nagging and arguing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-04-2008, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Am I the only mother on the planet who feels like I spend my whole life arguing and nagging my children? I need some support here.
My 10 yr dd and 13 yr ds are constantly trying to slink away to watch tv and sit in front of the stupid computer. I am constantly having to track them down, thus everything I ask them to do is a pain for them, then they argue, and/or avoid and I am just having to repeat myself over and over.
The other day I got home from the grocery store and opened the door and said "groceries are here" they both yelled back that they were doing something else, etc, but my dd's little friend who was over volunteered to come and help, while i had to argue with them. WTF?
So I freaked out (yelled) and I feel bad. But I took away the tv and the computer indefinatly. I don't want to resort to this. How do I teach them moderation with out losing my mind?
I said only one hour a day, but I have so much to do I can't keep track and i think they know it. We joke around that they are addicted to it.
They are so reluctant to help with anything. I know, I know, I had the convesation about we are a family and we help eachother out, bla, bla, bla. But if left to do it on their own they just won't.
To add to that ds and I were arguing about this and he did that little lunge thing that guys do when they are physically intimidating eachother. And he told me how annoying I am.
How do I handle this? I would have NEVER told my mom she was annoying in a million years. And I am just at a loss of what to do about the little lunge.
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#2 of 6 Old 03-04-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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I don't try to overmanage my kids or set arbitrary limits on TV or computer time. The only limits on computer time are if somebody else needs the computer, and TV time is only limited by them having to agree on what show to watch- or turn it off if somebody wants to read in the living room. Sometimes I ask them to turn it off if I'm getting a headache and just need things quieter that day.

I'm not constantly nagging them or trying to track them down, and when I do need help they're generally willing to help (knowing they can get back to whatever they were playing as soon as they're done with the chores.) In the grocery example, I usually call from my cell phone when I'm in the driveway, and usually at least one of them comes to help me. Otherwise I just do it myself.

Things like laundry I'll leave for them to do on their own time. I don't insist on clothes being put away at a very specific time; just that I need the clothes put away before washing their clothes again so I can re-use the basket.

I don't see how taking away TV and computer priveledges is going to teach them to help you with groceries. They'll be just as likely to ge involved in a book or some other game the next time you go shopping. I think it would be better to simply talk to them about how you feel and that you resent when they don't help you out with household chores. Maybe they can help brainstorm ideas to make it easier for them to pause what they're doing to help you. Maybe include them in the lists of what chores need to be done, and figuring how who does which one when.

And as for the friend being more helpful- totally normal! My kids tend to be more helpful/less mouthy at friends' homes than here, and their friends are more likely to help me in a cheerful voice than my own kids are.

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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#3 of 6 Old 03-04-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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That totally sounds like my ds from about 11 to, oh, a few months ago. He's nearing 15 now, so maybe it is a developmental thing, something I wondered about.

I hated doing all the nagging, but if I didn't, then I was doing hours and hours of work. Not a good trade-off and I was not a happy mommy either way.

I have had a daily list of expectations for ds for many years now-not a huge to-do list, but ds didn't do well with transitions or surprises when he was younger, so it was a list of all the things that would have to happen during the day, including meals and any classes or outside appointments.

I've kept up with the list, it just seems the most neutral and respectful way I can come up with to deal with this stuff, and kind of takes me out of the equation. He gets the list first thing in the morning, and can decide for himself when he will do things. I will still remind him throughout the day about his list, but it's more of a "you're running out of time" than a "when are you going to do..." kind of thing.

Ds does appreciate the list, but doesn't like it much. He tells me that he feels much better, more accomplished, and he doesn't waste so much of his own time when he has the list (he will often get caught up in his video games and not realize that he's been playing for 6 or 8 hours, and miss things he wanted to do.)

It also helps me to think through what I'm requesting of him, and if it's too much to realistically get through in a day. There are no consequences for not finishing the list, the point is to develop good habits, not to be assigned them, so ds will often not finish, but he notices himself that he prefers having done the things on the list (things like make your bed, take a shower, put your books away) because he's more comfortable and can find things, so he usually does most of it.

I have taken away or limited screen time when ds was getting way out of control, or couldn't seem to stop himself (like the 40 hour marathon game sessions when he'd start hallucinating from sleep deprivation, no self-regulation from this boy ), but it causes way to much discord between us, and his main interests are video games and computers, and his main way of communicating with his friends is on MSN, so I try not take things away completely, but to teach him to meet his own needs and not get sucked into a tv trance.

And none of this seemed to help or sink in for ds until a few months ago. I think the 11-13 years might be ones where you just have to grin and bear it for a while, and stick to a routine and set of rules you feel are best.

Ds says things to me I would never have to my mother, but my parents were Irish immigrants and we lived in a pretty old world kind of household. Ds went through a period where he was really testing out how he could treat me, and talk about me. I just kept up telling how I was feeling, explaining why I needed his help, and being very clear about what behaviors I wouldn't tolerate (like the little lunge thing, I totally know what you're talking about.)
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#4 of 6 Old 03-04-2008, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't try to overmanage my kids or set arbitrary limits on TV or computer time. The only limits on computer time are if somebody else needs the computer, and TV time is only limited by them having to agree on what show to watch- or turn it off if somebody wants to read in the living room.

I don't want my kids to be tv zombies, I don't think it's healthy to be parked in front of the tv no matter if I have stuff for them to do or not.

and usually at least one of them comes to help me. Otherwise I just do it myself.

I can't do it all myself, there just aren't enough hours in the day, and I truely believe that a family is not parents waiting on kids and doing everything for them, it is a group effort. I work full time and also have a 9 month old.


I don't see how taking away TV and computer priveledges is going to teach them to help you with groceries. They'll be just as likely to ge involved in a book or some other game the next time you go shopping.

In my experience it is just easier to get their attention and they are much more cooperative if I am not in competition with the television.
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#5 of 6 Old 03-05-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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You're not the only one -- seems I'm always hunting dd down when I want help with something. It's funny cause when we lived in a larger house, I said that was one thing I hated about it, feeling so far from her. But we're in a smaller house and she still seems far away.

But I guess I'm glad that she will come when I call to help out -- usually with a scowl on too though. But she'll do one thing -- when I was hoping for more extended help -- and be gone again and I'll have to hunt her down again. I've learned just to tell her to stick around or to ask if she's done before heading upstairs.

I'd love to see her volunteer to help more and occasionally she will when it comes to cooking dinner, but I think that will take time and my hopes and expectations will probably always exceed her interests.

Karen happily partnered mother of 3 beautiful girls (teen/toddler/newborn).
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#6 of 6 Old 03-06-2008, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anasmommy View Post
In my experience it is just easier to get their attention and they are much more cooperative if I am not in competition with the television.
And in my experience it's just as hard to get their attention if they're absorbed in a book or in the middle of a board game or playing a make-beleive game (when they might be in costumes and unwilling to be seen in public so wont' help bring in groceries). If it's not the TV or computer, they'll be engaged in other activities. I still need to interupt them to get their attention.


All kids are different- what works for one family won't work for another.

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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