DSC and chores(22 Posts)
I have four DSC aged between 12 - 18 who are with DH 6 days a fortnight.
Problem is DH and I don't agree with regard to DSC and chores. I'm of the opinion that at their ages they should be pulling their weight but they do virtually nothing, they will usually take their plates out to the kitchen after dinner (this was after me nagging) but that is literally it. I'm not bothered about stuff that doesn't affect me e.g untidy bedrooms but I don't see why they can't help with simple tasks e.g lay the table, stack the dishwasher, walk the dog, leave the bathroom clean after they've used it etc. They have to be nagged to bring their school uniforms down from their rooms for washing - I think they should get one reminder then sort it out themselves if they don't bother. DH still does the morning school run for DSC4 (who is in high school yr8) then pays for a taxi in the afternoon because DSC4 doesn't want to get the bus.
This impacts on me because it means that DH is run ragged trying to keep on top of everything. I do help him out but I feel resentful because he wouldn't feel so knackered all the time if he got the kids to do more stuff for themselves/the household. He gives them £10 per month pocket money each but phone allowances, gadgets, sweets, cinema trips, toiletries etc are all provided on top of that.
Their mum makes them do a few chores and it frustrates me that DH won't do the same - he agrees with me in principle but nothing changes. This isn't the least of my worries but I think it's the most easily fixable. However part of me thinks poor kids having separated parents and two houses, this is normal teenage behaviour, cut them some slack.
Are my expectations unrealistic? Am I being harsh?
You are not being harsh, OP.
I find it mind-boggling that this is not an everyday part of life. I always did chores and cycled/caught bus way more than I got lifts.
DSS is 10 and gets up from dinner table without a thought about helping clear it (let alone set it) unless he is asked. He then puts things on nearest kitchen surface and legs it - no chance of anything being scraped and put in dishwasher etc. I find it odd that his mother doesn't expect this, and think my DH is Disney to allow it.
He has a laundry basket but never puts anything in it. I told DH to tell him that if it's not in there, it won't get washed. Instead of doing that, DH just goes into his room and sorts his laundry. So how will DSS learn?
Until very recently, he would get out of the bath and leave the water because mum and dad always pulled plug out.
Not unrealistic to expect kids that age to do stuff about the house in normal circumstances, by which i mean they should have been taught these expectations and responsibilities from a much younger age.my 6 year old sets the table and puts his clothes in the basket and does other age appropriate tasks
Very unrealistic to expect change without your dp full and consistent support.
How far away Is the school? Minimum fare for a taxi here is £4. I wouldn't be happy to waste 20 a week on taxis for somebody who should be fit and or capable of getting the bus.
Pocket money needs sorting out too, give them more but pay for less, so phone and basic toiletries pay for but sweets and trips with friends they need to learn to budget for.
I can't understand people who coddle their children like this. Isn't the while point to bring them up to be happy and independent adults? Very frustrating. Do you have kids of your own?
I have similar aged DSC and with us a similar propotion of the time, I also have my own DC who are with us most of the time.
The DSC do not do as many chores as I would like, but they do do more than they used to. They all help stack the dishwasher, and if there is lots of washing up then usually DH or I do it and one of the kids helps dry, or sometimes two of them do it together. We have a tick list on the fridge and if they wash or dry they get a tick. So usually I just ask for a volunteer to help, and if no one volunteers the person with the least ticks has to help. This has worked really well and is much easier than a rota (which wouldn't work with teens all in and out at different times) and easier than arguing over who's turn it is. I also organise laundary and the DSC are required to strip their beds when asked, and then they have to reassemble them when the sheets are washed.
They're supposed to hover their own rooms, but this doesn't often happen. In reality one of them does it with pursuasino and I do it very ocassionally for the others.
Bigger jobs - eg mowing the lawn or washing a car - they get paid for, but it usually only my DC who are up for this because eldest DSC is lazy, and younger ones get too much money from their mum so can't be bothered to earn more. But my DC seem happy to earn more in this way.
BUT - DH and I did agree to all this before I moved in and he is fully on board with it. I think you'd struggle to enforce it without agreement between the two of you. You could wander off after meal times and tell him it's for him and kids to sort out I guess, but your DH would probably still end up run ragged, and resentful of you too.
It's completely normal teenage behaviour not to want to do chores, but no reason not to have them do any - and they're with you nearly half their time, it's not like they're visitors.
Should add - in terms of getting your DH on board - I think you need to agree the specific details, not just a general nod that you'd like them to do more chores.
Thanks for the responses. I have no DC of my own so wasn't sure whether I was being realistic in my expectations.
Claude we have the same thing with the bath water too!
Hampsterdam the bus would mean around a 20 min walk to/from the bus stop for DSC4 then another 5 mins the other end. He says he doesn't want to take public transport (or the school bus) because he says he's worried about school bullies but this is a hypothetical concern. He readily spoke up when he was being bullied at primary school so he'd flag up if he was having problems at high school but as far as we're aware there are no issues. He has to wait 20-30 mins for the taxi anyway so he could always hang around for the later bus if he was genuinely concerned - I think he's just daunted about using public transport by himself. He was very taken aback when I suggested that his mum or dad weren't likely to still be doing school runs/paying for taxis when he's in year 11! It causes problems because DH has to work shorter hours on Thu/Fri in order to pick DC up, meaning he has to work much longer days Mon-Wed.
purpledaisies I love the tick sheet idea, thank you.
I feel bad because although DH gets my point of view I expect there's an element of him feeling sad that his DC are growing up so he babies them in some respects (as does their mum but to a lesser extent). But I really don't think it's doing anyone any favours and I am increasingly resentful of either running around after four perfectly capable individuals or leaving DH to get on with it which means I get less time with him.
Your DH sound very like mine about the DC growing up, especially the youngest - who's also Y8 but deemed unable to catch a bus, ride a bike, or until recently cross a road on his own. The contrast with my own DC(also 12) is stark.
It amazes me to read/hear about what children expect to be done for them these days, and if that makes me sound old, it's probably because I am...well not that ancient!
When I turned 10, I had set jobs to do, including (would you believe lighting a coal fire), and if they weren't completed, no pocket money. I always walked to school, and everywhere else I wanted to go, and I grew up with a strong and independent work ethic, and brought my DC up to be the same!
My point here is that I'm only 2 generations from young teens now, and by comparison the children/teens I know are totally unable to fend/cook/do anything for themselves, so what are we actually producing for the future?
I know, it's hard to stand back and watch these children turning into young adults unable to fend for themselves. It's not just lack of chores that winds me up, it's the whole attitude that until very recently we didn't go anywhere or do anything that's not child centric. So even basic stuff like food shopping or a trip to the DIY store had to be done weekday evenings rather than expecting DC to just come along with us and get on with it lest they be bored. Well you know what I don't bloody enjoy it either but that's life!
Hello Sonic, hope you're having a better day - we have exactly the same issues here, except it's one resident DSD (as of a few months ago) and a baby. I am exhausted and do is DH and DSD just skips unconcerned (and unseeing?) through the chaos she is causing...we are just about to introduce financial penalties for chores not done ie taking bites out of a very generous allowance, but whether DH will stick to it I don't know, he just cannot say no to her and she takes full advantage. And like you I then end up resenting the whole set up. So are you being harsh? Not at all.
I remember starting uni and one of the guys in my halls couldn't make his bed, boil an egg or do a load of laundry. Poor thing, he was completely useless and utterly unprepared for life without his mother doing everything for him. That's surely the unavoidable outcome of children not being taught some level of self sufficiency.
The rest of us got him up to speed pretty quickly but I remember being shocked at the time that they could have sent him off to live as an adult so utterly unprepared to look after himself.
My DSC are getting a lot better at pitching in, they at least tidy their room now and sometimes help stacking the dishwasher or with cooking/food prep. But they're 6. And DP is a stickler for making sure they know that as a household, even a part time one, we all work hard to have what we need. There are now magical cleaning/tidying fairies and there are jobs we can and will all do.
*no magical cleaning fairies! If only...
Sounds very familiar! Also have 4 DSC. Also have a DP who seems to think the kids legs and arms might fall off if they scrape a plate or pick up their clothes!
I have reached a point where I can just about tolerate and accept the situation, my expectations are very low now. I've put up with it for 5 years now.
I will never understand the reasoning behind not wanting to teach your kids to be independent. I think it's incredibly poor parenting and I have lost a lot of respect for my DP because of it.
He is very good at telling me and everyone else that he believes kids should be brought up to do chores and learn independence but then does the complete opposite for them.
Thegreenhen, I totally agree with you! We never had any of our DC live with us as they were all grown when we got together...conscious decision on my part!! But although they all live their own lives, one DSC was never, ever denied any request no matter the cost, therefore they have no idea how to manage money, and still believe DF is totally financially responsible for them.....which I think is outrageous!
My biggest issues have been bringing my ds of a similar age up amongst all the mollycoddling.
He's 18 now and understands my reasoning behind making him do things his step siblings were excused from.
He's the one full of ambition and drive in my house. The dsc are all struggling emotionally, including needing counselling and anti depressants.
But I was just the nasty step mum trying to treat the same as my ds but not allowed to.
It's ridiculous when parents are like this and more often than not it's because there's an element of guilt somewhere because of the break-up of the previous relationship and are afraid to rock the boat or want to be seen as the 'friend' parent.
What they don't realise is that in later life the children will have more respect for their parent if they teach them how to live in the outside world?
Who are the parents going to shift the blame to when their children have no clue how to stand on their own two feet. I may not have thought about it back then, but I'm so glad that my parents expected me to help out - even minimally around the house. I'd much rather a parent with structure than one I can walk all over. There's no element of respect from the children to their parents when they know they can walk over them.
My teenage DSC didn't even know how to open and stack a dishwasher -- it took my young DC to show them.
I don't expect our DC and the DSC to clean the house top to bottom but I do expect them to at least clean up after themselves, take their dishes out, keep on top of their rooms and bring their washing down to wash. It's not a huge list.
And if that makes me not only a wicked step mum but mum also to my own DC then so be it. I'm teaching them how to stand on their own two feet and get by with having respect for the environment around you and how you live in it.
Hear hear Jelly! My DC are well adjusted, emotionally and financially secure adults with a fiercely independent outlook on life!
So....making them do chores and see the household as a team, did no harm then??!!
I would agree with the above posters - and do get the kids to do some chores in your house - because it is as much your house as DP and the kids. You aren't their slave! As if they don't now they may still rock up to the house as adults treating you and DP with a lack of any appreciation and an atmosphere will remain.
I have adult DSDs - they come to our house and still just put their dirty shoes up on the couch, don't say hello - so much so that although I welcome them for my DP I just don't like them being here, it's like they are still 10 years old.
I found it very interesting when I suggested on here, that adult DSD be expected to contribute to our house in some way as she was living with us a third of the time. When I suggested that she pay keep for the time she was at our house, a lot of people on here were offended by me expecting that. She did no chores apart from wiping up once a fortnight. She couldn't even open her own curtains! She's now living with her boyfriend and from what I understand is now just expecting her boyfriend to pick up her slack.
There are a lot of double standards, where step kids are expected to be "part of the family" but given the same privileges as "guests".
Personally I feel the best way to make kids feel involved and part of something is to expect them to contribute and pull together. It's teaching a valuable lesson.
I must admit I wonder how my DSC will fare at university if they go because I'm sure they will expect their housemates to have the same tolerance levels as our family home.
You aren't their slave - I seem to have a lot of conversations with DSS2 in particular where I'm explaining the distinction between a parent and a slave.... Being the youngest he gets waited on hand and foot at his DM's and it's a tough job trying to change his mindset at ours. I'm not kidding when I tell you he still has someone pour the milk on his cereal! (He's almost 13) I find him standing in the kitchen looking lost sometimes and still have to talk him through the stages of making his own breakfast.
I always thought things would get easier as DSC got older and whilst they are less demanding now I am actually getting more resentful. Doing stuff for young children is one thing, doing stuff for older kids who are capable of doing a lot more for themselves is another. Btw I'm just talking about basic stuff, I'd never expect them to clean the toilet for instance.
Case in point - the youngest is going out tomorrow evening for a school event and needs to leave at 5:30pm. DH was going to go out specially to buy a microwave meal so DSS can eat before he leaves, drop him off at the event then get back and start cooking dinner for the others as soon as he gets in the door meaning DH running round like a blue ass fly after a long day/commute whilst remaining DSC (aged 14-18) sit around playing on their gadgets and having their evening meal much later than usual.
I said why don't you just get eldest DSS to cook something simple for everyone so they all have a slightly earlier dinner before you get home then they can have a snack later if they need one? To be fair DH has taken this on board and eldest DSS will now be doing dinner tomorrow (DH will still be washing up after them though!) but I feel like I'm the bad guy.
To be fair DH has admitted he feels overwhelmed so he and I are going to come up with a list of household stuff that he is going to get DSC involved in but to be honest I'm close to washing my hands of it all
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