Sunday, April 13, 2008

If you have mastered the art...

Of getting your children to do chores, PLEASE enlighten me! M is driving me nuts. Short trip, I know and it really has been a long journey, but the chores! Eeek.
I'm trying to get him to do more around the house. Partly because I really need the help during the day, but also just so he learns to do some basic chores. He will unload the dishwasher with a bit of complaining--it's getting better (I think?). He still sometimes proclaims it the "worst chore ever" until I say, with relief, that I would be happy to unload the dw, if he will load it. He then grumbles his way through.

Yesterday, well and Friday, he was supposed to pull weeds. Really a fairly mindless job since everything that is green in the garden so far is a weed. If it's green, pull it. I explained it, gave him gloves and a weed pully thingy and sent him to work. It was too hard. It was too hot. It was the worst chore ever. He whined, he screamed, he came in crying hysterically. I avoided smacking him. Or wringing his neck. I finally passed the babe to Dad, put on my sandals and went and pulled with him. He maybe pulled 5 weeds. He is too old for me grab his hand and make him do it. He was told he could not play with the neighbors till the chore was done. He never got to play with them. He had been asking for donuts. He got none because I gave up my prep time to pull his weeds. I explained all this to him. He just says he is the stupidest kid. AAAaaargh!
This is the same kid who wants a farm. I asked him how he would live on a farm if he can't even pull a weed. He said he would love to work on a farm. Yeah. Riiiight. Then again, he does want goats, which would pretty much take care of the weed issue.
So anyway..
Comment away and share your brilliance with this poor mother.


Lanna said... kids have daily chores and will sometimes even remember to do them without my having to harp on them. I'd like to say it's because I have awesome parenting skills, but I think it's actually just that they're scared of neurotic *plus* cranky mom.

That said, Nyn spent *five* hours washing and rewashing some dishes the other day because she insisted on doing a rubbish job over and over. I just don't get it. It particularly gets me when they start in on the 'I'm so horribllleeee!!' thing, which I had thought wasn't supposed to begin at least until preteen years.. Naughty plus self-loathing kids are too much for me, Uncle!!

Anonymous said...

So I read your post and you know that I am so there with you sista. At what age can you reason with a kid? I don't know. I am pulling my hair out. They will get it I think. I guess the one thing that we can do is never give up and never give in. I think that the naural concequence thing is good. A has to be done before we can do B. Sometimes its hard for me and I want to protect them from being angry when the consequence happens. I have tried to remember that they won't learn if I save them all the time. We have been working on the living room all morning. I will watch this post may be someone has great ideas for us both. hang in there.-Spring

Anonymous said...

Okay,here's my two cents worth. Every mother has the same problem trying to get kids to do chores. Been there, done that, got that T-shirt FOUR TIMES. Don't give up; ask C how I used to scream, beg, threaten and cajole to get the garden weeded. Now, all of them talk about how much fun they had--not weeding, but shucking corn, eating peas, etc., none of which comes without the aforementioned screaming, begging, threatening, (you get the idea). Now that they're grown, they weed, clean, etc. So DON'T GIVE UP! You're doing great! By the way, at least you're sewing new outfits. I spent half the afternoon yesterday patching pants and a shirt that should have been thrown out. I'm insane!

RasJane said...

It's good to know I'm not alone (which I kinda figured anyway, but still...)
Lanna, it's the self-depreciation that gets to me the most too.
Spring, I agree that I just have to stick it out. Endure to the end, right?
GramRe, have you ever asked your son about his childhood? He "doesn't remember". I have to ask J! He does remember quite a bit, just not on command I think.
And, I will try to keep in mind that he is gonna love that garden fresh produce.

Anonymous said...

Boy, I don't remember too much either. C and I are in the same boat! I know that we have been taught in classes to identify the "non negotiables" and then try to determine how that happened and replicate it. Perhaps that can only be done by an outsider observing. The choices idea is one of the most functional I think. Another is a set timetable and a set number. You had to unload the dishwasher and vacuum. Did you have to dust? I did not have rigid standards for cleaning your room because I belive so strongly in privacy, but that perhaps was not such a good idea! How did you feel about your chores? I think I was bad about withholding attention or affection as a punishment. Bribes didn't work with you, but did with D. You didn't have regular chores until about 12 though did you?

MMM&M said...

girl, I wish I had the answers to the chores thing. but I don't.

it makes me feel like starting the "I'm so horribleeeee" thing about myself, seriously! I kind of feel like I have failed somewhat as a mother, because they won't willingly help out. hmmmm. maybe, hopefully, every mother feels a little bit of that?

what really gets me----- if I ask #2 to go clean her room, it is like she has absolutely no idea what to do. what she really wants is me sitting right there by her, going through the things one by one. better yet, she would like for me to be in there just DOING it, while she builds a horse corral over in the corner. har. she is worse than #1.

#1 can do it as long as I give him specifics----
example, "M, go in your room and pick up all the books and put them on the bookshelf, then come back and let me know when you're done!" he is all about the racing against the clock thing. #2 could care less. she can just wallow in the stuffed animals.

admittedly, I don't really like to clean. I like/love having a clean house, but I don't like to clean. Ergo, I can just fantasize about a clean house while surrounded by squalor.


My spouse, however, is unusual on many levels (not all of the levels positive, haha). He is actually a better "cleaner" than I am, and it doesn't seem to overwhelm him like it does me. He gets lost in the minutae though; for example if he is cleaning the kitchen, he will get caught up in reorganizing the dish cupboard. I could care less about the dish cupboard, I need it surface cleaned! hahahah.

Sonda in OR said...

Well, what is his favorite thing to do? For my boys, it's their 45 minutes of video or computer games.

--The chores must be done by 6pm (or dinner) to earn the privelege.

--If they say it's done and it's not, I reserve the right to ask for a re-do or forfeit their games for the day.

--If they don't do chores on Monday, then Tuesday, they'll have to do both days' chores to get their Tuesday game time.

Does it work 100% of the time. Nope. They do seem to be more motivated to earn game time than anything else.