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Forgetting/neglecting chores - what sanctions are appropriate?

(19 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 22:02:41

My DD10 has a small number of daily chores; some relate to the household and others are about personal responsibility. Nothing too arduous imo; making sure the bathroom has soap/loo roll/towels, emptying bins, cleaning her shoes etc. We agreed the chores in advance, they are reviewed regularly and she asked for, and was given, a written list that she has put on the fridge.

She is very inconsistent about doing them - more often than not she "forgets"; even using the last of the soap, or remembering her uniform is un-ironed 10 minutes before bedtime on Sunday.

What, if anything, can I do? I don't see the point of making them her responsibility if there are no sanctions for not making her contribution, but am at a loss as to what I do next? If she is not old enough for this level of responsibility, my instinct is to remove privileges such as playing out/mobile phone until she can demonstrate that she is able to deal with the responsibility that goes with them.


colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 22:05:30

She's ten, why is she ironing her uniform?

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 22:08:04

It was a chore she asked to take responsibility for when we discussed and agreed the list - she is supervised and has been taught how to use the iron safely.

BCBG Wed 29-Jun-11 22:09:20

She's 10. confused. It sounds regimented and out of place. I agree, why is she responsible for remembering her uniform needs to be ironed?

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 22:14:34

OK, now I'm confused? It's OK for her to be responsible for making her school lunch in the mornings (as suggested by MN'ers yesterday), but not OK to be responsible for ironing her own clothes - when she was the one who suggested she take responsibility for it? What's so bad about ironing?

colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 22:28:33

yes, maybe she can safely do it (or maybe she could accidently drop the damned thing and scar herself for life, I would want that on my conscience) but leaving her to remember to do all these things? Remind her, don't sanction her, she's ten years old for God's sake! She's still a little girl! She seems to be entirely self sufficient at an age where self sufficiency isn't appropriate.

colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 22:30:06

My 8 year old regularly suggests that he should walk to school on his own and make his own dinner, but he can't do those things. He thinks he can, because he is 8 and small children are often unrealisitic. We don't let our children do everything they think they can do, it's dangerous.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 22:39:25

Colditz - you've hit the nail on the head - if she is NOT old enough to do/remember those things, then is she old enough for privileges such as playing out with friends - which is also potentially dangerous, and also require her to be self-sufficient to the extent that she knows how and when to get home, what to do if she gets separated from her friends, if one of them gets hurt etc.

On the one hand, I am being encouraged to give her freedom and trust her, and on the other, my expectations are considered too high confused

colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 22:45:51

But allowing your child to be as socially independant as their peers should not be conditional on them doing nearly as many chores as an adult. It's nonsensical. Having an unironed uniform doesn't make you more likely to get into a car with a stranger. Using the last of the soap doesn't make you more likely to run out into the road.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 22:51:13

It's not about making those privileges conditional on doing the chores - it's about the level of responsibility she is capable of.

How can I be confident that she WILL remember to come home on time, or even how to get home - if she can't remember something simple like replace the loo roll when its empty or put your shoes away when she gets home from school?

colditz Wed 29-Jun-11 22:56:48

because the toilet roll and putting your shoes away are not as important as going home, and even a ten year old knows that. Even my 5 year old knows that. YOU think they are as important because you want her to do them, but she knows, deep down, that it's trivial. Going home is not trivial, and I bet she knows that too.

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 22:58:54

I think that whenever possible, natural consequences are the best sanction (eg she has to wear scruffy shoes and creased uniform - the snag is that she might not mind).

There aren't the same consequences for things like the bathroom responsibilities or bin emptying. Could you instead try keeping her back from eg going out to play for the time it takes to do the remaining chores? (So she still has to do them, but misses a bit of fun time). Or specify additional chores of your choosing for (say) 10 minutes for each thing she's omitted?

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 23:03:10

So what you are saying is that I should scrap the list of chores and allow her to be a "little girl" at home but give her the same independence as her peers and hope that the restrictions that have been agreed with her about curfews and places that are out of bounds are important enough for her to remember?

I'm so off-base when it comes to parenting, I think I might as well give up now!

NotaDisneyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 23:05:51

Meditrina - nope, she doesn't care about creased uniform or scruffy shoes; but I do and as I say, we agreed these chores together wink

I like the idea of adding a chore for each one she "forgets" before she can do anything else, though - that might just work grin

meditrina Wed 29-Jun-11 23:07:21

My 10 year old is utterly incapable of staying tidy, putting his clothes in the laundry or returning items strewn around the house to his bedroom.

That is totally unrelated to his levels of responsibility when eg he comes home alone from school.

FromGirders Wed 29-Jun-11 23:11:51

My children (who are younger than the OP's) also have chores - mainly to do with their own room tidying - which have to be done daily. If they don't do them at the right time (in the morning) then they have to do them when they would otherwise be watching tv / playing wii - so it impacts on their fun-time.

I totally agree with the OP that if they want to be "big enough" to play out and walk to and from school on their own, they they also have to be "big enough" to take on chores that are discussed and agreed with them. In our case, I pointed out to ds that he couldn't keep saying that he didn't want to go to the shop for me (five minutes from house) and then expect to be allowed to go and call for his friends ten minutes away!

FromGirders Wed 29-Jun-11 23:13:55

Our chores are on a tick chart (ds's idea) for them to check off - maybe that would help her to remember?

I'm afraid I don't give two hoots about ironing though. Never do it.
Maybe I'll have to when they go to big school with real shirts though sad

Fennel Thu 30-Jun-11 14:11:30

I don't think those chores are so unreasonable. My dds (11 and 9) have slightly different chores, and the gist of it is to keep their own rooms and clothes and toys tided up, and look after their pets, but also there is some expectation they help with clearing up after meals, a bit of help with cooking, packing when we go away etc.

Sanctions here, when they don't do these chores I have a duck fit on all of them and dp too, I rant and rage a bit and they all step up to it. Or I ban TV and computer time til these chores are done. Or I refuse to take them out somewhere they want to go til the chores are done. Or I hold back pocket money til it's done.

BlueArmyGirl Sun 31-Jul-11 22:14:43

I have to sy that my usual approach when jobs are not done is that when they ask if they can do....... I reply with 'yes, as soon as you've done your jobs.'

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