To not expect World War 3 when I ask DD to help around the house?!(9 Posts)
Drives me crackers, although maybe it’s partly mine & DH’s fault for not really asking her to do a great deal up until now. She’s an only child so there’s just the 3 of us. I have been saying for a while that we should think of some chores she can do to earn a bit of pocket money & that there should be stuff she does anyway without payment.
We are moving house next week so everything is different & DD is upset because it’s the only home she’s ever known. I totally understand & empathise, have talked to her at length etc etc. We know we are bound to get some challenging behaviour (which we have) but we try to cut her a bit of slack whilst explaining that some of what she does is unacceptable. Anyway, today I asked her to have a sort through stuff in her room for the charity shop & to put her books in a box. You would think I’d asked her to clean the house from top to bottom! But what really got me was even when she was doing it, she went on & on & on about how much she didn’t want to do it & how boring it was until I saw red & shouted at her. I tried so hard to be patient but the moaning was just horrendous! I had walked away for my own sanity but nothing stopped her. Now I have so much more sympathy for my parents who tell me I nearly sent them demented by refusing to drop the subject! I’m not proud of how much I shouted. I know it doesn’t solve anything & it just escalated. We have had this before over helping - I asked DD to help me bring the washing in & boom! Huge strop & protests!
Any thoughts on how I can teach her the importance of everyone’s role in the family & that DH & I are not here to do everything? I don’t want her to get resentful but equally things need to change.
My DD is the same. Lazy mare, because I have let her be.
When we moved house I did let her know that in the new house I wanted to treat her as a bit more grown up, and wanted her to do a fairer share of the things that need doing. Sometimes it works without a drama, sometimes there is drama. Sometimes she gets off without doing the chores because I can't be bothered to insist.
I have found that demanding that she turns the tv off immediately and does a house task will cause ructions, whereas if I make it clear that we need to do x, y and z today it puts her on notice that her help is required.
Don't be upset because you shouted, imo 8 year olds shouldn't be allowed to say no to a parent's reasonable request without the parent's reaction being one the child doesn't enjoy!
I shouted a lot! The sheer amount that still needs doing was overwhelming & I think that made me more cross than I would normally have been. Plus it’s halfterm & I feel a bit guilty that we weren’t out somewhere having fun.
I also have to contend with my DH’s slightly different parenting techniques. He will tend to threaten consequences a bit too soon & sometimes he will come up with something a bit too harsh for the “crime”. I’m sure this doesn’t help with encouraging DD to pull her weight but rather makes her resent him. They do tend to lock horns plus DD can get physical with DH & always blames him for everything, which he’s really struggled with lately. I think it can be called “ compassion fatigue”. He is way more empathetic than he used to be & is much calmer with her but still tends to lecture her & go on about respect.
Families can be hard work!
Ok. Well first off, forgive yourself for the shouting. You're trying to move house and that's bloody stressful. Apologise to her tomorrow if you haven't already and explain that you're feeling under loads of pressure because of the move.
I see 3 things from your post...
1. I don't think that this is the ideal time to be starting a new regieme. I get why you needed her to muck in with sorting stuff. But you said you're trying to understand and be empathetic to how she felt about the move. But the job you asked her to do is around her choosing what stuff she takes to the new house and what gets thrown away or recycled. It seems to me that this is part of her upset and insecurity about moving. I completely get that it makes sense to sort stuff now, and if that's what you have to do, then it's what you have to do. But from her perspective, she might feel happier if ALL her stuff moved with her and then she decided what was too young for her.
2. The time to start your new regime is in your new place. Her 'big girl' room (or whatever). I guess she gets a say in decorating it? That's a good time to insist she keeps it nice. As the PP said, knowing in advance what has to be done.
Also, if she's not really done many chores before, she may not have much idea about what to do; so maybe be prepared to do them with her for a bit until she's got the hang of it? Praise and thank her when she does do stuff.
3. You and your DH need to plan your strategies together so that you're united on this.
Good luck with the move.
Asking someone implies they have the option to say yes or no. Actually DD doesn't have the option to say no. I recommend you stop asking her to do things that are actually not optional.
Tell her instead. And do things with her. It's obvious to an adult what "sort through your stuff" means and how to go about it. For a child it's not necessarily obvious at all. Sit with her, help her out. Do some sorting in your own room first with her, talk through what you're doing.
And stop "asking"!
You and DH have to decide together how you parent and be fair and consistent.
Agree with pp, wait until the new home to start a new page so to speak.
Rope her in to help you or DH regularly then gradually give her responsibility. If she does something sloppily or leaves it half-done keep calm and tell her she's not finished yet. Games or tv will be on hold until she's sorted it.
Regarding DD and DH's relationship, can he find things to do with her, as often as possible, something that's the two of them. Something recreational during which he can find things to praise her for, so it's not a widening chasm between them.
Good luck with the house move.
PS The book incident. 'Boring' was the word that got to you, well to an 8 yo it probably was dull. Plus they're her books. She may not have touched them in ages but that's not the point. Maybe she thought she had to fill the box? Yakking on about it was her way of letting off steam but you were the one to crack first and shout. Why not just find something you had to get on with and walk off if you felt yourself getting cross?
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