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to expect this from my almost 9 year old?

(70 Posts)
joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 18:35:15

My son is a few days away from turning 9. This is what I expect him to do in a day:

Get out of bed
Get dressed for school
Pull duvet up
Pull up blind
Turn light off
Put any dirty clothes outside his room (ideally next to washing machine but pigs would fly before that happened)
Eat breakfast
Put bowl in dishwasher
Clean teeth
Put shoes/coat on
Get school bag ready with whatever he needs for the day
Be ready to leave at 7.50

Spend 10 minutes practicing his guitar (he gets no other homework)
Put plate in dishwasher after eating.
Stop playing on screen once his 30 mins are up (that is our agreed time limit during the week)
Shower (he doesn't have to do this daily)
Hang up towel after shower
Clean teeth
Get into bed when it's time to go to sleep

Tidy up a room if he's made a mess in it
Put any wrappers in the bin
Occasionally feed HIS cat when I am busy

Is this too onerous a list for an 8/9 year old? Because my will to live is being sucked out due to the constant reminding/nagging that it takes. I have explained that if he doesn't do these things, he loses that day's screen time. But it always ends up in an argument. It is doing my head in. So before I go nuclear/send him to boarding school, can you tell me if I am being unreasonable with these things? Is this too much for a boy his age to do? Seriously.

Andro Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:31


There you go, you sound like you need it.

educatingarti Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:33

Jandj - I'd try not to enter too much into the argument if you can possibly manage it. just "You didn't do what we agreed, the consequence is....." and walk away from the argument.

I do wonder whether you are getting in a bit of a negative cycle with him though. Dou you get positive time with him doing something fun?

ukatlast Mon 11-Feb-13 19:36:50

I think you are being a bit unreasonable. It all sounds very controlling. I would love it if my kids had done all that without being reminded/asked at 8/9 but I wouldn't expect it or even demand it.
The worst one though is the only 30 mins IT time - any parent who can enforce that is doing really well as I couldn't in a million years. What does he do after the 30 mins then?

Boys are genetically untidy and I too have a project to turn mine into 'easy partners' for today's girls but I wouldn't expect this perfection at age 9. Being more easy going will reduce the conflicts and stress for you - what does it matter if sth is on the bedroom floor for a couple of days? It's not your room etc etc .....chill a bit more, worse things happen at sea....

ukatlast Mon 11-Feb-13 19:41:01

Actually...another thought. If he did all that you want, you would hardly need to interact with him during the day/evening...just take himself to bed at the right time etc etc he doing it (or rather not doing it) to get your attention...even the negative attention is better than feeling he doesn't get enough of your focussed attention...? Not saying this is the case, you may interact loads, just a possibility.

sukysue Mon 11-Feb-13 19:42:32

Crikey my dds aged 17 and 18 don't even do this much and that is woth nagging you got a good un there op! lol

Taffeta Mon 11-Feb-13 19:50:36

Not unreasonable to want him to do these things.

Unreasonable to expect him to do them all without nagging.

My 9 yo exactly the same, big on lip, small on action. Memory like a sieve for this kind of thing but amazing at spellings etc. And knowing when a football match is on etc. Funny, that. hmm

Nothing gets done within time frames unless screen or other privileges are withheld until tasks achieved. Unless I follow him round the house screeching at him continuously. Often he'll kick off with a baby tantrum if he feels I'm on at him.

Sometimes I chuck him out the front door in the cold to calm down of a morning. I find that tends to focus his mind on the tasks that need doing.

CoffeeandDunkingBiscuits Mon 11-Feb-13 19:51:45

I hear you on the crisp packet argument with the exact detail etc!!! My seven year old do that! Arghhhhhhhhhh!

Taffeta Mon 11-Feb-13 19:52:19

Oh and I'll join you in the wine

stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 19:53:35

YANBU - most of it is just sorting himself out! Link it to pocket money, that helps. PLUS don't let him away with it cos he's a boy, if he was a girl you'd expect that and more. By that age I was doing that lot and had general household chores to do and ironed my own shirts etc My mum had the opinion that she wasn't a skivvy for the rest of us!

joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 19:53:53

Thanks for the wine Andro.

Ukatlast - the reason we are doing 30 mins of screen time is because it was starting to be all they ever did. They'd get up in the morning and stare at the tv and not get ready. After school they'd come home and stare at an ipad/xbox/DS/Computer/TV and not do homework and not play with anything, even if I tried to get them to play a board game or go out and do something fun. So we've said 30 mins of screens after school (once homework is done) and then we will do something together - like play a game or read together. Or we could watch a film together and then it doesn't matter if it's longer than 30 mins as we're doing it together. They have more on weekends.

I was finding the permanent glue to the screen was making him even more aggressive.

Perhaps he is finding it too controlling, but what I've found with him is that he is bone idle so if you give an inch, he'll take a mile. So if I let him leave his bowl on the table today and I clear it (which to be honest I often have to do), then the next time he does it and I ask him to clear it, he says: Well I didn't have to do it last time.... or cue a major sigh and a sulk.

I want him to start learning that we're not all living in this house to serve him - he needs to pull his weight. But I know that he's only just about to be 9 so perhaps I have overly high expectations of him. hence the AIBU Q.

stickingattwo Mon 11-Feb-13 19:54:48

`ukatlast - ' boys are genetically untidy"? oh pur-lease...

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 19:57:35

Please let me know when you master this one and let me know.

Oh hang on my dss have left home.

Failed miserably, better luck with dds ha ha ha.

Back to nagging then.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 19:58:14

not an unreasonable list but an unreasonable memory test. You need to break it into check lists for him. Then when he forgets or goes off task, direct him back to the task list, don't argue or get into it, just say 'go and do your list please', turn your back and do something else. He's getting a lot of attention from you for doing the wrong things, you need to break that cycle and start giving him attention for the things he does well.

The crisp packet conversation - sounds like he's trying to verbally control the situation, my DS does this too. Again, don't get into it. 'You left the crisp packet and you had to be reminded, so I don't trust you to do x.' Then off and do something else. Don't let the situation escalate.

If you google visual timetables and that sort of thing you'll find some techniques that are used for children with autism and ADHD (I am not suggesting your DS has autism or ADHD!) but children who do can often have problems with organisation and planning, and the techniques used to help them can be adapted for any child who has issues in that area.

ukatlast Mon 11-Feb-13 20:02:12

OMG it's just a crisp bag...I think you are a tidy freak and your son isn't. I love a tidy house but am realistic that the others I share the house with aren't as tidy-minded as me.
Does he generally have organisational issues? Boys tend to grow out of these as they grow up ....if you don't make a big issue about it.

For instance I insist mine use plates for snacks because that means less hoovering is needed so it's about making my life easier but this is after many years of being realistic as in most kids make mess.

IME boys and men are genetically untidy as in they would happily live in a mess for much longer than I would. This is the realisation that made me get a cleaner when OH and I were both working fulltime but had no kids.
You are still too young if you haven't realised that men in general (with a few exceptions) tolerate mess much better than women. That's how men have always got women to wait on them since the year dot. I don't like it but I am afraid it is often the case. I am a feminist btw - hard to believe.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 20:02:58

uk stop saying men and boys are genetically untidy, it really is bolleaux.

ukatlast Mon 11-Feb-13 20:04:40

I have had female friends who are also genetically untidy but its much rarer. They'd still crack in the mess before their boyfriends though.

ukatlast Mon 11-Feb-13 20:07:27

Sorry it's based on my life experience - I can think of less than 5 men who are tidy-freaks. I am not saying I like it..I don't but you waste too much energy fighting against it.
What does it matter if her son doesn't put his blind up before he goes to school?
The list reads like a Gina Ford for 9 year old boys.

joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:09:07

Ukatlast - my husband is far, far tidier than me. I might see the crisp bag and sigh and wish DS would tidy up. Husband gets really unhappy about it and then gets grumpy with me that I am not insisting that the children keep things tidy.

We have had discussions about this in the past where I have pointed out that just because he seems to have OCD doesn't mean the rest of us have to be neat freaks.

But it's a simple rule that is fair enough: if you eat something/use something and it leaves behind something that should go in the bin, put it in the bin. Don't expect the fairies to do it for you. It is a rule we've had for ages. It just doesn't seem to go in to son's head.

So I disagree that men are genetically more prone to untidiness - because my DH certainly isn't

joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:13:15

To be honest, it doesn't matter if the blind doesn't go up or the duvet isn't pulled up. I'd say 95% of the time this is NEVER done. The reason I like the blind to go up is so that they can see what they are doing and then turn the light off so that they aren't left burning all day. So there is a reason behind me wanting to do it (personally I hate the look of a house with the curtains closed all day - makes the whole place feel stale - but perhaps that's just my issue).

But they are two tiny jobs that I want him to start doing to take a bit of responsibility. I could drop them off his list but really didn't think that it would be so onerous.

I asked him this evening if he would find it useful to have a list on his door to help him remember what he has to do. He told me in no uncertain terms that HE WOULD NOT have a list like that up and if I put it up, he'd pull it down. Nice.

bedmonster Mon 11-Feb-13 20:21:12

I have DDs nearly 9 and 7. They do all those things on your list. However, I tend to prompt them along the way.
"Finished breakfast? What's next? Yep, hair and teeth, off you go please."
That's how the mornings go. When they get home they know to take their stuff off and put it away, but occasionally it gets overlooked in favour of something more interesting. It's understandable, but I veer them back to "shoes and coats away and get any letters out of your bags quickly then you can go and do xyz."
I think you are being a bit unrealistic to expect absolutely everything done without any little reminders. He is 8.
And with regards to the crisp wrappers, I wouldn't have let him eat in there. And wouldn't let him again with that attitude. I'm not OCD at all, wrappers frequently left all over the place here, but you have your own rules in place and he not only ignored them but got into an arguement about not putting it in the bin, which I find disrespectful seeing as you have very specific guidelines.

joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:30:31

bedmonster - I do give them reminders. Exactly as you say: right, after breakfast, it's time for teeth etc. But his response to it all is to either ignore me or argue the point e.g. Why do I have to clean my teeth? They are MY teeth. Or, Why can't you clear our bowls away? Why do we have to do everything?

Trust me - he won't be eating in there again. It's a shame though because it was an occasion where I was trying to be more lenient, not trying to be massively dogmatic, and giving him the benefit of the doubt. But he just proved that he doesn't follow through with what he promises and will then argue till he's blue in the face about how I'm mean and he's right.

Someone up thread (apologies, can't remember who) said that he's getting too much negative attention and I need to break the cycle. Absolutely right. And I really do try to focus on the positives. But when I don't engage in arguments and simply state the issue/problem and move on, he either just ignores what he's supposed to do, or he follows me around saying that I'm mean for ignoring him. Sigh. To be honest he's been like this his entire life. I am just casting around for hormones as a reason at the moment. sad

GreatUncleEddie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:36:45

Puberty? Nine? No, not usually. First sign is enlarging of testes. No, thought not grin

Taffeta Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:12

He IS my DS, op!

My wise old mum once said "challenging children make interesting adults". I cling onto that and the wine bottle

joshandjamie Mon 11-Feb-13 21:07:29

taffeta - let us drink together then. And I too shall cling onto that notion that challenging children make interesting adults.

Taffeta Mon 11-Feb-13 21:14:22

wine <chinks>

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