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Chore Wars

borrowedtime83's picture

This could get long, so my apologies in advance-
We have 2 kids living with us pretty much full time (1 step, 1 bio) and they seem to think that they are being treated as slaves, especially SD13.
First of all, they are PAID for anything they do that doesn't involve picking up after themselves. (They are not paid for cleaning up their own junk or their personal laundry.) Chores assigned are mostly limited to helping with dishes, tidying one small bathroom, occasionally sweeping, crushing aluminum cans, or taking out trash. That's it. Let me also add that we are a family of 4 with a dishwasher, dinner is usually a one-pan meal, and everyone busses their own plates, so dishes is really washing a pan or two and running and unloading dishwasher.
I am able to do any and all chores within 5-10 minutes tops. The complaining and arguing takes longer than anything else.
They also seem to think that they shouldn't have to do anything WITHOUT pay. If you ask them to do something simply to help out, they typically refuse.
I don't know what to do with this, because my parents would never have stood for it. When I was 13, I was cooking meals, babysitting my 4 younger siblings, and doing most of the family's laundry in addition to my schoolwork and dishes and "normal" chores. I didn't get to eat if I didn't pull my weight. (I realize this is not an option- simply stating what my parents did)I was also expected to do this for free to benefit the family. I did not receive a regular allowance. Maybe once a month, if I had done everything that I was supposed to, dad would give me a $10 or 20 bill on his payday, IF they had it to spare.
The thing that irritates me the most is that they don't want to pitch in or even try to earn their own money, but every time there is an activity or a fee to be paid or something to be bought, they expect us to just fork over the cash. "IT'S ONLY $60!!!" Really, are you kidding me?? (Or they "threaten" to just go ask the O.P.)
Or are we just a-holes to expect our kids to do anything?
We can't even take their electronics away because they claim to need them "for schoolwork". SD also claims that it is impossible for her to complete homework and do her one chore between the hours of 3pm and 9:30 pm and that we are ridiculous for not letting her keep her laptop in her room all night to "finish" (Sidenote, she was caught both playing computer games and talking on her cell phone during "homework" time, so we are pretty sure that time management is her issue)
I am getting tired of doing everyone else's work so that my home doesn't turn into a sh%$ hole, and turning out my pockets to hand out $ left and right. I did truly believe that what we gave them to do was age appropriate and fair.

Tomatoe's picture

Why are you listening to children? LOL Stop. Do what you want and institute your rules. You are the parents!!

ESMOD's picture

Alrighty then... these kids have your

If you and your DH are on the same page with BOTH kids, then you need to present the united front and have consequences.

Tell them that everyone in a family has a job and contributes for the common good. You and your DH go to work even though there are LOTS of things you would rather do with your time. You cook too and run errands etc... Their job ask kids is to go to school, and do a few chores around the house. In exchange, you let them live.. I mean.. you provide them with what they "need to survive".

So, there are routine chores that they WILL do and not for any specific compensation.. this includes things like keeping their rooms and bathroom they use clean and helping with dinner dishes or light housekeeping or outside chores.

Tell them that ON OCCASION, you will ask them to do bigger more time consuming tasks and for those you may decide to pay them some amount of money. If they want something extra in the money department... they can ask for one of those chores. All you are going to pay for are REQUIRED school trip fees. If they want extras, they can earn them.

As to consequences... well here is where sometimes it sucks to be the parent and the punishment ends up punishing you too. Oh... you need your electronic for homework? No problem, bring it in here and I will sit with you while I watch you do your homework... If I see you on any other snapchattery/tweeter.. or whatever.. you will earn yourself an additional day of "no electronics". BTW.. that will mean your phones will stay with me during the day while you are at school etc..

Other consequences? Well, reduction/elimination of allowance.. grounding from some acctivity the wanted to do etc... Again, sometimes it means more work for these to be enforced.. but parenting is not for the faint of heart.

borrowedtime83's picture

I, to be brutally honest, do not care that they don't like or want to do chores. I do things all day everyday that I don't want to do, and so does my SO.
The problem is, that she goes and whines to BM and MIL about all above things, and then they reinforce that by telling her that she is right, and her schoolwork is the most important thing, and daddy and BT are horrible people to make her "clean up after us"
I totally get that they have been getting away with murder. I also know that BM and MIL being turds is not an awesome excuse to be lax. I also know, that I am always afraid of being an "abusive" or unfair parent because of A.) How my parents raised me, that's all I know. B.)There is a kid living in the house that isn't mine, which automatically puts everything I do into question.
The other day SD had the nerve to say that it was our responsibility to do everything because she didn't choose to be born, and if we felt differently we could just send her to live with BM full-time.

ESMOD's picture

Get your DH to put his mom in check.

Tell the little princess that even though you didn't ask to be born still pay taxes. And.. yes... school work comes first. If she has a particularly pressing assignment, then it would be ok to let her work on that.. (in the kitchen while you watch that she is actually doing said work).

borrowedtime83's picture

I wish getting his mom in check was possible! Short of a restraining order, it appears we are stuck with her opinion as well as BM's. After SO and BM got divorced,and I came into the picture, I started encouraging him to assert himself to MIL and things changed on our end.(Plus, made myself the enemy to boot) This is when MIL decided to put her hatred for BM aside and became her BFF. She now will vouch that this woman who abandoned her kid at age 3 on Mother's Day is the MOTY. BM and MIL hang out all the time, and she takes SD13 typically only when BM has her. I rarely ever see the lady, yet I hear her opinions coming out of SD13's mouth constantly.

ESMOD's picture

Well... tell the girl that no judge is going to take a child from her home because her parents make her do ...gasp... chores.

My SD's have had to do all sorts of unpleasant tasks... among them.

1. Help hold a goat so my DH could sew up the scrotum that a dog ripped.
2. Unstack rocks the size of a softball when DH's dump truck got stuck building a road.
3. Haul 50 pound bags of cement in a wheelbarrow.
4. Clean and set up for his cruiseboat business.
5. sand/paint on various boats.
6. Help build various structures.

All for "no pay".. and you know what?? they survived.

mommadukes2015's picture

SS would say "my mom thinks..." when he was with us on the weekends before he lived with us full time. I on numerous occasions told him that "I don't care, this is not your mom's house. And if she would like to discuss it she knows where to find me-feel free to remind her of that."

Having expectations of your kids is not abuse.

mommadukes2015's picture

The tail is wagging the dog at this point.

In our house SS is not allowed on electronics until his chores are done and if he's caught sneaking before (which he has done), OH. 3 weeks banned from gaming systems and padlocks go on the TV prongs for the night. And bedtime becomes 8:30 for the remainder of the week. SS does not get an allowance because we do expect him to participate in certain household chores as a member of this household. Anything beyond that is a $2 per chore.

This is something we take pretty seriously. Since we have custody of SS I refuse to raise a child who is helpless and will become a burden on someone else someday. SO is so good about being clean, that any ex of mine pales in comparison. Also, this is where work ethics get established, better to imprint it on their brains now, than later.

You can put parental controls on the electronics and "homework" can be done in a common area of the home where you can supervise it. Your life will be hellish for a while, but if you grin and bear it you'll save a headache later.

If they refuse to do their part then you refuse to do yours (this won't be fun) that means no extra $ for jack and they can figure out how to do their own laundry, buy their own soap and make their own dinner. AND if they make your life any harder when they have to do these things for themselves out of spite, return the favor. When my sister was 12 my mom did this to her, she made a sandwich for dinner and made a huge mess in the process. My mom then refused to let her use the silverware she left all over or any of the kitchen appliances she to make her dinner. After 2 nights of chips on a paper towel she got the picture.

Trap's picture

Our kids do homework in either the kitchen or living room. When they are done with homework and ready for bed the electronics get plugged in and left in the kitchen till the next day. My oldest is 16, he hates this rule. But I've told him before, you don't sleep sound when you hear your phone notifications going off all hours of the night.
And as far as "chores". I tell my kids this, the floor isn't dirty just from me, the bathrooms didn't get dirty just from me, the laundry was not all worn by me. Why the hell would I do all the cleaning? They need responsibility. Nobody is going to pay them to clean their own homes when they are older so why would you pay them now? Is someone paying you to cook and clean?
If you are taking care of their basic needs, food, shelter, clothing, school. Then just having the electronics is payment enough for them to do the "chores" around the home. And who pays for the WiFi? The groceries? The gas to run them here and there? Tell them that $60 will come in real handy when the car needs new tires and so on.

notasm3's picture

Close your wallets and tell them (all - Skids, BM, MIL and any one else you feel the need to silence) to STFU (in age appropriate terms).

Rags's picture

Kids dont get opinions they get told. If they refuse, they experience unpleasantly escalating consequences. The next refusal, whine, or bitch from them.. shut off the wifi and their phones. Another bitch, refusal, or whine and they lose the door to their bedroom, another and they lose their bed, another and they lose their clothes with the exception of a single set of under clothes and a pair of GoodWill cover-alls and a pair of rubber shower shoes....see how they like consequences for refusal Vs compensation for compliance.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Zero tolerance and bring the pain (consequences). Many kids respond to pain far more readily than many respond to reason.

DaniAM73's picture

Rags can you visit me for a weekend and enforce these rules? I will make the pay worth it.