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Getting teens to be more independant

(12 Posts)
skyblue11 Fri 08-Feb-13 15:45:14

How do you do this? I mean what do your teens contribute to round the house if anything? My DD is 17 doesn't cook, clean, iron, wash, how can I start to get her to do this without money being involved? I try to get her to help me with meas but she just groans about it but she just has no common sense and I worry about if she goes to uni how she'll cope. The other night she came to bed and left the door unlocked, I went mad at her last night as she insited on lighting a candle in her room and I imagined she'd fall asleep and burn the house down she's such an airhead.
What can I do???

secretscwirrels Fri 08-Feb-13 17:54:55

A bit late to start at 17 but never too late!
There will always be people on MN who's DCs cook dinner for the family, clean the house and do all their own laundry. Then there are the little emperors.
I think there should be a happy medium that works for the particular family dynamics.
When I was 13 my parents both worked and I was expected to do all my own laundry, cook tea for everyone and hoover after school. I really resented it.

DH is retired and I work part time so we really have more time than the DCs to do chores and I have to make a concious effort to make my DSs do more.
The approach I take is to teach them how to do all necessary chores but not make them do them all the time. It seems to work because they will willingly clean the bathroom, change the beds or whatever if I ask, but I don't expect them to do it always.
I never pay.

specialsubject Fri 08-Feb-13 18:35:27

time to undo some damage, as she clearly isn't very safe for anyone and will be useless if she goes to uni.

stop the washing and ironing service after a warning and showing her what to do. Explain in words of one syllable why she needs to learn.

if she does have college work (and is actually doing it) then she doesn't do all the cooking, but she needs to start contributing and helping.

oh, and if she is that dumb confiscate the hair straighteners as well as the candles.

happygolucky0 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:17:55

ds15 is responsible for keeping his bedroom up together he also cooks once a week a family dinner. I gave up going on to do chores everyday it drove me insane. He is managing what he has to do with abit of kicking up the bum!

MrsJackAubrey Sat 16-Feb-13 23:00:21

oh my god I'm a useless parent! My DS just 15 does nothing. Will just about get in a bucket of coal when asked nicely. And put food shopping away (the agony of watching him put things away at a snail's pace is exquisit) about once a month but only if I do it too. Has stripped his bed once and attempted to put on new pillow case while I did douvet.

His twin sister will cook dinner one day a week and sometimes will tidy up the kitchen/wipe the surfaces.

Their dad thinks they have plenty of time to do tedious house work ahead of them, and I must say he does more of it than I do. We've tried charts, treats, payment, while I personally did once resort to crying and storming out of the house.

Startail Sat 16-Feb-13 23:16:51

She'll be fine.

I have a very old fashioned 50's housewife DM, bar tidying up and occasionally washing up, I'd done very little cooking or laundry.

DM considered looking after her family her job.

She is lovely, but she isn't the sort of person you can help with anything, she likes things done her way.

It didn't matter. Washing you follow the instructions on the label
Ironing is easy enough and I soon realised unnecessary.

Cooking, you read the packet or the very helpful basic cookery book my cousin gave me. These days you ask google.

I guess the one think my DM and DF did give me, that was far more valuable than any practical lesson, was a deep sense of self confidence. I never expect not to be able to do things.

Startail Sat 16-Feb-13 23:21:17

Oh and DH hoovers, he hoovered my second student house too.

Our hoovers were useless, he could just about get it work. It became his unspoken thank you to my flat mates,for not bothering about him staying every third weekend.

noddyholder Sat 16-Feb-13 23:26:16

My ds is 18 and doesn,t do a lot tbh but he can do it all so I know he can survive but ATM I am home a lot and things just get done He is at college andhas a frantic social life and skateboards so I don,t hassle him too much but if needed he can do most things

Bossybritches22 Sat 16-Feb-13 23:34:27

Oh god mine too and I think it's cruel to say the damage has been done and its too late.

My just 18 year old can cook /reheat basic meals & is learning a bit of basics for uni, I'm trying to do laundry basics with her but god she is an airhead too!

She can quote bloody great chunks of the Iliad/ Sherlock Holmes episode/ latest Dr Who script but forgets her lunchbox or to go to reception with a message from me.

They just really are on another planet sometimes!

soaccidentprone Sat 16-Feb-13 23:50:53

I just tell my ds's I'm teaching them the skills they will need for when they leave home, and that they are both expected to contribute around the house.

the trick is to start when they are young, however it isn't too late.

we sat down a few months ago and did a list of all the jobs and chores which needed doing. they picked the ones they wanted to do (kind of)

ds2 is 11 (just) and does the following jobs:

washes the breakfast pots every day (and put away the clean tea pots from the night before)
feeds the rabbits and guinea pigs every day
put his dirty clothes in the washing basket (the right way round with the pockets emptied)
keep his bedroom clean and tidy

it's not easy to get him to do these jobs everyday, and sometimes it would be quicker and easier to do it myself, but he has to learn that jobs need doing no matter what. clothes don't magically take themselves to the washing basketgrin

last week I showed him how to sort the washing out into different loads, to check pockets etc. it took forever, and he kept trying to wander off ie go to the toilet and then not come back again. it took about an hourshock to sort it out. he then carried the washing downstairs and I showed him how to put it on.

I was knackered at the end of it, but you have to persevere.

ds1 is 17.
he washes his own clothes (he doesn't like the washing stuff we use, so he has his owngrin ), hangs them up to dry and then folds them up and takes them up to his room (where they generally get left in a pile on the floor)
keeps his room clean and tidy (in theory anyway)
cooks his own tea (he tends to eat at different times to us)
washes his own pots
feeds the rabbits and guinea pigs once a day
cleans out rabbits etc once a week assisted by ds2
he also cleans the bathroom when asked
he will do the shopping if supplied with a list and cash

he is a good cook, can vacuum, clean, iron, change bedding, do basic diy and pack!

basically at 17 I would expect him to be able to most of the jobs I can do (though usually not to the same standard grin ) can either do the list and ask her to pick maybe 3 jobs she can so on a regular basis, or tell her you now expect her to do 'washing' or whatever on a daily basis. I'm sure it won't be easy, but as she is an adult, then she is more than capable of doing adult jobs. and she will also need the skills in the not too distant future.

you know your dd best, so you'll know whether a carrot or stick is the best approach.

good luck

BackforGood Sun 17-Feb-13 14:20:21

Well, I do think it would be easier if you'd brought her up with different expectations! grin
However, can't change that now. I think one thing that's sometimes hard, is to accept you have to let her go through the learning stage.... her first lasagne won't be likely to be as nice as yours, and it is a bit tricky to get all your meal components ready at the same time when you cook your first meal, and she won't have your skills of clearing up after her as she goes along with cooking, etc., but she needs to actually do all these things, to get the practice under her belt, to become as good as you. I'm amazed at the parents of teens who say things like "I daren't let him cook, the kitchen will be a mess". Well, yes it will, but it's not about saving you work, it's about teaching them skills.... same as when your toddler first learnt to wipe their bum! wink grin It's about praising the things they achieve, and biting your tongue about the things they don't do, or do differently from you.

skyblue11 Fri 22-Feb-13 10:06:46

It's keeping it up too, after I ranted she made tuna pasta bake it took her 90 minutes and the kitchen was a bombsite but nevertheless I encouraged and praised her. She has been so busy socialising this week it's gone to pot again, it's hard work and much easier to do it myself as you've all said but she needs to learn! I think I am a control freak!

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