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to expect a 17-year-old to help around the house?

(42 Posts)
Fleurielle Wed 05-Mar-14 08:33:51

I have a lovely 17-year-old step-daughter. She does very little around the house and tries to get away with the few things she has been asked to do, like taking her empty plate in the dishwasher etc. Usually she will leave it on the counter above the dishwasher. I'm the only one who points this uot to her. I feel like she is more than old enough to help us (we cook everything from scratch every evening etc so usually there is a fair bit of dishes etc). My husband however does not think his daughter should do anything at all and this is causing us arguments. I am feeling like I am doing her share as well, cleaning up in the kitchen after cooking the whole meal (usually together with my husband) while she sits on the sofa all evening. She has no hobbies and spends around 2 hours in town every day after school (sixth form) so it's certainly not a question of a lack of time.

I am wondering if I am asking too much to expect her to help? How much do you think a 17-year-old should be doing around the house?

Thanks for your advice smile

SheherazadeSchadenfreude Wed 05-Mar-14 08:36:13

She should help clear the table after a meal, or help prepare it (but tidy up after herself if she does), help keep the "common areas" clean and tidy - maybe push a hoover round at the weekend. Keep the bathroom clean if she has sole use of it, and if not then she should clean the bath/shower after using it, wipe out the wash basin and clean the loo after use. I would also say she should do her own washing.

Lj8893 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:37:32

When I was 17 I was tidying up after myself, cooking the odd family meal plus my own meals if at seperate times to family, doing my own washing, keeping my bedroom tidy(ish), and a couple times a week I would be cleaning the bathroom or running a Hoover round the house.

Joules68 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:40:12

Think the problem is your husband not your step daughter!

Pagwatch Wed 05-Mar-14 08:40:24

She isn't the issue. Most teenagers will do very little if very little is expected of them and if that is what they are used to.

Perhaps you could talk about this with her and your DH about her perhaps growing up a bit and looking after herself like an adult ought to.
It is not a gift to a teenager to send them off into the world utterly incompetent.

At 17 my son was a decent cook and cleared up after himself. He was torn between sympathy and contempt for his peers who spent the first year at uni spending a fortune and eating shit food dressed in grubby clothes. One girl in his house didn't wash her sheets all year (euewwww)

Stop callings helping out and call it looking after your self like an adult. That might help a bit.

Fleurielle Wed 05-Mar-14 08:47:17

Thanks all! Appreciate it.

pixiepotter Wed 05-Mar-14 08:50:15

do you work full time?

mrsjay Wed 05-Mar-14 08:57:57

I think it is him not her tbh most teenagers would do nothing except sort themselves if they got away with it I am always on my dds to pick up put away blah blah, speak to your husband tell him she is old enoough to help clear up ,talk to her on a one to one just say you would appreciate her putting her dishes away , I would be tempted to say oiy pick it it up grin but she is your step daughter so it is hard but speak to your husband he needs to realise she is not a little girl

Dawndonnaagain Wed 05-Mar-14 09:01:41

My 17 year old twins are expected to clear up after a meal, including loading the dishwasher, clean and hoover their bedrooms and never leave a room without taking something with them! Doesn't always work, but they know they have to do chores. That's life.

MistressDeeCee Wed 05-Mar-14 09:01:47

She is lazy, and will regret it when she has to go out into the adult world and finds she can't fend for herself. Give her some chores. Speak to your DH about it also. She's not a child and he needs to know you're not her waitress. If he doesn't want her to do anything, fine - he can run around after her himself. If she's so precious she can't do chores then so are you.

Logg1e Wed 05-Mar-14 09:05:38

My 7 year old would do more than this, and all of my children have been raised to see housework as just part of family life by being expected to do age-appropriate chores.

Does your daughter live with you full time?

I wouldn't argue with your step-daughter, I'd pass things to your husband along the lines of, "I cleaned the kitchen after cooking, would you go and put daughter's glass in the dish washer please?".

Logg1e Wed 05-Mar-14 09:06:59

Also, at 17 I think it's fair that she is responsible for cooking a couple of meals per week.

pinkbraces Wed 05-Mar-14 09:10:23

My 17 yr old is responsible for her room, I never enter smile

She cleans up after dinner, empties dishwasher when it needs doing, along with the rest of us. Once a week she hoovers and dusts two reception rooms and walks the dog as and when is necessary.

We used to have rows about how little she did but she said she would rather have a list of chores she has to do and since then its worked pretty well.

I would feel very resentful is she did nothing and its not how a family should be, everyone should pitch in.

My eldest is at Uni and she says its amazing how many of her friends didn't know how to even boil an egg let alone clean up after themselves in the shared kitchen.

bebanjo Wed 05-Mar-14 09:11:51

I left home at 16 and so did everything for myself. The idea of 17 year having everything done for them to me seems a littel bit wierd.
But each to there own.

pixiepotter Wed 05-Mar-14 09:14:46

also with as/a2s looming she shouldn't be sitting on the sofa all evening, she should be revising, doing past papers etc.

Crowler Wed 05-Mar-14 09:16:20

That would make my blood boil if a 17 year old sat a dirty dish on the countertop. I'm currently negotiating what my 11 year old's kitchen duties are (he's an expert evader) and they "officially" exceed this.

PoshPaula Wed 05-Mar-14 09:17:46

They do jack all, in my experience, at that age. When they do it takes so long that you wish you'd done it yourself.

Asteria Wed 05-Mar-14 09:21:50

It really doesn't matter what everyone elses children do - if your DH isn't presenting a united front with you (and you are right btw - she needs to help) then this is all for nothing.
What are his reasons for her not helping out around the house! Does he realise that rather than being a great dad he is creating a monster?!
She will be leaving home in a very short time and presumably she doesn't even know how to cook? How on earth will she survive? Parenting is about preparing our children for the big wide world, not spoiling and over-indulging!
Don't envy you - it is very difficult when the issue is with DSC's and parents have v different ideas.

brdgrl Wed 05-Mar-14 09:23:27

At 17 my DSD had set chores.
Over a two-week period, she would be expected to cook dinner and wash up three times, and hoover the kitchen three times.

She also walked the dog on one weekend morning and a couple of evenings during the week.

We gave her a very good allowance, half of which was 'automatic' and half of which was linked to doing her weekly jobs.

She was pretty good about doing the set jobs. We hardly ever asked her to do anything else whatsoever, though, and DH and I know - in hindsight - that we should also have been able to simply say "hey, could you please [put a load of washing in/start dinner because we are running late at work/put the hoover 'round the living room/cut the grass/whatever]...I think set chores are good, but you also need to cultivate that sense of "we're a family and so everyone chips in when something needs done".

Twilight23 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:27:21

At 17 I:
Tidied my bedroom
Washed and hung out my clothes
Washed the dishes and packed away
Hoovered
Dusted
Cleaned
Cooked meals

17 is virtually an adult. Yanbu.

Jinty64 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:28:32

Ds2 (16) hoovers downstairs twice a week, unloads the dishwasher and dish rack daily, puts ds3 (7) to bed 4 nights a week including shower and school reading and takes ds3 to the park at the weekend if the weather is good otherwise plays a computer game with him for an hour. He doesn't really cook but can make red or green Thai curry, omelette, lemon cheesecake, chilli con carne and anything with instructions on the packet. His allowance reflects this.

Ds1 (18) needs nagged to tidy his bedroom and return plates and cups to the kitchen. Hoovers upstairs if bribed. Dislikes ds3. Vomits at the sight of Thai curry and can cook Uncle Bens rice time, rustlers or pot noodle. His allowance reflects this. He does have some special needs but is quite capable if doing everything ds2 does!

Show your dh this thread.

fieldfare Wed 05-Mar-14 09:31:49

I moved out just before I was 17 so was taking care of myself independently!

At 14/15 I was coming in from school, clearing out and re-laying the fire, putting dinner on a couple of nights a week (easy things like sausage/chicken/beef casserole, spag Bol etc), putting a wash on and running the vac round before my mum got home from work. Then homework, dinner when everyone got in and then time to do as I pleased afterwards.

You need to talk to your husband and agree some set jobs for her to do, you're doing her no favours by letting this go.

" My husband however does not think his daughter should do anything at all and this is causing us arguments. I am feeling like I am doing her share as well"
So it's your husband who is the real problem. Surely if he really feels that way, he should be doing her share? Maybe you should leave him to clear up in the kitchen while you park yourself on the sofa, then he might get it.

brdgrl Wed 05-Mar-14 09:39:45

I should add as full disclosure that besides my DSD I also have a 16 year-old DSS, who currently does absolutely fuck-all around the house, and has just lost his pocket money and his xbox, and been told to do his own laundry in the sink, as a result.
What works well with one doesn't always work so well with another, clearly!

Fleurielle Wed 05-Mar-14 09:42:15

Thanks all, I think we've reached an agreement with your help smile

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