How to encourage DSS be more independent.

(49 Posts)
Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 09:28:06

DSS is an only child, eow with us - not through choice, we'd like more access, DSS's mum feels through the week is too disruptive to his routine and DH won't go down the court route as feels to upsetting. Every weekend DSS (10) gets up before us, plays on his console or watches TV. Then I get up, offer breakfast, water - same stock answer not hungry. DH gets up and offers breakfast, he says yes to that ! - which he wolfs down so must be starving. (Btw he will only have been up 30 or so mins before us) He knows where everything is but won't help himself. I hate the thought of him being hungry. I asked him to make himself toast the other day and he looked at me like i'd asked him to make a Sunday dinner. He didn't have a clue and I had to show him. I've put a snack box in the fridge for him - told him to have anything from it at any time. (Its full of things he likes) but he won't help himself. Same with even a drink of water !! We offer constantly, but I'd like him to feel he can help himself !! He'll rarely entertain himself. Constantly seems bored. He has his own room and den - with TV and console, stacks of Lego, toys, books. He still has things from Christmas he hasn't looked at. DH spends time with him alone, takes him out to the park etc, but he lacks interest or motivation. Any tips ...... feel a bit stuck, we both do. (His parents have never been together, if that's at all relevant) Apparently he's very interested and motivated at home, but doesn't do any chores etc.

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WhiteCat1704 Mon 16-Apr-18 10:04:11

He sounds like he is on his way to becoming one of those men that can do nothing for themselves and expect to be catered to be a girlfriend/wife in the future..A men child..

Don't know what you can do..not much with 2days every 2 weeks..Accept it I suppose..It's up to his mum unfortunately..

Maybe stop offering?

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 10:09:02

Have tried that and DH will generally crack and make him something. By generally offering him everything in the fridge and making a fuss off him until something takes his fancy.

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Aprilmightbemynewname Mon 16-Apr-18 10:14:42

Personally I would just let dh crack on being a man slave to a budding man child.
I hope you aren't the one who does all the main care for him .... Like change bed /cook /wash his stuff. ...

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 10:28:11

I generally do most around the house, but DH does a fair bit of the cooking. Don't want to encourage the behaviour, but not sure what else to try?! I think he'd just go hungry/bored/lie in the middle of the floor and sleep - If we just left him to it.

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Aprilmightbemynewname Mon 16-Apr-18 10:30:51

Does he ever have friends around at your house? My ds 9 likes to appear fully functional in the kitchen when his mates are there!! Maybe would spur him on? Let them make pizzas maybe?

WatcherintheRye Mon 16-Apr-18 10:31:51

Could you discuss a strategy with Dh? How about shaking things up a little, and Dh not offering breakfast when he gets up, seeing as how you will have offered it only minutes before? Maybe when you offer, you could say "ok, but do help yourself, when you're hungry", and leave it at that. See what he does, but I appreciate it will be difficult to hold fast!

As for keeping himself entertained, I think some dc find it more difficult than others. Does he have friends who he sees a lot of when he's with his Mum? I think he's probably at an age when hanging out with his friends is becoming more beguiling than hanging out with his parents. Do you think this might be the case?

If there's to be any change on the independence/chores front, I do feel that your dh has to be on board, as any attempt to alter the dynamic when dss is with you will depend on your dh not caving in! He will obviously find it difficult not to, as if he only has his ds eow, he won't want it to be hard going, understandably. All I can suggest is 'baby steps'. Is he with you on the 'Father's Day' weekend? Maybe get him to make tea and toast (under your tutelage!) as a surprise for his dad?


Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 10:35:03

He refuses point blank to have friends over. We tried desperately over the holidays as we have a pool, which would have been my idea of heaven as a kid (it is as an adult) but he rarely goes in it, even when we are in or if our friends kids, cousins etc are over.

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upsideup Mon 16-Apr-18 10:39:35

Does he not enjoy/want to come to stay at his dads? Does he have friends round to his mums or is the not wanting to play with other children constant?

niceupthedance Mon 16-Apr-18 10:40:55

Have you asked him why he is like this?
I agree with making it fun or at least a challenge - make your own bread/pizza etc, leave breakfast stuff out the night before and so on...

Carboholic Mon 16-Apr-18 10:41:56

It sounds difficult, especially with 2 day every couple of weeks. I think showing him how to make toast is a good start. Can you keep up that strategy? Maybe when you offer water and he says yes, take him yo the kitchen, show him where the glasses are but make him get ine himself, show him where the tap is and make him pour it, then say "the coasters are in the living room, enjoy". You might need DH to be on board with the strategy to ensure consistency.

There is a thread on today about a husband requireing "full assistance" in the morning - ie, asking his wife to lay out his clothes and pack his bag, then exploding because she didn't anticipate he'd want to cycle to work. You could show it to your DH to see what lies in the future unless this trend is overturnedz

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 10:44:39

@WatcherintheRye - we have recently set up bank account with pocket money (from us both) so I am keen to up the chores. However even getting him to get dressed, find his own clothes - often requires DH intervention (ie can't find x, y, z) think he just wants the attention. Agree with holding firm, but when it gets to lunch and he hasn't eaten/drank - we can't go out with him like that as the minute we are out 'he'll be starving' leading to us picking up something as he'll refuse banana etc that I'll bring with me. Any friends he sees at his mums he won't bring here - he's not keen on mixing the 2 ...

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Aprilmightbemynewname Mon 16-Apr-18 10:56:57

Could his dm have played a part in his reluctance to see your house as his second home? Could he feel disloyal somehow by being happy in your house? My exh did this to my ds's and also told them my additional dc weren't their proper siblings.

WatcherintheRye Mon 16-Apr-18 11:07:49

Op, have you been with your dh for most of dss's life, or is it a relatively new relationship?Just wondering if dss is struggling to 'share' his father, for the weekends he sees him, hence the attention-seeking and immature behaviour vis-a-vis getting dressed, food refusal, etc?

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 11:08:33

@Aprilmightbemynewname - yes maybe loyalty might come into it. His mum has done it/is doing it tougher than us.

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Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 11:10:05

@WatcherintheRye yes been with DH the majority of his life. He's never not known his DD and me together.

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WatcherintheRye Mon 16-Apr-18 11:13:34

So, has he always been like this, or is it something new, maybe just normal pre-teen lethargy?

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 11:17:05

Always but it's getting worse !

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OldGuard Mon 16-Apr-18 11:22:13

Have you tried being more explicit and physically showing him ? Sounds crazy I know but relevant for my ds

Also try talking in advance “when you are hungry I’ve put these here for you - can you take them whenever you want without asking permission - here take a look inside - is there anything else you’d like in your snack box ? Can you put it back in the fridge for me ?” Etc

Onthewrongsideof30 Mon 16-Apr-18 11:47:59

@OldGuard thought I'd made him really involved- but maybe I'll try again.

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OldGuard Mon 16-Apr-18 14:33:03

Would he go shopping with you for snacks ? So he can choose ?

donajimena Mon 16-Apr-18 14:36:03

OP I'm more than happy to use your pool and help myself to the contents of your fridge. wink

3stonedown Mon 16-Apr-18 14:41:53

I stayed with my dad EOW as a child and never helped myself to food and drink. I wasn't lazy I just didn't feel comfortable helping myself, I didn't feel like it was my home.

jaimelannistersgoldenhand Mon 16-Apr-18 15:34:41

My kids see their Dad every other weekend and don't feel comfortable helping themselves at his house despite doing it all the time in mine. (My youngest is similar age to your dss) Their Dad wouldn't care if they did it but the reality is that they are not as comfortable there as they are here.

ohreallyohreallyoh Mon 16-Apr-18 16:37:52

The helping yourself thing may well be contrary to what he has been previously been taught. My children certainly aren’t allowed to help themselves, except at the weekend when I leave out what they are allowed. I would think this common in a lot of households or the person in charge of cooking/shopping would never have a clue where things are at.

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