What might work for mum with broken leg and lazy 17 y.o.?

(19 Posts)
attheendofmythether Thu 20-Feb-14 13:15:08

My 17.5 year old DS has always been lazy and we have tried to get him to help out occasionally over the last couple of years but as he is always reluctant, it ends up being more trouble than its worth. He is off to Uni in September. He spends most of his time in his room apart from coming out for mealtimes together and antagonising/belittling his sister.

We give him lifts to his job and hobbies 5 miles away four evenings a week, not to mention friends houses as we live in a rural area with limited public transport. We bought him driving lessons for his birthday in the Summer but he only did 3 and decided he didn't fancy any more until next year, although we bought a little old car to keep for the kids to use at the same time, it sits in the garage though my not-yet-17 DD is desperate for it to be her turn so she can drive it.

Thus situation has suddenly become intolerable and my eyes have really been opened as I broke my leg badly last week and am incredibly limited in what I can do at the moment, as I am on crutches and non weight bearing for at least the next 6 weeks. I obviously can't drive, hoover and other jobs have to be done on one leg or sitting down and take 10 times as long.
I had to stay in hospital to have a plate and screws put in and came home last week. Since then he offered me one cup of tea and has complained the three times anything of him e.g. setting the table, hoovering etc. His response when I asked him to give me a hour on his time to help with so,e jobs was "thats not fair, Its half term and anyway I already have a job (his weekend job)

He has never offered any contribution of either his time or money towards the fuel and time we use to get him to and from his job, which includes weekend evenings which means DH or I can't have a drink or have to interrupt our evening to collect him. He expects DH to drive him everywhere until I can drive again, and the problem is he knows that I don't really want him to cycle at night as the main road has a lot of lorries on it.

He is charm itself when his girlfriend or friends are here, but I feel very very frustrated and to be honest extremely hurt, that when I really need a bit of help, or even an offer of a cup of tea or ten minutes company, he has continued in this very selfish way. I already tried sitting down with him and calmly discussing how I feel, but he says he doesn't see it that way, but doesn't offer an explanation why.

Can anyone suggest anything that has worked for them? I feel very used at the moment, and am probably feeling a bit low from the broken leg. I though that when I really needed some support he would be different.

I would not be asking for a lot, perhaps half an hour of his time a day until my cast comes off- is that too much to expect?

FarelyKnuts Thu 20-Feb-14 13:21:57

I would suggest that you stop ferrying him around and bringing him to and fro places and he earns his lifts by helping around the house/ doing some jobs?

homeaway Thu 20-Feb-14 13:32:30

I would have a stern word with him, it may or not help but it might help you feel better. I would be tempted to withdraw all extra services until he starts acting more his age and realises that you need help. On an aside boys do mature much later than girls and some of them can live in their own bubble and it is very frustrating . Have you spelt out very clearly what your expectations are ? Ie unload dishwasher, put washing machine on..... etc Split the chores between the two of them and that might make it better. They do have an annoying habit of saying that they will do things "later" .....
Whatever you do don't put your recovery in jeopardy by running around too much and trying to do it all. Good luck op .

Honestly, since you've tried the 'polite and calm' method and he doesn't get it, I'd jump straight to the 'reading the riot act' method, complete with a wide range of expletives for what I think about anyone his age who thinks they are a passenger in the house and not part of the workforce.

And then he gets nothing from you, not one meal, not one piece of laundry, not one lift that he hasn't damned well worked to provide and/or earn.

17 is plenty old enough to work that outy for himself, but he hasn't had to up till now, so he needs a wake-up call. A loud and not 'calm and polite' one.

adeucalione Thu 20-Feb-14 16:58:16

I agree that you should withdraw all privileges, and explain the correlation between his level of support for you and your level of support for him.

I would call his bluff on the cycling at night thing too - if it takes you 30mins to drive him, ask for 30mins of help around the house or he can make his own way (bet anything that it won't come to that).

He's been getting away with it until now but you're not doing him any favours by allowing it to continue.

Whereisegg Thu 20-Feb-14 17:02:43

I'd read him the bloody riot act op, I am reaaaaaally cross for you!

Use all those words you must be thinking (selfish, ungrateful, lazy, rude, entitled) and use them LOUD!

Definitely call his bluff on the cycling too.

ravenAK Thu 20-Feb-14 17:11:28

I think I'd start by pointing out that I couldn't drive with dodgy leg, therefore his lifts now devolve to his dad. who is too busy picking up the extra household chores to want to be arsed with it.

Then I'd give him about half a day to join the dots & start offering to do his share.

THEN, if no dramatic & sustained improvement, I'd go nuclear on his ass.

Its a shame that "go back in time and raise him to contribute regularly to the running of the household" isnt an option his future wife is going to be annoyed too

Stop doing favour for him. Look after yourself.

I take it your dd pulls her weight? How is it she does and he doesnt?

Selks Thu 20-Feb-14 17:22:34

Ditto to all of the above, and show him this thread!

Kleinzeit Thu 20-Feb-14 17:54:26

Can you stop doing stuff altogether for a while? Get your DH onside and declare yourself in need of rest and unable to do anything round the house at all, say for the next month or so while your leg heals. Have a family confab about which of “your” household tasks absolutely must be done and how often so you might not have a perfectly polished house but it’s not squalid, everyone is fed and has a few clothes to wear, and let him and his sister divvy most of it up between them (with your DH taking on one or two extra tasks that they can’t do)

And of course while you are unwell your DH is too busy to drive your DS all the time, he will have to make his own way home at least half the time while you’re incapacitated. If he's always being driven to/from work then he has no motive to learn to drive or to come up with any other solutions. He’s going to have to cycle some of the time if that’s what he prefers.

And when this is over have a think about what you want to carry on doing for your DS and what he can keep on doing for himself.

Might be worth a try? Good luck anyway!

attheendofmythether Thu 20-Feb-14 18:14:03

Thanks for all the support and advice. I'll try calling his bluff re withdrawing lifts and just need to toughen up a bit I know.

15 y.o. DD has been great. I'm not sure why they're so different really as I think I've always treated them the same. But she has always been keen to be independent, even as a very little girl, and actively enjoys cooking the odd family meal, baking for us all etc. without even being asked. I haven't expected much from either of them beyond keeping their bedrooms reasonable, which I see now was a big mistake, but DD invariably responds willingly if I ask her to e.g. set the table etc. whereas DS moans or suddenly has homework and then disappears at the earliest opportunity.

DD told my OH today that she has also had enough of her brother freeloading, as she has apparently been tidying up after him since I broke my leg as he totally ignores her when she asks, and she doesn't want me to get upset!

DS is away for a couple of days, so I've decided to use the time to man-up a bit a draw up a rota of jobs and share them out evenly but also come up with some chores which can act as "payment" before he gets any more lifts.

This last week has already been a bit of a wake up call for me, so now it is his turn. The point about it affecting his future wife is also a good one!

Catsmamma Thu 20-Feb-14 18:19:22

god definitely hit him with some cold hard facts... shape up or ship out...see how he likes that.

make it quite clear he is not to make work for anyone...and if he leaves a mess then it will be disposed of

He should certainly be making at least one meal a week, your broken leg or not, and helping out with the laundry as a matter of course...as you are incapacitated, he should be stepping up to bed stripping and remaking as well.

Tbf if he isnt prepared to work for his keep then he can pay for it.

Take a portion of his wage, or stop pocket money. Exlain that you will need it to pay for a cleaner.

Travelledtheworld Thu 20-Feb-14 22:58:42

I would get on the sofa with my leg up and STAY THERE.

Whereisegg Sun 23-Feb-14 23:31:26

How's it going op?
I hope your ds has pulled his finger out!

attheendofmythether Fri 07-Mar-14 10:53:24

Well it's two weeks on and after one melt-down (mine) and a prominently displayed and rigidly enforced family rota things are sooooo much better.

I did have a rant at DS and lifts were totally withdrawn pending a change in behaviour. He has stuck to the jobs on his rota without complaint, has miraculously found someone from work who will give him a lift once or twice a week for petrol money ( amazing what they can find when they have the motivation) and had to cycle twice to work and twice to friends. He now "earns" most lifts by doing an extra job for around the time it takes for DH to drive him, or else will cycle. He has even made the effort to spend more time with us without being asked.

It's a miracle!!! It's only early days, but I am hopeful that a combination of clear rules and me stating in no uncertain terms how spoilt/ lazy his behaviour had become will have a lasting effect.
My leg is feeling a bit less like it's composed of lots of jangling bone fragments, and though I've another 4 weeks in a cast, I think every cloud has a silver lining as it took this situation to make a change in our family.

For any of you with similar DCs, my advice would be to enforce a clear, fair rota much earlier before they get to the stage my DS was at!

attheendofmythether Fri 07-Mar-14 11:08:45

Oh and don't get too emotional and take things personally that they don't spontaneously see that they are being selfish and uncaring. That was my other mistake.
With the benefit of hindsight, I think DS is just slow to mature and was not able to empathise in the way DD did. Something to do with his pre-frontal cortex I hear smile They love us really!

flow4 Fri 07-Mar-14 17:05:40

I read this with interest, since I am due to have a hip replacement in a couple of months, and am a single parent living with TWO teenage boys! shock Our house is already messy and dirty because what I can do is very limited... It's good to hear the rota has worked so far! Fingers crossed!

And get well soon. smile

Kazzyv Sat 08-Mar-14 08:04:13

Nice to a positive follow up. Get well soon

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