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Old 01-29-2011, 07:17 AM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
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Kids & chores

My daughter is nearly 11. She, like many kids, couldn't care less about doing housework. I do almost all of it, and I'm fine with that. But it drives me absolutely insane seeing her do pointless things like leaving dirty socks 2 inches from the hamper or food wrappers left out that could easily be thrown in the trash in 2 seconds.

She just doesn't care about keeping things halfway neat. It's always a struggle for me, because I'm a huge perfectionist, but I also hate cleaning. And my mom didn't consistently make me do chores when I was little, so I had a bit of a rude awakening when I moved out on my own, and it took me a while to figure out how to keep house. Now, I hate cleaning, but I always manage to keep my house looking decent anyway.

Somehow, though, I can't figure out how to get my daughter to cooperate. Does anyone have any strategies that might help? I don't expect perfection, I just don't want it to be a constant battle to get her to do normal maintenance.
  #2  
Old 01-29-2011, 08:17 AM
MissTake MissTake is offline
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Is she required to keep her room clean? If so, I would let go of that and simply start tossing whatever she leaves around into her room. TheKid was about that age when she started taking pride in a relatively neat room. My simply chucking anything she's left out on her floor bothered her. Even today, I still sometimes have to chuck her stuff into her room. It annoys the heck out of her, but she knows that things have homes and her papers, dirty clothes, random detrius do not belong in the living room or bathroom floor.

IMO, at age 11, she should have some chores. It makes her have to take some pride in where she lives. TheKid started being responsible for putting away groceries, cleaning the fridge/pantry, and doing the dishes around that age. Nothing major. I still don't make her sweep or vaccuum - she now chooses to do that on her own. The most difficult part of it is letting her do it her way, which will never be your way. You can't go behind her and 'fix' her mistakes. You can suggest to her how you would like her to, say, sweep the floor, but you have to let her learn how to do it her way.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:43 AM
Moonlitherial Moonlitherial is offline
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Originally Posted by MissTake View Post
Is she required to keep her room clean? If so, I would let go of that and simply start tossing whatever she leaves around into her room. TheKid was about that age when she started taking pride in a relatively neat room. My simply chucking anything she's left out on her floor bothered her. Even today, I still sometimes have to chuck her stuff into her room. It annoys the heck out of her, but she knows that things have homes and her papers, dirty clothes, random detrius do not belong in the living room or bathroom floor.

IMO, at age 11, she should have some chores. It makes her have to take some pride in where she lives. TheKid started being responsible for putting away groceries, cleaning the fridge/pantry, and doing the dishes around that age. Nothing major. I still don't make her sweep or vaccuum - she now chooses to do that on her own. The most difficult part of it is letting her do it her way, which will never be your way. You can't go behind her and 'fix' her mistakes. You can suggest to her how you would like her to, say, sweep the floor, but you have to let her learn how to do it her way.
I had a whole great post ready to go and then I read this. This is the answer. Assign chores and make sure it's something visible that she can take pride in. Gradually add new skills not always with the goal of her being responsible for it, just so she knows HOW. It's really sad to see the number of my kids university classmates who don't know how to feed themselves if it doesn't come out of a box, or clean their own clothes or even figure out a bus schedule.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:50 AM
twickster twickster is offline
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Since you're looking for advice, I'll move this from MPSIMS to IMHO.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:23 PM
Weedy Weedy is offline
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I'm a terrible housekeeper, and not good at enforcing chores either. The most success I've had with my kids is to call them over (interruptiing whatever they are doing) and asking them to fix the whatever it is: light left on, rubbish on the floor, plate not taken to the kitchen, etc. Not yelling at them just "please do this now". They are getting pretty good at doing those little things automatically, without me asking, which does help to keep the chaos under control. Actual chores would be good too, I suspect.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:44 PM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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Consequences. First you have to find out what matters to her. As someone said above, if HER room is clean, tossing her stuff in there might do it. Or, losing privileges. Simply telling her? Or, don't wash clothes that don't get put in the hamper (if she likes fashion and wants to wear a particular shirt or pair of "cool socks" this might help).

Full lions don't hunt, she has to be "hungry" in order to be motivated to do something to make it change, especially at the tweener and teen ages.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:45 PM
Girl From Mars Girl From Mars is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry View Post
My daughter is nearly 11. She, like many kids, couldn't care less about doing housework. I do almost all of it, and I'm fine with that. But it drives me absolutely insane seeing her do pointless things like leaving dirty socks 2 inches from the hamper or food wrappers left out that could easily be thrown in the trash in 2 seconds.

She just doesn't care about keeping things halfway neat. It's always a struggle for me, because I'm a huge perfectionist, but I also hate cleaning. And my mom didn't consistently make me do chores when I was little, so I had a bit of a rude awakening when I moved out on my own, and it took me a while to figure out how to keep house. Now, I hate cleaning, but I always manage to keep my house looking decent anyway. .
Man, if you get the answer, let me know. This is my ongoing issue with 36 year old Boy From Mars.
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:21 PM
even sven even sven is offline
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I'm talking from no experience, but I would confine the battles to common spaces- let her keep her room how she likes. If you want someone to take responsibility, you have to give them space for choice. You want her to get into the habit of being neat and internalize that sense of responsibility, and so you want to make sure it doesn't become "Mom's project" and thus open for rebellion. it may take an excruciating long time, but eventually she'll get tired of living in her own filth.
  #9  
Old 01-30-2011, 07:01 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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Gee, my mom must have been some kind of ogre. By the time I was 11, not only was I required to keep my room clean, but I had to scrub the bathtub (my sister did the sink), dust the dining room (sis had the living room), dry and put away dishes that went above the counter (sis did the lower stuff), and help as needed talking laundry off the line, folding, and even occasionally ironing. As I got older, I learned to run the washer and wash the dishes (by hand - no dishwasher in our house!) These were chores over the course of a week, not daily - I had plenty of time for homework and goofing off.

Part of your job as a parent is preparing your kid(s) to function as adults in the world. Part of that function is taking care of a residence, plus cooking, doing laundry, managing a budget, and even sewing on a button or repairing a hem. I complained and whined about doing chores, but my mom didn't put up with that crap, and when I got my first place, apart from actually writing the checks to pay the bills, I had done everything. I was aghast at friends who had no idea how to run a washer.

Unless you want your kid living with you forever, you need to start cracking the whip. Everyone has responsibilities, and those who don't meet them suffer the consequences. Kinda like life, yanno?
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Old 01-30-2011, 07:30 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Basic question is put yourself in your child's place, how would you like the action you are proposing, and what effect would it have on you. Would it strengthen the bond between parent child or weaken it.

Also consider your child, their are various conditions, some may call them disorders, that the child may not regularly be able to see those things that you do. They may balance it out in other ways, perhaps taking care of the family pet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Weedy View Post
I'm a terrible housekeeper, and not good at enforcing chores either. The most success I've had with my kids is to call them over (interruptiing whatever they are doing) and asking them to fix the whatever it is: light left on, rubbish on the floor, plate not taken to the kitchen, etc. Not yelling at them just "please do this now". They are getting pretty good at doing those little things automatically, without me asking, which does help to keep the chaos under control. Actual chores would be good too, I suspect.
It may seem successful, but it makes the child's world very insecure, they never know when they will be interrupted and will learn to fear and/or dislike your call to them. They also learn from this is anything they are doing is not important and teaches them to be good servants by ignoring their needs and desires when they grow up, because there desires of their heart is not as important as picking up a piece of trash. Children have a natural sense of fairness and calling someone away from their life to do something like flipping a light switch, something so nitpicky that you could have done so easily, and they can really start to resent you.

If you use this method think of how you would like it if it was done to you today, if you are a perfectionist in some ways you already have this done to you by you and you can ask if you want to impose it on another person.

Last edited by kanicbird; 01-30-2011 at 07:35 AM.
  #11  
Old 01-30-2011, 08:38 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
It may seem successful, but it makes the child's world very insecure, they never know when they will be interrupted and will learn to fear and/or dislike your call to them. They also learn from this is anything they are doing is not important and teaches them to be good servants by ignoring their needs and desires when they grow up, because there desires of their heart is not as important as picking up a piece of trash. Children have a natural sense of fairness and calling someone away from their life to do something like flipping a light switch, something so nitpicky that you could have done so easily, and they can really start to resent you.
"Mom! I got fired today! I can't believe it. Me and Ashley were talking about last night's Idol - OMG did you see that?!? - and the boss came over real snotty and told us to answer the phones right then. Like those whiny callers couldn't wait till I finished my sentence. I swear, I hate that guy - always telling me what to do and when to do it. I'm glad he fired me. So, can I come back and live with you?"
  #12  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:09 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
Gee, my mom must have been some kind of ogre. By the time I was 11, not only was I required to keep my room clean, but I had to scrub the bathtub (my sister did the sink), dust the dining room (sis had the living room), dry and put away dishes that went above the counter (sis did the lower stuff), and help as needed talking laundry off the line, folding, and even occasionally ironing. As I got older, I learned to run the washer and wash the dishes (by hand - no dishwasher in our house!) These were chores over the course of a week, not daily - I had plenty of time for homework and goofing off.
Ha. My mother and yours must have been sisters or something. The only house chore I recall her ever doing on a regular basis was mopping the kitchen floor (or vacuuming the whole house on Thanksgiving, in the wee hours of the early morning when everyone else was asleep!). And I suppose she kept her and my father's bathroom/bedroom tidy. But everything else she delegated to the kids. She'd write these long lists for us on Saturday mornings. Clean up bedrooms. Clean upstairs and downstairs bathrooms (and then go on to itemize the individual components of this task, like "clean toliet", "clean bathtub"). Vacuum the living and dining room and the stairs (a task I hated with a passion!). Dust all the furniture. Change the foil covers on the stove range. Etc. This was all in addition to doing the dishes every night.

My sister and I would watch our Saturday morning cartoons and then get to work as soon as Soul Train came on. For two-three hours, we were housekeepers. Our work wasn't incentivized with an allowance; it was just what we had to do as members of the family. When my mother would return from whatever Save-the-World conference she had attended, she would do an inspection of the place. If something wasn't done right, we had to do to it again. If it was done to her satisfaction, we were free. That was our only reward.

I hated doing all that work, especially the stupid stuff (like dusting under the dining room table!?). And I put off doing house chores until things are practically falling on my head, so it's not like it taught me anything. But when I hear about kids who don't ever have to do housework, I'm always like, what?! That's an outrage! Perhaps I'm just jealous, but I do wonder what the hell the kids do for the household if they aren't given any chores. Simply "being good", IMHO, isn't enough.

(Lately I've been coming across as a hard-ass on kids. I'm glad I'm not having any 'cuz they'd surely despise me. )
  #13  
Old 01-30-2011, 10:35 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
Basic question is put yourself in your child's place, how would you like the action you are proposing, and what effect would it have on you. Would it strengthen the bond between parent child or weaken it.

Also consider your child, their are various conditions, some may call them disorders, that the child may not regularly be able to see those things that you do. They may balance it out in other ways, perhaps taking care of the family pet.
Perhaps by getting the kid to do house work, she'll learn how to "see" things that she should be seeing. Honestly, I don't understand this attitude of catering to kids' preferences and abilities. I would not go nuclear over socks not put into the dirty hamper...if it happened a couple of times. But if I've instructed you that that is the rule in my house--to put dirty clothes in the hamper and not leave them on the floor--you need to learn it with a quickness. Not be allowed to get away with it. I don't care if you think it's fair or not.

Your post is a part of uncomfortable trend that I'm seeing. I am by no means a person who does not believe in disordered brains, but most kids are lazy, not suffering from some special condition. I wish people would stop pathologizing everything. Even a severely mentally handicapped child knows how to put things away. It's not that hard.

Quote:
It may seem successful, but it makes the child's world very insecure, they never know when they will be interrupted and will learn to fear and/or dislike your call to them. They also learn from this is anything they are doing is not important and teaches them to be good servants by ignoring their needs and desires when they grow up, because there desires of their heart is not as important as picking up a piece of trash. Children have a natural sense of fairness and calling someone away from their life to do something like flipping a light switch, something so nitpicky that you could have done so easily, and they can really start to resent you.
Lots of disagreements with this post.

First off, if a kid is going to feel "very insecure" just because someone calls them over to do something, then there is something wrong with that child. What are they doing that is going to spell the end of the world if it's interrupted for a few minutes?

Secondly, they need to know that whatever they are doing is usually not as important as what an adult wants them to do. In most cases, at least, this will be true. As a kid, I remember plenty of times being interrupted from my playtime to get my mother a glass of water. It sucked, but you know what? By bringing my mother a glass of water, I honored her (you do remember the 10 commandments, right? I know you've a very religious person). I learned how to serve someone else for a change. And I would get the pleasure of getting complimented on how delicious my glass of water was (my mother is hard to please when it comes to the "perfect" glass of water...it's got to have the right balance of ice and water or else she'll reject it ).

Thirdly, kids don't have a natural sense of fairness. They tend to be very self-centered unless they are taught that the world does not revolve around them. They don't automatically "get" that they should help around the house. They don't make themselves useful on their own; you have to give them something to do. It should be something that's within their abilities and isn't arduous, but even a ridiculous request every now and then is not going to break them. Sometimes my mother would call me into her bedroom just to get the TV remote on the other side of the room, because she was too lazy to get it herself. It did not kill me or make me insecure to carry out this minor duty. It was just another reminder that she's The Boss and I'm not living in her house free from responsibilities.

And you know what? It was when implementing those crazier requests that my mother and I would actually have quality time together--alone. I'd get in the bed with her after bringing her the remote and she'd ask me what I had been doing. I'd show her whatever it was I was drawing, or have her look at the doll I had recently mutilated, or we would just watch TV together. Perhaps her "interruption of my playtime" was her way of spending some time with me, who knows?

Quote:
If you use this method think of how you would like it if it was done to you today, if you are a perfectionist in some ways you already have this done to you by you and you can ask if you want to impose it on another person.
I do not think requesting that a child put stuff in a hamper is "perfectionism".
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:43 AM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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I give my kids chores that THEY will suffer from if they aren't done. For example, they do their own laundry. I don't remind them or help them. If they forget, they have no clean clothes to wear. They make their own lunches for school. Again, if they leave it until the last minute, they have little to eat.

It's a great motivator for them to get their act together.
  #15  
Old 01-30-2011, 12:31 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Kids need to start doing chores about when they're able to put toys in a container and books on a shelf. They need to learn to put things back when they're done with them. Naturally, they aren't going to do this every time, especially at first, but the thing is, after Bobby or Sue gets done playing with a game, Mom or Dad needs to say "OK, let's put everything back so we can play this game with all its parts next time we want to play" and put the game back in its box (or Ziploc bag). This way, the kid learns that part of playing the game is putting it back up. And when the kid reads a book, or has a book read to him/her, part of the reading is putting the book back.

Later on, there is setting the table, or dusting, or picking up clutter in the house. My sister and I were washing (by hand) and drying and putting up dishes when I was about 8 or 9, so she'd have been about 6. We weren't doing the fine china, I believe that we were just doing the melamine dishes and silverware, but we were responsible for that part of cleanup.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:05 PM
expectopatronum expectopatronum is offline
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yeah, i'm really surprised that an almost 11 year old child doesn't already have chores. i sure did and i'm grateful because when i moved out i knew how to do laundry and cook and clean, like a functioning adult. my advice has been given above, give the kid some chores and give consequences if they're not done. even if it's just something simple like taking out the trash, better than nothing.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:25 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Ha. My mother and yours must have been sisters or something. The only house chore I recall her ever doing on a regular basis was mopping the kitchen floor (or vacuuming the whole house on Thanksgiving, in the wee hours of the early morning when everyone else was asleep!).
Oh, my mom worked, and still does at 77. She vacuumed, scrubbed the floors (on her hands and knees), cleaned baseboards and windows, did LOTS of laundry (we were a family of 7), cooked, did the dishes, sewed, tended a veggie garden and her flower gardens in the spring and summer, all while teaching 5 kids to do their share. You cram 7 people into 1000 sq ft, you do a lot of cleaning and tidying just to keep the place habitable.

I talked to my daughter about this thread. She teaches 11-y/o kids and she said she can pretty much tell which kids have responsibilities at home and which don't. The word "lazy" came up more than once in her side of the conversation...
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:50 PM
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I think kids should have chores. Parents may think they're helping their kids out by doing all the housework, but I think it does them a disservice in the long run because you're indirectly teaching them that cleaning up is only something an adult can be expected to do. As members of the household, why shouldn't they have chores? If they have at least one opposable thumb and two brain cells, they have the capacity to clean.

I would task her with cleaning her room once a week and doing the dishes every night. If she hasn't been in the habit of doing dishes, help her until she gets the hang of it. If it's just you two in the household and you have a dishwasher, this should be easy. Break it down by sub-tasks: empty the dishwasher, load it up with dirty, re-rinsed dishes, clean off the counters, sweep the floor, etc.

With time, you should expect her to do other things around the house. Like cleaning the bathroom and vaccuming the living room.

And maybe establishs a 3 strikes rule about littering around the house. If she breaks the rule more than 3 times, she'll lose out on allowance or phone privileges or something like that.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:06 PM
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It may seem successful, but it makes the child's world very insecure, they never know when they will be interrupted and will learn to fear and/or dislike your call to them.
That's ridiculous. We're not talking about interrupting her to do unannounced chores at her mother's whim (which I agree is annoying as hell, and lead to me learning to "look busy", as anytime I looked at ease my mother would find something stupid and not-fun for me to do), we're talking about the child not putting her socks into the hamper when she takes them off. Yes, absolutely, Mom should call her over as soon as they're spotted, no matter what the kid is doing, and she should take care of it then. It's a perfectly natural consequence for her behavior. Don't like it? Then put your socks in the hamper when you take them off and I won't interrupt you when you're reading!

As in every parenting thread, the first recommendation I have is for the OP to pick up a copy of Parenting With Love and Logic. This doesn't need to be a struggle, you just need to learn how to let your child learn cause and effect, action and consequence. Remove "punishment" from your vocabulary entirely and teach her how to control herself, instead.

And yes, by age 11, she should absolutely be cleaning up after herself, and doing a portion of the shared space maintenance as well. You taught her to wipe her butt, you taught her to button her shirts, it's high time to teach her how to maintain a house, too. She's going to need those skills someday, and it takes practice.
  #20  
Old 01-31-2011, 10:09 AM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is online now
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
"Mom! I got fired today! I can't believe it. Me and Ashley were talking about last night's Idol - OMG did you see that?!? - and the boss came over real snotty and told us to answer the phones right then. Like those whiny callers couldn't wait till I finished my sentence. I swear, I hate that guy - always telling me what to do and when to do it. I'm glad he fired me. So, can I come back and live with you?"
Ha! I tell my kids "I love you more than anyone else in the world does, and I'm STILL going to make you empty the dishwasher. Imagine what it will be like when a boss who doesn't even like you gives you something to do."
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