don't help out.

dm
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#30 of 58 Old 12-27-2007, 04:38 AM
 
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I mean by creating an atmosphere where you feel pressure to do things. And hopefully that pressure becomes internalized as adults.
We have not gone this "pressure" route at all. Sometimes I get overwhelmed- just as everyone can here and there. I will say that I am feeling overwhelmed and we go from there. The kids do to. I don't think I need to create pressure. It happens on it's own often enough just as a product of life LOL.

Quote:
I asked the dr. why she asked and she said that studies have found that kids who do chores and help out their families are most successful in school and as adults. DUH!!! How was this lost?
We do not have set chores for our family members. For some families that approach may work well, and folks should definitely go with what is working for them. For us it's never really been all that helpful. Somehow, years ago, my kids decided that Ds was the garbage taker outer and that Dd was the recycling taker outer. I help both of them though if the need it, and more than once someone forgets and someone else will do it without fanfare. I don't really think my kids' success in education or future working will depend on chores right now. Then again we don't attend school so I could be the wrong one to ask.

Quote:
I truely believe that all members of our family have to pitch in.
Absolutely. I think it's a good route to go for sure. I also think that it's not always going to look the same from day to day or month to month- or that the pitching in will not always be perfectly equal. Sometimes people are sick, tired, rushed for something, taking a long awaited or suprise call, have an unexpected errand come up, have an increased work load at school or job, and etc. Things shift.

Quote:
I can tell you from lots of years of doing that and talking to middle school and high school kids that the kids whose parents make them, (emphasis on make) do things are the kids who are getting good grades, paying attention, etc.
We don't care about grades overall other than what the kids want any grade to do for them personally. Why do you want or need a good grade? What is your goal, and what do you need or want this grade to do for you? Those are things I'd be talking about. And how are they being "made" to do them? What's the process? I'm not really interested in doling out punishments and bribes to get chores done or grades high.

Quote:
How many children do you know who don't have to do a single chore? My children tell me all the time that they are the only kids they know who do anything around thier house! How is that possible? I know that it is possible because I talk to a lot of kids about it.
My children do not have any chores that they are forced to do. Not a single one. They do lots of things though. They take out garbage and recycling, check mail, sweep, load and unload the dishwasher, take laundry upstairs, etc. In our experience most of the kids we know that don't want to do anything around their homes, or who try to get around it or out of it are the ones who are forced and punished.

Quote:
I tend to try to explain and come to a compromise. Where is the line?

holy novel...sorry

The novel length posts can be so theraputic! It can feel so frustrating sometimes to come to a common good place with someone else, especially kids. I think explaining, talking, modeling, and so on are the thing. It's always felt better and more right to me than punishing and fighting and yelling, and I don't think it means you have to be waiting on someone hand and foot either.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
peace.gif  Embrace the learning that is happening within the things that are actually happening!    
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