Getting children to do chores...

United States
March 9, 2007 7:20am CST
I've told my daughter numerous times that she needs to help out around the house--I came home from a business trip and the house was disgusting! I've been cleaning it each day but some things I do need help with and I had previously asked her to name one chore she wanted to do. It was laundry! My laundry has FOUR loads sitting downstairs right now, ready to be brought up. I told her again this morning and she assured me she'd bring it up at 6:30 AM (before school). At 7:30 AM it wasn't brought up and by 7:45 AM she was going to be late so I sent her to school. I'm not in a position to pay her (I have yet to recover from the folly of having a cell phone for her for emergencies); in fact, I need to clean the house up because I've got to get a roommate now (yesterday would have been nice!), as well as the garage (I've got a 2-car garage 1/2 emptied and no tenant). I have tried to take things away but her father doesn't enforce anything (we're divorced). I'm at my wit's end right now--I'm on the verge of losing everything (my home, my car (paid in full but can't afford to gas it), my MIND!) and need some really sage advice PLEASE!
5 people like this
5 responses
@missinghim (1339)
• United States
9 Mar 07
i noticed that my sister "asks" her daughter to do certain chores and it usually falls on deaf ears. but when she (my niece) comes over my house, she doesn't give me all of the grief that she gives her mother because i don't "ask" her to do anything... i TELL her to get her butt in there and do it (and i'm NOT paying her for anything). the fact of the matter is that you feed, clothe, provide the water, heat and hot water to make her comfortable, you gave her life, and you are the one in charge. you have the power to make her life quite uncomfortable if you want to. that means no phone, no going outside, no extra ANYTHING (outside of going to school, doing homework, and eating) until she starts doing what you tell her to do WHEN you tell her to do it. you also shouldn't let her pick and choose her chores, you're mommy... so YOU tell her what to do & if she doesn't like it... then go live with daddy & then she'll see just how sweet she has it.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Mar 07
oh! and do you know what my dad used to do to me when i didn't do one of my chores? he would wait until i was sleep, wake me up at 2 -3 am and make me do it then (school night and all). after a few times of that, i made sure that i had it all done.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Mar 07
I love the 2nd one--her Nana (ex MIL) once told me I should complete housework at 2AM--THE WOMAN ONLY WORKED 2 YEARS AND THEN STAYED HOME WITH THE KIDS! I, on the other hand was working FT and forced to live in her home because HER son couldn't support me! I'm tired to telling this child what to do...I believe I'm kicking her out after tonight...I've had it! I've tried everything but when her daddy (Mr. "Wonderful" in her eyes) refuses to acknowledge me as her other parent, I know I won't win this battle. I'm thinking this will last about .... oh, 2 days! Thanks!
• United States
9 Mar 07
Maybe it's time for daughter to live with her father. If she is that much of a problem, then I'd think that'd be the thing to do. You could also try cleaning up after yourself, and leave her to fend for herself. This won't help you find a roommate, but it may teach her a lesson. You could give her a bill for cooking, cleaning, whatever you do for her. Breakfast costs X number of dollars... can't pay it, you don't eat. Laundry costs X number of dollars... can't pay it, you don't have clean clothes. And don't let her do it herself, either. Lock the washer and dryer, or the door to the basement, whatever.... Take a stand so she learns. Because the truth of the matter is this... while it's helpful to you for her to do it now, when she is on her own, she will be useless. Just my opinion.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Mar 07
Thank you! I've been cleaning up after myself more lately (I'm still trying to clean up after my 5 day trip!). I've threatened to have her live with her dad, but I don't know that would do any good (we were married for 11 1/2 years and he didn't believe in furniture, outside of a bed!). I'll try your idea of giving her a bill, starting Monday (she's at her dad's all weekend). Whew!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Mar 07
I can't imagine trying to clean up a five day mess. I did something similar to my daughter and she learned within 2 days just how good she had it. I've seen parents go "on strike" because of their children's negative behaviors and refusal to help out around the house. If she was younger, and you had more control, you could try token economy, which is a behavior modification technique where children have to "buy" privileges. They earn tokens by doing things, make the bed - 2 tokens, put clean clothes away neatly - 2 tokens, etc. But, if they want to watch television for an hour... cost is 5 tokens. Want to use the phone for 15 minutes... 4 tokens... If your daughter is a teenager, it won't work, but I'd lock up the phone, disconnect the television, hide the keyboard to the computer or take the power supply cord to work with you. There are many things that you can do to teach her a lesson. When she calls Dad to explain, tell him she can live with him. You may find you like living alone. :)
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Mar 07
I love it! I'm going to definitely start doing this! Imagine a dog in his crate with 5 DAYS of cr*p in there--I just about killed her (I was paying her $50 to take both dogs out, feed them and let them roam supervised in the kitchen--I don't think she did it). All that laundry, vacuuming, etc. Thanks for the info!
1 person likes this
10 Mar 07
Chaos - This is chaos
To be honest hun it might be time to sit down and talk to her. She is old enough to understand the facts, and she might even realise that she needs to be a lot more adult and supportive. Tough love is hard but necessary, maybe you can tell her that she really needs to do her chores and help you out more, otherwise all the things she has and loves will have to go to pay the bills.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Mar 07
I have had a number of talks with her; unfortunately, her father (and his family) do not believe children should have chores. The last therapist I took her to felt that children shouldn't have to clean their own space. I wanted to go back, but the last time the woman called, I had a dental emergency and she didn't return my call (and I wanted to tell her that THAT piece of advice blew chunks!) Now I'm going back to work and she'll be staying at her dad's more...I've had it and can't keep going through the hystrionics (sp?) anymore. Thanks for the suggestion!
@patootie (3593)
10 Mar 07
On the basis of 'tough love' .. would it be possible to actually sit down with her and show her all the bills you have to pay and what income you have to do it with .. I can't remember if you've said how old your daughter is .. but if you could get her to see you aren't just asking for help to make her do it .. and that there are reasons why you can't pay her right now .. then maybe you could 'share' responsibilities for some household jobs .. I think if I was your daughter I would prefer a frank discussion of the problems rather than not knowing .. it would make me feel nice and 'grown up' and make me want to help in some way .. And if the worst should come to the worst and you did have to move or whatever .. then at least it won't be a huge shock to her and she won't be so upset ..
1 person likes this
@CatEyes (2449)
• United States
12 Mar 07
I have seen this happen with my brothers. They seemed to think they did not have to do anything at all. Untrue. You do not have to pay her to do chores, especialy if she ran up the cell phone bill. She needs to shape up or else. I would take away things like her ability to play with friends, TV and phone until she shaped up a bit. When my parents did this with my brothers it worked! And I have 5 of them.
• United States
13 Mar 07
I've sent her to spend most of her time at dad's--she totally freaked me out today by showing up after 2 days away! I made her do some yardwork--something she totally hates to do. I'm glad I've taken away the laundry detail from her--saw a mouse tonight! Yikes!