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The Things My Teenagers Can't Do

(94 Posts)
Scatter Tue 09-Feb-16 14:11:17

I have got two teenage sons aged 13 and 15. Today I have realised, in a flash of fear and parental self-loathing, that they cannot do the following things. Or if they can, I've never seen them prove it.

1. Make themselves a cooked meal. Of any sort. Except porridge.
2. Change their bedding.
3. Wake themselves up in the morning.
4. Wash a car.
5. Hoover a house.
6. Clean a toilet/shower/sink/bath.
7. Put themselves to bed at night.
8. Put a wash on.
9. Empty the washing machine. Hang clothes on line/put in tumble dryer.
10. Pack for a holiday.
11. Remember to brush their teeth/brush their hair/PUT ON CLEAN BL**DY CLOTHES.

OH MY GOD. I AM A TERRIBLE PARENT. Can everybody else's teenage sons do these things? If you look at Facebook it seems like everyone else's teenage sons are always beautifully dressed with lovely haircuts and shiny teeth and are constantly going out for lunch with their mums/posting photos of their whole family having fun, once they've finished doing the dishes, tidying their rooms, washing the car, helping their Dad with the DIY and arranging their own work experience at five different hospitals which will ensure they have a successful future career in brain surgery.

Anyone got any tips for how to make sure my boys can do these things by the time they leave home? Or anyone want to share generally about all the things their teenagers can't do to make me feel better???

TheWoollybacksWife Tue 09-Feb-16 14:19:59

My teens/adults are female but can do all of your list with some significant prodding for some of them except number 6.

They are however unable to replace a toilet roll or carry dirty dishes from the breakfast bar to the sink. grin

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 09-Feb-16 14:21:52

My 15 year old can't do 4, 5 or 6. Or if he can, I've never witnessed it.

The 13 year old can't do 4, 5 or 6, and can't do 1, 8 or 9 either.

However, the 11 year old can do most of the things on your list. Some children are just more practical than others.

TheWoollybacksWife Tue 09-Feb-16 14:21:53

Actually they can do number 6 - they just choose not to.

DD2 also struggles with number 3 on school days.

TurnOffTheTv Tue 09-Feb-16 14:27:04

Put themselves to bed??? You actually put them to bed??
My 15 and 11yo DD's can do all of those things

Filmstar01 Tue 09-Feb-16 14:27:40

Don't be so hard on yourself! Better to realise now and start doing something about it! My daughter needs pushing to do anything around the house but she will Hoover when asked badly but I pick my battles, understands basically about sorting the laundry and has had a go at ironing. Her alarm is on the other side of the room so she has to get out of bed to switch it off! She needs a kick up the backside guidance around your list of things to be honest which we are working on too. I am trying to mollycoddle her less and we've had discussions about promoting her independence but sticking to it is quite hard. I tend to get fed up waiting for her and do it anyway and she knows it!

TurnOffTheTv Tue 09-Feb-16 14:27:47

Actually I still do a check list for the packing and they tick it off as they go.

Filmstar01 Tue 09-Feb-16 14:30:27

I forgot to say that any jobs that are done are posted on social media with the obligatory selfie which drives me nuts! I might start doing it too and tagging her in so she can see how ridiculous it is!

gymboywalton Tue 09-Feb-16 14:30:42

i also have two sons aged 15 and twelve

i am absolutely confuddled by 'put themselves to bged'

what do you mean they can't do it? do you take them upstairs and help them get undressed???

mine CAN strip and remake their beds, hoover, dust, wash dishes/dry dishes, iron a shirt(not well but can do it), put a load of washing on, peg washing out, build flatpack furniture.

They DON'T do most of this stuff unless told to.

juneau Tue 09-Feb-16 14:31:37

My 8-year-old puts himself to bed! He also wakes up and get himself out of bed in the morning.

As for the rest of the list ... no.

cheapandcheerful Tue 09-Feb-16 14:34:13

We recently had a 1st-year university student living with us and he struggled with most (maybe even all) of the things on this list.

He needed a lot of help, it was like having another child in the house (my dds are 5 and 3) and it scared me a bit!

I had to draw the line one day when he asked me to wake him up in the morning as he had a deadline. No. Set your alarm.

steppemum Tue 09-Feb-16 14:34:43

my ds is 13 and could probably do most of your list, but only if I had removed his phone and was standing over him threatening never to return it.

he does however do the clean clothes/look nice thing, because he is so clothes/appearance conscious! (cannot leave the house without checking his hair in the mirror)

And he would chose to do all of them badly if it for one minute meant he wouldn't get asked again!

My suggestion? (I sort of do this when I have the energy for battle)
short list of jobs on Sat morning, no screens til done.
change your sheets
put a load of washing on
put away your own clean clothes

my balance is sort of one job for the house and 2 for your room.

Be prepared for war though. Don't give in, have a lockable drawer for phones. Return once completed!

AgonyBeetle Tue 09-Feb-16 14:37:10

Well none of that is exactly brain surgery, most of it involves variations on the theme of turning on a tap or switching on an appliance.

Have you spent every waking moment of the past 15 years doing everything for them? In which case it's high time you found something more enjoyable to do and left them to enter the real world where the housework fairy has gone the way of the tooth fairy and father christmas. Tell them to do whatever needs doing, and see what happens. I'm sure they'll work it out.

Though I am utterly baffled at NT teenagers not being able to get themselves up and put themselves to bed.

Ludways Tue 09-Feb-16 14:43:02

I did no housework as a child, I had never turned a washing machine on or been shown how until I left for university. Other than cookery at school, I'd never made a meal, although I did use the microwave. I'd never hoovered or dusted.

I managed to do all of them by working it out for myself. I had no choice, my uni was 1500 miles and a flight over the Atlantic away, lol

Housework isn't rocket science, it's easy to figure out.

smoothieooo Tue 09-Feb-16 14:43:12

My teen sons have a financial incentive (monthly allowance with penalties according to chores not carried out) to do most of the above list but would rarely do any of it willingly.

I went away for the weekend recently and they were forced to wash and hang out their own clothes which was apparently quite traumatizing! DS1 is away for a German exchange for 2 weeks and he did all of his own packing.

Sounds like a stealth boast but it's not because although they can do all of 1-11 on the list, it's not without nagging, moaning and complaining on my part.

cosytoaster Tue 09-Feb-16 14:43:22

My DSs (17 and 14) can't do 4, 6, and 10

They can do 1,2,3,5,8, and 9 - but in some cases quite ineptly (I have actually had to remind them which machine is the washing machine and which is the tumble dryer)

They are fine at putting themselves to bed!

smoothieooo Tue 09-Feb-16 14:45:46

I think this is pretty true...!

Sadik Tue 09-Feb-16 15:06:27

Interesting. I've got a 13 (nearly 14) yr old - looking at your list

1. Make themselves a cooked meal. This she can definitely do - she is meant to cook a family meal once a week, and wash up once a week - though if she was cooking for herself with no outside prodding it'd be a variation on pasta & sauce / baked potato with toppings / basic curry.

2. Change their bedding. Yes, can do, but it takes around 3 days on average from first reminder, and never happens spontaneously

3. Wake themselves up in the morning. This is what phones are for!

4. Wash a car. Nope - I only wash my van once a year, before the MOT - but I don't think it takes much working out how to do once they get one of their own . . .

5. Hoover a house. Can hoover own room, but see note 2 re. bedding.

6. Clean a toilet/shower/sink/bath. Can definitely clean sink, but not on her list of chores

7. Put themselves to bed at night. We go out, she's in bed when we get back, so I guess yes!

8. Put a wash on. Empty the washing machine. Hang clothes on line/put in tumble dryer. Yes, but doesn't other than if I hand her a basket of washing and ask her to do so.

10. Pack for a holiday. Yes. But possibly not what you or I would consider a sensible selection of items.

11. Remember to brush their teeth/brush their hair/PUT ON CLEAN BL**DY CLOTHES. Yes - though hair often a source of stress.

Wineandchovolateneededasap Tue 09-Feb-16 15:14:12

My DD (nearly 15) can do none of above without serious prompting/ harassment , they can do it don't worry they are just lazy dirty pains in the ass. DD can't cook /won't cook but everything else is do able with rewards and me watching like a hawk! DD doesn't even bother getting a drink she just waits till I'm in kitchen then shouts "CAN I HAVE A DRINK PLEASE" if I say "get it yourself" I get "oh I'm not thirsty anymore" it's beyond belief, I lived alone from 16 and did my own breakfast, packed lunch and dinner at 12 plus cleaned the house and organised myself fully, think I have pampered DD as I resented doing it all alone so young.

SecretSquirrels Tue 09-Feb-16 15:17:31

None of these are difficult and you can teach them quite easily. It's certainly not too late.
Mine could do all but No 10 at that age but I didn't expect them to do all of those things all the time. I wouldn't want each member of the house doing separate loads of laundry for example.

They both prepared their own breakfasts and lunches from about 10/11ish. They could rustle up some macaroni cheese at 13 but not a lot else.
When DS1 was about to go to uni I spent a few weeks teaching him to cook and he loved it, has since become quite adventurous.
Packing for a holiday is something I tend to be obsessive about but if they are going away without me they can do it.
DC brought up in a home with a dishwasher often don't know how to wash up the old fashioned way. I remember "teaching" them to wash up on a self catering holiday once.

Kenworthington Tue 09-Feb-16 15:17:44

Mine CAN do all these but they rarely do 5 and have never done 6 ( but then again in not sure dh has done 6 ever either), mine are 11, 13 and 17

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 09-Feb-16 15:18:34

Mine can do all of those....generally if I change the wifi password grin

Sadik Tue 09-Feb-16 15:21:45

grin Tantrums

NotJanine Tue 09-Feb-16 15:23:38

Mine started car washing at a young age - to earn some extra money. They are able to do everything on the list, if that's what you mean.

Lightbulbon Tue 09-Feb-16 15:23:46

Mine can probably do all of these but whether he actually does them...

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