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Posted: 3/17/2006 9:16:33 AM EDT
Hubby and I were talking about this last night, because I realised that I'm not getting a whole lot of co-operation around here anymore.

Granted I've been in weakened state (tussle with cancer last year, it's okay I'm currently one year NED, but surgery left me with lymphedema and it took quite a while to get my mobility back and I'm still in quite a bit of pain, and then we moved house, it was just one of those years when the stress is relentless). Somewhere along the way I lost my grip of certain things and one of them is the household chores that I used to expect everyone to pitch in and help with.

I plan on sitting down with the family this weekend and drawing up a chart with the daily/weekly chores that I expect them to do. My question is; how much should I expect of them? (they are 9, 10 and 16)

I'm not lazy, I get it all done. I'm just a bit overwhelmed lately is all, not to mention that I have a 15 month old baby who keeps me pretty busy.

Any suggestions?

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:23:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/17/2006 9:23:31 AM EDT by MrsGungho]
I expect and demand of my girls to pick up after themselves. Keep their rooms & bathroom clean, if they have special laundry needs between laundry days, they do it themselves. Of course they usually do all of their own laundry. They have to help with dishes, trash and general cleaning when asked. I normally don't ask much more of them then taking care of themselves, only because as teens, they have full active lives with friends and school.

ETA: the girls are 16 & 18 years old.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 9:50:34 AM EDT
My kids are a lot younger than yours (5.5 and 2.5), but I have thought through this a lot. We are actually using a commission system for their chores rather than an allowance in an attempt to teach them about money and work. I firmly believe that kids should pull their weight around the house, and do it with a decent attitude (i.e. they don't have to enjoy it, but I don't want to hear any whining or argument about it). My 5.5 year old son is expected to make his own bed, clean the playroom, put away his dishes after meals, and wipe the dining room table after each meal, in addition to cleaning up his own messes throughout the day (he doesn't get a comission for that, however). My 2.5 year old sone helps me with the laundry and dishes and everything else I do (often meaning a 5 minute chore takes 20 minutes).

At the least, with a 9, 10, and 16 year old, they should be responsible for dishes (after all, you are likely the one cooking the meals) and taking out the trash, in addition to picking up their own rooms and any messes they make. If they don't learn it now, then what will their houses look like when they move out? At those ages, and with a mom who has health problems, they should probably be responsible for a lot more than that. With 3 of them, they could get a lot done without breaking a sweat, and you will be better off when you aren't playing the role of "maid".
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:28:01 AM EDT
Thanks for the input, ladies.

I was thinking about this while on the first part of the afternoon school run and I think what I've been doing is over-compensating because I feel guilty for getting sick. But I know that I'm not doing anyone any good by doing so. Life goes on, right? The thing is, I think they'll feel better for helping out more too.

Cat_aclysm, you're right, those are all things they should be doing to help out. How on Earth did I let this slide for so long? Oyyyy.... I like the idea of commission too, I'm going to talk to the hubby about that. (He thinks they should be doing a LOT more to help out)

I appreciate the advice, I don't really have anyone to talk to about this sort of thing any more, it's funny how cancer shows you who your friends really are.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 12:59:07 PM EDT
When I was growing up, my 2 brothers and I split the household chores during the week. We had a rotating schedule:

Kitchen (included cleaning up after dinner)
Living Room
Bathroom/hall and stairs

We each had to make sure the area was clean each day after school. Then on the weekends, in addition to our normal rotating chores, there was always more stuff to be done.
Clean the dreaded cellar or garage
rake leaves
mow the lawn
clean the dog pen
vacuum the pool
laundry and ironing

Dad worked full time, mom worked 2 jobs. It wasn't asked that we help out in the house, it was expected. In addition, once mom started working the 2nd job, she didn't have time to make dinner once she got home from work. So, from the time I was about 11 years old, I made dinner every night for the family. I'd make a list on Sunday of what I needed for my weekly menu, and mom and I would go to the grocery store and buy what we needed to get through the week.
Mom paid me 10.00 a week to make dinner each night.

If your kids are those ages, Ginger, there really shouldn't be much at all that YOU are doing around the house. Put the kids to work. It's good for them. The older ones will wind up paying the younger ones once in a while anyway. It's the way of the world.
As the youngest, I got paid ALOT.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 3:22:10 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 4:32:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:06:15 PM EDT
Striker,I would pick my battles when my son was a teenager. Arguing over chores was not one of them. I would be the same as your wife just easier to do it myself,then deal with the argument.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:42:10 PM EDT
Sheesh, kids and chores go hand in hand.

As soon as the child is old enough, 3-4 they should be given things to do, like putting their toys away. This teaches them responsibility. As they age, other things should be added that are age appropriate.

My "old school" upbringing had us doing full farm chores at age 7- feeding & milking cows, gardening, cooking, canning, cleaning, fetching wood and hauling water. I cherish those memories. It gave me a sense of responsibility and satisfaction, knowing I had helped.

This "new age" society, doesn't teach children responsiblity or respect. It teaches them they can do anything they want, without any consequences for those actions.
Link Posted: 3/17/2006 10:59:04 PM EDT
Here's another man's perspective:

Our family would be considered strict by many standards. Our children are a part of the family, thus they have a responsibility to contribute in exchange for you givning birth to them, changing their diapers all those years, feeding them, clothing them and sheltering them. There are certain chores they do because they are a part of the family -- no allowance, commission, pay or whatever. Extra things earn money. Their chores are done without arguing with or disrespecting Mommy. To disrespect Mommy brings down the wrath of Daddy. We do what we can to make the chores fun and enjoyable, but our kids are young enough that games and contests can still disguise work as fun. When that doesn't work, consequences work well. Priviledges can be taken away, and almost everything is a priviledge.

Our 4.5, 6, and almost 7y.o. have their chores. They clean their dishes after every meal while one of us cleans the rest (we don't have a mechanical dishwasher, we have 3 organic ones!), they pick up their toys and clothes, they help fold laundry, they pick up the yard before it gets mowed (if they don't pick it up, it gets run over & chewed up), they help Mommy dust, they make their beds, clean their room, set the table, etc. Our 19m.o. is expected to look cute, smile, and not destroy too much. It's never done wonderfully, but the point is that they are contributing to the family.


(He thinks they should be doing a LOT more to help out)

Since he feels they should be doing a lot more, how has he tried to get them to fulfill their responsibilities? Without knowing your husband's work schedule, etc., what has he done about it? Is he able to be home enough to enforce it? I'm assuming he already pitches in a lot to help. If not, kick his butt into gear!

Your 16y.o. should be cooking about a third of the meals, and not just macaroni & hotdogs. They could do the laundry, from washing to folding. The house gets cleaned every weekend (or whatever day works) with a rotating list of chores while you supervise and keep the 15m.o. from spraying the windex in his eyes and dismantling the vaccuum bag. The trash gets taken out daily if necessary. Certain rooms are assigned to each child for the week. The worst bathroom is left for the most incorrigible child that week.

Link Posted: 3/17/2006 11:20:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Striker:
Here is the problem..my wife would rather do them herself then argue with the kids to do them. So any ground I gain..I lose the 4 days I'm at work.



Why would an adult argue with a child over chores? Either they do them, or they face the consequences. No arguing or hounding is necessary. One or two reminders is all they get. If they don't do it, they lose priviledges. Your daughter is dying to have a social life, I'm betting. No chores, no social life. She doesn't do the dishes? then she doesn't talk on the phone, watch tv, use the computer, etc., until her chores are done. She didn't do her chores all week? Well, you and your wife are simply unavailable to drive her to that little get-together at the mall she wanted you to take her to (and no, her friend's parents may not pick her up and take her). The slumber party with her friends is out of the question.

I have found with my kids, and from friends with teenage kids, that a nice tactic to use is this: arguing about it will guarantee a negative answer, and may even increase the amount of work the child is required to do.
"You want to argue about it? Fine. You can do the dishes and clean the toilet."
"But that's not fair! I'll never get it done in time! You can't do this to me!"
"Shall I add the rest of the bathroom to your job?"
They either figure out to keep the mouth shut, or your house ends up really clean!


The real question is whether or not your wife is willing to go along with that. If not, then you are screwed.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 12:26:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:03:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/18/2006 4:07:05 AM EDT by MrsWildweasel]
Stiker, I understand, just didn't want to deal with the argument that would ensue. So if I was going to argue with him I picked my battles. At the time he was giving us a run for our money so I figured chores was the least of my problems then. Hubbby had to literally turn into a DI with him. Not something either of us wanted to do,but was necessary.
I should also add that if he was asking for money he had to earn it from us.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:14:54 AM EDT
Loonybin, When my son was a teenager, is was nothing to him to lose privaledges, be grounded etc. He didn't care. We had a 2-3 year window that he was giving us a run for our money, so chores was the least of my problems.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:17:51 AM EDT
Tag.
For more info...
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:39:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By daisywench:


If your kids are those ages, Ginger, there really shouldn't be much at all that YOU are doing around the house.



I like the sound of that!

Daisy, your response made me smile, it reminded me of my own childhood. I was the only child, my dad was in the Army, so he was away a lot and my mother worked two jobs (the second was a bar job, she did it for the social aspect, I think), so most of the household stuff fell to me once I got to 11 or 12. I don't remember ever feeling like it was a burden, it was just what I did.

I really think that I let things slide to this point with my own kids because of everything that's been going on. (guilt again, I would look at them and think 'they stand to lose their mother, do I really want their last memories of me to be me hollering at them to do their chores?' I know....), Which in retrospect was probably a mistake, but you deal with it whatever way you can... I guess.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 4:50:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Striker:

My kids are 14 and 10, my daughter being the oldest.
We are currently battling over chores.
My daughter has her hand out everytime we turn around looking for $5 here, $10 there, yet we have to chase her to do the dishes.
That is their only job except keeping their rooms clean. We have a dishwasher so it's not like they are doing a sink full.
I've told them numerous times (tonite being the most recent) that the dishes are their responsibility.
Here is the problem..my wife would rather do them herself then argue with the kids to do them. So any ground I gain..I lose the 4 days I'm at work.



I can relate, I can't stand the arguments either. My husband is pretty strict and has been trying to keep them on track, but how I've been dealing with it when they get into it is by removing myself from the situation. It's not that I mean to undermine him, it's just that I can't stand it. And he understands why I've been doing it (the emotional aspect of what I've been dealing with alone was pretty devastating and I've been tending towards avoiding stressful situations), but he thinks that the kids need to see us as a united front and he's right.

It's funny because the 16 y/o (boy) is much harder work in this respect than the younger two (girls), he doesn't so much argue, but he has this passive resistance thing going, he just doesn't do it and doesn't care what the punishment is.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 5:06:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By loonybin:
Here's another man's perspective:

Our family would be considered strict by many standards. Our children are a part of the family, thus they have a responsibility to contribute in exchange for you givning birth to them, changing their diapers all those years, feeding them, clothing them and sheltering them. There are certain chores they do because they are a part of the family -- no allowance, commission, pay or whatever. Extra things earn money. Their chores are done without arguing with or disrespecting Mommy. To disrespect Mommy brings down the wrath of Daddy. We do what we can to make the chores fun and enjoyable, but our kids are young enough that games and contests can still disguise work as fun. When that doesn't work, consequences work well. Priviledges can be taken away, and almost everything is a priviledge.



This is how we always were until a year ago, then I dropped the ball. You are absolutely right. This is partly why I asked for advice here, because I needed people to tell it to me like it is, you know. I need a metaphorical kick up the rear end.




Since he feels they should be doing a lot more, how has he tried to get them to fulfill their responsibilities? Without knowing your husband's work schedule, etc., what has he done about it? Is he able to be home enough to enforce it? I'm assuming he already pitches in a lot to help. If not, kick his butt into gear!



My hubby makes R Lee Ermey look like the Easter Bunny. When he's home he's right on them and he stays on them until what he asked them to do is done and done properly. One problem is that nobody has assigned chores anymore, it's like since we moved, nobody thinks they have to do the same as at the old house.


The worst bathroom is left for the most incorrigible child that week.




Heh. The worst bathroom (theirs) will permanently be the 16 y/o's job in that case.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 6:38:24 AM EDT
I bought this book called the sidetracked home executive. It has a file card system of chores that have to be done daily, weekly, every other week, monthly, semi annually on and on. If followed it takes about 30 minutes a day and 45 minutes a day once a week to complete all that is needed to keep the house spic and span. My kids are about your kids ages. 16, 15 & 7. My 7 year old gets off on a lot of things but he has to make his bed, pick up his toys, clean dog beds, clean windows, empty trash etc.

My husband doesn't do anything. Well I shouldn't say that. He doesn't help with the house work. He will do something if asked and is very good at doing the dishes for one of the kids if they have a lot of homework and he takes care of the yard and his shop. So he isn't completely useless!

I taught my kids early on that we are a team and that they each need to contribute to the team and now the older two are starting to catch on. I'll hear Whitney say to William when he complains about chores "Oh yea, way to take one for the team" cracks me up!

Patty
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 6:43:09 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 7:09:36 AM EDT
Hahaha, Striker, your kids are screwed. Ours thought is was bad having both parents ex-mil. I mean that in a good way.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 12:37:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ginger:
One problem is that nobody has assigned chores anymore, it's like since we moved, nobody thinks they have to do the same as at the old house.



Yeah, without set expectations, it's hard to get kids to do much. My family just moved from NE to KS this past weekend (I've been here since Nov.), ans we're being more lenient with the boys for now, but they still have their jobs, and that in itself helps to provide some stability and continuity from being uprooted. We just do a lot more reminding and less of the consequences... for now.



The worst bathroom is left for the most incorrigible child that week.




Heh. The worst bathroom (theirs) will permanently be the 16 y/o's job in that case.



Good. When he gets to boot camp (or the frat house), then he'll have plenty of experience!
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 12:50:32 PM EDT
one thing we tried was making a list of everything that needed to be done each week and having the kids take turns picking what they wanted to do... even split of "fun stuff" (cleaning the glass table and dusting - go figure) and yucky stuff like picking up the dog poop in the back yard and taking out the trash...

9 & 10 year olds definitely need to be cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming at the very least, and the 16 year old needs to be helping with laundry and dinner, again at the very least...

give them a say in what they'd like to pitch in on, and I think you'll be pleased with the kids you've raised...
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 5:16:27 PM EDT
tag to read later
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 6:34:39 PM EDT
I think it is important for kids to help, so that they will learn to do things for themselves. It will help them as adults; it is part of a parent's responsibillity for teaching their children, both boys and girls. The important thing to remember is not to criticize if you think the child has done his/her best at whatever chore it is. My mother was hypercritical about everything. She didn't think anyone did things as well as she did, even if we did it better, which was not unusual, she was always critical. I think part of the reason I don't like housework to this day is because of her criticism. I was already cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry and learning to cook at 8-9 years old.

Also, a child should never be allowed to stop doing a chore just because they do it poorly, they will only learn how to get out of it.
Link Posted: 3/18/2006 9:03:21 PM EDT
This is enlighting hanging in the WF. Had I had childern they'ed be paying Rm/board @ HS graduation. Working PT during "further studies"....I went further. My sisyer whom had the Grnkids stayed home for 44yrsGuess my daddy was a big sugardaddyhe owned a % @ the'sugarhouse'in charlestown. Right next to dominos sugar. So dont plan you'll get'em out after college! CHORES???? train 'em early!
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 12:55:23 PM EDT
Each Saturday, we had to clean a specific common area, and that area rotated each Saturday.
Link Posted: 3/19/2006 12:58:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Striker:

Originally Posted By MrsWildweasel:
Stiker, I understand, just didn't want to deal with the argument that would ensue. So if I was going to argue with him I picked my battles. At the time he was giving us a run for our money so I figured chores was the least of my problems then. Hubbby had to literally turn into a DI with him. Not something either of us wanted to do,but was necessary.
I should also add that if he was asking for money he had to earn it from us.


UNderstandable MrsWW.
My resume includes former drill instructor and correctional officer...I get paid to argue..and I'm not to shabby at it!




hehehehehehehehehehehe

Link Posted: 3/19/2006 2:03:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 3:09:53 AM EDT
My daughter (soon to be 9) likes the chore chart to view her accomplishments. She does a better job at "supervised" chores - i.e., likes me to hang out with her while she...er, I end up doing something. My son (just turned 6) on the other hand, will take it upon himself to spray clean, wash dishes, dust, and swiffer without me even asking him to and seeing it charted.

My feelings are if you don't get them into some routine early, you will be screwed, as they will want to do less and less as they get older. They should at least be responsible for their rooms and picking up after themselves throughout the house. Mine will always do little "extra" things that help me out if I ask them nicely without any kind of reward.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 7:00:09 AM EDT
Thanks everyone for the positive input. You guys are awesome!

What we did was to make a chart with each child's assigned chores, which they need to check off once the chore has been completed. We also put a list of other chores which can be done on a volunteer basis, for each extra chore, the child has to sign off that they completed it.

For the extras, we're awarding points. We're not going to pay them for helping out, because my hubby feels (and I agree) that as part of the family they should be doing so willingly.

But with the point system, the child who earned the most points gets an alternative reward; such as choosing the movie and snack for movie night, or choosing what we eat (from a pre-set list of option provided by us) on take out night, or choosing the venue (again from a list of options provided by us) for our next outing, etc.

All of this (we hope) will teach them that by contributing to the family, they get to have a 'say' in the family.

We had a rough year and yes, everything was different. But that's in the past and it's time to get things back on track so that we can enjoy the life that God blessed us with. Mommy isn't a maid.
Link Posted: 3/20/2006 8:24:21 AM EDT
When our girls were young, they helped alot with the housecleaning. I really noticed just how much they did after they are all out of the house. And now they are planning a painting weekend for us. In two weeks, they will all be home to paint our living room for us! One of my granddaughters, 6, is really an avid cleaner, she fixes her own bed and always has her room clean.
My sis-in-law on the other hand, never had her girls clean after themselves, it shows, with her house and their house.
So get the kids to start early! You won't regret it!
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 11:18:46 PM EDT
"Tussle with cancer"??? If I was married, and my wife had cancer, the kids would be doin all the chores. Making a chart sounds efficient, but you'll find that this becomes a job in and of itself. Kids that do chores grow up with a stable outlook. As for evading the arguments? What argument? There shouldn't be any. This isn't the popular view these days, but "time-out" is for the birds. Do the chore at hand, or you'll get the hand on your ass. Argue? And you get a hand on the ass, and the TV leaves their bedroom. But if the child does the chore without an argument, then comes a great accolade. Kneel down to their level, look'em in the eye and give A pat on the back, with a "you're a great kid, thanks for not arguing, and doing a great job". It worked! And eventhough we're divorced, the kids and I keep in contact. We have a great relationship.

It sounds cruel when you take out an event and focus on it. Heck, I did a lot of non-typical stuff. As they showed me maturity, Id let them do something mature. When each of the two turned about 6ish, I'd take them to the school parking lot, put them on my lap, and let them steer the car, as I worked the gas and brake. I told them to watch the speedometer, and to tell me what to do. If they wanted me to go too fast, I'd tell them no. You may ask what this has to do with chores, but after these types of exploits, arguing over chores, or anything was non-existant. At about 14, I would take them out of school occasionally, and we'd go to the local University, at first we'd walk around to classes I told them I liked when I went. Then they started making suggestions. I wanted them to get a real view of college, and not put it on some out of reach drudgery pedestal. Just think of them telling their friends of these things. The awe they would get was probably empowering. I believe that our society has lost 'rights of passage' for youth. The deviant behavior is their seeking empowerment.

I almost erased this post. Who the heck am I to give advice to someone else. But this stuff worked for me. They may be step kids, but they're my kids, eventhough their mom and I are divorced, those kids are very well balanced, with a strong knowledge of who they are.
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