how do i stop mollycoddling my 11 yr old dd?

(28 Posts)
legolaslass Fri 03-Jan-14 22:46:09

Hi all! Never been in a forum before so apologies if I make mistakes. My problem is that I really do mollycoddle my dd and she is the loveliest child you could ever wish to meet. No temper tantrums,(ever,honestly!), no challenging behaviour, nothing negative at all but I worry I'm a helicopter parent and that that's not good for her in the long term. I have older teens and I never let them wash up, vacuum or even do their own rooms! How do I stop without making my dd feel pushed away, especially as I have a foster child at the moment too? Genuinely need advice. Thank you.

Littlefish Fri 03-Jan-14 22:48:31

I think it would be reasonable to ask them to do some chores around the house. Keeping their own rooms clean and tidy would be a reasonable expectation.

Call it 'life skills' and allocate half an hour a week to it?

This is what my 11 y old does:

Changes his own sheet, pillowcase & duvet cover (the last is quite a challenge as he is tiny and has delayed motor skills).
Puts his own dirty laundry in the laundry basket and takes his own clean laundry upstairs and puts it away.
Washes up the saucepans after dinner, wipes the dining table and sweeps the floor.
Dusts his own bedroom once a fortnight.
Walks to the local shop to buy the Sunday paper (again, this was a challenge due to his ASD but we got there with practice).
Feeds the cat every day.

Those are some ideas you could start her off with, or ask her to choose her own?

When our cleaner retired, I wrote a list of all the jobs that needed doing and asked each child to write their initials next to the ones they'd be willing to do. The results were mostly predictable (no one volunteered to clean the toilets) but there were some surprises.

DD (9) likes emptying the compost bin, a job that everyone else hates.

DS3 (also 9) enjoys mopping floors.

legolaslass Fri 03-Jan-14 23:09:38

Little fish that is exactly what my husband and mum tell me!! But I look at her little face and puppy dog eyes and I give in, every time! Must keep telling myself that I'm not being a bad mum if I make her clean her room! Thank you! And threebeeonegee I love the idea of life skills! Will definitely give that one a go. Thank you both!x

ContentedSidewinder Sat 04-Jan-14 07:57:09

When my ds1 was 4 he was told to take his plate for from the dining table to the kitchen, after all he did this for his school dinner every day!

My sons are 10 and 7, they strip their beds every week & ds2 puts it into the washing machine and ds1 puts powder and softener in the drawer and puts it on.

I am raising them to be fully functioning adults, so by 18 they should be able to do everything I can do.

They dust and hoover, clean out the sink after teeth brushing etc You aren't doing your daughter any favours by doing everything for her. I bet you even brush her hair for her.
Do you think this is about you needing to be needed?

Littlefish Sat 04-Jan-14 10:42:56

"I am raising them to be fully functioning adults so by 18 they should be able to do everything I can do"

This.

LastingLight Sat 04-Jan-14 11:34:27

My mom used to do everything for us. It was a HUGE shock to me when I moved out aged 23 and suddenly I had to learn all these new skills - cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, ironing etc. I don't want my daughter to be in that position as an adult, therefore I expect her to do age appropriate chores.

colditz Sat 04-Jan-14 11:41:47

Every time you clean her room for her, you steal the independence that she is going to NEED. My ten year old and seven year old clean their own rooms, help with general chores, load the dishwasher, fetch/fold laundry and put it away, sort recycling and put the bins out. My ten year old walks to the shop fifteen doors away and fetches anything I ask him to, makes tea and coffee, and all this is EXPECTED. They don't get paid for it. They don't get to puppy dog at me, because I'm not a servant.

It's a learning experience that is as essential as learning to read. I wouldn't do their spelling tests for them, I wouldn't say "oh it's ok, there's plenty of time to learn to read when you're an adult, ill do it for now" because that would be awful. To deny a child the opportunity to learn how to function is as neglectful as not toilet training.

I'm def with all the above. Remember you are a person. You are not in 1950's. You are not a slave. You are not a butler or a concierge or a personal assistant. You are Mum. You are raising a being that needs to eventually live alone and know red socks in white washing equals mess AND how to address it.

If it's any help, I repeat all that to myself. Especially I am not a slave or butler (or martyr tbh). It's hard but frees you for other battles.

legolaslass Sat 04-Jan-14 11:52:30

Hi all. Thanks for the comments. Its not that I don't want them to learn (I know that they do need to), it is honestly that I can't let them. This, I think, stems from my own childhood when I was made to clean our very unclean house on my own while my mum sat around. Now I can't let my kids lift a finger without feeling as if its my job. I won't even let my own hubby wash up as I can't stand the guilt!x

colditz Sat 04-Jan-14 12:07:55

Oh dear sad

You need to let them learn. I moved out at 20, having never been allowed to touch the kitchen or cleaning things. I lived in squalor for years. Don't make them be like that. Let them learn. My kids are more competent now than I was at 20 - thy aren't overworked or unhappy, they spend less time on chores than eating their dinner - but if I was suddenly incapacitated, and they were left in someone else's care, they would be competent and not ashamed at having to be taught by someone else how to look after the,selves a little bit.

Sharingeverything Sat 04-Jan-14 12:11:18

I'm like this too legolaslass, partly because I feel guilty if I don't do it, but there's also a control element, I want it done properly/quickly or whatever and can't stand how long it takes DC to do stuff. My DH is the same as me so we end up doing it all. It's a cycle I need to break and soon but like you the puppy dog eyes combined with my control issues mean I give in.

specialsubject Sat 04-Jan-14 15:41:08

you are doing them NO favours by denying them the education in life skills that they need.

you will be making them the people that everyone hates when they do eventually move out. The disgusting flatmate that steals food and never cleans up, the selfish student that can't keep the noise down and so on.

so that's why. You didn't stop them learning to write because they made mistakes, did you?

Dancergirl Mon 06-Jan-14 23:24:38

I generally agree with other posters but I would also point out that your dd is still quite young, not quite ready to live independently. Yes it is about practice but tbh, some things are learnt very easily, they don't need years of practice. My own mum didn't make me do much by way of chores as a child but I had no problems doing basic tasks once I'd left home.

Also it depends a lot on your circumstances. If, for example, you're a SAHM, have a partner who works full time and school aged children, chances are you're doing the bulk of the chores.

Poppylovescheese Sat 25-Jan-14 21:32:51

I agree with Colditz and my ds 12 does the same.

Suzymoo9 Sun 26-Jan-14 21:02:12

Let them enjoy their childhood - it will soon be gone and they have the rest of their life to clean, cook, wash and do it for their kids in turn. I don't think it takes long to learn these things.

dementedma Sun 26-Jan-14 21:45:14

It is a difficult balance to strike isn't it?
Can you start with very small things which are her responsibility?
Mine don't do much I must admit as I get sick of all the nagging and arguments, but I no longer iron anything belonging to older teens bar school uniform, or clean their rooms. Consequently their rooms are disgusting and they wear unironrd clothes but if it doesn't bother them......
11 year old ds takes out the big bin each week, puts his laundry in the laundry basket and takes plates, glasses etc to the kitchen. He loves to help cook too, and is the only one to ever bring in the washing from the line. Not much,but it helps.

Mikkii Sun 26-Jan-14 21:55:43

Our DC (9, 6 and 3) must tidy their playroom. Leaving it in a mess results in loss of use of the room and it's facilities (TV and sofas).

They must put their things in the kitchen after eating, including clearing the table after a Sunday roast.

They are supposed to keep their rooms tidy. I helped DS and DD1 do theirs over Christmas, but now they are as bad as ever. I will assist and supervise, but not do all the work while they watch.

DS also makes tea and coffee (lemsip yesterday!) and will help his youngest sister tidy. She is also expected to do what she can including putting rubbish in the bin and carrying empty plates and cups to the kitchen

DrNick Sun 26-Jan-14 21:57:08

Oh man up OP. If you carry on like this shell have no mates and drive everyone nuts

Mikkii Sun 26-Jan-14 21:58:32

Incidentally last week DS was moaning that he couldn't find his new school shirts. I pointed out I had given them to him to take upstairs, he said "I assumed you had put them away" well, that was hy I gave them to you!

Homebird8 Sun 26-Jan-14 22:17:55

Doesn't sound as if you had an easy childhood OP. I doubt the cleaning side of things is the whole of the story. I have a fear that your opposite parenting style is just as extreme and probably just as unhelpful for DD and your other teenagers.

What does DH say to your refusal to let him or anyone else be part of the family? And that's what we're talking about. Families have homes, and homes need work.

We do them as a team gradually teaching the younger members of the family to take on tasks that they are capable of and explaining which jobs are someone else's. So for example, I do all the washing and ironing, DH does all the shopping and cooking (whilst showing DSs basic cookery skills and letting them help), DSs put all their clothes away, prep everything they need for school, totally fail to make their own beds (but nobody else does it for them), clear the table after meals, unload the dishwasher, take out the recycling, tidy their own things (after a fashion) and pitch in whenever we ask for help (handwashing floors is fun apparently, as is vacuuming). DSs are 11 and 9.

Perhaps you should think about some counselling OP, to discover the way you want to go with this based on the experiences which got you to this point. Your needs are not doing anyone else any favours.

TamerB Sun 26-Jan-14 22:33:43

At least you recognise that it isn't good parenting, which is a start. A lot of those who mollycoddle think they are good parents. Just start in little ways.

mummy1973 Sat 01-Feb-14 20:48:05

How is it going? I've been asking DC to do some things with me so that they get used to how to do them then when they are older they can then be responsible for doing themselves. Not showing them the basics isn't helpful for them I think but asking them to do too much at once can be daunting.

Nicole1976 Mon 17-Feb-14 10:15:10

I'm glad I found this post because I have the same problem, I constantly mollycoddle my 13 yr old DS and I'm worried he won't be prepared for real life when I stop.

RockMummy Fri 14-Mar-14 17:55:44

I have allowed DS10 quite a lot of independence and he revels in. He can go to the supermarket 5 minutes away and buy stuff. He can cook a couple of different one pot meals for us which he really enjoys as well as coming home from school alone. It has really boosted his self esteem and he is very proud of the skills he has acquired in the last year. Let your daughter have a go. She is likely to surprise you!

shebird Sat 15-Mar-14 18:25:59

I am also a little guilty of this OP. Although my DD is quite capable of doing most things I just take over without realising. In the rush and chaos of family life i just get on with things and forget that I have two little helpers that would benefit from lending a hand.

Maybe start small and go from there.
Perhaps start with a tidy bedroom. If it is in a big mess right now, do it together and then tell her she needs to have it tidy every weekend.
Make sure she know what you mean by tidy. In my house it means floor cleared of toys (we have plastic totes under their beds), dirty clothes put in laundry basket and bed covers pulled up tidy.

Does she like to help in the kitchen? I bake weekly with DD2(10), who loves it, and can make cakes/buns independently, but I still put them into/out of cooker. I must buy decent oven gloves for her..
I'm hoping to include DD1 in dinner preparation at least once over the weekend shortly. With aim that by September, she can do one or two easy dinners independently.
DD1(11) also makes me cups of tea. This was a homework assignment recently! And it is something she enjoys doing.

The only other chore my girls have is that playroom needs to be tidy every two weeks, or if friends are coming over. They play great imagination games which involves many many many toys spread out all over toy room, and the game continues after school sometimes. That's why I give them two weeks.

There will be other chores added as they get older.

They get a lot of homework, and are involved in lots of hobbies. It is a balance to make sure they have time to play and to relax. But they need lifeskills too. It is an investment in their future..

RockMummy What type of one pot meals can your DS cook? This is something I'm going to do shortly with DD1. I'm going to start with Pasta, she is already working with boiling kettle to make me cup of tea.
And perhaps tomato soup, as she loves to eat that.
But hadn't thought beyond that...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now