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To expect a yr 10 student to put his clothes in the wash and make his own packed lunch. Teachers also please answer.

(188 Posts)
PaulSmenis Wed 25-Sep-13 08:31:25

I'm having a dilemma with eldest ds, nearly 15.

I have been too soft on him imo and told him that he will have to make his own packed lunch as from the start of this term.

So far, he can't be arsed. This puts me in a difficult position. I think part of my job as a parent is fostering independence. He is definitely capable of even just making a sarnie.

I'm torn between letting him get to the point where he'll realise that he needs to make his lunch for school and making it for him. I'm worried that his teachers will think I'm neglecting him! If I keep making it for him, he won't ever make it himself though.

Apparently there was nothing to eat yesterday, but we had cheese, laft over roast veg, seedy bread and fruit. So, a good lunch there imo.

I've also put him in charge of getting his laundry in the machine. So, that hasn't been done in time so his PE kit is damp.

DP and I are also busy and I think it's time DS should be starting to take responsibility over meals, laundry and other bits. Unfortunately, he really can't be arsed and I don't want to be a pushover. So, it's a case of stalemate.

Will I get a call from the school asking me wtf is going on?

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 13:03:31

The benefits of good training!

But, to press you on your previous post - did you mean the lesson learnt might be that the teenager can get by with no lunch/find a way to scrounge free food/ something like that?

bigTillyMint Thu 26-Sep-13 13:21:41

Niceguy2, I was so consistent about not giving in up until the summer. I do it brilliantly in my job. But I now seem to be a pathetic pushover with DD. It has to stop!

It's so hard to stick to your guns without it descending into an argument/DD screaming in my face. I guess I just need to woman-up<takes deep breath>

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 13:41:52

That's the dilemma isn't it? Deciding when the battling is 'sweating the small stuff' and/or counter productive - teenager feeling 'controlled'/enjoying a bit of drama/exercising their urge to make their own choices in a very annoying way.

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 13:43:59

It is tough. Some things might seem quite petty, but it's a matter of principle. It can be difficult to always know how to make the distinction, or it is for me.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 26-Sep-13 13:50:34

I think the principle has to be, are they being a selfish, irresponsible, unhelpful person? If the answer is yes, then don't enable them to do that.

There are usually lots of ways of promoting/incentivising helpful behaviour and allowing them to have choices. I don't want my DCs to feel like I'm a dictator and they have no choice and must obey regardless. They have lots of say about how our household works, things they want from the supermarket, where we go on holiday etc. If they have reasonable arguments for why they can't do something, then I'm all ears. If they are just being lazy - then I'm not interested.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 14:13:50

The trouble is that the teenage brain seems to predispose them to being selfish, irresponsible and unhelpful. Their ability to empathise, to consider the consequences of their actions and their perception of risk actually regress while their brain is 'rewiring', ie specialising. Or something.

Doesn't make frequent, low-level poor behaviour any less irritating though. Especially when they don't mind suffering for it.

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 14:19:18

You're right about the teenage brain choco.

I gave DS lunch money for today and tomorrow btw. He'll probably spend it on sweets and coke. At least it won't be the South American kind of coke though. I didn't give him that much money!

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 14:41:16

Maybe they do something tempting like pizza on Thursdays? [hopeful]

Our LEA have a cashless system. There's the option of scanning your fingerprint or using a pin number. Unfortunately there was a problem with the pin numbers and DH is vehemently opposed to the LEA having DS' fingerprints in their data base. Apparently you can see what your DC bought with their card when you access your account!

DS sometimes spends his change on terrible drinks and sweeties at a shop on the way home. It makes me feel furious, but I'm turning a blind eye....for the time being. His pockets are always full of sweet wrappers. For some reason he's very reluctant to take a bottle of water to school with him. A big group of them often go to the shop but the big group seems to be less of a 'thing' recently.

I'm hopeful that he's nearing the end of this phase.....

bigTillyMint Thu 26-Sep-13 15:08:52

chocoluvva, all the children do this. DS is riding his bike to/from school ATM and so is avoiding it. Long may it last!

Paul, I can't believe there is no cashless system at their school! I just put money on their fobs using parentpay. Sadly our system doesn't let us snoop on what they bought, but I think DS is being pretty truthful when he tells me he's had a pattie!

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 15:34:15

"all the children do this" - peer pressure - still annoys me. The waste of money and the excess of sugar and rubbish.

I know it's a small thing to grumble about though. Pick your battles and all that.....

PaulSmenis Thu 26-Sep-13 16:13:28

My DS is also reluctant to take a bottle of water into school with him.

chocoluvva Thu 26-Sep-13 16:23:59

Pick your bottles grin

Pinkbatrobi Fri 27-Sep-13 00:38:57

I don't really want to sound judgemental, but I am just interested as to why you have waited until he got to yr 10 to raise this issue... Or have you been asking him for years? I ask because in my experience the earlier you start instilling a need for independence the easier it is... If he has been used to have you do everything for him he's not going to understand why now all of a sudden things should my instinct would be to have a very clear conversation with him explaining why now is the moment to 'change the rules of the game', and then facilitate the transition from one system to the other. Getting organised, like everything else, needs to be learned, and a lot of practice! There are also loads of ways to give him ideas, you could 'discuss menus' me night before, or leave him left overs from the previous night dinner if it was something he liked... Make sure he has what he needs, ingredients but also containers, bags, etc... At that age they want to be grown up but they are still children, and often worried about doing new things, or not being good at doing something.. He will need to gradually feel confident before he actually feels in control, I think, and also understand your refusal to help is not a withdrawal if your love, but it is because of your love that your duty as a parent is to teach him to become a fully functioning independent adult. IMHO...:-) I will not happen in a day...Good luck!

Pinkbatrobi Fri 27-Sep-13 00:41:29

Sorry! Too many typos to correct them all but hopefully you get the gist...

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 07:49:07

No, I haven't waited until yr 10 for this, but he has always needed prompting nagging with jobs around the house.

He's got worse about the whole lunch thing, although in lower school they had lunches and you could pay online. They were pretty good lunches too and the school made a point of using as much local food as possible which was nice.

So, I started him off with the whole packed lunch thing at secondary school and he never has got the hang of it. He'll make lunch at home though. He can happily whip up various dishes with ingredients at home. He just can't be arsed to make his lunch and when he does, he doesn't eat it.

As mentioned up thread, I'm starting to wonder whether he has some packed lunch issues.

bigTillyMint Fri 27-Sep-13 07:51:04

DS(Y8) says IHO only the "moist" boys take (and eat) packed lunch. Could this be the problem? Wanting to look cool?

JemimaMuddledUp Fri 27-Sep-13 08:04:27

Well I misread the title and thought you said 10yo (i.e. Y6) rather than Y10 (i.e. 14) and thought, yes, that is reasonable enough... So yes, YADNBU to expect your DS to!

My DS1 is in Y6 and has just turned 11. Every night he puts his uniform in the washing machine, makes sure DS2(9) and DD(7) have done the same, then he puts the wash on. He often pegs it out for me the next morning too. He has school dinners so doesn't need a packed lunch, but he makes his own breakfast and makes his own lunch and snacks in the holidays if he isn't eating at the same time as everyone else.

Mind you, he might become less helpful as he hits the teenage years...

lljkk Fri 27-Sep-13 09:28:15

I suppose choose your battles.
Giving DS cash for lunch costs way too much & I want y9-DS to eat lunch so we make it & put it in his bag. Skipping lunch does not make DS into a rational creature who learns from his lessons takes after his dad this way. Missing meals makes DS even more loopy & adds to the other problems he has.

Similarly, DS has a habit of ruining his school shirts with ordinary activities, I don't want him to add to the ruin-clothes-opportunities with strange washing machine choices. So we adults do the laundry which is still fine by me, too. He is asking for a laundry basket, at least.

But good luck in your campaign, I am genuinely intersted how it turns out.

Bonsoir Fri 27-Sep-13 09:33:50

He is definitely old enough but getting boys to do this kind of domestic self-care can be uphill work <voice of experience>.

DSS2 (16) left for a two-day school trip at the crack of dawn yesterday. I showed him what he could take for his packed lunch and snack for the first day and left it in the fridge for him to pack up himself first thing in the morning. I know that in his heart of hearts he feels neglected and sad that I didn't get up early to prepare it for him.

DD (8) wanted a packed lunch for school today (this is a real rare thing for her to do) because she and her two best buddies were arranging a collective lunch. She did absolutely all the organising herself, wrote me a shopping list 48 hours ahead and got all the boxes etc out last night and put them on the table. The only thing she needed real help with was cooking her pasta. She would feel belittled if I interfered in her self-care.

The difference between girls and boys...

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 10:22:42

Jemima, He may well be worried about looking "moist". The thought of a moist teenage boy is pretty grim! grin

lljkk when DS has actually bothered to buy a school dinner he still manages to get it all down his jumper. confused

Bonsoir, yup, I think it is uphill work. Teenage boys are strange creatures.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 11:32:45

It would seem that Paul's DS would rather go without lunch than take in a packed lunch that he (or anybody else) has made. IMO 13-15/16 is the worst stage for being affected by peer pressure and being irrationally embarrassed over nothing seemingly odd things.

If OP can wait it out for a year or so he will hopefully/probably have a better attitude to his lunch.

OP could try to force him to make himself packed lunches, by withholding all privileges but the consequence would probably be that he will co-operate and communicate with her as little as possible as she is incredibly unjust and harsh in his opinion. Or he would make himself lunch for a few days then see if he could get away without doing it.

I'm really impressed with the posters who have trained their DC to be helpful/responsible around the house. (Who am I kidding? That should have been, "I'm really ENVIOUS of the posters..."!) But they don't have Paul's DS or my DS and they might well have other problems with their teenage DS that Paul doesn't have. (Or they're not too bothered if their DS are organised/helpful/living a healthy lifestyle - for whatever reason, eg mrsjay takes the pragmatic view that if they have a healthy breakfast and dinner lunch doesn't matter too much.

Some teenagers are so stubborn/lazy that the effort of getting them to do things they really don't want to is counterproductive. Annoyingly.


PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 11:40:15

I think some teenage DS just don't want to do the domestic stuff and some are harder to train. Saying that, DS was more eager to please before he hit puberty.

I think we both have DS that don't want to help out and dig their heels in * chocoluvva*. My DS has a really devious streak and can be very inventive and creative in finding ways in which he can do less.

He couldn't even be bothered to change into his PJ bottoms and used to sneakily wear them under his trousers ffs.

You would think he would be interested in personal grooming to impress the ladies at his age, but no. I still have to nag him to brush his teeth and change his clothes. He would probably wear the same pair of pants if I didn't check up in him ffs.

He'll have clean ones, but can't really be arsed to take them out of his drawer. He has always been like this and I just repeat and chivvy. Hopefully he'll get it one day.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 11:51:19

Yup - that's my DS too. (And I bet that was his DF when he was a lad too.)

It's the stubborn/lazy combo isn't it? Stubborn just isn't a strong enough word to describe it - my DS isn't even amenable to bribery. Far less rational argument.

(My DS has become very clean recently though. Loves his Lynx now.)

PaulSmenis Fri 27-Sep-13 11:54:52

Crikey, they sound like two peas in a pod. DS isn't amenable to bribery either.

He'll be clean for school, but seems to think that personal hygiene doesn't matter at weekends or during the school holidays.

chocoluvva Fri 27-Sep-13 12:06:40

Perhaps he's very conscious of the need to be environmentally friendly? grin and hmm

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