stressful weekends: dh versus dc

(32 Posts)
gardeningmama Fri 23-Nov-12 13:09:14

How do you guys cope with opposing agendas at the weekends between dh and teenage kids? My ds 15 and dd 11, both usually want leisurely mornings, knowing they have homework and some household chores to fulfil, followed by loads of tv/facebook etc! I am inclined to let them have their slow mornings so long as I feel confident that their committments will get done (I like to think that my conversations with them covering what they need to do are enough to see that everyone is happy and generally I feel confident that my kids will fulfil their side of the bargain and generally they do, to my satisfaction). However, dh takes a much more draconian approach and he wants them up and out of bed by a designated time (by around 10am) and lots of shouting and ultimatums ensue in the style of a sargeant major. This is ALWAYS followed by unhappiness; bad tempers; bad relations; me stuck in the middle and feeling depressed and general shittiness all round for the rest of the weekend. I am fed up with it. I must admit that my feelings side with the kids - I don't like dh's approach any more than they do. Any suggestions/ideas?? HELP smile

brighterfuture Fri 23-Nov-12 14:18:40

I understand this one completely and this has been my most recent more successful strategy.......
If Dh wont reason with you about this , I suggest you go out on a Saturday before 10 and don't come back for a couple of hours. That way the kids can't play you and Dh off against each other and you can avoid the piggy in the middle feeling. Maybe if Dh has to deal with the reality of doing it his way on his own for a few weekends he might also realise that there are other less stressful ways of getting everyone's needs met.

hillyhilly Fri 23-Nov-12 14:20:00

Or send your DH out on a terribly important chore that takes up Saturday mornings?

mumblechum1 Fri 23-Nov-12 15:58:53

But why does your dh want them up at that ungodly hour?

No one in our house gets up before 11 at weekends

Can you talk to him and try to ask where this madness comes from?

And say you're totally on board if they don't get it done by the end of the weekend but that he has to learn to let them take responsibility or they won't grow into adults who are self sufficient. So maybe he could give them a go at learning to manage a weekend for themselves.

gardeningmama Fri 23-Nov-12 16:37:42

oooh, i'm feeling a bit reassured, thought maybe I was being irresponsible thinking it was ok to let kids have some slow time! How could I have doubted myself?! dh has this terrible work ethic type thing, and he projects his anxiety about workload onto us. We often hear him muttering angrily to himself, "am I the only one doing any work around here?" And in case you were wondering, NO, he is not.

Thanks for the suggestions for getting out of the house in the morning. In fact when I have sometimes had to do this coz of work, I come back and the atmosphere is dreadful, often tears, a lot of anger, a lot of tales about how "stressed" dh is etc etc and lengthy complaints from dh about how the kids are slackers (not his word but that's the gist). So my hour or two of respite/escape turns out not to be worth it really.

While on this topic, well a sort of tangent, how much are your teenagers expected to do around the home? Again, I think my dh expects too much. ds 15 is meant to bring in logs (we need a lot coz all heating, cooking, hot water is woodfired) keep his own room reasonably tidy, clear his things off mealtable and help lay table - he does a bit of cooking too coz he loves this. But on top of that, and not to mention he is doing his GCSE's, dh gets him to run all kinds of errands - as dh sits with his laptop on his knees, "ds, (though without the darling bit) could you go and get me the powerlead/a drink/ my bag on the landing, put another log on the fire .... ", oh and usually no "please".

With our dd he's not so relentless but she gets really rude with him coz she feels the injustice of his expectations, so dh just gets impatient and upset with her!!

Maybe this is really the topic for another thread?

And yet another topic for yet another thread: I think my dh may be on the Aspergers spectrum ... therefore perhaps a bit unfair to complain about him in this manner ...

mumblechum1 Fri 23-Nov-12 17:06:31

Gosh it does sound rather stressful! tbh at that age I would expect my kids to be allowed to do their own thing in terms of when they get up and what they do with their weekends so long as they do their homework.

DS doesn't do a massive amount around the house but brings in logs, coal, does his own washing and ironing and cooks for himself if I'm not around to do it or he needs something ironing. He certainly wouldn't ask me to make him a meal or iron his shirt.

tbh I think your dh needs to but out of certainly your eldest's life and let him do his own thing.

colditz Fri 23-Nov-12 17:11:05

If I was your fifteen year old, I would be looking for a house share on my sixteenth birthday. I would not live like that.

HeathRobinson Fri 23-Nov-12 17:16:51

That brings back awful memories of my dad shouting at us to get up in the morning when it was the school summer holidays! I've never seen the point to being this way with my kids and it's so much nicer.

If my dh acted like this, I would tell him that he was on the path to losing contact with his children.

Your dcs should.be doing tasks that ensure they clear up.after themselves (rooms plates clothes in the baslet etc) plus some agreed tasks to.contribute to tge smooth running of the household (logs in this case, or vacuuming or car wshing etc). They arent persnal skivvis which is what your dh seems to be treating them as (get off ure arse and get your own power lead Mr!!)

Could you agree one up by 10am day eoth chores and homework.done then and one lie in / duvet day?

HeathRobinson Fri 23-Nov-12 17:22:39

This reminds me of fil too. What virtue is there in getting up at stupid o'clock at the weekend, unless you need to? If he rings up in the morning, it's always, 'Did I wake you up?' ha ha. Never mind that we go to bed late and dh worked late the previous day.

As long as chores and homework are done, who cares when they are done?

OnTheBottomWithAStringOfTinsel Fri 23-Nov-12 17:23:37

I ask 15 yo DD to do quite a bit more than your ds's chores (but minus the logs so prob more jobs but less 'work')) - however I ASK rather than tell if it's not one of her reg jobs - and I say thank you! Your DH sounds a little as though he's demanding respect but not really giving it?
Not sure what you can do but as the DC's get older they are going to realise Dad isn't v nice to them & there will be even more conflict.

Lordy OP, I hear you! dH used to do this all the time. He would bemoan the fact that we never did anything 'as a family' and then when we did would complain that the kids didn't behave. Having been brought up in a family where we were dragged everywhere with mum and dad and got bored stiff and resentful, I never intended to do that with my children.

There are certain times when I do insist that the kids accompany us - and when I do they are happy to do so because it isn't every day.

Part of H's problem was that he has a pretty dysfunctional upbringing. Dad was in and out of his life randomly and mum couldn't get over the fact that she was having to parent alone. Lots of shouting went on. Eldest daughter left home as soon as she could. SO he simply doesn't know how to be a happy family. We had loads of arguments about it. I even agreed to agreeing with him more often just to present a united front (even when I thought he was being an arse!). Also H was jealous - he thought I was too soft on the kids because I loved them more than him. No, really! hmm

It's better now. He had an affair and part of the reconciliation has been for him to accept that he changes how he deals with the kids. He listens more and demands less. So far so good.

Good luck x

gardeningmama Fri 23-Nov-12 23:40:48

Thank you so much everyone, Sorry I haven't been responding but have actually been out for the evening ... I know!! There is a world out there! But seriously, thanks, it's so good to get a perspective on the situation. It's very hard when your gut is telling you that you know something is wrong (ie dh's treatment of/approach to the kids) but if you can't compare it to anyone else's experience then what 'proof' do you have? My two best mates are single parents so don't have these conflicts. dh is a control freak and also tells me that he happily did loads to help when he was a kid, (?) but I know his dad really well and I was quite close to his mum before she died, and don't think it was a particularly 'normal' household, whatever that is.

Mumblechum, how old is your ds? He sounds very independent. I think my kids would love to be respected more to be able to get on like that but there is this kind of slavery going on! I am just grateful that I have good relationships with the kids and they trust and talk to me. However, I do wonder how much they will carry on respecting me if they see me being overpowered by dh and me 'allowing' their dad to treat them as he does at times. Now, when I intervene to suggest to him that he's having a go at ds AGAIN, dh turns to me, infront of the kids, and tells me to be quiet.

Ormiriath, my dh is jealous too I think because he doesn't get ALL the attention and do you know what, he starts a weekend, or an evening when he gets in from work, saying to the kids "I'm not going to tolerate your usual arguments/attitude/rudeness/whatever..." before anything has actually even happened, thereby expecting the worst from them and not giving them a chance.

And Onthebottom, you are absolutely right, dh is expecting respect but not giving it.

I think family therapy might be a good idea.

flow4 Sat 24-Nov-12 00:13:11

It does sound very stressful, gardening sad I'm a single parent, so can't really advise on how to deal with your DH, but I do remember discovering the book 'Families and How to Survive Them' as a young adult and recognising my own parents' behaviour in it - and aspects of what you describe. I found it very useful for understanding family dynamics and how they can go wrong.

As for jobs... Both my boys (17 and 12) do their own laundry, iron if they want ironed clothes (which is rarely), cook/make their own breakfasts and lunches, lay the table for our evening meal and put their own plate/cutlery in the dishwasher afterwards, are expected to tidy up after themselves (but often don't), are responsible for their own rooms entirely (which means DS1's is a disgusting mess) and are expected to join in an 'all hands to the pump' family clean/tidy every week or two. DS1 sometimes does other jobs for money. (Listed like that, it sounds like I've got them pretty well trained! grin ).

flow4 Sat 24-Nov-12 00:13:54

Oh and I forgot to say, NO-ONE in our house has to get up 'til they want to at the weekend... And I'm often the last one up! grin

frantic51 Sat 24-Nov-12 00:45:36

I don't know that lie ins at the weekend are such a good thing during term time. It gets their sleep patterns messed up ime. 10am sounds like a decent sort of compromise and I usually start waking DD around this time. I don't shout though, I take her a cup of tea! smile

flow4 Sat 24-Nov-12 07:38:46

Teenagers need extra sleep because of the rapid growing they're doing, just as babies do. School messes with their sleep patterns, because naturally, few of them would wake at 7am. Most of them run 2-3 hours short of what they need each night during the week, and so the weekends are crucial 'catch up time'.

IMO, if you wake teens at weekends before they wake naturally, then you are depriving them of sleep they really need - not just for good temper but also for their health and development. But if you let them sleep 'til they wake naturally at weekends, they can cope better with getting up at unnatural times during the week!

gardeningmama Sat 24-Nov-12 10:07:29

Thanks for this it is really helpful. I have already had conversation with dh about adjusting how we approach w/ends. I think he is on board. Just wanted to comment quickly here to keep the thread going as I am sure there are more ideas and opinions and techniques out there, but I am out for the morning and might not be able to chat til later in the day! Have a good one folks and speak later smile

frantic51 Sat 24-Nov-12 10:40:23

Flow, I agree. I just prefer them to get early nights rather than lie in bed all morning. FWIW all my DCs went to boarding school, the older two stayed until they were 18 but DD2 left after GCSEs and is doing her A levels at the local 6th form college. At school they had classes every Saturday am and had to be on parade for chapel on a Sunday. They seem to have coped ok though as bedtimes were early and strictly observed. grin

flow4 Sat 24-Nov-12 12:26:06

What matters is what works IMO! So if that works for your family, frantic, that's great!

The OP and her children are in a situation that isn't working though - they want leisurely mornings, and aren't getting them.

I think it helps to know that research shows clearly that teenagers need more sleep than adults and all but very young children - 9.25 hours on average - but their sleep cycles start later.

There's some interesting info in this BBC article.

And this BBC science article , including this interesting fact:

"One important change that occurs at night time is increased levels of the 'darkness hormone' melatonin, which helps us to fall asleep. Most adults start to produce melatonin at about 10pm. When teenagers were studied in a sleep laboratory, researchers discovered that they only began to produce the hormone at 1am".

I also think this info from the Sleep Foundation is interesting:

"Teens' natural sleep cycle puts them in conflict with school start times. Most high school students need an alarm clock or a parent to wake them on school days. They are like zombies getting ready for school and find it hard to be alert and pay attention in class. Because they are sleep deprived, they are sleepy all day and cannot do their best.

Schools that have set later bell times find that students do not go to bed later, but get one hour more of sleep per school night, which means five hours more per week.

Enrollment and attendance improves and students are more likely to be on time when school starts. Parents and teachers report that teens are more alert in the morning and in better moods; they are less likely to feel depressed or need to visit the nurse or school counselor."

( Full article )

Maryz Sat 24-Nov-12 12:33:33

Why on earth would you wake a teenager on a Saturday?

I am instituting a rule that all homework due and preparation needed for Monday has to be completed before they go out on Saturday night, though, as I'm sick of angsty Sunday evenings when they suddenly discover they have no work done, no uniform washed and everything is missing.

Maryz Sat 24-Nov-12 12:37:01

Oh, and I don't feed my teenagers during the day at weekends. They prepare food for themselves as and when they please, and I do a meal for everyone for 7 pm Sat and Sunday evenings, for whoever is in.

As a practical suggestion, get your dh to write down what exactly he expects your children to do each weekend, have a look at his list with them, come to a compromise of what they and you think is fair, and then leave them to it on the promise that if they get it done this week, you will leave them next week.

Astelia Sat 24-Nov-12 13:27:08

Thanks for the link Flow, very interesting.

My teens are always shattered after a week at school and always have a lie in at the weekends and I do the same. We wake them up at 11am if they're not awake already.

They are expected to help unload the dishwasher and keep their rooms tidy, work hard at school and on homework, be nice to each other and their parents.

gardeningmama Sat 24-Nov-12 18:25:18

Thanks all. I am on the 'let them lie in' way of thinking. Yes, the week is stressful/hard work for all of us (my family) and the kids and I certainly want to take it easy at the w/ends. The info on teenage sleep requirements is very interesting and I'm glad to have been reminded of that.

Maryz I agree that sitting down with dh and dc's to come to an agreement about what is reasonable each w/end is a good idea.

The simple solution for me at present I think is the following:
* lay down/reaffirm some basic ground rules for the dc's as to what is expected of each of them over the w/end. Non-compliance resulting in losing a privilege eg some screen time.

* Adding a few tasks as it seems reasonable reading your responses that my two do a bit more around the home!! Particularly in terms of developing their independence.

* Explaining simply to dh all the above and pointing out to him his tendency to treat us like his skivvies, saying that we will politely suggest he runs his own errands if we feel he makes an unreasonable request demand

Does this cover the main bases do you think?

ChristmasEvie Tue 27-Nov-12 01:34:19

Gardening, there is a great support thread in 'off the beaten track' for partners of men with Aspergers.Have a look,they are a friendly lotsmile.Its called 'quirky cassandras of quichville'.

gardeningmama Tue 27-Nov-12 17:31:32

Thank you Christmas but could you give me more details how to find the thread please? I just can't find it! It sounds like just what I am looking for.

Maryz Tue 27-Nov-12 17:35:29

gardening, I don't want to link it, as the threads in OTBT are ungoogleable unless linked. But if you go to OTBT main page you will see it about ten threads down smile

gardeningmama Tue 27-Nov-12 17:58:20

Thanks maryz, found it!

FunBagFreddie Tue 27-Nov-12 23:17:51

Adults like to lie in at weekends and teenagers should be able to have a leisurely Saturday morning after a week at school. If you let them lie in then you can lie in. As long as things get done, I can't see a problem.

None of our family are human dynamos, and weekend lounging is very important to all of us, as it helps us all stay happy to be perfectly frank.

bubby64 Tue 27-Nov-12 23:43:26

My DH has mild Aspergers, and sounds just like yours OP!. My boys are only just 12, but they are becoming more than happy to slob around in PJs ( or tee shirt and pant!) up to and beyond lunchtimes at weekends and not really do very much, and DH wants them up, dressed and "being productive" (whatever that meansconfused) by 10am. He cannot understand why they are not "out playing with friends" like they used too!
I have the same conversation every weekend lately sayings long as they do their homework and chores, I'm not worried if they don't get dressed until after 12am!! As for chores, it does sound as if your DH is being a bit hard on your lad, and your DS must be really a nice lad as he has not given him a mouthful instead of doing the "just do this" jobs for DH!

gardeningmama Wed 28-Nov-12 09:13:59

I told my dh that I had asked mums on MN what they allowed their teens to do at weekends, re lying in and chores, that soon put him in his place and we had a much more relaxed time last w/end! I feel more empowered now to stick to my guns. thanks smile

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