Is it asking too much?

United States
April 11, 2007 6:29pm CST
Today my 6 year old got home from school and I told her that she had to do all her homework and put her and her 4 year old sister's clean clothes away before dinner at 6pm. This seems to be too much for her to handle though. Am I just asking too much of her. She got off the bus at 3:30 and started in on her homework (which was 2 days worth since she missed school yesterday). It is now 7pm (bedtime) and she is only half done with her homework, only half the clothes are put away and dinner was over an hour ago--she missed it. She worked on her homework from 3:30 until almost 6:30 but kept stopping to play. She spent 20 minutes playing on the steps with her brother (they aren't even allowed to play on the steps) and kept coming over every 5 minutes to see what I was doing on the computer or she was playing with the baby. Then I got dinner ready and sat down to eat at 6pm. She got all upset that she didn't get any but instead of trying to hurry to get her stuff done and have time to eat she just stood there screaming at me for the whole 10 minutes it took me to eat. Then stormed off to her room to put her clothes away (her homework wasn't done). At 7pm I went to tell the kids it was time for bed. She still hadn't put all the clothes away (had been working on it for about a half hour) and still didn't have her homework done. She screamed at me while I put the food away that it wasn't fair that she didn't eat (the only other person that ate was my 5 year old son who did his chores--my 4 year old decided to go to bed early instead of cleaning and eating). Now it is 7:20, 20 minutes past bedtime and she is trying to finish her homework so she doesn't get in trouble at school. I guess this is just asking too much of a 6 year old. She knows the rules. These are not new. She knows that they clean before meal times. Their rooms have to be tidy before they are allowed to eat. We instituted this rule about 3 years ago because food is the only thing that motivates them to do their chores. Otherwise they never pick up because no other punishment means anything to them--take away the toys--they don't care. Take away TV/computer/games--they don't care. Ground them to their rooms--they don't care. Make them stand in the corner--they don't care. I have taken every single toy from their rooms but they don't care because they always have each other and I can't take that away from them (no way to separate 3 kids). Her chores include making her bed (she never does it), putting away her clean clothes (does it after 2 or 3 days of screaming about it), picking up her toys (rarely does this because she always leaves it for her sister to do) and taking care of her person--like brushing her hair and teeth (never does this no matter how many times I tell her). Her 5 year old brother does more then her. His chores also include taking the trash to the cans outside (if he can lift them) and watching the baby when I need to be in another room (he loves that chore--he adores his baby sister). My 4 year old daughter used to do all the cleaning in the girls' room with little complaint but now it is wearing on her. She has to tidy the room before she gets breakfast (as per the rules) but her sister leaves for school before breakfast and leaves the room a mess knowing her sister will have to clean it. Then when she gets home from school she refuses to help clean the mess in the room because she didn't make it since she was at school all day. I don't think these chores are unreasonable. When I start cooking dinner I tell them it is time to clean up their messes. This results in them all throwing tantrums because there is too much to clean up. It takes me between 30 and 60 minutes to cook dinner yet that isn't enough time for them. It takes me about 10 minutes to clean up both rooms. It takes about 3 hours for them to do the same amount of work unless I stand at their doors and tell them exactly what to pick up. Then it only takes them an hour, but I also don't get anything else done because the second I walk away they run off to do something else.
10 people like this
28 responses
@KrisNY (7592)
• United States
11 Apr 07
Wow--- 4 kids.. thats great! OK-- I have only 1 child- She is 10 and helps out alot- She has rules also-- Homework first-- then dinner and extracuricular activities if there are any that night- She keeps her room clean and any other chores are to be done on the weekend. I have never not let her eat dinner because things weren't done- This sounds really harsh-- Not judging just stating. Maybe I'm a pushover. I think that you put alot of responsibility on your children-- they are pretty young. That also sounds like alot of homework for your 6 year old.
• United States
12 Apr 07
Yeah, I used to think it was harsh, too, but it was the only way to get her to do anything when she was 4. She got away with everything because no punishment anything to her. But food--that was different. She was hungry so she would get her stuff done. I felt awful at first but over the years I have come to terms with it. If she really wants to eat bad enough she will do her chores. Obviously she doesn't care that much about eating either.
2 people like this
• Canada
12 Apr 07
I don't believe your rules are too much for a six year old . She is trying to see how much she can push you . I have similar problems with my chidren but we never take food away as there is only one of my children that we don't have to fight with to at least have something healthy to eat . I know what you are saying though about not being able to take anything away from them as they don't care as I have run into this problem as well as my son can not even be bribed into doing something . We will tell him he can go somewhere or have someone over if he does his chores . Instead he will leave it to his sisters to do and then complain that it is not fair that he never gets to do anything and they do . The only thing I have noticed is that we can't let them run us as they get older it gets worse , I know this from experience as I have a 17 , 15 ,12 , 3 , and one year old . Keep doing what you are doing and if they want it bad enough they will eventually have to give in . I have found that different gimmicks work and am always trying out something new . It doesn't usually last long but while we have it going they will at least take the initiative to get something done even if it is not all that was required of them but at least I feel that is better then nothing at all . We have tried different reward programs by telling them what is expected of them and then when they accomplish what was expected of them then they get a pass of some sort that we agreed on at the beginning . Best of luck !!
3 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
She can't be bribed either. We spend most of the summer in the house because of her. I will say "if you guys get your rooms picked up we'll go to the park." The other two will run off to get their stuff done but she will literally scream at the top of her lungs that it isn't fair for her to have to clean up a mess that she made for 3 hours. Of course that means we can't go. I can't leave her at home by herself. Everyone else suffers because of her attitude. There have been so many beautiful days we have sat inside because she refuses to do anything. I have offered things like treats (cookies), toys back that have been taken away, time alone with me, new books, trips to the park, etc. She doesn't care about anything. Taking the TV away used to work but then I stopped letting them watch except in the morning during breakfast and at dinner time if Daddy is home so that doesn't mean anything to her anymore since she never watches TV. I try all sorts of things, too. If I hear about something that worked for someone I try it but so far nothing works. I did have 2 weeks where she was good. We got the girls one of those sorting bin shelf things (it has Dora on the side) and I cleaned their whole room and sorted everything and told them it had to stay like this and that was it. For 2 weeks they kept it spotless but then I got the flu and was laid up for a week and they stopped picking up and haven't done anything since then. They are waiting for me to get in there and do it for them again (like I always do). I can't stand the way their room looks. It is the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment and there is no door to hide the mess. And she doesn't take care of her clothes. She throws her stuff everywhere. In the car the other day she drew all over her jeans with a pen because she felt like it. (I took the pens away). She drew on her new shoes and her sister's shoes and convinced her brother to draw on his pants with a pen. She is out of control lately. There just isn't much I can do to her, barring tying her up or locking her in a closet, lol. The way our apt. is set up I can't hear or see what they are doing in their rooms when I am in the living room or kitchen so they do whatever they want.
1 person likes this
@birthlady (5613)
• United States
12 Apr 07
Yes, I think you are being too hard on your six year old daughter! I agree with her, its not fair! You are giving these children too much responsibility for their ages. It is not right to withold food! Never is this right! Punishment is not a reason to withold dinner! If you cannot take care of your household, you should hire a teenager to help you! You are starting a pattern of alot of problems for the future! If a child does not pick up toys...take the toy away! Put the toy in a box, and when the child does pick up toys, return the toys taken away! Never withold food from a child, I cannot say that enough!
@KupoSin (680)
• United States
12 Apr 07
i dont think this is too much to ask for. i remember i had something similar to this. i would always want to play games when i was young rather than going to go eat what my mom had made. Well, this time she made tacos and i was playing games. my mom was tired of my brother and i playing instead of going to go eat, so she threw away the tacos into the trash. when my brother and i finally went to eat, we asked where our food was. we noticed it was in the trash and we cried. however, from that day on, whenever my mom tells us food is ready, we would immediately go eat. it made a lasting impression on us and we are grateful for my mom's decision. you should try something similar to this. i dont think those chores are too much to do. i think something you should sit down with your daughter helping her on her homework so she concentrates and doesnt wonder about. my mom also did this with me and my brother so we did homework before play. i dont know exactly what went right when my mom raised me, but ever since about the 5th grade, i was independent in the sense that i would do certain things without having to be repeated or said. i tihnk it was from my mom's extremely loud yelling that once i heard it i was afraid to hear it ever again T_T i hope what i shared helps you even thoguh it wont solve all your problems. i hope someone else can help you more than i can. all the best luck to you
@speedy1279 (2667)
• United States
12 Apr 07
I know exactly what you are going through. Mine is a little different. I have three kids, one being my stepson. Thier ages are 3, 4, and 10. My youngest two never clean thier rooms when asked. I will ask them over and over till I end up doing a couple days late because I am tired of having to step over all the toys. Then I have my 10 year old stepson who doesn't think he has to do anything around here because at his moms house he is not expected to do anything. I don't ask much of him, but yet to him it seems like I am asking for him to give up his arm and leg. He only has to keep his stuff put up and put his dishes in the dishwasher. Pretty easy for his age if you ask me. If I had my way he would have a lot more chores. But his dad always interveins, when he doesn't even do anything around the house. ARGH!!!! That's a whole other topic!! As far as homework goes. My stepson is pretty good at getting it done. But I make him sit at the kitchen table where I can keep my eye on him. Anytime he gets distracted, I just say his name and he normally gets right back on track. So to answer your question. No I don't think you are being too harsh on the kids with the chores. The chores you have given them are age appropriate. Your oldest is testing your bounderies. Seeing what she can get away with. Just stand your ground and don't back down. Eventually she will see that it is not going to work and give up. I know its hard especially when they start in on the tantrums. But stick with it and don't give in. Trust me it makes it worse. My husband has a bad habit of giving in to our daughter when she starts screaming and crying. I have told him over and over again to stop because it is just making it worse. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They know which parent they can get away more with. My daughter is a perfect example. She knows that all she has to do is throw a tantrum around her dad and she will get what she wants. So anytime I tell her no she will just start in on her tantrum until her dad says "just give it to her so she will stop crying" BINGO! You would think a light would go on in my husbands head. LOL! Keep at it and if you ever need someone to talk to just drop me a line. We seem to have very similar situations and I would be glad to talk anytime. Good Luck!
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
Wow, I can tell by your writing that you despretly need some time away from your kids. They (including the husband) are taking toll on you I can tell. I understand completely, but it sounds like your husband does a little more than my husband. Mine doesn't do anything. He won't even change our 4 year olds pull-up. But I would have to say that if and when he does something (which would be and is a miracle at times) he is pretty good at doing it right. I am truly hurt by what you are going thru. It is very tough raising kids. Especially when you feel like you are the only one doing it. It's like you are a single mom! I would like to add you as a friend and anytime you need someone to talk to please feel free to email me privately. I even have yahoo im if you wanted to chat sometime. Us moms need to stay together on stuff like this. No one should have to do it alone. Being a mom is the hardest job any women will ever have to go through. God Bless!!!!
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12845)
• Australia
12 Apr 07
well, i don't think it is too much to ask but at the same time i think the punishment is too harsh... if you don't let your children to eat while they are not doing their chores and they get sick, you are the one who will suffer as well... and you will need extra time to take care of them and waste money as well... i think you have to come up with other solutions and speak with your daughter slowly... i think over time when she gets older she will understand what you expect from her... but you just have to take it slowly and not rushing her... good luck...
2 people like this
• United States
16 Apr 07
well then maybe you shouldnt be a mom at all if they take up so much of your time, didnt you know kids are a 00 percent of your time, you never have a brake when you have kids, she is 6 for god sake, you treat her like she is 16. i think your mean to her, you need to relise this before its to late.
• United States
12 Apr 07
When will that be, please? I thought that when she was 3 but she has only gotten worse as she has gotten older. She has gotten more and more defiant every year. I'm so tired of spending 60% of my time on 25% of my children. I feel like I am neglecting the other ones because she takes up so much of my time when she is home and wears me out so that I am short with the others.
• United States
12 Apr 07
ok first off i dont care what she has to do you never let a child go hungry you feed your child thats job as a parent. also why couldnt the 4 year old put her own clothes away. and if a childdidnt mak ethe messthen no theyshouldnthave to clean it. myex tryedthis with mykids he gets the kids on the weekends and he would make them clean his house. always feed your kids no matter what isnt a punishment.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
The 4 year old didn't have to put her stuff away because she already cleaned the whole bedroom--a mess that all 3 kids made, so we felt it was only fair that her sister did one of her chores. Every day the 4 year old cleans her room about 3 times and she doesn't make the messes herself. Her sister makes a big mess in the morning before school but doesn't have to clean it. When she gets home she refuses to help her sister clean up since she didn't technically make the mess because her sister already cleaned up the mess she made. In our house everyone helps everyone else clean up messes, whether they made them or not. I have to clean the bathroom even though I'm not the one that pees on the toilet seat (that would be my husband) or gets the tub so filthy it leaves a ring (that would be my son--he just attracts dirt) or gets water on everything (that would be all the kids). I have to pick up the baby's toys and so do the other kids even though they don't play with them. That is life. They don't have to clean the whole house. They are responsible for their own rooms and their toys (if they end up in other rooms). And their clothes. That is it. They don't do dishes or clean the bathroom (although they might start soon). My son actually likes to take the garbage out because he feels like a big boy so he does that. How did kids survive 100 years ago working on farms? I mean, getting up at dawn to feed the chickens and rake out the stables--oh my god, how could they make kids clean that up? Or the girls getting up to help Mom cook breakfast when they are only 8--they should have just been allowed to be kids. Kids can handle so much more then people let them now a days and I think kids are too spoiled now a days. I know I was spoiled. My mom never asked us to clean--she just did it herself (was much easier) and now I'm suffering because of it because I hate to clean. I really didn't even know how when I left home. I don't want my kids to be that way. I think my 6 year old's new chore when we move back in with my dad will be learning to do laundry. She is big enough to toss clothes in the washer.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Apr 07
you are asking way to much of a six year old. she is a kid let her be a kid. and for cleaning up after the kids, its your job you made that choice when you became a mom, i believe in chores but not to many and never do i decipline my kids with taking food away, if children and youth new you didntfeed ger supper you would loose your kid. thats just wrong not to feed your kids no matter what they do wrong you dont say ok no food for you. you just dont have the mother instincts i have i guess, maybe we were raised different.
• United States
12 Apr 07
It sounds like you have your hands full with four children (if I counted correctly), and I don't think the chores you listed are outrageous. I do, however, take serious issue with your withholding of food or meals because homework or chores are not completed. This can have serious implications down the road for you as a parent. At the very least, you could have some serious issues with childhood weight/obesity, eating disorders, and emotional disorders. Withholding meals as a consequence is never okay. As a social worker who worked with abused, abandoned, and neglected children, you could end up with a child abuse complaint lodged against you should your child decide to disclose this information to another adult such as a teacher. There are some very good books on the market for parenting techniques, especially when dealing with young children. You may also want to consider contacting a counselor or therapist in assisting you with dealing with your child. Just a suggestion.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
Well, what else do you suggest? She gets away with never cleaning her room otherwise. She never does anything around here. her sister does all the cleaning while she is at school. I have taken away all her toys, the TV, her crayons and paper, playing outside, reading and anything else I can think of. None of those make a difference to her. She still throws stuff around, yells and screams, hits and fights with everyone. There is nothing else. She literally spends days at a time grounded to her bed for her bad behavior. Just now when she was supposed to be doing her homework she colored all over the wall with her pencil then blamed her 1 year old sister. She colored all over her sister's bed, on her jeans, her shoes, the walls of her room. She won't stop since there are no consequences that mean anything to her. Everything has already been taken away. She doesn't care that her brother and sister get to do things that she doesn't. Well she does care because she screams about it not being fair but she still won't do her chores. She just says that it is my fault she can't clean her room and that I'm not fair and that she hates me. Every day she says she will get her stuff done before dinner. Then when it is dinner time she promises to do it as soon as she is done eating but as soon as she is done eating she has no reason to clean up. What else can I do to her after she eats? She has the only thing she wants: food. Send her to bed early? So what, you can't force her to go to sleep and I can't keep her brother and sister out of the room so she always has someone to play with. They were up until my husband got home at 9:30 tonight and she has to be up at 7am. Another day of her barely able to keep her eyes open. I just don't know what else to do. She has no respect for any adults. I mean, she even drew all over my dad's walls while we were visiting. So because of her coloring on all the walls I have to take the crayons away from all the kids. They are always being punished because of her. Like not being able to go to the park or play outside or watch movies or do anything fun because I can't let them do those things and stop her at the same time. I am bored with life now. We spend every single day in the house doing nothing because of her. I hate to say it but she ruins every single day that I plan. We went to the zoo last week and she whined and cried the whole time and drove us nuts. her feet hurt and she was hungry and she didn't want to go see that animal and she wanted to buy that and etc etc. It was awful. No one had any fun. We have gotten to the point that we plan to do stuff as a family while she is in school because at least we can enjoy things then. I am just so tired of her. I can barely stand to be in a room with her most days because all she does is whine about everything. If she doesn't get to choose what show to watch she throws a tantrum. If someone is using the crayon she wants then she throws a tantrum, takes the crayon and hits whoever has the crayon. If I don't make what she wants for dinner she screams at me. She refuses to eat anything I make anymore. She tells me that she doesn't like what I made even if she just ate it last week. She isn't abused and she isn't neglected, although she seems to think she is. She is just spoiled. She even told me she was a brat. She was kind of proud of it, like it was something cool to be a brat and get what she wanted. She controls everything that happens in the house. It's not like I can take the other kids and leave her home because my husband works from noon until 9:30. I am alone with them all day. I take the younger kids to the park when it is nice and when she gets home she throws a fit because she didn't get to go. I tried taking them out to play while she finished her chores but she just stood there screaming at us. I can't leave them out alone to deal with her so we either listen to her scream or we all go inside (which is usually what happens). I am seriously at a loss. I am so tired and stressed. Between her and my one year old who is just being a normal clingy toddler I want to pull my hair out. I spend all my time dealing with those two. I never have time for my 4 and 5 year olds. Things were so much easier when they were babies. She was a perfect angel when she was 2. never once had a tantrum. Then she turned 3. I thought it was a phase she would grow out of but she gets worse every year. She throws more tantrums them my other two combined when they were toddlers. I have to physically dress her in the morning because she doesn't like the clothes that SHE picked out the night before even after I informed her there is no changing her mind. She refuses to bathe. If I force her into the bath or shower she makes herself throw up. She won't brush her teeth or brush her hair. She wears the same clothes over and over even when I tell her to take them off so I can wash them. When I finally got her to give them to me she screamed the next day before school because she wanted to wear those jeans. It is insane. I am told that she is an angel in school. She never talks out, always listens and is cooperative and quiet. I asked her how come she can behave in school and pick up there and she said because other people help her and she doesn't have to listen at home. She acts like no one helps her. Problem is no one wants to help her anymore because her idea of us helping her is us doing all the work while she wanders around the house putting one or two things away. She can spend 15 minutes cleaning and only put 4 or 5 things away because she will only pick up 1 thing at a time. Oh, and now she lies. She flat out lied about writing on the wall. She tells me she cleaned her room but when I tell her I'm going to go check and start to get up she runs off because she knows it isn't done. She knows right from wrong but doesn't care because no punishment means anything to her, not even a spanking. Means nothing. I give up. She's going to spend half the summer with my sister in law because I can't take it anymore. I want one summer where we can enjoy doing things outside. Where I don't have to listen to her whine and scream at me for hours on end.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Apr 07
Mom of four... I hear your overwhelming frustration and resentment of your oldest child. I'm not suggesting that what you feel is wrong or that you shouldn't feel the way you do. Feelings aren't right or wrong, they are just feelings, and I can sympathize with your plight. I'm not suggesting, either, that she is abused or neglected, however, some of her behaviors are typically seen in children who have been sexually abused, specifically refusing to bathe, lying, etc. Again, I am not suggesting she has been or is being abused, but it may be something to take into consideration. I hear your frustration in trying to deal with the behaviors, but sometimes you have to reach beyond the behaviors to get to the root of the behaviors. Your daughter is acting out for a reason. It could be an abuse response, it could be an autism issue, Asperberger's issue, or any number of things. When traditional interventions don't seem to work such as taking away toys or privileges, I think it's time to call in an expert such as a therapist or counselor. If your community has a local community mental health center, you may even be able to get some services at little or no cost. If you have insurance, you may want to look into a private therapist. It's obvious to me that you're having a relationship problem with your daughter for some reason. Finding outside sources of help doesn't mean you are not a good mother. If anything, it would mean you love your daughter enough to get her some seriously needed help. But let me ask you another question... What if she was being abused by someone? Do you think you always know when abuse occurs? I can tell you, that's not always the case. And she wouldn't necessarily tell you it was happening, either. Again, I suggest these things as someone who works in the field of child protection. It's not that far-fetched. Wouldn't it be better to know what's really going on so the issue can be addressed and find a solution instead of trying to keep a Band-Aid on a gaping wound? Furthermore, why cause your other three children to suffer because your oldest daughter is having some serious behavioral issues? It's not fair to them, it's not fair to you or your husband, and it is most certainly not fair to her. You asked what else I would suggest... Call for some outside help. If you have done everything you know to do, and nothing is working... make the call before you lose your daughter for good. Best of luck to you and your family.
• United States
12 Apr 07
Wow to get her to put up her clothes away!! The homework though i think i would have helped her with. We allways sit down together to do homework in our family. I think all kids have problems with picking up there toys. I usually tell them there fav. toy is being taken away if they dont clean. That seems to help. Its sad she didnt get to eat though. It would have probly helped with conentration on homework. I think in general it really depends on the maturety of they child upon what chores they should do. My 2child does way more than the first but he is also more mature. Dont be so hard on her. She really is trying to please you in her own way. Just remember there only kids .Good luck and have a great day
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
I tell them the same thing about their favorite toy. At first I told them I would take away the toys they didn't pick up but that wasn't motivation enough so I told them the first toy to go was their favorite. That resulted in 2 hours of crying from both girls and they lost their favorite toy for 3 days before they finally decided to clean up. The problem with the homework wasn't that she needed help, she just kept wandering off because she was bored. Homework is a breeze for her. Her homework from yesterday was spelling words 3 times each (12 words) and a small book (about 70 words long and way below her reading level) with a worksheet with 4 questions on it. Plus there were two worksheets on time and money that they most have done in school and I assumed she needed to do them at home but it wasn't specified. Her homework for today was spelling words written out using colors for consonants and vowels and a reading sheet (way too easy for her) and to read their story in her reader. Yesterday's homework would have taken her about 30 minutes normally. Today's homework usually takes her about 20 minutes. So about an hour to do it all with the extra worksheets but after 3 1/2 hours she still didn't have half of it done. She spent a good hour drawing a picture on the back of her paper listing her spelling words. She is just bored with school. She is in 1st grade but reads at a 4th grade level so the stuff they get is way too easy for her. Math is more trouble but she breezed through the money/time worksheets she had today.
2 people like this
@Caila611 (992)
• United States
12 Apr 07
she sounds like she is having a very hard time focusing on the issues at hand. Does she do her homework in a quiet room without siblings and distractions like tv and radio? My daughter had a HUGE problem with doing her homework too. She would get up and play with stuff and then go get something to eat then she would go to the bathroom and play in there for a while. I finally told her she had to do her homework in the dining room . I turned off the tv and the boys were not allowed to go in there for any reason. It worked! I have no problem with her getting her work done in 20 minutes or so every night! I do have the problem of gettine her to clean up her messes though. She doesn't care if I take all her stuff away. I can tell her she can't have her friends over, I can tell her no TV, no internet, no phone. Nothing works. If you come up with a solution. . .Let me know!
@Caila611 (992)
• United States
12 Apr 07
Maybe she has ODD? From what I have read she seems to have some of these symptoms! Do a search on it. Any site will list the patterns of children that are experiencing this particular disorder. Often I wonder the same thing with my Daughter. She simply does not care what is taken away, she destroys not only her stuff but ours as well. I know she has ADD and CAPD but The help she is getting at school doesn't seem to be enough. They suggested that maybe she has ODD and that I should follow up with her pediatrician. SHe has an appointment next friday!
2 people like this
12 Apr 07
I dont think it is unreasonable to have kids do chores but considering their age I do think you expect quite a lot of her. They are in school all day and need to be able to play and relax. I find that todays culture does expect children to do more and more at a very young age and they forget how important play time is for their development. Clearly if they can not get it done in time you are expecting more then they can cope with.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Apr 07
I actually feel today's society expects very little from children. 100 years ago my 6 year old would have been up at dawn helping the family prepare for the day. They had 10 times more chores back then and usually went to school, too (although, not always). They are simply responsible for their own self and their things. I don't see how that is too much for them.
@youdontsay (3503)
• United States
12 Apr 07
Your six year old may be very distractable. You will need to teach her to focus on one thing until she finishes it. Perhaps she can do her homework in a room alone, one with no tv or toys or siblings to distract her. When you say you are going to take away a toy you need to get rid of the toy! If they think they can always get it back later it doesn't matter to them. Eventually, when all the toys go to Goodwill or someplace and they aren't just replaced with new ones, they will have a consequence that is meaningful. The key is to find natural or logical consequences for their choices. And then stick to it. The stick to it is hard when there are four of them and one of you! It isn't easy juggling all you do. If you want her to obey you you'll have to be consistant with your consequences. Stand with her when she does her hygeine until she gets in the habit of doing it. I remember once when my daughter was little, pre-school, I sent her up to shower and get ready for bed. We had company and I could hear the shower running for a while then shut off. She came downstairs in her pajamas and I pulled her to me for a kiss goodnight when I noticed she didn't smell or feel like she'd been even wet, let alone washed. I marched her back up to the bathroom and told her she had to take a shower. She whined that she'd run out all the hot water and the water was cold. Too bad. She had to shower in cold water. That was the last time she pulled that on me. My company thought I was cruel to make her take a cold shower. But that was the natural consequences of her choice to let the water run until it was cold without getting in and washing. I don't envy you the task of raising four kids. I barely survived two!
• United States
12 Apr 07
The shower thing is something I would do, lol. I have to stand outside the shower to make sure she takes one and I still have to wash her hair for her. I have a hard time actually getting rid of the toys since we spent a lot of money we didn't have to get them for birthdays and Christmas. I think we are still paying on most of the toys(bought them with credit cards for the holidays and stuff). Plus, she has 2 sisters that can use the stuff eventually. Well the 4 year old already plays with all the same toys but the 1 year old will eventually play with it and I don't want to re-buy everything for her because I had to get rid of it years earlier because of my oldest. But we also have no storage. The closets are tiny here and filled with boxes of clothes. My room is full of boxes, many of them have toys in them that I have taken away and I'm saving for when the baby is older now. We live in an apartment. She does her homework in the living room at the kiddie table. There is no where else to do it. This is the room I am in and, unfortunately, the baby, too. It is the only room the baby is allowed in when she is awake. The kitchen is on the other side of the apartment and we have no chairs for the kitchen table so she can't do it there. I can't keep her brother and sister away from her. They constantly follow me around the house and bug her. There is no privacy here. I suppose I could put her in my room with the door closed and she could lay on the floor and do it but if I'm not right there then she loses interest and plays (like drawing on the wall last night) and I can't be in my room watching her because then the other two get into trouble. I just can't watch 4 kids at one time so something has to give.
@Gemmygirl1 (2870)
• Australia
12 Apr 07
I think some times parents think it's ok to have a child do certain things at a certain time but you're expecting a lot & i DO NOT agree with taking food away from a child, that seems over the top & a little unfair. Oh & i don't understand why your 4 year old cant put her own clothes away if the 6 year old has THAT much homework to get done. I'd have thought school work would be a little more important that putting clothes away & if you make your 6 yr old have to clean her room before school - especially since YOU know her sister made the mess then that again is unfair. Especially if she has to do it all before getting Breakfast, what if she doesn't finish in time? Then she misses out on more food again & the most important meal of the day. I do agree with rules & such but i'd have thought the usual tidying of bedrooms & stuff would be more of a weekend thing & that school should be the main focus during the week with ALL meals every day. My family had rules, homework when we got home but a break from that to have dinner, we then did the dishes & finished our homework before we could watch any TV. Bedroom clean ups & such were a weekend thing. If it works for you then cool but you cant really think it's good or healthy to be allowing your children to go without meals just because of a chore - make them finish the chore after dinner coz kids need all the energy they can get! Good Luck!
• United States
12 Apr 07
Normally her sister puts away her own clothes. She had to do it this time since her sister cleaned the room earlier in the day. My oldest never cleans anything, that's the problem. She gets up at 7am and we leave the house at 7:50 to go to the bus stop. During that time she gets dressed and plays with her toys. She doesn't have to pick up before school. She eats once she is at school so she doesn't get breakfast at home. After I get back from taking her to the bus stop her sister straightens up any mess they made that morning while I pour out the cereal then they eat and go play. Before lunch they again straighten up their room and then they make sandwiches (they love to make their own lunch so, unless, they need something cooked or the jelly opened I let them do it). The problem is when she gets home and gets her homework done (on a normal day) she refuses to do anything else. Before dinner they are supposed to straighten up again so that the mess doesn't get huge but she says it isn't her mess since she wasn't home all day and won't clean any of it up. Technically it is true since the 4yo already picked up any mess the 6yo might have left but I think it is fair that she have to help at least once in the day but she doesn't see it that way. But, then again, even when she does make the mess she still says it isn't fair for her to have to pick it up. Last summer we spent 8 weeks at my dad's house helping him recover from a heart attack. The middle 2 kids spent 2 weeks at my in-laws house. The day they came home I told her to make sure her room was cleaned up because it was a disaster. I had already picked it up for her twice while she was playing at a friend's house. I got back from getting the other two and of course the place was still a disaster (every toy was on the floor--she had just had a birthday so she had a bunch of stuff and her clothes were strewn all over the room--dirty and clean so I couldn't tell which was which) and I tell her she needs to clean it up before the pizza arrived. She had about an hour to pile her dirty clothes in one corner, collect her clean clothes and put them back in her book bag and gather her toys in another corner. What she did was scream that it wasn't fair and that her sister should help her. Her sister hadn't been there in 2 weeks so didn't even touch that stuff but she demanded that she help her and when I told her she could do it herself she threw a tantrum, screamed at me, hit me and said she hated me and her sister and slammed the door. She never did clean up her room and ended up having all her new birthday toys taken away. I don't like taking her meals away. I prefer her to eat with us. It is a last resort, not an every day thing. I have tried to let them finish the chores after dinner but as soon as she is done eating she has no reason to pick up any more so she does nothing. She got what she wanted--dinner--so why clean up? That is how she works. She promises me all the time that if she can have lunch or dinner or whatever then afterwards she will finish her chores and I almost always give in and then once she is done eating and I tell her to go finish she just says she doesn't feel like it now and goes off to play until the next meal. That is usually when she misses the next meal because she tries to pull it again and I won't go for it. Yesterday was a special circumstance but the reasoning for all that went on was because of her attitude before she left for school. she was already in trouble before she got home and homework and chores with no play time was her punishment. I can't help it if she screwed around for 4 hours doing her homework so that she missed dinner. She would have been up until 9 or 10 still doing homework if she stopped to eat (and that's without doing the clothes). If she would have just finished her homework instead of playing with the baby and drawing on the wall and drawing a picture then she would have ate and she could have done the clothes today. But she didn't care about that. She wants to do things her way and only her way. I'm not trying to be mean with her. I'm trying to teach her that there are consequences to her actions which she does not comprehend. I tell her point blank that if she does not do X then she does not get Y. But when she doesn't do X she screams because she can't have Y and then says it's all my fault that she didn't do X or that she can't have Y. She doesn't see that it was her own fault. The other kids seem to understand this and they are younger then her.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Apr 07
i think it depends on the child I know that for my grandaughter yes it would be to much she has adhd and has a hard time completing anything with out help but i know some kids that is her same age that can complete what you have said with no problem Thats one thing many parents find it hard to understand how each child can be so different
2 people like this
@cjthedog64 (1553)
• United States
12 Apr 07
Sounds like you have your hands full! I don't think your expectations are unreasonable, but maybe the method just isn't right for your daughter. I know with my kids, if we give them a deadline, they never finish. But if we just let them do it, it's quick. The homework sounds like she really isn't interested because she's not being challenged. Maybe talk to the teacher to find out if there's something extra she could do instead of what everyone else does. So instead of reading a little book, let her read a book on her level and do a poster on it or something. Something that won't bore her so much. Or if the teacher won't do that, you can assign her something fun like that. As for the chores, I'm not sure what to suggest, but there must be something easier. Losing what isn't put away maybe? Good luck with that. With 4 kids, you really want to keep things on schedule as they get older. Good luck!!!
2 people like this
@SpitFire179 (2536)
• Canada
12 Apr 07
I don't think these rules are too harsh, though just in my opinion, and I'm not judging you at all, please don't take this the wrong way, i do understand your reasoning, i would never take away food, because it's extremely necessary for them to have as much to eat as they want because of their development needs... Anyway one thing that i found worked really well for me - i raised my brothers and sisters, - 5 of them - Is to make their chores fun, they were extremely difficult children, and it took everything i had to make it work, they were all close together, a year or less, and were temper mental beyond the 'norm' they either screamed, threw stuff, kicked and abused everyone and everything in their path, or they would sneak off when another one caused an issue, what's hardest is when all 5 of them go at it all at once, and that happened several times. So i learned to make games out of it, sing alongs while the clean up was happening, and also had them do things together, helping eachother out, now don't get me wrong, sometimes that was a hassle too, as they would fight together, but if i had a prize for the fastest cleaner upper, or some kind of awesome game planned for before bed, they would do their work better than expected. They didn't have much to do either, clean up their toys in their bedrooms and the living room, have their homework done on time, make sure there were no clothes on the floor, all the laundry had to be put in the hamper, things like that, it works well if it's fun, especially when their tiny like that, and a lot of times, they need something to look forward to. I also sang to them every night, and i write a lot, they always wanted to hear me read them something i wrote, so that helped them get it done, if it was too late by the time they got into bed, they wouldn't get that special song or story read to them. This worked till the day i moved out, and at that time, the oldest was 13. also, just an idea, but maybe try giving them something 'special' that they have to learn to be responsible for, if they do all their chores for a certain period of time, it doesn't have to be a pet, can be anything, but i've noticed that kids just love that short of thing, and it teaches them a lot more than just that they have to do something. I also explained to the kids every day why things needed to get done, without that, they just hated doing it because they didn't know why.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
Just yesterday my 4 year old asked me if they could race to see who picked up the most (between her and her brother). I looked at her like, "why are you asking me?" I have told them that before. To quick, hurry and see who gets done first but then they get upset if they don't "win". They drive me crazy It's not like we starve her. The no dinner thing doesn't happen often. They aren't expected to make their room spotless to get their dinner. I just expect some effort. If they show that they tried to clean up then they eat. But she doesn't even try half the time. With her it is more about defiance. She openly defies us by refusing to do anything we ask and that is what gets her in trouble. And she rubs off on her brother and sister. When she isn't home the other two hurry and get their tidying up done before lunch with no problems. They don't whine and cry and do a better job then when she is around. When she is home they hear her whining and getting away with stuff so they do it too and then they all end up in trouble. They won't pick up unless she does because otherwise it isn't fair. I tried to explain to them that she is the one that will get in trouble and miss out on whatever fun things I have planned while they get to do it for finishing their chores but they are only 4 and 5 and they don't get it. Bedtime is a whole other issue. She refuses to go to bed when we tell her. Her bedtime used to be 8pm but she would stay up until 10 or 11 playing and talking and keeping her sister awake then be exhausted in the morning, which the teacher blamed on poor parenting. Like I can force her to go to sleep. We tried moving her bedtime to later, thinking she wasn't tired at 8pm. that resulted in her staying up even later--until 11 or midnight and being even more tired. So we moved her bedtime to 7pm. She is usually asleep by 9 or 10 now but she is still tired every day. Which I think causes a lot of the problems. She is cranky and whiny because she is so tired but she hasn't napped since she was 2 and no matter how tired she is she will not take a nap. I have seen her with blood shot eyes, dark circles under her eyes and unable to keep her eyes half open but if I tell her to take a nap she says she isn't tired and refuses to lay down. She won't even sleep in the car (the others are out within 30 minutes of starting a car ride even if they just got up from a nap, lol). She makes me feel tired just looking at her.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Apr 07
My 7 year old and my 5 year old have to clean up as well, and my 7 year old has homework almost every day. I have her in after school activities to help her with her homework, and it does help on some days, but not all. There is a reason why schools give the children 2 days to finish their work from a day of missed classes, so maybe having her do it all in one night was a bit too much, especially if she'd just gotten over truly being sick. My kids have to pick up periodically instead of all at one time, so that there's less to pick up before bedtime. I don't make them miss dinner due to not having things done, because children need the nourishment provided in the food, and sometimes being hungry can put them in bad moods and make it harder to get them to do things. I'm not saying that my kids are angels-far from it. I have to fight with the older one to get her homework done usually, and she pulls the same things your 6 year old was doing. They need outlets after sitting in school for so long every day. Maybe a good suggestion would be to allow them all to have half an hour after school to play, then settle down and get to their work. Give them a break, as they -are- only children, and too much discipline is bad for them. They need to be able to be children, instead of being made to be little adults. They don't have the mentality for that, and won't for many years to come. Let them be little, don't make them grow up too soon, or they'll miss out on things that they need when they're this age, to be better able to grow up properly.
• United States
12 Apr 07
Her teacher told her she had to have the homework done tonight. Maybe because it is a shortened week. Don't know. She wasn't sick. She missed school because she was tired. We were all tired. We spent Easter in Chicago and got delayed when we tried to leave on Monday and didn't get home until almost midnight. We were all exhausted on Tuesday and she threw a tantrum because she didn't have a pair of jeans to wear to school and I was way too tired to deal with her. She pulled the same thing today but I had a little more rest last night so I dressed her myself and dragged her to the bus stop. I understand she is wound up from school but we tried to let her relax after school. But 30 minutes led to 60 to 2 hours, etc. She refused to sit back down to do her homework so now she has to do it first thing. Quicker she gets it done the quicker she can go play. Normally she loves homework and does it real fast but she was tired today since she didn't go to sleep until after 10pm last night and was up at 7am (she still needs 12 hours of sleep a night but doesn't get it). I don't know what else to do except take meals away. If I let her eat before she finishes her chores she has no motivation at all to do them. There is nothing I can take away from her that will make her clean up or put her clothes away. There is nothing I can bribe her with to make her do her chores. She just flat out refuses to do them and she ruins every meal and every holiday and every trip we take with her attitude. She pretty much ruined Easter dinner. She threw a fit as soon as she saw her plate of food and started screaming that she doesn't like ham and wouldn't eat it and stormed off. My husband dragged her back downstairs and made her sit at the table where she whined and cried through the whole thing. She threw a fit on her sister's 4th birthday so bad she had my 4 year old in tears. Great memories to have. She did the same thing on her sister's 3rd birthday, too--demanding that her sister turn over her new toys to her because it wasn't fair that she didn't get something (not that she ever shares her new stuff with her brother and sister). I try to reward the other kids when they do good so she can see they get something but she doesn't care. She gets grounded to her room while they get to watch a movie on TV. She doesn't care since I can't see her form the living room she just plays or reads a book.
2 people like this
@sloth456 (25)
12 Apr 07
I'm sorry - I'm holding back a lot of insults here, but basically I think you're far too demanding of your children, has it ever occured to you that perhaps by showing your kids love through playing games with them you would gain enough respect for them to think its fair to do a little here and there for you. At the moment it seems all you're doing is taking away priviliges and punishing them so that they bend to your will. In the real world people only give you something if you've given them something, you need to show them this by rewarding them for stuff they've done well of there own will. You may think, 'well, I give them everything, a place to stay and sleep and enough food' - but at their age its unlikely that they'll understand or even care. Show them a lot more love (obviously don't spoil them) and they'll be more likely to see it your way.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Apr 07
I have four kids too, including a six year old. The difference between us is that my six year old is the youngest and all my other kids are quite a bit older than yours. My best advice is to try different things with different kids. They each have unique personalities and respond differently to different methods. I don't want to sound unkind, but I do think this is too harsh, especially the skipping meals. Children (especially young children) need to eat, and you could end up being accused of child abuse or neglect. Parents have had children taken away for less, and withholding food is a big no-no. It also sounds like your daughter is a bit overwhelmed (and you are too). After a full day of school and two days worth of homework hanging over her head, it sounds like too much. Personally, I would have avoided assigning further chores, (since I believe homework is more important) and clearly she needed a break, which is why she kept stopping. I probably would have had my daughter do one assignment, take a little break, do another, etc. Again, not to be unkind, but it sounds like you are trying too hard to control their every move, and trust me, that is going to end being as frustrating to you as it is to the kids. Pick your battles. Be less rigid. Give everybody a break. You might want to extend your oldest daughter's bedtime to 7:30 on days like the one you described, since it's nearly impossible to get everything done and get into bed in 3.5 hours, especially after a long day at school. It seems very demanding. I understand that you don't want to let your kids run wild -I don't let mine- but it just seems to me that you're trying too hard. I say that because I used to try too hard, and I've found that trying to be a perfectionist is SO not worth it. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, not your home, not your kids... so try to ease up and give yourself and your kids a break. They are very young and they need at least some time to just be kids. They'll be grown soon enough, and you'll wish you could things over. Best wishes.
• Philippines
12 Apr 07
im not yet married, and dont have kids or younger siblings, but i have lots and lots younger nephews and nieces about your kids' age. in my opinion, you should train them step by step. let them enjoy the cleaning and all the chores, slowly with responsibility. the younger they are, the more they think of playing. give them time to play and time for the chores, or maybe let them do it right after the other. it can also help if you give them small tokens for all the chores they will be able to do.
2 people like this