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Chores or no chores?

Annoyed_'s picture

SS9 has a set of chores in our household. He has a list of them on the fridge, he can check them off for each day when they are completed. Once he completes them all for that day, he can use his screens (he earns screen time when he brings home good grades on his homework and tests.) His chores are simple, feed the cat, change liter box, make bed, pack or put away school bag, do your homework. He has a hard time focusing, but all in all, these shouldn't take more than 10 minutes a day outside the homework. We added some stuff in there like "do something kind for someone" and "ask dad for a chore" and most of the time that ends up being help dad take out the trash. The rest of his day is up to him or facetiming with his mom during her scheduled times/days (see my previous blog for that nonsense.)  

On the flip side, when he's with his mom, he has no chores. He is not responsible for his school bag, making a bed, or taking care of any animals. His mother does not let him sit on screens, but she doesn't give him any responsibilites either. She does it for him. I am not sure if it's because it's easy to just do it for him instead of waiting on him, or if thinks he's too young for chores. We have told him that in our household, we have these chores for a reason. He's been trying to be a lot more independent lately, and we told him if he wants to be treated like a big kid, then he has to do his part. 

Is this a lot to ask of a 9 year old? I feel like it's not much. My partner used to scrub floors, wash dishes, and work a farm in the summers at age 9. I used to have to clean the house and take care of all the pets in the home before I could go play (granted my mom was working full time as are we.) 

What do you think is fair? We're trying to teach responsibility and autonomy. 


tog redux's picture

No, it's not a lot to ask from him. But you can expect BM to tell him that it is, or at least give him that message by not making him do anything.  Nothing you can do about that, but it will be a major issue when he's an adolescent.

Cover1W's picture

I gave up on chores entirely.  My SDs had NONE and still have none.  So I am of no use other than to give input that it's impossible to institute them if your DH isn't supportive of them.  If your DH is, great!  Set the rules for your house.  Ignore BM's house situtation. 

Annoyed_'s picture

We both shares the same values, and chores are a part of that, thankfully! 

Siemprematahari's picture

Is this a lot to ask of a 9 year old?

In my opinion its not a lot to ask, they are simple chores that he can complete easily and quickly. Don't concern yourself with what BM does or doesn't allow him to do at her house. Just focus on him doing what is asked at your home and hopefully it will teach him some responsibility and consistency.

Annoyed_'s picture

yeah - SS is always throwing stuff our way like "well at my mom's i dont have to...." and i know this is going to be a thing, but now im wondering what others feel about this for a boy his age. I don't think it's a lot, it's structured, and I know some people are not about that life. 

Siemprematahari's picture

When SS says "well at my mom's i dont have to" your H has to tell him "well this isn't your moms house". Plain & simple and say it with a smile Biggrin

Monkeysee's picture

It’s not a lot to ask, but I also know how impossible it is to get a kid who’s used to having everything done for them to do it themselves. I was expected to do chores from a much younger age than 9, and will expect my kid to pitch in around the house too. 

I lived with a bf years ago whose mommee did everything for him growing up and it was HORRIBLE. He was the laziest, most useless slob ever. The house was always a disaster. I vowed after moving out/breaking up that I’d never do everything for my kids & hold them to higher standards. Kids aren’t just kids, they’re mini adults in training.

You can’t control what BM does, but if your DH is onside I’d keep the chores going at your place. If DH isn’t onside or enforcing them & it’s being put all on you, then not your kid not your problem. My kid will have a lot more responsibilities than my skids do, I’ve given up trying with them for the most part. 

ESMOD's picture

You know it's not a lot to ask.. you know that giving him age appropriate responsibility is important and sets a good basis for his future behaviors.  You know that just doing everything for a kid is almost crippling because as a parent you can't be there forever.

But, this is not an issue to take up with BM.  Her rules, her house.  BUT.. DH's house.. DH's RULES. 

But I don't have to...  "Well here you do.. just the way it goes bucko"  We think it's important for you to learn responsiblity and you are old enough to be trusted to do things.  So, when you are here.. you do these things.. everyone in a family has to do chores.. things we don't like, but that's part of life.


Annoyed_'s picture

Correct - we can’t be there forever - his BM might disagree lol - but 100 times yes! Each house has their own rules!!

ndc's picture

I don't think it's a lot to ask at all, and I don't think it matters a bit what BM has him do or does for him at her house.  At 9 he's old enough to understand the difference between mom's house and dad's house and the rules and responsibilities at each house.

Cbarton12's picture

It's not a lot to ask. Those are fairly simple chores that will show him responsibility. If he's with you the majority of the time, then it really doesn't matter what goes on at BMs. 

Kids should start getting simple chores I think even as early as 6 or 7. And let their responsibility increase as they get older. 

TrueNorth77's picture

Same exact situation here. SD9 and SS13 have chores with us (1 measly chore each Mon-Thurs, with SS occasionally mowing the lawn in summer on wknds), and zero chores or responsibility at Crazy's. She does everything for them as well- I am almost positive they don't even have to do basics like rinse out dishes or pick up their own trash, which they do by us. They don't love it of course, but they do it without arguing....arguing would be futile anyway, we have made it clear we will not budge. They also do their own laundry a lot, and honestly that's not even a chore we make them do, they just kind of started doing laundry on their own after we showed them how once (My SO does it otherwise). Crazy tells skids that we are lazy and that's why we make them do chores, but they know that all of their friends have chores as well, so they don't pay much attention.

The point is, they are capable of all of this and more- stay firm in your rules....I really believe that you are helping him, where BM is hindering him. How will he learn responsibility, and even to do basic household stuff if no one makes him do it? They need to learn early on that everyone helps out, there are no free rides. My SO and I feel proud of the hard work we had to do as kids- there's nothing wrong with giving kids that feeling too. Also, just this wknd I told skids that once a month they can find a recipe and cook dinner. SD was thrilled and made dinner last night on her own (with my help)...SS is less than thrilled, but I think it's important they learn to cook some things. SS is babysitting age and part of that is making food for SD and kids he watches.  


Annoyed_'s picture

These are the kinds of things that warm my heart - kids cooking for their parents and contributing! Food always tastes better when you care! And when you don’t, like SS, at least their learning what cooking is all about. I love the laundry thing - i was the same way. I just sort of decided to do it myself as a kid, my mom didn’t have time to wash my favorite shirt all the dang time! 

Crazymess's picture

He is old enought to do all those basic chores you listed. He might not like it but stick to your guns and hopefully your DH backs you up. My youngest 10 does her own laundry along with other chores. I tell her that as long as you are part of this family this is what is expected from you as this is how we live. My older kids used to complain to their friends and then they realized that they too have chores and it's not something completely out of this world to have chores.

Annoyed_'s picture

Everyone makes solid points and thanks for feedback! I really appreciate it. My SO totally backs me up and agrees with chores - his mom made him and his sisters do plenty of chores and today they’re hardworking, grateful, grounded adults who also make their kids do chores. This is why I am sort of shocked that SS has zero responsibilities when he’s with his mother - I pack his lunch everyday and I thought that was babying him, but then I was like no - he’s still not there’s yet. We go slow.
I have to assume BM didn’t have chores when she was a child so having her own son do chores is crazy? Who knows.

Today SS told his dad “My friends don’t have to do chores ! Why do I‽” 1. I highly doubt that buddy 2. If that’s true, there’s going to be a lot of men out there making messes out of their future homes and being slobs :(

SS is a sweet kid, we’d like him to be able to take care of himself when he’s an adult.

Clipper's picture

 I'm in the exact same situation and the boys mom lets them get away with murder on the chores and I used to pick up after them but now I just leave it. How do I feel about it I don't like it and I'm not going to take it anymore but the problem is I'm not willing to take the first step and just say this is not working because if I don't do something this marriage is going to turn out just like the first.

snics19's picture

Same at my house, you're not alone. At BM house SD is catered to and doesnt do chores. At our house when asked to chores she will do them but not without complaints. Its infuriating especially when the chores consist of feeding and caring for the horse she is very lucky to have. Sometimes I think this is a generational thing, cuz wow.. I had to do ALOT of chores as a kid. I did not have the opportunity to do the awesome and expensive hobbies my kids do. If I mouthed off as a kid I got the bar of soap or the wooden spoon across the ass! I agree tho keep giving them chores it'll make them better adults and hopefully someday they'll thank us..just maybe