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...about my teenage son?

(39 Posts)
longtermsinglemummy Thu 13-Apr-17 09:13:10

He's 15. He's done nothing this holiday whilst I've been at work. I have the day off today with a list of things I want to do in the house and garden.

Is it unreasonable to expect him to be polite when I ask him to tidy and clean his room rather than telling me it's my job to do it? Is it unreasonable to hope he would offer to help me today when I need to dig a hole for a tree in the garden?

Please can someone tell me that teenage boys become nicer and cooperative? I really don't want him becoming a man who is as lazy as the boy is.

MatildaTheCat Thu 13-Apr-17 09:16:25

It's not unreasonable but hey. I had to force ds2 to tidy his room and that's a very loose term. I actually it myself which he hated. It caused a lot of rows.

He won't offer to help dig the hole but you must insist that he does it. Use bribes and try to keep the whole thing pleasant.

It does get better eventually.

BarbarianMum Thu 13-Apr-17 09:19:26

If you tolerate a lazy child/teen you'll end up with a lazy adult ime. If you keep up the (gentle/tactful) pressure and ignore the foot stamping and keep challenging the assumption that you're there to do everything for him, then you'll get there in the end. Eventually.

Reddingtonsmoll Thu 13-Apr-17 09:20:02

Mine tells me it's his room so he can do what he likes. He does tidy it from time to time. He did vacuum for me yesterday without any prompting. That is rare. I'm rubbish at getting him to help out. I've tried withholding pocket money but he's stubborn. I'm not sure what the answer is. His grandmother did everything but wipe his fathers arse but he's very domesticated. So it doesn't necessarily follow that they will be lazy. I hope!

grannytomine Thu 13-Apr-17 09:22:31

I have three adult sons, they all went through this, and no BarbarianMum they aren't lazy adults, quite the opposite in fact.

OP hold on in there, you are at the worst age in my experience and you will look back and laugh one day, particularly when they moan about their kids and you can remind them what they were like.

Batgirlspants Thu 13-Apr-17 09:24:43

No correlation op. I have had 4 teenagers. All treated the same and 3 are naturally tidy 1 is bloody messy.

At 15 only 1 would keep a tidy room without a good nag.

I expect at 15 he wants lifts and money? Tell him none of those unless he helps you a bit and is reasonably pleasent. To be fair gardening isn't high on most teenagers lists but he shouldn't tell you tidying his room is your job. No lifts and no cash until he helps.

pipsqueak25 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:26:52

i'm of the opinion that teens rooms are their own and they have to live in it, as long as the mess doesn't spill into the main living areas i've never concerned about the state of their pits ' your job to clean it' ?? where that come from ?
i have /had 6 teens so i know how difficult it can be, having said that mine have been pretty run of the mill tbh. with a few exceptions.
he can't help you then you can't do stuff for him ie washing, making dinner, he's the one whos's hungry not you,
i found calm requests worked better than slanging matches.

Batgirlspants Thu 13-Apr-17 09:27:01

And agree with granny and I do tease my older one as he's now a dad. He was the messy one and now had to clean ha ha.

GrumpyOldBag Thu 13-Apr-17 09:28:06

I threatened to go through his room and give away anything I thought he didn't need to the charity shop. That seemed to solve the problem pretty quick.

And not long ago he ran out of clean underwear. I pointed out that was because the dirty stuff was still lying on his bedroom floor not in the laundry basket where it would get washed.

winewolfhowls Thu 13-Apr-17 09:32:14

Is he not supposed to be revising for exams?

Pick your battles, unless it's a health hazard leave the room. Helping with Tree would be compulsory here.

In our house we have an hour where I set the timer and everyone has to do whatever jobs until the hour is up but then guaranteed freedom for the rest of the day. Works on dh anyway.

cornishclottedcream Thu 13-Apr-17 09:32:55

YANBU but do pick your battles. My DS communicated in various grunts from about 13 to 17. The only way to get him to do anything with his room was to threaten to do it myself...and remind him that I might find things he wouldn't want me to see. A few hours later- one tidyish room.
I would also threaten/remind him of the regular taxi service/b &b/ washing service I provided for his friends and rugby club and how I would remove all of my services if I had to spend my 'free time' doing all the things that he could help with including mowing the grass etc.
However something must have been right because at 18/19 he turned into an adult and became a communicative lad who was always willing to help a bit- hoovering was his specialty.
He joined the army at 20 and became very tidy and neat. He moans at his younger sister about the state of her room and threatens to tidy it for her...always makes me smile.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 13-Apr-17 09:34:07

telling me it's my job to do it Ouch! Well if that's his thinking just hand him a spade and tell him to crack on with digging that hole.

He is taking 'holiday' to mean just that.
I expect at 15 he wants lifts and money? Tell him none of those unless he helps you a bit - excellent.

IfNotNowThenWhenever Thu 13-Apr-17 09:35:51

I don't know but I have been having this struggle a couple of years (not even a teen yet!) I worry about ds becoming a useless lazy selfish arse like his Dad. I try (i try!) not to let that worry influence how I treat ds.
It's not easy.
I repeat frequently that his room is his job, as are the few chores I ask him to do: put away his clean laundry, put dirty stuff in the basket, wash up when it's his turn etc.
I try to speak to him about this sort of thing when we are not arguing about it; in reasonable moments he can agree that not everything is my job, and that it's fair that he pitches in.
If I have to I will go hard ass and put the bloody X box in the garage until further notice rather than be treated like a skivvy though. Grrr.

SummerKelly Thu 13-Apr-17 09:37:52

I sympathise. My DD's room is her business and mostly it's a tip but occasionally she tidies it and I get three loads of washing dumped on me!

She will do bits of other things if I nag her but she has trouble understanding why it might also be her job to help out. There are various studies though that show teens' brains are not wired to be good at seeing things from other people's perspective so it's an uphill struggle!

I also withhold lifts and refuse sleepovers. Occasionally this actually makes a difference! I think they grow out of it mostly, but it's tough whilst they're in it.

Crispbutty Thu 13-Apr-17 09:43:11

I would wait til one of his mates is round, and mention that your son wasn't strong enough to dig a hole.. that sort of comment is usually effective.. one of them will dig it ..

BeyondThePage Thu 13-Apr-17 09:52:45

I work, I leave a list, stuff needs doing, it gets done unless there is a valid reason why not. Pocket money/lifts/phone contracts depend on "give and take".

Washing needs putting on and hanging out, dishwasher needs emptying, floors need hoovering. Revision for GCSEs and piano practise also needs doing.

BUT - I have always had high expectations of stuff being done by us all as a family, so that may have something to do with it.

ArriettyClock1 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:58:25

Mine has just turned 15.

He's spent entire holidays thus far revising as he has exams next week.

He's not very helpful around the house, but will unload the dishwasher, strip and wash his bed and vacuum.

PeachyImpeachment Thu 13-Apr-17 10:02:21

Teenagers are meant to be like this. Read a few books.

JustSpeakSense Thu 13-Apr-17 10:03:51

Teenagers are lazy.

I find if I sit down and talk to them like adults, gently remind them of all I do for them, encourage their independence and ask for a hand with things I need doing they are more cooperative. (I.e. Not ordering them to do something)

It Sometimes works grin

Trifleorbust Thu 13-Apr-17 10:10:58

I wouldn't be having this 'your job' rubbish. Don't even entertain it. Tell him to sort out his room and until he does, privileges like cash, lifts, days out, the internet, late nights, pay-per-view anything, treats, new clothes that he doesn't strictly need, are a thing of the past. You aren't there to be spoken to like crap.

Wando1986 Thu 13-Apr-17 10:11:25

"Dirty washing on the landing within 5 minutes and the rest done within 15 or I'm coming in!"

Hand over the vacuum, a bin bag and surface cleaner/cloth at the same time.

The threat of their Mum seeing what lurks down the side and under their bed is normally enough to prompt them, isn't it?

longtermsinglemummy Thu 13-Apr-17 10:48:26

Thank you everyone...I feel a bit better! I think I need to not nag. I do leave chores for him to do while I'm at work but it's maybe too much expecting him to see the bigger picture just yet. I just don't want him to be a lazy man!

He doesn't have exams until June and they're end of year exams. So no need to revise until end of May (as far as he is concerned hmm).

According to Charlie Taylor, author of Divas and Doorslammers, the teenage brain is actually changing - rewiring - during adolescence, and this explains why they temporarily lose some abilities - temper control, empathy, etc. He describes it as almost a form of temporary brain damage.

But the good news is that, for most of them, it is temporary, and once the changes in the structure of the brain settle down, these abilities come back.

I saw this for myself especially with ds3 (age 19) - we had a very turbulent time of it during his early and middle teenage years - lots of shouting and door slamming and name calling - but as he got older, it did all settle down again. He has a much better hold on his temper now, and is a thoroughly pleasant person to be with - affectionate, thoughtful, nice to talk to, and gets on with his university work.

There was a day, when he was about 16 or 17, when he came in from school, gave me a totally unsolicited hug, did his homework without nagging from me, and tidied his room without being asked. I almost fainted on the spot!

ghostyslovesheets Thu 13-Apr-17 11:02:27

YANBU to WANT him to be nice and helpful but YABU to expect it all the time - as SDTG says - teens brains are all over the place - nagging has the opposite effect on mine - they earn money for chores which works well - bedrooms are expected to be tidy - or their pocket money is reduced!

I stripped my 14 year olds bedroom yesterday to put up a new double bed she had been asking for for months - within 3 hours it was a midden again - and I was told to f'off and leave her alone - she later appologised and cleaned it a bit - teens are hard work but it's hard for them as well trying to understand these mood swings and dramas

longtermsinglemummy Thu 13-Apr-17 11:13:16

He told me last night when I got home from work and was irritated by the plates and bowls left in the living room, that I should ask nicely to have them put in the dishwasher and got be cross. It's not too much to expect him to clear up after himself is it.

I do get the get the bit about it being his bedroom and space though.

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