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Is it just boys ?

10 replies

Headofhouse · 24/09/2014 10:28

My 11 yr old son can be charming, loving and helpful, but he is also a compulsive liar, very lazy, devious, and hopeless at organising himself and looking after his possessions. He has always been like this.
Other parents I speak to seem to think "that is just boys for you", but my partner (who has lived with us for 18 mths and has 2 daughters) thinks I let him off the hook too often because I have no hope of changing him. Do I put his annoying behaviour down to a) his gender and b) his innate personality, and generally live with it - or do I try harder to change it ? I'm about to put some house rules in place with regard to homework, electronic and TV time, room tidying etc and I know that if I don't police him constantly, my son will take every opportunity to break the rules and do what he wants rather than what he should be doing. What sort of punishments and rewards will motivate him to be a better person - both in terms of his own success in life and in terms of him being a better family member who pulls his weight ? All advice welcomed.

OP posts:
Takver · 24/09/2014 10:46

I don't think it's just boys! DD isn't devious or a liar (in fact she's spectacularly transparent) but she's hopeless at organising herself / her life / anything and not so much lazy as just inclined to put off everything for 'just 10 minutes'.

Sadly I don't have the perfect answer, but I really like the book 'Divas and Doorslammers' - it's aimed at teens, but just as useful for dc a bit younger but hitting that stage, & we've used some of his techniques with fair success.

One thing I would say that is critical for us and also other parents I've talked to (ignoring those with perfect dc Grin ) is absolute consistency. So i.e. you have a shower EVERY day, so no arguments about whether you need one or not, you ALWAYS wash up on a Wednesday, and ALWAYS cook on a Sunday, so it's just that it's your day, no discussion, not mean mum making you IYKWIM.

ouryve · 24/09/2014 10:51

No, it's just 11 year olds. Some 11 year olds.

ContentedSidewinder · 28/09/2014 08:52

Ds1 is 11 and no, he isn't like this. He can be moody and stroppy but to help him get a handle on the extra responsibility that came with secondary school we came up with a routine and a daily checklist.

So his morning routine (as laid down in his checklist in order) is shower, boxers on and dressing gown and down to breakfast. Then at a particular time he goes upstairs, brushes his teeth, deodorant, watch, gets dressed, hair gel & brush, phone into bag, tidy room (hangers away) open curtains and then on some days -PE kit.

This gives him clear instruction of what is expected of him. There are no misunderstandings. He also has an evening checklist for packing his bag and it prepares him for the next day, ie PE or music lesson.

Since he was 5 he has taken his plate though to the kitchen after dinner, scraped off any food into the bin and put his stuff into the dishwasher. This may sound harsh but this is exactly what they do in school for their lunches.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he is expected to lay the table, on Tuesdays and Thursdays his 8 year old brother does it. He also empties the dishwasher and hoovers his room occasionally. (it is harder for me as I am a SAHM so have time to do it, he knows how to hoover, but I don't make him do it all the time as he is 11)

You have to find your child's currency, for my two it is computer time to play minecraft or Zelda on the wii together. We have laid out clear expectations of their behaviour, and their chores. If they do not do them without complaint then they lose it.

You are raising a child to become an adult, by the time my two are 16/17 they should be able to do everything I do from washing, cooking, cleaning, ironing, budgeting etc.

I think your son is probably lazy because he can be. It isn't just a boy thing, you can get lazy girls.

ContentedSidewinder · 28/09/2014 08:54

In the simplest terms (I have said this a million times to my sons)

"If I get what I want, you get what you want"

ie you put your clothes into the laundry bin, you get to watch tv

omletta · 28/09/2014 08:58

Our DS was vile at 11, at 12 he's lovely. Helpful, kind and organised.

Sorry for sounding smug, but I am still in shock at the transition.

micah · 28/09/2014 09:03

Jeez, that little flap of flesh between a boys legs is not sentient. It can't make its owner do things.

It's his personality, and of course you can ask him to do more. Saying he behaves in an undesirable way because he has a penis is just bollocks, so to speak.

My dh has a penis and is ultra organised and manages to contribute to the household fine.

Hercule · 28/09/2014 09:09

My DD is 11 in three weeks and is exactly like you describe. Not boys, just some 11 year olds. Combination of personality and discovering they don't necessarily have to do what you want them to do and that what their friends think is sometimes more important than what their crusty old parents think.

To echo other posters I am finding she needs very fixed rules, routines, consequences. Meanwhile I need gin. A lot of gin.

Hakluyt · 28/09/2014 09:12

What I don't understand, and this is going to be spectacularly unhelpful, sorry, is why people seem to expect children suddenly to be considerate and helpful at some arbitrary age. Being a contributing family member is a continuum- it starts as soon as they are mobile.

And I can see the point of "if I get what if want, you get what you want" But I prefer to think of it as "we get what we want". So if we all want to eat, this is what we all have to do to make that happen. And more subtle than "clothes in the basket= screen time". More "clothes in the basket=clean clothes when you want to wear them and an easier life for everyone"

dementedma · 28/09/2014 09:20

Not a gender thing at all. Have two adult dds and one 12 year old Ds and he is far tidier and more helpful than they ever were.yes to moods, lying when in trouble and being soap-averse but don't think its gender specific.

Hercule · 28/09/2014 09:22

Haykult - Yes I agree. It's not that DD reached an age and I suddenly expected her to be more responsible. It's just when she was younger she was more likely to do what was expected of her without questioning - as I said in my previous post she's more likely to try and get away with not doing stuff she should/ doing things she knows she shouldn't. She is very determined.

As usual with these parenting type issues all children have different personalities and need different types / levels of parenting in order to teach them to be pleasant contributing members of the family/society. I know from looking round my circle of friends and their kids that some children (people) conform more easily than other children ( people). It doesn't mean you give up, it just means it's harder work. Hmm

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