How would you deal with these situations with a 11 and 9 year old? (Very long - sorry!)(12 Posts)
Firstly this is very long - apologies! But how would you deal with the following?
We have two boys aged 11.5 and 9. DS1 started Secondary in September and DS2 is in year 4.
They share the largest bedroom, we could give separate rooms but it would be difficult as the box room is dh's office for work plus one would have a huge room and one a very tiny room (just big enough for a single bed).
We are currently struggling with dealing with a few specific issues and I'm just wondering how others deal with them:
1.Messy bedroom - clothes & belongings everywhere. The room smells of unwashed washing. Rubbish is on the floor rather than in the bin. If I ask for something to be taken upstairs & put away, it gets dumped on the floor. They are expected to tidy their own room, we have tried helping & we've tried going in, sorting it out and then asking for them to keep it tidy from that point - within minutes it's a mess again. I know of one friend who's kids rooms are immaculate but her kids don't have any toys bar a computer and 1-2 items nor do they have many books. Mine don't have tons but they do have a bookshelf of books each plus a few key toys they really like and art stuff. We've provided shelving and storage, we've helped with getting it tidy etc so they are not overwhelmed but na da.. it makes no difference(!)
2.Clothes not put to wash and clean clothes not put away (I fold, sort & ask them to put their own clothes away, we have always asked for clothes to be put in the washing basket when dirty - basket is in bathroom & my bedroom, they did have their own basket for a while but it was always full of toys & books). If it was just DS1, I think I'd say 'you are nearly 12, from now on wash your own clothes' and let him deal with the consequence of no clean clothes but I know he would just wear dirty stuff, he doesn't care if he's dirty or smelly! I don't feel at 9, that I can say that to DS2 just yet.
3. Taking of food - we've always had a rule of 'ask if you want something to eat'. Not trying to be controlling but I didn't want them eating if a meal was going to be on the table within say 20 minutes nor do I want them taking food planned for a meal. There is always fruit, bread for toast/sandwiches and homemade biscuits/cake and I would say that most of the time I direct them to these, it's only if a meal is imminent that I say no. They take crisps, chocolate biscuits and sweets. I buy crisps for occasional lunchbox treats or weekend lunches, I have choc biscuits for lunchboxes if I haven't had time to bake but we don't eat either of these regularly. Sweets/chocolates are considered treats. They get treats about once a week sometimes less, sometimes more or they can buy out of their own money. DH and I have the same so I don't treat any of us differently. We've actually locked crisps and biscuits, choc bars away (I buy crisps and biscuits on offer so tend to bulk buy), this morning I found a chocolate bar wrapper in their bedroom - they'd taken it from the baking cupboard. Neither would own up to who took it, why or when. This has always been the case - we find the wrappers in the bedroom or behind the sofa or I notice stock going down. They've even taken drink yoghurts and hidden the bottles (I find them stuffed somewhere) or go in the freezer and take ice-creams (even if I've specifically said no ice-creams as lunch is in 15 mins....) Locking food away has improved the situation as the food isn't there to take but in actual fact really makes no difference if they can find something else (and it's not fruit they take!!) so it's not solved the problem.
4. Telling lies / not owning up - example this morning finding the chocolate bar wrapper. Neither will admit to who took it. Even when asking the question 'who was last in the bathroom/sitting room?', neither will say 'that was me' All I might want to say is 'remember to shut the door' or 'please flush/wipe the seat'. I've tried to explain that lying makes me cross, that all I might want to give them is a reminder or ask about something but it never sinks in! I've said that if I am a bit annoyed or cross about something then if they own up, I'm more likely to say 'please don't do that again' or 'we don't do that because...' but that if they lie, I will be very cross - makes no difference! If I just say for example "please wipe the seat if you drip on the seat", it doesn't sink in. I feel like I'm just a recording on repeat somedays!
I'm getting more and more annoyed and fed up about the whole situation. If I give a consequence then I do carry it out and they do know that. DH does back me up so they know they can't play us off against each other. We've tried talking to them, setting a consequence together or separately but nothing works! We've explained about team work, working as a family etc.. we all have jobs to do in the house (they feed dog, sort recycling and hoover if I need help) so it's not a case of we ask them to do more than us! We've discussed looking after our belongings, they know that we both have things that have lasted us many years ie I have the calculator I had when I was 11 or I saved up to buy a particular art tool and I still have it 22 years later. They know we both look after stuff and that we put things away when finished with etc etc. I know that some of this is typical kids stuff and we won't replace stuff if broken, they can ask for birthday/Christmas but otherwise if it's their fault, they have to save up. They know the value of money! Both boys saved up and bought DS's and iPods with birthday/Christmas/job money and that if they get damaged through their own fault, we will not replace.
Any thoughts? How would you deal with these situations? Any advice much appreciated!
No advice go offer but eavesdropping on suggestions cos my 10 yo is the same as 1 and 2!
I have a 13 and a 10 year old who room share.
They are given their pile of clothes and are asked to put them away or they don't get their pocket money. I have to check how they've put them away though because 13yo is terrible ay hanging clothes. Same goes for dirty clothes, they have to find their way to the washing basket and the pockets must be checked first.
Toys are tricky because Lego gets everywhere. They know that if its left on the floor it'll probably get hoovered up.
Our treat cupboard is always locked. There's no point just trusting them and then having that element of doubt when you find less biscuits than you were expecting.
The biggest issue we had was dirty toilet habits. They blamed each other so every time I saw a mess on the toilet seat I took 50p off both of their pocket money for the week. It stopped straightaway.
As you can see money is a big motivator in our house but taking away TV and games works just as well.
1 and 2 is normal kids stuff... I'mgetting I know that... I should just say "your room, your mess" and shut the door.... but I can't shut the door AND their stuff is spreading.... I'm also embarrassed when I see friends and their children's rooms are immaculate plus wearing dirty clothes or wearing clothes that are too small etc makes me feel as if I don't care/other people are judging but I do care! I make sure they have clothes that fit and I make sure they have clean clothes IF they put them to wash... I've discussed first opinions based on appearance and friends not wanting to sit with them if they smell etc..... to no avail.. sigh
Money for pocket money is difficult as we don't have much spare cash, what I do have goes on clubs and I will give cash if I have spare but it's not regular. I've tried banning or limiting screen time/grounding/only going to after school activities if room tidy etc.. but I find we constantly go round in circles, it works for that day or we have massive tantrums about not being able to see friends etc (mostly DS1) and it starts all over again the next day. I've tried checklists so they can tick off and rewarding based on that but same response.
Is this just normal? Am I getting het up over normal stuff? (I'll try and ignore the food stuff (& keep locking stuff away/not buying) for now)
Re the food issue, my teen and preteen boys get hungry in a way that is impressive. It's also very immediate, so I have a constantly stocked fruit basket that they can help themselves to at any time, even 5 minutes before their meal.
As for the 'treat' food, I would either stop buying it altogether or get rid of the controls and just say, "When it's gone, it's gone". So, if they eat all the biscuits then they go without in their lunchbox. And then don't buy anymore until you would normally do. I don't really get locking food away as it makes it more enticing surely?
I was a messy kid. I have spent the entire if my adult life to date fighting it.
Personally I would advocate going in their room everyday before bed and tidying it with them.
That way they start and finish each day in a tidy environment and it only gets as messy as it can get in 12 hours.
At some point they will find having their mum tidying their room with them painfully embarrassing.
At which point you stop with the proviso that when you poke your head round the door each eve it is tidy.
If its not then you do it with then for x amount of time.
This is what my mum has decided would have worked after we spent years fighting over my room.
It is really really normal -my 2 boys are the same age and the same behaviour.
Fwiw I was similar as a child, but I'm clean, tidy and don't tell lies (well only white ones!) now!
My 11 y rold has asd -so with him I try and get him into a routine- laundry basket in room with lid(Ikea) helps and regular time to have a blitz eg Saturday morning before we do something nice! I also changed his deodorant because his wasn't working.
The 9 yrold will do it but needs a lot of praise and me to start him off - I'm just trying to withdraw earlier now.
Washing - they just have to get washed or else!
Stealing food- I know people who have a locked chest with the treats in!
I see what you are saying and yes, I get that... its stuff I buy sort of as emergency rations, it's there if we need it but it's not stuff we eat regularly. DS2 doesn't like crisps and DS1 asks once in a blue moon (& I usually say yes as it's a rare occurrence) but DH works long unpredictable hours and likes to have a packet of crisps or choc bar as back up I suppose - if he's working later than expected then he's got something in his bag if he's hungry but if he's home at a reasonable time then he keeps it for the next day so it's stuff that doesn't go off or many like fruit might (which he's already had in his lunch/snack) I guess what I'm saying is its DH who is affected if we have none.. as I don't eat them and the boys have them occasionally...
DS1 would be ok if he had a piece of fruit 5mins before a meal, he'd still eat his tea but DS2 would then be full and not eat his meal... should I not be encouraging him to eat his meal rather than snacking? Oh so confusing....
I'm expecting too much aren't I? That's what you are all telling me?!
I remember being messy but I wasn't smelly nor did I take food.... Ok... DH and I have to change tactics....
Have a chart- check the room each day with them and tick the chart when everything is done-do it with them to begin with- introduce a job at a time so they are not overwhelmed. Make it easy- put the washing basket where the clothes are removed not the opposite side of the room etc. If they are uncooperative dont argue- just leave chart unticked and walk away. Consequences could be- not being taken to activity till its done- say once and wait- they will test you- but if they are late or miss something they will get the message. Reduction of pocket money. If they take forbidden goodies make sure they go without something they really like for desert. And make them stay at the table while you enjoy yours. Yoy usually only ever have to do these things once.
Rewards when things are done well- " I ve got time to do x now you are doing your room yourselves- oh , and loads of praise!!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.