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Making 16 year old DS take care of his own affairs sometimes?

(80 Posts)
MsRamone Sat 17-Oct-15 15:18:19

My lovely DS is 16 (and a half). He is at college 5 days a week and works Saturday's.

He has a habit of telling me at 10pm At night that he needs various things doing before the next morning. In the end I got sick of this and told him that as me and DP work full time in stressful jobs we can't be expected to run around after him and therefore if he needs something ironing for example - he irons it himself. The past few weeks I've also got him to make his own packed lunch for work on Saturdays. Last week he announced he was going out for an Italian meal for his friends birthday and wanted me to pay for it. Normally I would have caved but this time I said no, he made the plans so he needs to pay for it. I feel guilty and he clearly feels hard done to but at 17, I was living alone, looking after myself and paying my own bills!! Am I being unreasonable?

HereIAm20 Sat 17-Oct-15 15:20:29

No you're not! Its time to learn to look after yourself (with the backup of Mum). He'll thank you for it in the long run!

guajiraguantanamera Sat 17-Oct-15 15:23:16

I don't think you are being unreasonable. I left home at 22 so at your ds's age I was still at home and my parents did help me out a bit with money etc which I appreciated, but I was expected to help out around the house, ironing, hoovering, dishes etc. it's really good that he has got himself a Saturday job, maybe you could sit down with him and work out a budgeting plan so that he can save a bit and keep a bit for things like meals out with friends etc? Sorry not really great advice but you are def nbu!

Yarboosucks Sat 17-Oct-15 15:26:02

I have one the same age and I understand the frustration. Mine is at boarding school and although they have a good laundry service - he forgets to put in his staff and so holidays always begin with bags of smelly laundry! I get phone calls that he needs a fancy dress outfit for 2 days time and can I order something for him on 24 hour delivery. I refuse…. not least because the fees eat up the money for buying costumes! But I don't think I would have refused to pay for a meal out with friends entirely - half at that age and if he has some of his own money would seem fair to me.

Katarzyna79 Sat 17-Oct-15 15:29:22

I wouldnt get up to iron or make his lunch for work i feel hard done by i was forced to stay home till i got married and i was treated like a skivvy but my brothers were waited on by my mum and shed force me to do the same. Ive had my share of ironing for brothers anf .making breakfasts for them no one did so much for me at 11 forget 16.

Your not doing anything wrong. As for the meal since its for his friends birthday he should be paying. Had it been just socially and i knew he barely went out for a meal due to poor funds id treat him, but wouldnt make it a habit in case he bevomes ungrateful. My mum used to pay foraklmy little brothers outings with his friends. Now he is a man hes reluctant to spend on his own siblings but will splash out with his friends so isuppose they think hes generous at home its a different story, its rreally sad.

You carry on as you are itll do him some good

ConstanceMarkYaBitch Sat 17-Oct-15 15:59:24

Your mistake is waiting until now. He's at college, has a job, and you've been doing his ironing, making his packed lunches, and paid for his meals out? Then whose fault is it that he expects you to do it?

I despair of women who raise entirely dependent children, do everything for them, and then one day suddenly wonder why they have almost grown adults in their house who are incapable of doing anything for themselves!

AnyFucker Sat 17-Oct-15 16:02:10

I don't do any of those things for my 15yo

SurlyCue Sat 17-Oct-15 16:04:21


My boys are 10 and 6 and if they decide they are having packed lunch at school they just go ahead and make it themselves! They wouldnt dream of telling me they needed a lunch made!

YANBU at all!

DurhamDurham Sat 17-Oct-15 16:05:49

My girls are 22 and 18, they've both moved out, the youngest is at Uni. Until recently I admit I did too much for them but now stop myself from jumping in and trying to sort every little problem out for them. And do you know's brilliant. They've blossomed and I feel so much more relaxed. My 18 year old can cook a mean roast dinner, she organises her finances and I know that my 22 would have been capable of the same at that age but I never gave her the opportunity to do so. I should have empowered them years ago smile

Mrsrochesterscat Sat 17-Oct-15 16:11:31

My DDs have been making their own lunch, changing (and washing) their own bedding and taking turns to wash up, vacuum, put washing on, hang washing out.. Since they started secondary school. At 13 & 16 they also make (basic) evening meals. No way would I be running around after a 16 yo - in two years time he'll be out on his own two feet at university. In my opinion, they need to learn these skills I'm around to help fix any errors.

I would pay for a meal out with their friends. However, in my mind, my DDs have earned those treats by pulling their weight in the home and making it easier for me to be earning the money to pay for it.

cuntycowfacemonkey Sat 17-Oct-15 16:12:18

None of those things are unreasonable to expect from a 16 year old. If he has a saturday job then expecting you to pay for a meal is a right cheek. That said at 16 if my mum had been happy to do that <she wouldn't> then I probably would have taken advantage too!

LittleLionMansMummy Sat 17-Oct-15 16:14:23

At 6 Surly?! That's quite young I think. But it definitely annoys me hearing mums saying they're still doing their boys' washing when they're into their teens and early 20s, which isn't unusual. Ds is nearly 5 and we do enlist his help around the house though - tidying his things away, loading and unloading the dishwasher and washing machine etc. He helps me make lunch and dinner but I'm not sure I expect him to make his own lunch at 6.

But definitely op I'd be telling a disorganised teenager who regularly told me about his arrangements at the last minute to sort himself out. And my 16yo dsd can certainly work an oven well enough to cook for herself. She does get monthly allowance though.

missymayhemsmum Sat 17-Oct-15 16:17:11

He should be responsible for hs own schedule, social life, transport and ironing. If he asks for help, as in please mum, could you give me a lift/ sub me a tenner towards x's birthday/ wash my kit while I do my homework then fine. But he needs to stop expecting/demanding it, imho.

ArmchairTraveller Sat 17-Oct-15 16:41:02

Brilliant response Durham!
The only thing I'd add to that is to remove the supports one at a time, let them know that's what's happening and don't cave in on small stuff.
The flexibility is when the shit is about to hit the fan and it's a big deal, then you help. S
mall stuff is inconvenient, embarrassing and survivable. Then they have to take note and think 'Next time...' smile
It's training for being an adult, just like you stopped getting them dressed and brushing their teeth as they grew up.

SurlyCue Sat 17-Oct-15 16:54:46

At 6 Surly?! That's quite young I think.

hmm Too young? To put food in a box and then Into his bag? He's not cooking a sunday roast for 12 people! Its no more taxing than tidying toys into a box.

ArmchairTraveller Sat 17-Oct-15 16:58:07

If I'd made DS make his own lunch at six, it'd be a quadruple-decker sandwich with alarming fillings. And a sack of carrots.

SurlyCue Sat 17-Oct-15 16:59:53

Maybe i'm lucky that DS is a fan of good food combinations? grin

scarlets Sat 17-Oct-15 17:00:50

Sounds like me at 16. I went off to university having never made lunch, nor ironed an item of clothing. So, that side of university life was tough to get used to. He needs to pull his weight. Don't iron a shirt for him unless you happen to be ironing something for yourself. He should make his own sandwiches (and some for you whilst he's at it!)

Helping kids who are in full-time education with finances is ok IMO, especially if they're working hard. I'd have given him a tenner towards the dinner. I appreciate that this is not possible for everyone though, especially those with lots of children.

VodkaJelly Sat 17-Oct-15 17:02:59

Op i could have written your post. My 16 year old DS is at college and works part time. He is never ready for anything. I constantly have to ask him when his shift are, he moans at me and snaps at me for "always going on at him", then when he doesn't tell me he get ups late and has a go at me "for not waking him" how could i when i didn't know?

He is always arranging to go to parties and just expects me to ferry him there and back, some are 20+ minutes away but seems to think i am happy to wait up till midnight to pick him up. Oh and of course there are the number of times when his girlfriend is at the party and I need to take her home also, an extra 15 minutes on the journey. Funny how her parents have never picked them up from a party, why should they when muggins is here.

One party there was just me and 2 year old DD in the house and I told DS that I couldn't pick him up as DD would be asleep. He honestly thought it was a sensible solution for me to leave DD asleep and alone in the house to do a 30 minute round journey to pick him up. It didn't happen, but i was bloody furious that he was so selfish to leave a 2 year old home alone.

He is mentioning to me now about another party which would be a 40 minute journey (one way), I have told him that he has to find his own way there and back, so a full night of him sulking.

He puts his uniform in the wash bin, i wash it then he is freaking out that he needs it in the morning - so why put it in the bloody wash then? Then its me who is making sure it is dried and getting up early to iron it, dont get a word of thanks.

I am expected to drop everything for him, once I had got to work when I had a text telling me to go to Asda and get some drinks and food for him and the girlfriend and drop them at the school as they were revising (just before exams), I refused.

I am expected to provide money (the example being when he booked a table for him and the girlfriend at a local restaurant and didn't have a penny in his account, guess who had to give him the money) and now he is working he is blowing his wages in a couple of days then expects me to bail him out.

Never a word of thanks, sometimes I pick him up from work at midnight and he doesn't say a word to me the whole 10 minute journey home. i am slowly cutting off his support to help him stand on his own 2 feet. He does my bloody head in.

ArmchairTraveller Sat 17-Oct-15 17:10:39

'He is always arranging to go to parties and just expects me to ferry him there and back, some are 20+ minutes away but seems to think i am happy to wait up till midnight to pick him up. '

Tell him no before he goes, and don't pick him up.
He can walk a few miles, he can arrange a lift with others, club together for a taxi, take a sleeping bag, cycle home...
The only problem you have is with the guilt and anger you are feeling, and so you need to try and be indifferent to his whining and make him solve his own problems.
He won't die if he goes to college in dirty clothes, or unironed ones. Let him do it. Offer to give him an ironing lesson.

VodkaJelly Sat 17-Oct-15 17:19:06

He does iron his own clothes now ArmchairTraveller, if I am doing the ironing then I will do them but I am not getting up early to do them.

As for the ferrying him around, he never used to go out - ever, so when he started to go out I was happy to facilitate but of course he now takes the piss. I dont mind picking him up from work at midnight (quite rare) as there are no buses and it would take an hour for him walk home, but he expects me to sort his travel issues for partys. Which is stopping as he does my head in.

Sparklingbrook Sat 17-Oct-15 17:25:29

DS1 is 16 and juggling A Levels and working part time.

The homework he has had the past 5 weeks, he hasn't had time for washing and ironing.

When he has had a bit of time to go out I have gladly taken him. He's very thankful for the support at the moment.

nooka Sat 17-Oct-15 17:34:53

Another parent to a 16 year old here. I have to admit that my ds is very low maintenance as he is a gamer and doesn't really socialise in person very much. However he does his own washing (no uniform so no ironing) and contributes to household cooking and cleaning. Not incredibly enthusiastically mind! It's not a huge amount of work, two hours on a Sunday and an hour one evening a week usually (plus however much time it takes for him to do his washing and tidy his room).

He's supposed to be looking for work and then we will ferry him around some more (poor public transport where we live) but the year after he'll be able to drive so we are looking forward to getting him to pick us up smile

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet Sat 17-Oct-15 17:41:00

Having to make your own packed lunch for school at six must suck. Children are only little for a short time, they have years of housework ahead of them as adults.

Washing and ironing is done in one lot here, no point several doing it as just a waste of water etc.

Homework and free time after school is more important for me than getting them to do the adult stuff around the house. As long as they know what to do when they leave home they will be fine.

nooka Sat 17-Oct-15 17:57:38

Sounds like the six year old in question usually has school dinners, so the packed lunch is a choice. That's a bit different to having to make your own lunch every day.

My teenagers have far more free time that me/dh, even after their homework is done, spending a very small proportion of that doing household chores is no great sacrifice. I also don't think it is the best dynamic to have older children having all their needs catered to without any contribution from them in turn.

It can lead to dependency and lack of appreciation as the OP has found.

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