To expect a yr 10 student to put his clothes in the wash and make his own packed lunch. Teachers also please answer.

(188 Posts)
PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:31:25

I'm having a dilemma with eldest ds, nearly 15.

I have been too soft on him imo and told him that he will have to make his own packed lunch as from the start of this term.

So far, he can't be arsed. This puts me in a difficult position. I think part of my job as a parent is fostering independence. He is definitely capable of even just making a sarnie.

I'm torn between letting him get to the point where he'll realise that he needs to make his lunch for school and making it for him. I'm worried that his teachers will think I'm neglecting him! If I keep making it for him, he won't ever make it himself though.

Apparently there was nothing to eat yesterday, but we had cheese, laft over roast veg, seedy bread and fruit. So, a good lunch there imo.

I've also put him in charge of getting his laundry in the machine. So, that hasn't been done in time so his PE kit is damp.

DP and I are also busy and I think it's time DS should be starting to take responsibility over meals, laundry and other bits. Unfortunately, he really can't be arsed and I don't want to be a pushover. So, it's a case of stalemate.

Will I get a call from the school asking me wtf is going on?

CoffeeTea103 Wed 25-Sep-13 08:36:42

I think you should persevere with this. He is definitely old enough! Why don't you give him suggestions the night before on what he could make for lunch the next morning? This will give him no excuse.

SkinnybitchWannabe Wed 25-Sep-13 08:38:35

YANBU. my eldest ds is also in yr10. He makes his own lunch and unless his washing is in the machine it doesnt get washed.
He puts away all his clean laundry (as do my 8 and 10 year old ds).
They are my rules in my house so like it or lump it.
Keep the rules you want and dont ever give in.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 25-Sep-13 08:39:41

YANBU. Persevere, facilitate, offer help but keep the responsibility on him and let him live with the consequences of doing nothing. I have a friend with a 22 yo graduate back at home acting like the place is a hotel and making no effort to find work. If you don't make a stink at an early stage they're unlikely to just work it out solo.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:40:44

I'm already doing that Coffee. Apparently there's no food, but what he actually means is that he can't be arsed to use his imagination or actually make anything.

I've asked him about the kinds of food he likes and when he does actually bother to do his lunch, he doesn't usually eat it anyway. Damn these pesky teens!

curlew Wed 25-Sep-13 08:42:27

I would be amazed if the school even noticed, to be honest.

What does he eat if he doesn't take a lunch?

Norudeshitrequired Wed 25-Sep-13 08:44:51

You are doing the right thing and need to persevere. He is old enough to make his own lunch and sort his washing.
The teachers will not think you are neglectful if he hasn't made himself any lunch. Even at my sons primary school the children are not allowed to use the excuses of 'my mum didn't put it in my bag' as they are simply told that it is not mums responsibility. Forgotten homework or PE kits leads to sanctions.
Your son is 15, if he would rather be hungry than make a sandwich then that's his problem as he is old enough to sort himself out.
Perhaps ask him what he wants you to buy for sandwiches when you are going shopping and then he can't use the excuse that there was nothing in.

cg13 Wed 25-Sep-13 08:45:06

YANBU. I did my washing and cooked meals from around that age. Probably not all the time but if I needed washing/food I was happy to get on with it. But, this came from me, not my mum...I'm stubbornly independent, always have been (and now I wonder why my toddler is always saying
"I don't need your help" smile).

Anyway, my incentive was to be independent and grown up. I think you have to try and find an incentive which will make DC want to do it themselves, rather than just because they're being told to.

Amy106 Wed 25-Sep-13 08:45:40

You are being quite reasonable. He needs to be supervised closely to make sure he is doing the job. Lunch making and laundry can and should be taught to kids because they are life skills everyone needs. Stick to it and don't allow him to slack off.

Morgause Wed 25-Sep-13 08:46:14

DCs made up their own lunch boxes from the aged of 8.

They were responsible for putting dirty laundry in the laundry basket as soon as they could dress and undress themselves.

At age 11 they had to wash their PE kit if it was going to be needed again that week.

By 14 they were capable of sorting the washing and loading the machine.

Ironing at 16.

Cooking for themselves began at 11 and for the family at around 15.

I'm a very lazy mare.

Both boys btw.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:46:25

Thanks SkinnybitchWannabe and Cogito. I think I'm doing the right thing. I'm just going to carry on as I am.

curlew, I have no idea, as he just takes his bus money and I'm certain he isn't walking. He told me that one of the teachers bought him lunch the other day because he was sitting in the canteen with his friend and he didn't have any food. I'm bloody livid. angry Cheeky little so and so. I've no idea whether he was spinning me a yarn there however.

Finola1step Wed 25-Sep-13 08:47:16

Good grief. If this is what he's like at home, then school will probably be pretty pleased that you are instilling some independence in him. I know year 6 children who make their own lunches. There are plenty of 15 year olds who not only organise their own lunches but prepare and cook the odd family meal as well.

I'm sure at school he is able to sort himself out. If not, school would have been in contact with you a long time ago about his lack of independence. Yes I am a teacher. In primary, not secondary. Many of our boys in year 6 find personal organisational skills tricky. But they are 10. Some if them are very much on their way though.

It's about time you did this. Stuck with it you must. Or in a few years time, there will be some poor young woman suffering the fact that her dp can't or won't do his fair share around the house. Then she'll probably come onto mnet and moan about the MIL....

Lweji Wed 25-Sep-13 08:48:14

My 8 year old puts his clothes in the wash.
He has just brought his socks.

I might well make him prepare his mid morning snack soon.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 08:50:51


Although my yr10 doesn't do these things - I wouldn't ask her to make her own lunch as she has to get an early bus and I wouldn't want to have to wake her even earlier. Laundry has to go in the laundry basket - I wouldn't want her dumping it all in the washer, it needs sorting. So she does put it where I want it to be, and she'll put things in and out of the dryer if I ask - probably I need to get her being a bit more proactive on seeing what needs doing.

Maybe you could help him a bit at this stage by ensuring that there are things that he can easily turn into a packed lunch, and that he knows are OK for him to take - get him to write you a shopping list of what he wants for the week? I'm not sure many teens would equate 'left over roast veg' with 'packed lunch' TBH!

My two have to put their clothes in the machine or they don't get washed. However even though they are now 19 and 16 and this has been going on for years they are still surprised when they have no clean clothes. As to lunch id leave him to it, I stopped making lunch for mine when they were in year 6. Sometimes if we are running out of food I will make them a sandwich as my DS seems to use half a block of cheese if left to do it. Im sure the school wont care, if they have any concerns they will call you and you can just explain what you are doing.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:52:21

Well, he's actually supposed to have been putting his clothes to wash since year 8, but he has a habit of putting the dirty ones back in the drawers or stashing them under his bed.

This will probably out me, but this is the boy who used to keep his pyjama bottoms on under his school trousers because he was only going to have to change back into them later. There was also the changing into his school uniform before he went to sleep, to save him time getting dressed in the morning.

KittiesInsane Wed 25-Sep-13 08:53:15

Infuriatingly, I have to report that while my 11 yd old daughter does her own lunch, her 17 yr old brother doesn't.

He has eating issues though, and it's a problem persuading him to eat at the best of times.

TheWave Wed 25-Sep-13 08:53:23

I think there's a big difference between you talking to him and organising that there are rolls or wraps there with fillings - bought at the start if the week (which I have done) and him searching around for random ingredients.

Bumblequeen Wed 25-Sep-13 08:53:24

Yanbu. He should be able to wash and hang out his clothes, not just put them into the machine. I knew how to operate a washing machine and sort colours from the age of 11.

As for making his own lunch. He should have been doing this from primary school.

Does your son do any housework?

These days teenagers are going to university without basic cooking or cleaning skills. It is very sad.

cg13 Wed 25-Sep-13 08:53:35

Come to think of it, from 14 or 15 I did a lot of the household ironing. We had a little notebook and I'd record how many shirts, t-shirts, trousers etc and my mum would pay me weekly.

flashheartscanoe Wed 25-Sep-13 08:54:11

Good on you for trying to foster independence- its shocking how useless some kids are.

Unless this is a tiny private school the teachers will not be around in lunchtime and certainly not monitoring what the kids are eating.

I give my daughter (yr 9) enough lunch money to buy one school dinner each week. If she can't be bothered to make a packed lunch then she goes hungry or uses her own money, if she wants to make a packed lunch every day she can use her lunch money for something else - these are the sort of choices we all have to learn to make.

(In my opinion only) unless he has specific food issues he is too big for you to be worrying about whether he eats lunch.

SkinnybitchWannabe Wed 25-Sep-13 08:55:00

OP if your ds is anything like my ds and eats like a horse, after a couple of days of going hungry all day he will soon realise you're not giving in.
I also think his comment about the teacher buying him lunch is him trying to guilt trip you into backing down.
Please try and continue what you're doing, he will thank you in the end when he's all grown up and independant.

Crowler Wed 25-Sep-13 08:55:35

You're absolutely 100% right to be doing this.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:57:08

I talk him through ingredients and lunch ideas. When he does bother to make packing up he doesn't usually eat it anyway.

We don't really iron. My mum and dad always used to shake the cothes out and hang them to dry round the house. This is very effective!

DS does the dusting, hoovering and cleans the bathroom once a week for pocket money.

Longdistance Wed 25-Sep-13 08:57:29

Definitely persevere with it.

When I was your ds's age I was cooking dinner for when my mum and dad came home from work. My dp's would leave out the ingredients for me to whip it together/ chuck in oven etc.

We cleaned the house often too, hoovering, dusting, washing up, washing clothes (in a twin tub machine), bathroom etc.

Bearbehind Wed 25-Sep-13 08:58:29

this is the boy who used to keep his pyjama bottoms on under his school trousers because he was only going to have to change back into them later. There was also the changing into his school uniform before he went to sleep, to save him time getting dressed in the morning.

PMSL at this- he sounds ingenious enough to find a way of having lunch without too much effort- just make sure you aren't the one providing it!

Longdistance Wed 25-Sep-13 08:59:05

X post.

He just needs that push to do his lunch. Maybe get him to do it the night before?

pixiepotter Wed 25-Sep-13 09:00:00

I don't know.I think you needs to pick your battles.I have just dropped my eldest at UNI.They are grown and flown so soon, and they have to do everything for themselves then.You want them to thinkof home as a warm place where they were loved and looked after , not a battleground over petty issues.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 09:00:53

I do need to get my DD doing more... she did a lovely job cleaning the inside of my car yesterday but that was towards earning an iTunes voucher, she needs to do more regular stuff round the house just because she lives here and it needs doing.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 25-Sep-13 09:01:56

Well, not helpful but I think this is evidence in favour of training them when they're little and interested, not waiting until they're moody teens. However well trained though, teen whims may preclude making proper lunch or being tidy or organised for a while anyway. So I'd accept he's perfectly capable and just let him live with the consequences. Eventually he'll find a way.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 25-Sep-13 09:02:17

I will buck the trend and say that I think YBabitU.

Mine (yrs10, 9 & 7) put their washing out and away and tidy their rooms, but I don't expect them to do the washing or make their own lunches.

They often make supper during the week, they're all decent cooks.

But lunches every day? I think between homework, sports, extra curricular activity and being growing teens, they've got enough on their plates and I think it's my job to make their lunches every day; it means they get something sensible and soon enough they'll be solely responsible for feeding themselves every day.

And I think it's a nice thing to do for someone you love.

Bumblequeen Wed 25-Sep-13 09:02:40

I know of several women who still do everything for their teens as according to them "they will do a sloppy job".

My friends parents would hoover their bedrooms and I would watch in amazement. In my house, our bedroom had to be kept tidy. We had to place dirty laundry into the machine otherwise they did not get washed.

Once I got to a certain age, I felt uncomfortable with my mum handling my 'unwashed' underwear.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 25-Sep-13 09:03:10

Xpost pixie

cuggles Wed 25-Sep-13 09:04:14

Ok answering with my PE teacher head on...his kit is his responsibility and I would never accept any excuse involving a mum not doing it...certainly not in yr ten. Persevere with it all...i was ironing at that age and cleaning my room and other rooms and certainly maki g packed lunch! Stick with it...he may even thank you in the long run!...hmm!

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:04:55

pixiepotter, I agree, but I am a pushover and DP is always pointing this out. DS is a good lad and I do want him to think of home as a warm loving place, but I also want him to make his own packed lunch.

He is perfectly capable of cooking when it suits him.

DrSeuss Wed 25-Sep-13 09:05:48

A teacher here- so nice to hear about a Y10 who isn't practically breastfed! At our school, we provide stationery packs in all GCSE exams in case they can't manage to bring a pen for a major exam! And we are not in a deprived area, quite the opposite. The head of year did actually ask if he should also provide a wet nurse to go round the exam hall and feed them all!

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:08:15

He's a very resourceful and capable lad, as proven by his PJ bottom and getting dressed for school the night before solutions.

I just can't fathom why he can't whipe up a wrap for his lunch or actually put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, which is actually in the bathroom next to his bedroom. confused

PhallicGiraffe Wed 25-Sep-13 09:10:00

Make sure his friends know that his mummy still makes his packed lunch for him :p

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:12:23

Ha! Good one PhallicGiraffe. grin

fishandmonkey Wed 25-Sep-13 09:14:47

if he doesn't make his lunch he will go hungry, or get a teacher to buy it for him (bit odd imo). either way, you don't have to make it which is the main thing. he'll learn to at least throw a few things in his bag, even if he doesn't make himself a proper sandwich.
as for laundry - if it's things like his pe kit or school uniform, which must be ready for school, then he might need lots of help remembering to do it in time. maybe get him into a routine e.g. every wednesday evening he must do a load of washing.
i think sometimes when mums do too much for their kids, the kids end up with the message that they are incapable of doing things for themselves, which can undermine their confidence and then when they do have to manage on their own they can find it overwhelming.

Vivacia Wed 25-Sep-13 09:15:05

These are very low expectations for a 14/15 year old.

I'd leave him to get on with it. If you're worried about what the school think, let them know what you're doing and ask for their support (ie sanctions for no PE kit, not lending money etc).

noddyholder Wed 25-Sep-13 09:15:39

My ds was like this. Lazy arse didn't want to do any of it. I admit I did loads and just showed him how todo most stuff He is at university now living in a shared house ad is doing everything so I think this sort of stuff causes unnecessary family angst. If he is hungry a few times he will do it!

Preciousbane Wed 25-Sep-13 09:16:22

You are totally reasonable, from 13 I was looking after younger dsis as my Mother was widowed and running the entire house. I am quite crabby that domestic servitude was from such a young age as my Mother has never been even remotely grateful.

So it is a sensitive subject for me and I have never wanted dc to do too much. My DS in year 8 packs and unpacks dishwasher every day and has to bring down laundry and he shares cat feeding duties. He washes out his lunchbox but I do make his lunch for him.

We also have occasional 30 minute bursts of chore time maybe once a week when a timer is set and we both rush about doing as much as possible.

sashh Wed 25-Sep-13 09:18:30

My friend's son has just started uni. He is living at home for his first year (due to finances).

She has just told him that she will only do his washing and ironing on a weekend and he will have to organise his own clothing, ie pull it out of the drawers.

I think she should not be dong his washing and ironing at all. I almost had to physically restrain her from making him packed lunches.

When your son is 18, and off to uni (or work) do you want him to be independent? If so this is the groundwork. Stick with it.

Weegiemum Wed 25-Sep-13 09:19:10

15 years old?

My dc are 9,11,13 (p6, p7, s2 - that is y5,6,8) and they all make their own lunch after tea each evening and bung it in the fridge. Each of them helps to make a meal each week (and 11yo ds regularly makes Bolognaise on his own), they all bake, and are responsible for getting own lunch on Saturday (toasties to noodles to beans on toast and dd2 is learning how to make cheesy pasta).

Washing - I shout for baskets when I need them (they all have their own) but if they want something quicker they have to 1) bring it and 2) tell me!

Does your 15 yo have other chores, OP? Mine also feed and clean out guinea pigs and rabbit, set and clear table, load and unload dishwasher and hang up washing. Hoover as required.

I sound like a slavemaster!!

stillstanding29 Wed 25-Sep-13 09:20:57

I don't know if you're being unreasonable but I think you may be fighting too many battles at one time. He doesn't sound like a natural job doer/organiser and I'm thinking you are going to have to nag and prompt and guide him which is time consuming and from the sounds of it frustrating. I would pick one thing to focus on at a time.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 09:24:37

in the nicest possible way I dont think the school would notice if a 15 yr old was eating lunch or not they dont really bother about that sort of stuff at his age, it is just a pakced lunch he is to make not a full 3 course dinner grin
keep at it he is old enough to get himself organised and as for the washing if it isn't in the washing basket it doesn't get washed P E kit or not I am on my last 15 yr old thank god and she is slowly learning that she has to look after certain stuff and if that is her PE kit then it needs to be in the washing basket a few days before she needs it and she has had to go to school with no note without it once and never again,

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Sep-13 09:27:51

I'm afraid the food you say would make a good lunch sounds distinctly unappetising to a teenage boy, and nothing like the lunches I see Y10s at school eating. Therefore I'm not surprised he ignored it and took in nothing himself.

Ask him what he wants for his lunch, put it on your shopping list and buy it for him. If he is then still not making a lunch you might have cause for complaint.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:32:19

stillstanding29, I've pretty much stopped shopping at supermarkets now and only buy local, sustainably produced produce. So, he's going to have to lump it.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:32:45

Sorry, I meant to address noblegiraffe there!

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 09:33:34

fair enough paul there is nothing wrong with a cheese sandwich unless he doesn't like cheese of course

PostBellumBugsy Wed 25-Sep-13 09:34:11

Mine are younger and do everything you are asking your DS to do. I would say the lunch options may need a re-think. I tend to have stuff that is very easy to assemble, so that they can just shove things into their lunch bag & go.

My DCs would be in big trouble if they didn't make their beds (hardly difficult just have to put the pillows straight & pull up the duvet), put their dirty clothes in the wash basket and ensure that their towel is hung up after bath / shower.

They are also expected to help out with loading & unloading the dishwasher, mowing the lawn and hovering.

Stick with it PaulSmenis, you are doing a good thing by encouraging your DS to take some responsibility for his life. It will take him a while to get into a routine though & have a think about getting some more "easy" options for lunch.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 09:36:38

>They are also expected to help out with loading & unloading the dishwasher, mowing the lawn and hovering

my DD is quite good at hovering.... hmmgrin

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 09:36:46

Would he be bothered remember to grab something from the fridge for lunch if it didn't involve having to prepare it? Eg, fridge raiders, sausage roll, scotch eggs, + banana and apple?

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:38:23

DS does do other housework, but under duress and with supervision. I had an ex who's mum had done everything for him and I don't want DS growing up thinking that a partner should be a substitute mum!

Sarahplane Wed 25-Sep-13 09:38:51

From 14 I either had to bring my washing through to the laundry basket or wash it myself because my parents got sick of having to pick it up from my room. My dd is 7 and washing goes in a basket in her room and then she brings it through to us when we nag her. Your ds is definitely old enough.

I think with his lunches you're best to ask him what he wants buying for them and then he can make it. Or give him some money to go buy stuff himself to make his lunch.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:42:57

Sarahplane, I actually offered to give him some money so he could go and buy his own lunch.

I did something similar with clothes and trainers a while back and he came back with books. He actually needed clothes and trainers, but didn't want to go with me.

Anyway, I said that I'd give him the money to go and buy stuff for lunch, but I would need to see the receipt. He told me that he was "deeply insulted" that I would ask for a receipt and said he wouldn't go.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Sep-13 09:43:00

Well, given that his mates would probably take the piss if he turned up with a roasted vegetable wrap, it does seem like he's lumping it.

If you want him to eat lunch, and you want him to make it, then you need his buy-in. And seedy bread probably isn't going to cut it.

cashmiriana Wed 25-Sep-13 09:47:12

My Y10 DD1 makes her own lunch, does all her own laundry, does a large part of the family laundry, cooks family meals at the weekend, helps me prepare meals during the week, looks after her own bedroom, cleans the bathroom, hoovers, dusts etc when asked. Of course school work, music, and sports practice come first, and when she has exams I will excuse her from the general household duties, but it's not difficult to sort dirty washing and operate a washing machine, just boring and time consuming,

My Y5 DD2 does her own bedroom, has a laundry basket for her dirty washing and is expected to deliver it to the washing machine twice a week, puts her own laundry away, dusts, sets and helps clear the table for meals, and does her own packed lunches apart from the sandwich which I still do for her.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 09:48:00

I really don't understand what's wrong with fresh seedy bread. When I have got him what he wanted he didn't eat it.

I was getting white bread and sandwhich filler which he said he would eat.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 09:49:47

I dont think there is anything wrong with your food It is your son who can be arsed to make himself a sandwich for his lunch I think you have given him options and he still can't be bothered, he wants YOU to make it paul dont give in,

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Sep-13 09:53:42

You don't understand what is wrong with fresh seedy bread because you like it enough to buy it!

It is possible that your DS isn't bothered enough by food to make the effort to make something to eat. I'm like that, if food isn't instantly available, I'll not bother. I hate cooking and if my DH didn't cook, it's entirely possible I'd live on microwave ready meals.

When I was a teenager and had to prepare my own meals, I had pot noodles.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 25-Sep-13 09:53:54

PaulSmenis, why don't you take him to the supermarket & get him to choose his own lunches.

I admire your food principles but maybe you could put them to one side while you get your DS on track with taking responsibility for himself.

Take him to the supermarket and tell him he has a budget of X, with which he needs to find himself enough food for a week's worth of lunches.

Tell him you are not going to judge or criticise his choices, as you want him to take responsibility for himself. Let him get his own food & find a place in a cupboard and the fridge for him to store it. It may not be perfect or what you would choose for him, but it will be his first steps to managing a budget and making food choices.

Have the debate about sustainable food with him on another day.

stillstanding29 Wed 25-Sep-13 10:00:40

R u trying to get your DS to do his laundry and make his sandwiches? Or are you more caught up in winning the battle about laundry and sandwiches? He's a teenager you are the adult. Are you looking for a solution or are you looking to win?

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:01:11

Well, there are certain issues when it comes to getting him food he'll actually eat.

The main one is that he still can't be arsed to take it to school with him!

The second is that he'll often eat it before he gets a chance to take it to school anyway.

Yes, I do have food in the house and we'll cook dinners and he eats them.

You're probably right about the sustainable food debate, but he seems happy enough to eat most of it. I'm just trying to do my bit for the environment and instill some good values. blush

HooverFairy Wed 25-Sep-13 10:01:34

I don't think your expectations are too high, but with all due respect I think you're imposing your control over him despite you trying to make him independent. You say there was food in, but it's clearly not very appetising for a teenage boy so there's no wonder he didn't look at it. You also say that you'll give him he money but you want to see the receipt!? He's a teenager, not a convict about to run off with the family silver! I think you need to take a chance - ask him what he wants, then buy it for him at the beginning of the week; or give him the money and help him assemble his lunch until he has the hang of it. That way you can still check up on him but you'll also be helping him.

I very much doubt that he can't do it! I think he's testing and pushing you. You need to give him a bit more supervision with it, eventually he'll get sick of what he deems interference once he knows what he's doing and do it himself.

The PJs thing is hilarious! I'm a teacher, and yes, I've been led to believe students are starving to death when actually they were just after a free lunch. That's teenagers for you, I'd mention it at parents' eve.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 10:07:04

Hmm - it sounds like you're being very patient and reasonable with him - you've asked him what he'd like to eat and he hasn't eaten it, you've provided easy food that most people would like, you've offered to give him money to buy food, you've talked about the importance of good nutrition and learning to become more independent.

He either doesn't care about what/if he eats if it involves any effort on his part or not fitting in with his mates or he's enjoying winning this battle you're having with him.

I think you're wasting your energy. If I was you I wouldn't mention lunch again until he does. Don't offer him money. I know it's annoying and frustrating seeing him go without lunch or eating rubbish but I think you're sweating the small stuff here. It might take him a while to realise for himself that it's better for him, for all sorts of reasons to spend a small amount of time getting himself something for lunch, but eventually he will realise this for himself and do what's required.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 10:07:57

x-posted with hoover

Great minds think alike!

PostBellumBugsy Wed 25-Sep-13 10:09:15

Ok, if he can't be arsed to take his own food choices to school - then that really is his own look out.

If he'd rather get school lunches and you can afford that, then I think you have to hand over the money or buy the vouchers or whatever scheme your DS's school has. What was the receipt request for?

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:10:52

We had been getting him to write lists of things he'd like, but if he can't even be bothered to pop them in a lunch box, then I don't know what else to do. Perhaps he just doesn't get hungry at school?

stillstanding29 Wed 25-Sep-13 10:12:41

I didn't mean that nastily. My teenage boys drive me to distraction at times and I think it's easy to lose sight of the smaller issue because you can get so bloody pissed off with their overwhelming unreasonableness (if there's such a word).

FannyFifer Wed 25-Sep-13 10:13:57

Good god, my 8 year old makes his lunch & washes his clothes.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 10:14:26

I would give him dinner money if he is being so fussy or make him pay out of any pocket money he has life is far to short to be fighting with a 15 yr old about his lunch box I agree with the other posters who said similar to me sometimes dd makes a sandwich sometimes not I really honestly dont want to be fighting with her what she is eating at lunch time she puts her money in the lunchmoney machine and probably eats chips,

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:21:08

Yeah, the whole lunch and laundry thing has probably got out of hand. At least he doesn't sleep in his school uniform or wear his pj's under his school trousers now.

I suppose I got all anal about health. I was giving him lunch money last term and his bag was full of empty sweet and chocolate bar wrappers. Cue the parental guilt trip!

Ho hum. I'll take him shopping again and hope he bothers to take some food to school with him.

Dysgu Wed 25-Sep-13 10:21:58

You seem to have done a lot to try to get him to do what you want but how does he feel about it?

Does he understand that he is going to ave to be able to organise himself or does he just think it is your 'job' to do everything for him?

Does he talk about what he would like for lunch - white bread and sandwich filler? If so, then you bought it, he didn't eat it. That was his choice.

He is a big boy now. He can cope with the consequences of not taking lunch to school and having a damp PE kit. If it bothers him enough, he will do something about it. He has the skills to make a packed lunch/use the washing machine (I presume) so, if I were you I would back off. You are making this your problem when it is his. let him find the solution himself (which, to you, is obvious).

On a side note, as a KS2 primary teacher, I am always amazed by the amount that parents 'do' for their children. Every day they seem to turn into some for of pack animal and are loaded up with their child's book bag, PE kit, lunch box. Do these children not have working arms of their own? We had parents question whether we really 'meant it' when we asked them to stop bring in their Y6 children and putting lunch boxes on the trolley etc.

DP and I both work full-time (although not sure that makes a difference as my DMum was SAHM and we all helped out at home from young age) but my DDs (aged 4 and 7) can already

-sort laundry as they take it off (two baskets on their landing (whites/others)
- load washing machine and put a wash on (with supervision due to detergents etc)
-sort clean laundry (we are working on folding) and put away in drawers
- put together packed lunch (DP makes sandwiches and fills juice bottles) by adding cheese, fruit yogurt and add ice pack
-set table for tea (plates, cutlery, glasses, condiments)
-take own plates to kitchen after a meal
-put toys away (not always as well as I would like but good enough)
-assist in making a meal - can both peel and chop mushrooms, peppers; weighing ingredients, they made a cheesecake yesterday - all I did was supervise (and ensure 7 year old let 4 year old join in!)

There are probably more - at this age it is all a game and they do not really know that they are developing life skills. I am not planning on still having to teach these skills in 10 years time.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 10:24:18

what does he eat for lunch at the weekend ? what I do when dd is eating her school chips sighis to give her some fruit from the house it makes me feel better, I still would be strict about the washing though, take him to the supermarket maybe compromise lunch at school 3 days packed lunch 2 and see what he wants to eat if he is eating ok at home then I dont think it would do him any harm to have a school dinner, or even sweets although that would drive me up the wall

shrinkingnora Wed 25-Sep-13 10:25:25

I misread your thread title as 10 yr old ds. And I was still going to say YANBU!

stillstanding29 Wed 25-Sep-13 10:26:18

Good luck to you PaulSmenis smile

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 10:28:08

I sympathise with you. It's horrible when they don't seem bothered about their own health. I don't think you're being "all anal about health". (It nearly breaks my heart when I see DD spending her pocket money on diet coke!)

But I still wouldn't continue to indulge him by taking him shopping again - that will continue to have him feel you're trying to 'control' him. We know you're trying very hard to ensure he has a healthy diet, but he clearly doesn't see it like that.

Step right back. Don't mention lunch to him at all for a bit. Hopefully he'll make better choices when he begins to feel they're his choices, not yours or gets fed up of having nothing/rubbish for lunch. Or grows out of wanting to be the same as his rubbish-eating peers.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:28:38

DS can do all of these things, but he just doesn't want to do them. Things like tidying up after himself, putting clothes away. Maybe it's a teenage thing, but he is less amenable these days and has never wanted to put laundry in the basket - ever.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 10:30:50

My DS is the same - it's very annoying. Lazy and careless. His dad is the same.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:31:20

Thank god it's not just me chocoluvva, I absolutely hate it when DS spends his money on coke and other crap.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 10:31:27

I think it might be a teenage thing and a possible over indulgence thing too I did it with dd1 and was rushing about after her tail picking up after her then i realised she was 13 years old she was able to put a bloody towel in the washing, he is just being lazy and rebelling because you always did stuff for him it can creep up on us without realising, poor dd2 though she never got the picking up of the towels I had learned my lesson by then blush

Jellybeanz1 Wed 25-Sep-13 10:31:55

Make sure he's not taking money to buy inappropriate lunches, then his tummy will get the better of him and he'll have to knuckle down. My dc are a little younger but dd 11 does a daily dishwasher stack and unload and 1 x week family meal.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 10:32:28

the eating crap will pass dd1 used to eat all sorts of rubbish at at that age she eats quite healthy now well except for the redbull angry

littlemisswise Wed 25-Sep-13 10:35:56

I couldn't be bothered to argue over a packed lunch and the laundry, tbh. You say he is a good lad, he does other chores and yet here you are causing angst over a few pairs of dirty pants and a bloody sandwich! Why?
(I do have teens, btw 16&18yo boys).

I would just give him lunch money. If he eats crap, which he will make sure he has a few extra fruit and veg at home. Put a laundry basket in his room and give him a yell when you are putting the wash on.

stillstanding29 Wed 25-Sep-13 10:36:11

The favourite complaint in my house is - you want me to empty the whole dishwasher. Argghhh!!

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 10:37:13

you want me to empty the whole dishwasher.

and then refill it grin

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:37:42

mrsjay, maybe it's pfb thing? You could well be right. DP thinks this is all because I've been soft on him. He is a real disciplinarian.

He'll eat anything at home. As you can tell from the local produce thing, I am a bit of yoghurt knitter. DS will happily eat quinoa, chickpeas and all kinds of veg. He has even asked to take left overs in his lunch, but won't actually get as far as putting them in his lunchbox.

I'm just going to back off and stfu about lunches and continue to make sure he does his share of the housework.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:40:58

Yeah littlemisswise, the whole thing has probably got a bit silly.

NoComet Wed 25-Sep-13 10:43:13

My Y11 DD could happily rummage for sandwich ingredients, DD2(12) will only eat ham or salami.

Generally though, DH makes sandwiches and the DDs grab, yoghurts, crisps, fruit pots, cereal bars, apples and tangerines as they want. I try to keep one corner of the fridge and a box in the dinning room with packed lunch stuff.

DD2 is a right fusspot and she's sorted what she wants since she was about 7 as no one else can be bothered to remember what she likes this week.

Washing hmm that's still a work in progress, one light stuff and one dark stuff basket seems a bit hard to grasp confused

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 10:48:50

I'm known for being fastidious about quantities of fruit and veg consumed (despite my MN-name) and reading labels too. My particular bugbears are artificial sweeteners, glucose-fructose syrup, processed meat and smoked foods ( I had bowel cancer aged 42) and coke. I hate coke - caffeine, phosphoric acid, caramel, a ton of sugar or aspartame. Dreadful stuff. And don't get me started on energy drinks (basically coke minus the cola nut flavouring with added stimulants).

I think mrsjay'is right about teenagers going through a phase of eating rubbish then returning to healthier options. I see a bit of this with my 16YO already. She used to eat next to nothing for lunch but now gets the school meal deal and she's recently developed a taste for fruit teas.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 10:49:26

Thanks StarBallBunny, the confusion over laundry is pretty normal then. grin

What's pissed me off the most is when DS has taken food to school that he's chosen specially and not eaten it. He has this weird thing that he can't eat anything that has been in his bag all day. He won't even touch an unopened bag or crisps, cereal bar or drink.

Vatta Wed 25-Sep-13 10:56:15

Um....your last post has made me wonder whether there's some kind of anxiety problem/eating problem here? It's very odd that he won't eat an unopened packet of crisps if it's been in his bag. Have you explored that with him? I just wonder if he has some kind of germ phobia or something, that may explain why it feels impossible for him to make his lunch and eat it.

LookingThroughTheFog Wed 25-Sep-13 10:59:42

We used to get a monthly food/clothes allowance (£30 at the time). That money had to cover any new clothes we wanted except school uniforms, stationery for school, and lunches. If we wanted something other than the bread and jam that was in the house, we paid for it. If we wanted hot lunch, we paid for that too. This was from when we were 11.

It wasn't always straight forward. There were times when we got silly and spent all our money upfront and then whined about the bread and jam lunch. But there were other times when we scrimped and saved to get that one thing we really wanted.

It didn't make me financially competent - I've made a number of silly mistakes since adulthood.

What it did do was give my parents a get-out of the argument line. 'You know the rules - you won't starve, deal with it yourself.'

With the laundry (and cleaning the kitchen), we had a rota. Clothes would be left in front of the machine to be washed, and whoever's turn it was would do them all. That way you weren't waiting for someone else's two t-shirts to finish before you could put a load in. Yes, obviously we all saved up our clothes until it was someone else's week, but as we were all doing that, it evened out.

When we got older still, 15 or so, the rota extended to cooking dinner. She'd buy easy to cook things or have pots of frozen stew in the freezer, and we dealt with it. We were all out of the house all day, Mum (on her own at that point) worked full time. The household only worked if we all pulled together and did our bit.

I certainly don't think it's unreasonable for a child of 15 to be able to manage himself just a bit, and recognise that in the family, there are roles for everyone.

whois Wed 25-Sep-13 11:02:16

This is going to sound awful, but my mum actually made my packed lunch the night before for me when I worked for a year before uni!

She used to say she wanted to when I said I could make it myself. It was really nice of her, made my day easier. I was getting up and leaving in the dark in winter and she was retired so a little bit more time.

It hasn't ruined me. I'm a good cook, I'm not lazy, I don't take her for granted.

I would have been embarrassed to tell people my mum made my lunch tho I think!

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 11:06:51

Vatta, it is a bit odd isn't it? I've asked him about this and he just clams up about it. He doesn't seem to have any other issues like this.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 11:09:33

I think everyone has different ways of demonstrating their love though. For some people it's by feeding, for others it's by nurturing their goal for their children to be responsible and independent even when it's easier to cave in. Other people are fantastic listeners....

My DS won't eat apples that have been in his bag. But unopened packets? hmm. Very tricky for you OP

flipchart Wed 25-Sep-13 11:12:43

Tbh I think you are already way lto at introducing the laundry idea. This should have been done years ago. Mine have been doing this since they were toddlers - not perfect al the time and with ds2 who is 14 I still have the occasional bawl at him for forgetting to take his p e kit out of his bag. The point I'm making is that it is an ingrained habit since they were small.

Same with lunches. From they were about 8 and 10 DH would call them down in the evenings and say ' come on lads, let's get your lunches done,it'll save us time in the morning' so that too was a habit.

Could you do that with the lunches, start to assist and then back off bit by bit?

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 11:16:53

Is it inconvenient for your DS to eat at school intervals perhaps? Or just not cool to eat anything you've taken from home?

DD didn't used to take anything for interval with her.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 11:19:48

I think we just try our best to do the right thing by our DC chocoluvva, but it's pretty easy to miss the mark.

I worry quite a lot about glucose-fructose syrup, artificial sweeteners, processed food and chemicals used in farming. DP thinks I'm a bit neurotic about it all, so maybe I've inadvertantly given DS a weird food anxiety? My DB has a phobia of eating in front of other people. Maybe my family are a bunch of food weirdos?

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 11:22:43

dds wouldnt take anything in for interval and tbh at 15 it so isn't cool to take a lunch from home dd tries to regain her cool with the chips and whatot somedays just so she isn't the only pne with a lunchbox, I said this on a thread the other day some kid teased her because she had cheery tomatoes in her lunch confused

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 11:25:19

Perhaps chocolate bars and sweets are the in thing at ds's school.

I want some chocolate now. blush

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 11:26:49

I'll see your "processed food and chemicals used in farming" and raise it to 'filter our drinking water in a jug' grin - sorry, not helpful.

I do think that being seen to be concerned about avoiding additives, g-f syrup etc gives our teens something to rebel against. I know it could be so much worse, but it's still hard to not be sad and angry sometimes. Although it isn't 'small stuff' from a health POV, overall this probably is a case of battling and 'sweating the small stuff' IMO. Your relationship with your teenager is also very important.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 11:28:42

Oh dear - I think I've come over patronisingly again - my speciality - not intended that way. (wisdom from a nutrition -conscious mum of a 14YO DS and a nearly 17YO DS)

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 11:29:43

x-posted. sorry.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 11:29:52

you haven't chocoluva

Vatta Wed 25-Sep-13 11:33:56

Hmmm, I do wonder whether there's some kind of food/germ issue there that's making this difficult for him. Might be worth reading up a bit on food issues, see if that gives you any ideas to help him. The charity beat has a useful website and advice line for food problems.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 11:34:17

chocoluvva , you mentioned about your bowel cancer. I haven't had cancer, but was ill for a long time, so possibly more conscious of what I eat than a lot of people.

You can buy a lot of things in this life, but good health isn't one of them unless you are seriously loaded. I think a good diet is so important, but a lot of food in the supermarkets is utter rubbish.

noblegiraffe Wed 25-Sep-13 11:35:38

If his school is anything like mine, there'll be kids who bulk buy chocolate, sweets and pop from the cash and carry, then flog it out of their school bag at break and lunch time. I'm sure there's many a parent sending in lentils which unbeknownst to them are binned (I see so many lunches being binned) while their kid has a mars bar and an energy drink for lunch.

AutumnWitch Wed 25-Sep-13 11:39:33

We have a tick sheet for the boys lunches - for each day they mark which type of bread/filling/veg/fruit and pudding they want.. They fill it in once each week, and we make sure the ingredients are in the house. All we have to do is assemble it in the morning (mine are 8 and 5 - eldest helps with his). Saves a lot of stress.
Teenagers are not good at mornings - maybe he needs a bit of a help with the planning part?

StuntGirl Wed 25-Sep-13 11:44:29

Wow, I didn't realise I had been so spoiled as a kid. My mum, who was a single parent and worked full time, would get up in a morning and cook fresh tuna, mayo and sweetcorn pasta for my lunch, all the way up to the end of year 11. I never did laundry either, she did it all.

I'm a fully functioning adult now though, I promise grin

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 11:49:25

noblegiraffe i would see why the sweet would be scoffed and lunch binned, TBH i know good nutrition is very important BUT if they have a good breakfast and a good dinner then is lunch really a big thing

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 11:49:56

I do the washing stuntgirl but i wont wash what isn't there

gintastic Wed 25-Sep-13 11:51:28

My children are expected to put their clothes in the laundry basket as soon as they can undress, so 2.5ish.

Just been teaching 3.5yr old how to make scrambled eggs, but he's not quite able to make a sandwich. Eldest at nearly 6 is perfectly happy I make her own packed lunch.

From 14, I was collecting younger sibs from school, walking them home, starting tea and making sure packed lunch boxes and book bags were emptied with any notes placed where Mum could find them. Occasionally if Mum had to work late I would finish tea, feed sibs and load dishwasher.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 11:56:32

My mum and dad were bothout out at work all day, so I got my own breakfast and lunch. They went shopping once a week, so if we scoffed all the nice food straight away it was jam on toast/jam sandwiches for the rest of the week. We were teenagers by then of course. The strange thing was that my mum always bought me a coffe first thing in the morning when she woke me up. She also bought me in a lit cigarette from the age of 15. Her and DF had very repectable jobs so that was very weird looking back.

If we didn't put clothes to wash or do other chores we got an almighty bollocking. I am a messy disorganised git.

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 12:04:43

no school will notice or even care ime. unless he faints with hunger or comes in smelling. You are definitely doing the right thing but boys are harder tan girls to train! (evidence: my dh...)

food: i ask my dd yr 10 what she would like in her lunches next week and put things on the shopping list. I don't pander to her but she hates bread but will eat wraps for example so I get a pack of those in; she gets bored with cheese so some weeks she has chicken, etc. She tends to make salads on day and a wrap the next and one day she has school dinner (on pizza day). If she can't be arsed to put things on the list she gets what is in the fridge and the next week she co-operates!

Washing: i get my kids to put their stuff down daily and i tend to keep on top of it myself because i wok f/t at the moment so we rarely have issues but i always have to shout rainy weekends to make sure i get stuff early enough. My yr 13 ds often washes and irons his own stuff cos he's very fussy

hellsbells99 Wed 25-Sep-13 12:09:58

I make my DCs lunch. They are 15 & 16. If I didn't, it would be hit and miss whether they would eat - and it often is anyway if they have extra music or lessons at lunch. Its also no hardship as I am doing mine too. But I do expect them to help with laundry/ironing, empty dishwasher, cleaning, cooking etc. DD1 has just gone into the 6th form and is overwhelmed with homework so I am going easy on her for a week or two. Otherwise, it is a household of 4 (with 2 working and 2 at school) and all 4 of us have to 'muck in'!

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 12:11:57

you think overthemill i have just gone into my dd bedroom to look for MY hairdrush it is a shit tip I am fuming obviously just bring me the washing she needs angry

lottiegarbanzo Wed 25-Sep-13 12:19:32

I did my brownie hostess and cook badges, ironed regularly at 11 and cooked my own evening meals from 15. I was interested in environmental issues then and as an adult this informs my food-buying and I cook from scratch and eat healthily.

But - as a teenager I still bought and loved rubbish, especially crisps and swung between or really, intermingled, healthy or diet fads with buying iced buns form the school canteen and feasting on pickled onion monster munch.

I just think teenagers like eating rubbish and are also going through phases of experimentation with food, sleep, self-organisation and other behaviours. How do you know that eating too much sugar makes you hyper? I know because I've tried it and, now and then, found it quite fun.

niceguy2 Wed 25-Sep-13 12:32:17

You definitely have to foster independence or you'll end up with a 30yr old man child who still comes home to raid the fridge!

I've always encouraged my kids to be independent. Sometimes a little too much so since sometimes I wonder if they really need me other than for money!

My eldest is 16 and cooks dinner for everyone at least once a week. She also irons all uniforms and can do the washing if needed (although my wife is quite anal about it so she does it). I confess I haven't quite mastered the art of getting her to hang out properly or tidy the squalor in her room.

My youngest is 12 and is already learning to cook dinner with us. Once I feel he's safe enough to go solo, he'll also be expected to rustle up dinner once a week.

Left both of them alone last week to build Ikea flatpack furniture. House was still standing when I got back from the gym. Of course it would have been quicker for me to do it but then I wouldn't be teaching them anything.

Now he's a teenager, the main lesson you can teach is responsibility and consequences. So his PE kit is dirty/damp. Then he wears that and tough shit. If he gets a detention then tough shit. Enjoy!

If he goes hungry at lunch because he cba to make his own lunch then he goes hungry.

Right now he's playing on the fact you love him and don't want to see him 'suffer'. But as a parent your job now is to slowly let him go. And part of that will be to teach him some life lessons.

JohFlow Wed 25-Sep-13 12:37:16

Teaching your kids independence is one of our central parental roles. A bit of work up front but you reap the rewards repeatedly afterwards. A 15 year old should be heading towards self sufficiency as a young adult. In the next couple of years he will be heading out into the wider world of work/further study. He will be expected to play his part in teams - including domestic chores as necessary.

At 15 I was looking entirely after myself bar one or two tasks. My parents were keen on every family member contributing what they could to running the household. I can remember giving my mum/dad hassle from time to time but they persisted and I eventually started to enjoy being able to do things for myself and when I liked.

I do think that you need to make a decision how far you are going to help him with the lunch/washing tasks. If he knows how to work the washer; he is capable of doing both of these things. It would be ok just to stand ground until he starts to cooperate. If he does not help; there are natural consequences e.g he will be hungry or not have his fave shirt when he is due out.

If you are worried about school - you could send them a little note explaining the independence you are working to. It may be worth asking the school about their life skills programmes and how they also encourage independancy.

chocoluvva Wed 25-Sep-13 12:40:32

I'm sure you're right niceguy2, but it's difficult and frustrating when they are prepared to suffer the consequences for a long time. My DS would wear a very damp PE kit, go hungry etc. Some people are very stubborn and/or very lazy.

Lovesabadboy Wed 25-Sep-13 12:46:42

Definitely stick to your guns!

My two DD's have been making their own lunches since the last year of Primary School.

Only yesterday my 6th Form daughter told me how most of her friends still have their sandwiches made by their parents ....and then have the audacity to moan about what is in the sandwiches!
She said she had to bite her tongue not to tell her friend exactly what she thought of her for being so lazy/rude!

These kids are 16/17 now - IMO parents are actually doing them a dis-service by not making them think and do these things for themselves.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 12:53:12

My DS would wear a very damp PE kit, go hungry etc. Some people are very stubborn and/or very lazy.

Him and my ds are kindred spirits!

topicofaffairs Wed 25-Sep-13 12:56:58

Yanbu my year 6 child with additional needs does both those things and will make her pack lunch if I am in a rush.

flipchart Wed 25-Sep-13 12:59:37

I've gone on in my previous post how DS makes lunch the evening before.
Now my next task (although they are getting better) is to make sure there is no evidence of food making once they leave the kitchen.

It shouldn't be breaking news to them that I expect ( well hope) that everywhere is tidy after but they act as if it is!!

bigTillyMint Wed 25-Sep-13 13:18:58

YANBU, but if you want him to make his own lunch, you will have to accept that he might not bother and so not eat all day. That would probably happen in my house!

I work full-time, but am home by 4.30, so have enough time to do stuff in the house.

DD(Y10, but only just 14!) - I make her packed lunch so that she has something to eat healthy as she doesn't want to queue/all her friends have packed lunches. DS(Y8) has money on his fob for a school "dinner" - he is responsible for choosing itgrin

They both have to put washing in the basket and put away clean clothes (we don't iron) and make sure their rooms are tidy enough for cleaning on a Friday.
We do not supervise homework at all - they gets a lot and also spend a lot of time doing sports, which we encourage, so they don't have a whole lot of spare time.

They both get their own breakfasts and sometimes lunches at weekends and both help/can cook a simple meal.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 13:45:59

flipchart my ds has made a mess in the kitchen before now to make me think he had made lunch. It would have been just as easy for him to actually make it.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 25-Sep-13 14:08:52

I do wonder whether if you removed the pressure from this topic and just 'stopped noticing', he might find it much easier to drift into doing the right thing when the whim takes him.

bigTillyMint Wed 25-Sep-13 14:41:03

God, he can be bothered to pretend to make his lunch?!

So just leave him to it as lottie says - it sounds like he just doesn't want you breathing down his neckgrin

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 14:46:58

>my ds has made a mess in the kitchen before now to make me think he had made lunch. It would have been just as easy for him to actually make it

between that and the not eating bags of crisps which have been in his bag, sounds like he's got some strange issue with packed lunches. Perhaps it would be better to ensure he eats a good breakfast and tea when he gets home, and let him have just enough money for a bit of whatever rubbish he'll actually eat during the day.

But having compromised on that - be really firm on the laundry and anything else of that ilk.

passedgo Wed 25-Sep-13 14:52:46

Both mine make their own sandwiches, I'm trying to get them to do other chores and have let the house turn into a hovel in an attempt to get them to 'drift into doing the right thing', but it hasn't worked.

Any ideas welcome. I have started an earnings chart so the youngest gets paid 50p for a chore, or £1 for 15 mins (cheaper than a cleaner).

But she's only done 3 chores so far in 2 weeks.

I'm sick of the mess and am just going to do it myself now. The oldest helps when I ask but only if she's not 'busy'.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 15:34:27

ErrolTheDragon I'm inclined to agree with you. I'm not sure where the lunch issues come from, but he does eat at home.

Crinkle77 Wed 25-Sep-13 15:43:22

I think you are doing the right thing but I have to say I sympathise with him when he said there was nothing for lunch. He did not really have much to choose from and left over roast veg would be pretty horrible eaten cold.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 15:45:30

I think we sometimes get a bit too hung up on 3 meals a day... apparently in Tudor times the norm was 2 a day.

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 15:52:29

I know the roast veg seems odd. I often do a load of it with herbs and spices and we'll pick at the left overs. I do beetroot, pumpkin and other stuff. It's really nice.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 15:54:55

cold roast veg is gorgeous in a wrap, esp with some goats cheese or similar - but its not standard school packed lunch fare!

PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 15:55:05

I've just been informed by DS that he thinks he's gluten intolerant. I asked him what he wants me to buy in for his lunch and he said "healthy gluten free stuff". Apparently he's too busy with his science project to write a list or come shopping.

mrsjay Wed 25-Sep-13 17:12:44

he cant know if he is gluten intolerant unless he has a test tell him that

Ericaequites Wed 25-Sep-13 17:20:20

His future girlfriend/partner will thank you if you teach your son to manage for himself.
I had to make my own school lunch at twelve or so.

SoonToBeSix Wed 25-Sep-13 17:34:47

Yabu my year ten dd has been making her own lunch since she was in year six.

niceguy2 Thu 26-Sep-13 11:27:57

My DS would wear a very damp PE kit, go hungry etc. Some people are very stubborn and/or very lazy.

Yep, my DS would wear a dirty/damp PE kit too. But at the end of the day it's his choice. The rules are clear in our house.

Teenagers are just overgrown toddlers. And as we all know the worst thing you can do with a toddler is give in. Because once you do it once, they'll push you and push you until you give in again.

So play the long game. Let peer pressure of others laughing at him for wearing damp/smelly kit change his behaviour. At his age he will not allow himself to starve. He'll grow tired of going hungry.

At that age we rebel against our parents for the stupidest reasons. Don't make a fuss and eventually there's nothing to rebel about.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 11:33:47

I agree. It's just very hard to stand back and watch our teens behave in a way that's not good for them. (Am thinking of injuries sustained as a result of carelessness that DS doesn't tell me about as he'd have to reveal how he got the injury. Etc. Sigh.)

Or my very skinny DS not bothering to have lunch.... then feasting on crisps and sweets when he gets in from school and then not eating his nutritious, home-made dinner. Etc. Sigh)

PostBellumBugsy Thu 26-Sep-13 11:34:43

passedgo - don't pay your kids to help you! Tell them to shift their arses, otherwise you will stop doing all the things you do for them.

In my house, I work on the basis, that I can offer my DCs more than they can offer me. So, I am their driver, I am their money provider, I am the chef and I keep the house warm and supplied with electricity. I also pay for their phones & supply items like televisions, x-boxes and ipods.

If my kids don't help me, then there are sanctions. Not because I'm an evil bitch (although I probably am a bit) but because I AM NOT A SERVANT and I am not going to run around after them like they were nincompoops and I was some kind of unpaid household helper & taxi.

It is so easy to say, if you don't help me out today, I will not drive you to the party this evening because I will be too tired. And then don't drive them to the party unless they've helped! It really works - no payment needed.

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 12:12:56

It is hard to watch them behaving like arses and let them realise the errors of their ways. I just find myself worrying that's they just won't learn, but that's their lookout I suppose.

I agree that they're a bit like overgrown toddlers. They can be just as awkward.

I often think DS is just likes to make a point of being stubborn and difficult. I can't think where he gets that from. blush

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 12:42:35


I remember my DM shaking her head and saying, "Well, you'll just have to learn it the hard way"!

As you say, the worry is that they won't learn.

niceguy2 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:54:48

They WILL learn. It just might not be the lesson you want them to learn.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 12:57:04

Ohhh. shock

"not be the lesson you want them to learn" - can you explain what you mean by that?

niceguy2 Thu 26-Sep-13 12:57:32

The thing I will say is that just as with toddlers, consistency & repetition are key.

When I first started DD cooking she resisted. Couldn't do it. Stropped, cried. You name it, she tried it. We ignored her and continued to press her to do it.

Now she still pulls a face sometimes but she can rustle up a decent meal.

Ditto with washing up. At first the kids resisted. Now they just do it and often don't even realise. They just go into autopilot cos we expect them to do it every single day. It's about as routine to them as brushing their teeth.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 13:03:31

The benefits of good training!

But, to press you on your previous post - did you mean the lesson learnt might be that the teenager can get by with no lunch/find a way to scrounge free food/ something like that?

bigTillyMint Thu 26-Sep-13 13:21:41

Niceguy2, I was so consistent about not giving in up until the summer. I do it brilliantly in my job. But I now seem to be a pathetic pushover with DD. It has to stop!

It's so hard to stick to your guns without it descending into an argument/DD screaming in my face. I guess I just need to woman-up<takes deep breath>

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 13:41:52

That's the dilemma isn't it? Deciding when the battling is 'sweating the small stuff' and/or counter productive - teenager feeling 'controlled'/enjoying a bit of drama/exercising their urge to make their own choices in a very annoying way.

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 13:43:59

It is tough. Some things might seem quite petty, but it's a matter of principle. It can be difficult to always know how to make the distinction, or it is for me.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 26-Sep-13 13:50:34

I think the principle has to be, are they being a selfish, irresponsible, unhelpful person? If the answer is yes, then don't enable them to do that.

There are usually lots of ways of promoting/incentivising helpful behaviour and allowing them to have choices. I don't want my DCs to feel like I'm a dictator and they have no choice and must obey regardless. They have lots of say about how our household works, things they want from the supermarket, where we go on holiday etc. If they have reasonable arguments for why they can't do something, then I'm all ears. If they are just being lazy - then I'm not interested.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 14:13:50

The trouble is that the teenage brain seems to predispose them to being selfish, irresponsible and unhelpful. Their ability to empathise, to consider the consequences of their actions and their perception of risk actually regress while their brain is 'rewiring', ie specialising. Or something.

Doesn't make frequent, low-level poor behaviour any less irritating though. Especially when they don't mind suffering for it.

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 14:19:18

You're right about the teenage brain choco.

I gave DS lunch money for today and tomorrow btw. He'll probably spend it on sweets and coke. At least it won't be the South American kind of coke though. I didn't give him that much money!

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 14:41:16

Maybe they do something tempting like pizza on Thursdays? [hopeful]

Our LEA have a cashless system. There's the option of scanning your fingerprint or using a pin number. Unfortunately there was a problem with the pin numbers and DH is vehemently opposed to the LEA having DS' fingerprints in their data base. Apparently you can see what your DC bought with their card when you access your account!

DS sometimes spends his change on terrible drinks and sweeties at a shop on the way home. It makes me feel furious, but I'm turning a blind eye....for the time being. His pockets are always full of sweet wrappers. For some reason he's very reluctant to take a bottle of water to school with him. A big group of them often go to the shop but the big group seems to be less of a 'thing' recently.

I'm hopeful that he's nearing the end of this phase.....

bigTillyMint Thu 26-Sep-13 15:08:52

chocoluvva, all the children do this. DS is riding his bike to/from school ATM and so is avoiding it. Long may it last!

Paul, I can't believe there is no cashless system at their school! I just put money on their fobs using parentpay. Sadly our system doesn't let us snoop on what they bought, but I think DS is being pretty truthful when he tells me he's had a pattie!

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 15:34:15

"all the children do this" - peer pressure - still annoys me. The waste of money and the excess of sugar and rubbish.

I know it's a small thing to grumble about though. Pick your battles and all that.....

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 16:13:28

My DS is also reluctant to take a bottle of water into school with him.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 16:23:59

Pick your bottles grin

Pinkbatrobi Fri 27-Sep-13 00:38:57

I don't really want to sound judgemental, but I am just interested as to why you have waited until he got to yr 10 to raise this issue... Or have you been asking him for years? I ask because in my experience the earlier you start instilling a need for independence the easier it is... If he has been used to have you do everything for him he's not going to understand why now all of a sudden things should my instinct would be to have a very clear conversation with him explaining why now is the moment to 'change the rules of the game', and then facilitate the transition from one system to the other. Getting organised, like everything else, needs to be learned, and a lot of practice! There are also loads of ways to give him ideas, you could 'discuss menus' me night before, or leave him left overs from the previous night dinner if it was something he liked... Make sure he has what he needs, ingredients but also containers, bags, etc... At that age they want to be grown up but they are still children, and often worried about doing new things, or not being good at doing something.. He will need to gradually feel confident before he actually feels in control, I think, and also understand your refusal to help is not a withdrawal if your love, but it is because of your love that your duty as a parent is to teach him to become a fully functioning independent adult. IMHO...:-) I will not happen in a day...Good luck!

Pinkbatrobi Fri 27-Sep-13 00:41:29

Sorry! Too many typos to correct them all but hopefully you get the gist...

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 07:49:07

No, I haven't waited until yr 10 for this, but he has always needed prompting nagging with jobs around the house.

He's got worse about the whole lunch thing, although in lower school they had lunches and you could pay online. They were pretty good lunches too and the school made a point of using as much local food as possible which was nice.

So, I started him off with the whole packed lunch thing at secondary school and he never has got the hang of it. He'll make lunch at home though. He can happily whip up various dishes with ingredients at home. He just can't be arsed to make his lunch and when he does, he doesn't eat it.

As mentioned up thread, I'm starting to wonder whether he has some packed lunch issues.

bigTillyMint Fri 27-Sep-13 07:51:04

DS(Y8) says IHO only the "moist" boys take (and eat) packed lunch. Could this be the problem? Wanting to look cool?

Well I misread the title and thought you said 10yo (i.e. Y6) rather than Y10 (i.e. 14) and thought, yes, that is reasonable enough... So yes, YADNBU to expect your DS to!

My DS1 is in Y6 and has just turned 11. Every night he puts his uniform in the washing machine, makes sure DS2(9) and DD(7) have done the same, then he puts the wash on. He often pegs it out for me the next morning too. He has school dinners so doesn't need a packed lunch, but he makes his own breakfast and makes his own lunch and snacks in the holidays if he isn't eating at the same time as everyone else.

Mind you, he might become less helpful as he hits the teenage years...

lljkk Fri 27-Sep-13 09:28:15

I suppose choose your battles.
Giving DS cash for lunch costs way too much & I want y9-DS to eat lunch so we make it & put it in his bag. Skipping lunch does not make DS into a rational creature who learns from his lessons takes after his dad this way. Missing meals makes DS even more loopy & adds to the other problems he has.

Similarly, DS has a habit of ruining his school shirts with ordinary activities, I don't want him to add to the ruin-clothes-opportunities with strange washing machine choices. So we adults do the laundry which is still fine by me, too. He is asking for a laundry basket, at least.

But good luck in your campaign, I am genuinely intersted how it turns out.

Bonsoir Fri 27-Sep-13 09:33:50

He is definitely old enough but getting boys to do this kind of domestic self-care can be uphill work <voice of experience>.

DSS2 (16) left for a two-day school trip at the crack of dawn yesterday. I showed him what he could take for his packed lunch and snack for the first day and left it in the fridge for him to pack up himself first thing in the morning. I know that in his heart of hearts he feels neglected and sad that I didn't get up early to prepare it for him.

DD (8) wanted a packed lunch for school today (this is a real rare thing for her to do) because she and her two best buddies were arranging a collective lunch. She did absolutely all the organising herself, wrote me a shopping list 48 hours ahead and got all the boxes etc out last night and put them on the table. The only thing she needed real help with was cooking her pasta. She would feel belittled if I interfered in her self-care.

The difference between girls and boys...

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 10:22:42

Jemima, He may well be worried about looking "moist". The thought of a moist teenage boy is pretty grim! grin

lljkk when DS has actually bothered to buy a school dinner he still manages to get it all down his jumper. confused

Bonsoir, yup, I think it is uphill work. Teenage boys are strange creatures.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 11:32:45

It would seem that Paul's DS would rather go without lunch than take in a packed lunch that he (or anybody else) has made. IMO 13-15/16 is the worst stage for being affected by peer pressure and being irrationally embarrassed over nothing seemingly odd things.

If OP can wait it out for a year or so he will hopefully/probably have a better attitude to his lunch.

OP could try to force him to make himself packed lunches, by withholding all privileges but the consequence would probably be that he will co-operate and communicate with her as little as possible as she is incredibly unjust and harsh in his opinion. Or he would make himself lunch for a few days then see if he could get away without doing it.

I'm really impressed with the posters who have trained their DC to be helpful/responsible around the house. (Who am I kidding? That should have been, "I'm really ENVIOUS of the posters..."!) But they don't have Paul's DS or my DS and they might well have other problems with their teenage DS that Paul doesn't have. (Or they're not too bothered if their DS are organised/helpful/living a healthy lifestyle - for whatever reason, eg mrsjay takes the pragmatic view that if they have a healthy breakfast and dinner lunch doesn't matter too much.

Some teenagers are so stubborn/lazy that the effort of getting them to do things they really don't want to is counterproductive. Annoyingly.


PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 11:40:15

I think some teenage DS just don't want to do the domestic stuff and some are harder to train. Saying that, DS was more eager to please before he hit puberty.

I think we both have DS that don't want to help out and dig their heels in * chocoluvva*. My DS has a really devious streak and can be very inventive and creative in finding ways in which he can do less.

He couldn't even be bothered to change into his PJ bottoms and used to sneakily wear them under his trousers ffs.

You would think he would be interested in personal grooming to impress the ladies at his age, but no. I still have to nag him to brush his teeth and change his clothes. He would probably wear the same pair of pants if I didn't check up in him ffs.

He'll have clean ones, but can't really be arsed to take them out of his drawer. He has always been like this and I just repeat and chivvy. Hopefully he'll get it one day.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 11:51:19

Yup - that's my DS too. (And I bet that was his DF when he was a lad too.)

It's the stubborn/lazy combo isn't it? Stubborn just isn't a strong enough word to describe it - my DS isn't even amenable to bribery. Far less rational argument.

(My DS has become very clean recently though. Loves his Lynx now.)

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 11:54:52

Crikey, they sound like two peas in a pod. DS isn't amenable to bribery either.

He'll be clean for school, but seems to think that personal hygiene doesn't matter at weekends or during the school holidays.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 12:06:40

Perhaps he's very conscious of the need to be environmentally friendly? grin and hmm

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 12:10:25

grin Why do your washing at 30 degrees when you can just not wash it at all? Didn't Prince Charles once suggest that people should shower less often to save the environment?

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 13:23:49


Maybe your DS has royal blood.

Take two bottles into the shower? Don't wash just go!

ringaringarosy Fri 27-Sep-13 13:30:51

i never did anything at home,i had my firstbaby at 21 and the other 4 followed son after,its been a difficult few years getting used to running a house and cooking for a family,im still a bit rubbish at it now,my brother is 21,still lives at home,my mum does his washing,makes him a packed lunch for work,cooks his meals generally wipes his arse,if he doesnt like what she made him he rfuses to eat it and expects something else,she treats mydad the same,it hasnt done anyone any good.and its not because she cares,its because apparently no one does it as well as her and everyone makes too much mess!

op,persevere,offer ideas for food until he gets to grips with it.

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 13:39:56

DS really does take stubborness to a new level. You can obviously sympathise choco! It really is quite something and I hope he can turn that to his advantage when he's all grown up. You're right though, stubborn doesn't do it justice. We need to come up with a new word.

ringaringarosy My mum was really soft on my DB. He could wrap her around his finger. If they hadn't moved abroad I think he would still be treating their house like a hotel. DM was even worried about what he would do when they went. He was in his late 20s.

raisah Fri 27-Sep-13 13:48:19

My ds is 4 & loves putting dirty clothes in the washing machine, soap powder in the right compartment and switching it on. He knows which programme to put on & lives the spin cycle the best.

Your ds is more than capable of doing his oqn chores so stick to your guns.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 13:50:49

raisah - OP's DS is clearly capable - he can cook a meal.

With all due respect the bit of your post that will jump out at the parents of older DC is,

"My ds is 4".


Lweji Fri 27-Sep-13 13:56:56

Didn't Prince Charles once suggest that people should shower less often to save the environment?

Feeling sorry for Camilla now. confused

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 14:46:04

You can trick them into thinking it's a fun game when they're that age and they enjoy helping. DS has now twigged that it isn't fun at all.

Maybe Camilla likes a cheesy willy? grin

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 15:33:17


lbnblbnb Sun 13-Oct-13 13:34:05

I am a teacher in a secondary school. If a students tells you they haven't got a lunch because they have forgotten it, they are told to go the office and the office rings home before they give them a slip for the canteen to get food. The money has to be paid back. He won't be going hungry, he is either getting food from his mates or using his own money.
I had a boy in my tutor group a few years ago whose mum would pack him an enormous pack up. He would eat very little, he wanted to play football all lunchtime, then come into afternoon registration and sell it all off to his mates. Her home baked goods! I had a quiet word with her. He was going home and eating like a horse, she thought it was just the enormous appetite of a growing boy. Teenagers.

chocoluvva Sun 13-Oct-13 14:13:20

That's hilarious - when it isn't your own DC. grin

I fought this one too ...
I used to get them to do it the night before.
I tried Star Charts, that really worked, really got them into it. [Star Charts for everything! And a reward box]
I also ask them what thingys they wanted in the lunchbox - like dunkems, petit filou, crackers, seeds, football breadrolls, babybel etc.
Don't buy this shit in bulk when there's a special offer, because htey go off this stuff on a whim!
Sometimes they want to bring pasta.
If you have time, making some bread with them on a sunday is good, they are so proud to put it in their lunch!

Oh sorry, I thought DS was 10, not 15.
Different bag of cats ...
I have one of those 15yr old lazy creatures in my house too. Won't bring a packed lunch, wants money to buy crap, tries to guilt me by showing me the free lunches they have in the school. (They are a bit URK). But they way I see it, there is plenty of food in the house, there is something in the school too, so I haven't failed in my duty. I am not making a 15year old a lunch! Anyway he's only moan.
(I grew up seeing my Dad make his own lunch for work every night - It was the biggest lunchbox ever! Half a sliced pan at least in sandwiches, 2 apples .... some cake too, and a litre of milk!)

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