Clearing up their own mess...

(22 Posts)
Bluecarrot Thu 22-Aug-13 11:35:49

I posted the other day about my dd (10) who is defiant, argumentative and sometimes aggressive. Per advice there I've ordered how to talk to kids book but want some advice on how to approach am issue that is a major flash point.

Brief side notes:
We potentially have DPs niece coming tomorrow ( was possibility of it happening today, but I haven't told DD that that's not happening) She missed cinema (again) because she didn't get ready in time. 2h 15 m to get a shower and lift a jigsaw off the guest bed. An hour work max.

So the major issue for me this am is mess..

Her room will take 15 mins IF she buckled down.
Her breakfast dishes are sitting out since 7am. Supper and snack plates/cutlery/cups sitting on top if dishwasher. Switching on dishwasher is her chore-needs done. (2-3 min work)
She made mess in living room. Sofa cushions off, DVDs spread over floor and wrappers from food shoved under sofa- not much stuff just looks bad! (take 5 mins to clear)
2 card games out in the playroom for last 4 days. (3 mins to tidy)
She had a shower with minimal fuss (yay- lots of praise given) but left puddles, wet towels and dirty clothes in a trail down hall. (take 5 min to clear)
Den - pulled out stuff for a nosey and left on floor ( 3 min to tidy)
Stairs - small collection of stuff to go up to her room that she continually walks past. (1 trip upstairs)

So lots of little things that make house look so messy. I don't feel that at age 10 I should be sorting these for her. But she has screamed, slammed doors, huffed and is currently reading a book, looking up to give me death glares when I walk past her.

I would be mortified if someone came to the door right now but trying to stay calm. What would you do?

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 22-Aug-13 12:23:21

DOes she get pocket money? I would make a list of thse jobs and make her PM dependent on her having done them at the appropriate times.

Not judging as I have 3 DCs all of whom moan and whine when asked to do anything. I should do the same with their PM but I'm too disorganised to make a list...job for later I think! Good luck smile

Bluecarrot Thu 22-Aug-13 12:39:26

She used to get £10 a month (her age) but decided she needed incentive. Since start of summer she has a list of non-paid and another with paid. Paid accumulates until a day when she does all non-paid.

Non-paid
Clean own toys/mess downstairs by 8pm
Own room accessible- doesnt need to be spotless (checked at 8.30pm)
Set and clear table at dinner. Her own after snacks / breakfast and lunch.
Wash self without fuss.

Nothing remotely hard but not been achieved so far. I'm so worn down I find it hard to be consistent as reminding her always ends in her yelling, no matter how gently I remind her.

I was younger than her when I was making dinner once a week, did all the laundry and cut the grass ( not for pocket money either!)

I asked her to tidy up today by asking how she planned to do it (suggested one go/one job then 10 mins play, another job etc / race a timer etc ) She wanted the one job= 10 mins play but didn't follow through. I'm upstairs ironing, occasionally reminding her and trying not to get cross! She doesn't want me in the room while she "tidying"

She still thinks cousin due this afternoon about 3.

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 22-Aug-13 13:52:35

God it wears you down doesn't it. Even when you think they're doing it, they drag their heels and it takes 10 times longer than it needs to!

So you've tried the carrot approach, what about the stick? Can you take away DS/laptop whichever toy she is playing with during her 10 minute intervals until its done? Or at least threaten to if its not done within the next hour?

I know its hard, I find it hard to motivate myself to tidy up too - maybe if someone threatened to confiscate my ipad if I didn't get on with it I might have more incentive?!

Bluecarrot Thu 22-Aug-13 16:15:38

Tried that. We dont have TV, wii cable is away (other offence) ipod confiscated (other offence) she has some lego and 1 bratz doll - all the rest of the toys were taken away on the basis that I wanted her to practice tidying up a few things and if she can keep those tidy, she gets more back. (looking at long term - forming good habits) She even has a lego storage bag that opens into a playmat and its still all over the floor!

Shes currently fiddling with a clothes peg and a small scrap piece of fabric...

I would literally have to confiscate everything in her room to stop her distraction....but its all over her floor/table so Id have to tidy it up first to be able to take it away...

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 22-Aug-13 19:20:16

A bless, "fiddling with a clothes peg and a scrap of fabric" smile at least she has a good imagination! Perhaps you just have to cross your fingers and hope that the day will come (like my DS at about 11 or 12) when she decides she's too old for toys and empties her entire room.

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 22-Aug-13 19:20:53

That was 'Ah bless her'...

TwoStepsBeyond Thu 22-Aug-13 19:21:47

Not sure that will help with the rest of the house though...

fieldfare Thu 22-Aug-13 19:34:16

I'm a bit hard hearted about it. About a year ago (dd was nearly 10 then) I got fed up of her room being a tip and asking her to tidy up was met with attitude, anger and stomping about etc. I said that whatever wasn't tidied and put away properly (hiding it all in a heap in the bottom of the wardrobe does NOT count) within that day, would go into a bin bag and we'd take it to the charity shop. I can't see that I should have to tidy up before vacuuming! Well, she didn't. So I did. I bagged it up - 2 bags of toys and clothes (have to admit I took out all the really nice clothes!) and made her come with me to the charity shop and explain to the lady working there why she was giving it to them. She was mortified and now takes my requests to tidy seriously.

Does she like doing something with you like baking or cooking dinner? That's always a good motivator for my dd. "dd I'd love to bake those cakes with you, but I'm sorry I just don't have time, I'm having to do all your chores. If you were to help it would take half the time meaning we can then get in the kitchen". That kind of thing.

It is very wearing sometimes though!

Dancergirl Thu 22-Aug-13 20:20:49

I would be wary about giving too many jobs at once, they just stop hearing if you nag too much!

In our house we don't really have specific chores as such but we all muck in together whatever needs doing. I try and set an example to my dds not to be petty about jobs, eg if their plates are left out I'll tidy them away and another time I'll ask one of them to do something for me if I'm busy.

It doesn't really matter who does what as long as dc are helping out and also learning to do these jobs.

Just a suggestion, but perhaps your expectations are too high based in what YOU did at the same age..?

My 12 year old still leaves towels and clothes around and I have to nag/remind her to tidy them away. But it's a learning curve, I don't know many children who are naturally tidy.

Darelia Thu 22-Aug-13 21:12:24

I used to get into power struggles with my mom in the same way. Now that I have a child myself (though 5yo and a boy) I realise that part of the problem was that she had never tried to make me feel that household chores might be something good.

She never communicated that 1) you get a sense of achievement from them and from being in a tidy place 2) you are helping your parents who are busy.
She always made it clear that they were something boring that she herself would have never done if she could have avoided it. But I was a girl so I had to do them because I had to be like her. This, compounded with the fact that I didn't like her very much as a person at that time (for a number of reasons), made me feel no empathy whatsoever for her.

I realise this is pretty extreme and is not your case at all. But do you think your daughter ever feels that doing these things can be an act of love and respect? My 5yo wants to help all the time (doing the dishes etc) and it's more like playing for him - I usually feel tempted to say "no please", as I know that he will often make a mess, but I try to say instead "this is wonderful, it's great to do this with you and you are helping your mom a lot". Though it's difficult... and I don't know how long he will still want to do it smile

Bluecarrot Fri 23-Aug-13 00:37:41

Thanks for the replies.

When she was little she loved to help too - had her own washing line, brush/pan set, did dishwasher, cleaned bath and shower (no chemicals, just microfibre cloth- kept her busy!) She's resisted more in last few years.

I don't mind lifting the odd thing but since EVERYTHING is left at her backside, its too much. She does help randomly - empties dishwasher so I don't have to bend down etc but its things to avoid having to do what she actually needs to do.

downstairs the stuff that was (!) all over the living room floor was family stuff rather than just hers though the bin bag/charity shop thing was threatened once upon a time! Tbh, the stuff in her bedroom could mostly all go in the bin except clothes. But then I would be tidying it for her!

She did clean downstairs when she realised I would t let her go out to play with girl across the road otherwise. Though I had to turn the girl away twice before DD got her act together! It literally took 12 minutes, 23 seconds to do it ( I timed her) and we quickly discussed how little time it took before she went out to play.

Cousin coming tomorrow lunchtime and we are hopefully trying again for the cinema leaving here at 10.15 snd just her ( now far messier) room to do. Glad I spent 2 hours ironing those clothes currently chucked on floor < fume> but I fell asleep at 7ish by accident and only woke up at 10.45 so she has been abandoned this evening blush

Will have to just hope she knuckles down in the morning, or bin bags will be out!

Bluecarrot Fri 23-Aug-13 10:36:25

Nope, we have missed cinema again and she is screaming at me from the top of the stairs that I might as well kill her because she doenst like the punishments (no wii, toys etc) And shes too riled up to have a logical conversation so leaving her to it for now.

DP will be home at 1ish after a few days away so he will have a word with her (she doesnt scream at him, and generally does what he says....grudgingly. Not ideal really.

kilmuir Fri 23-Aug-13 10:47:13

hmm, as a mother of a 14 and 11 year old I feel your pain. her reaction does sound very ott though. Are you quite 'strict' generally?
maybe need to move the focus off the mountain of tidying up? small steps. we used to have the bedroom battles, and still do, but to a lesser extent.
I would sit her down and tell her what was going to be the house rules from hereon in . Wait until DH is there so she does not see it as you on the attack .
I would help her to tidy her mess, and then go through rules/expectations of her jobs around house on a daily basis. sometimes better done in small bits.
My 14 year old soon learnt that I was no longer going to search her room for dirty clothes, if its in laundry bin then stands a better chance of being done

Dancergirl Fri 23-Aug-13 17:32:47

Agree with kilmuir

OP, sorry but you do sound a bit harsh with her. I don't know your background but you say you were doing a lot more including all the laundry when you were younger? That's probably quite unusual even then.

It sounds like you've reached stalemate - you're giving her a load of orders, she's refusing/screaming and missing out on treats, the jobs are still not done. It's a lose-lose situation. I would really try another approach as this one is clearly not working.

She's 10. Of course old enough to pick up after herself but not old enough to do everything perfectly. Maybe all the mess is too overwhelming and she needs a bit of help? All children are different - don't expect her to be like you at the same age. If anything, my 10 year old is probably tidier than my 12 year old. You say the stuff in her room can go in the bin but you don't want to do it for her? Can you suggest to her it goes in the bin and bring up a bin bag and do it with her? You won't lose face by helping her out a bit. Maybe she's just hearing mum nagging and it all sounds like the same thing? By helping her and doing it with her a few times will help her to remain calm about it all, make her realise that mum isn't out to get her, and hopefully in the future she'll do it herself. Don't be afraid of helping her - she's only 10 and has a long way to go to complete independence.

The most important thing here is to maintain a good relationship with your dd. Have you read the thread 'what do you remember about your mum'? You don't want to look back and remember you nagging and then punishing her about tidying up. And all over a few clothes which can be sorted in minutes between the two of you.

When she's calm give her a cuddle, tell her you love her and try and sort things out together. I second what kilmuir says about talking to her with dh, you should present a united front.

Bluecarrot Fri 23-Aug-13 20:32:21

I've helped her clean her room many times But it always ends up back to square one, sometimes within 24 hours. For this reason we feel she needs to do it herself and hopefully knowing no one will bail her out will teach her a lesson. ( I tried challenges - lift as much Lego as you can in 30 seconds, can you find 10 bits of recycling in 1 minute, even I called out a letter and she had to spy something that began with that letter, then put it away. She refused all offers today.)

At the minute I physically can't do stuff from the floor. I did offer to put away the three baskets of clothes but only if she cleared a safe path to wardrobe/drawers. Cue major huff as it is my job to clear a path if I want to put her clothes away.

She made me tea earlier and we had a lovely chat about lots if stuff - her holidays, her desire for a oarticular build a bear then all of a sudden screamed in my face about unfairness ofiPod confiscation ( desperate attempt to curb taking of baking supplies, as well as paying it back...) Apparently its still not deterrent enough as another tub of icing, bought 4 hours ago to be used tonight, had been eaten. And hidden... It had crossed my mind if it was attention seeking behaviour but hiding it shows guilty conscience/not wanting to get caught rather than attention seeking?

Also wanted to paint, I agreed as long as she thought long and hard if she could tidy up the mess herself. Ended up with done gorgeous and creative paintings but paint on table, chairs, floor, sofa and kitchen cupboards... Then she left it all sitting and played a different game elsewhere.

I just had to walk away. DP sorted it.

breadandbutterfly Sat 24-Aug-13 15:17:41

Having read your other thread too, I wonder if there are other issues too? You mentioned other kids being mean to her and school transition time coming up and new baby due - plus hormones building too.

You've obviously got your own hormones and worries too.

Looking at it from the outside, try not to worry too much - if you thinkit's messy now, wait till you have a toddler and a 12 year old!

Believe me, keeping a house tidy with one child is hard but doable, with two or more it's more of a lost cause! The mess won't matter long term but your relationship with your dd (and with the new baby) will.

So better to explain to dd you're emotional and exhausted now as pregnant, and sorry you've been having a go at her but really need her help in looking after the house and keeping it nice for everyone. Ask if she's clear how to do the chores/if there are any she'd prefer to do, and offer positive rewards and lots of praise for doing them.

I also agree with others that she may be nicking food/bad-tempered because she's hungry - growing girl. Bigger portions and more snacks should mean she shouldn't need to steal food. Sounds like a bit of a cry for help? Why not say she's growing and you want her to eat enough and ask her to pick some snacks she'd like,that are her 'treats'? Or go shopping together so she can pick some? Good bonding time and you can steer her towards healthier treats.

sicily1921 Sat 24-Aug-13 16:33:56

Hi Bluecarrot sorry I have to read and run as off the see my elderly dad but she sounds extremely like my DD 11yrs. You are not alone, will try and clock in again later. Take care flowers

Bluecarrot Sun 25-Aug-13 22:18:52

bread - we have tried all the above!

Last night, we said she had to spend 30 mins cleaning her room while DP and I did 30 mins of other chores. Her room was amazingly clear....til i looked in the drawers and under the beds.

I just lost it (inside at least - v calm on the outside!) had dp pull all the drawers out from the unit and the three of us went through everything. It took 3 hours and theres still piles of clothes to sort and put away, plus two drawers of "bits" - barbie, polly etc that we are gonna work on 15 mins at a time during the week.

GREAT news is that we had a clash free day today, other than sneaking an ice lolly into her bed and hiding it in the sheets when I came in . We got to the cinema and had a lovely lunch out. She had a bit to tidy in her roomto keep me happy, but was no fuss over it, then she vacuumed it too. <faint>

Also, yesterday she asked if she got a good score on her practice papers for 11+ test, could she get her ipod back for a short time. We discussed and mutually agreed that 99 or 100% got a week, over 90 % got 3 hours and over 80% got 1 hour. She got 100% except one answer where number which should have been a 6 looked just like an 0 due to shabby writing. Shes loving having ipod back though. Im just flabbergasted that she got 100% despite averaging mid to high 70s over the summer...

Am feeling so much more relaxed. smile

Everhopeful Wed 28-Aug-13 23:41:37

Bluecarrot, you are so not alone. I have many of the same issues with my 11 yo dd. Trouble is, neither of her parents is fantastic at housework either: I mostly work on the basis of putting things where they should be, because I hate losing anything, but that doesn't make me particularly neat. DP just drops everything wherever he stands, but is quite good about picking up again, though sometimes needs a prod. DD has been officially clearing her room for much of the summer hols and I keep saying that it should take about 2 hours (it's pretty bad in there!) and then we can have some fun. No joy. I've just fixed up a treat with a friend because she assured me it was nearly there - but it really isn't and now I don't feel I can disappoint the friend.

In addition, I've just found out she's been shooting water out of her window over the neighbours for a dare - two days running. She claims she doesn't even know who sent her the text with the dare, because she's lost her contacts list. She says she's really sorry, she wishes she was dead and she knows we all hate her. I made her apologise personally to next door, but I'm not convinced they're happy to forgive her really and even I don't know what to think. Pre-teens: ghastly! And I'm told it gets worse. I hope not.

Notmyidea Thu 29-Aug-13 03:30:06

my dd has a set of the Dangerous Books for Girls, how to be the best at everything. They are full of stuff they won't listen to me about, but need to know, including how to tidy your room in 15 minutes.

Bluecarrot Sat 31-Aug-13 09:18:09

Oh, will get that book!

Just started another thread - dd fractured both arms so no chores for her for a month. Luckily her room was cleaned up a good bit before hand.

It's def pure laziness. Books sprawled over floor etc. we tried reminding her in the am to do quick tidy before school and before bed and it worked til Thursday night when we didn't get night time one in... now the vacuum will be lifting 100 Hama beads off floor and 3 mins will sort rest.

We have been much calmer as a family when I was strict with tidying 2 mins x twice a day. She loved being able to go out at a moments notice ( I invented fun reasons to go out to reinforce it)

How to talk book has arrived so will read in next few days.

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