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Getting pre teens to help around the house

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Old 09-30-2004, 06:16 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Oklahoma
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Mommyof4 HB User
Getting pre teens to help around the house

I came to you all before about having to take my oldest's money because she had lied. We ended up taking $130 from her that she had earned throughout the summer. She kept taking money and lying about it. Luckily, that problem seems to have gone away. Now, we have another one.

My kids are 2,3,4 and 12. I work nights on the weekends and the 4 kids go to 3 different schools throughout the week. Needless to say, I am running my tail off. I wash, dry, and fold the clothes. The only thing the oldest is asked to do is put them up whether it's hang them or put the folded clothes up. I don't make her responsible for the little one's in any way so it's not like she is run ragged.

We have been over and over that the clothes need to go where they belong. I am still finding clothes that should have been hung up just stuffed in a drawer, clothes that haven't been worn stuffed in the dirty clothes basket, my husbands clothes stuffed in my daughter's drawers, etc. I don't know the next step to take!!

She just got off being grounded for leaving her room pitted out. She just doesn't seem to care about anything other than friends. The thing is that she isn't that social. Her friendships consist of talking on the phone and even that doesn't happen often so grounding her from the phone isn't really an option.

This whole thing might seem trivial but I am just so tired all of the time. I don't want to go searching every single day trying to find clothes for all of the kids. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get a pre teen motivated?

She has also changed over the past few months. She doesnt talk to us unless it's on her terms. We found out that she stood up to a friend for hitting another friend. They all went to the principals office just for the girl that hit to be suspended. We didnt find out about this until 2 weeks after the fact!! She tells us things on her terms and then expects you to drop everything and listen to her. She also acts like anything you tell her to do is a punishment... Right down to brushing her teeth. I am at my wit's end... Any ideas?
Mindy (Type 1 Dx'd 11/94..Insulin Pump)

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Old 09-30-2004, 06:46 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New York
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goody2shuz HB Usergoody2shuz HB User
Re: Getting pre teens to help around the house

Gee...Mommy, you really do have your hands full!! Goody's been in your shoes for about 5 years now Welcome to what I call...the meanager years!!! It's a time when you need to gather up your best sense of humor, get down into the trenches and be ready at all times to put up your best defenses because the battles are just beginning!!!!

The best strategy right now is to sit down with your daughter and recognize verbally that she is soon to be a teenager. Share with her how you felt being a teenager (I told mine that I wouldn't wish to live those years over if you paid me a million bucks ) Tell her that you know from experience that rough times are ahead & that you always want to be there for her. Reassure her that you will be there for her no matter what & that she can tell you anything and it wouldn't cause you to love her less. Gently tell her that her body is going to go through physical & hormonal changes that she's probably not even ready for and will be in an awkward place between girlhood and womanhood for the next 5-6 years Tell her you want to help her through it as best you can. Then tell her part of becoming an adult is having more responsibilities. These include doing well in school (since this is the only job she can have at her age...of being a student) and also of contributing more in the household. Tell her you could use her help and what things does she think she can do to help out. Make up a list together. As far as the laundry goes....I would make 6 distinct piles & have each child responsible for carrying it up to their rooms. Ask your 12 year old if she could assist the others in getting it into their drawers. Have hubby carry yours & his laundry up to help out.

I would consider putting your daughter on a budget....I did with mine when she was 13. I came up with a monthly amount that she was given to work off of monthly for her her parent I supplied her needs ie. food, clothing, shelter. This will allow her some say in financial issues and since she had some problems in the past with might be a way to give her more responsibility in this area. Tell her that the money would cover any extras, going to the movies with friends, an extra pair of jeans or shirt you feel she really doesn't need but which she wants, a toy she wanted to save up for etc. Tell her that it is her responsibility to manage this money....that when it runs out....just like in real life, she will have to take the consequences and wait until the first day of the next month to have more money.

These are just a few suggestions. During the teenage years your daughter is looking for more independence. And it is good for you to give it to her and explain to her that in doing so she has to own up to the responsibility. I am in no way an expert in this field....just a week ago I was on this board asking for advice when at my wits end. And there was someone there for me who took my hand & turned it around for me. I hope I have done the same for you....Goody

Old 09-30-2004, 09:45 PM   #3
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Mommyof4 HB User
Re: Getting pre teens to help around the house

Thanks so much Goody.. It really is sound advice. We can start off great but the second she doesn't get her way, she starts whining. It goes downhill after that.

I was watching Dr Phil today and they were talking about a family contract. Everyone sits down and has a say but the final say is up to the parents. It's pretty detailed where actions have specific rewards or consequences. Everyone signs it. Then when something happens, you refer back to the contract that you all agreed to as a family. I think I am going to give it a try.

I am going to sit down and have a talk with her when tensions aren't running high. Wish me luck
Mindy (Type 1 Dx'd 11/94..Insulin Pump)

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