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Chores - Should stepkids do chores?

sshoho's picture

Should stepkids do chores if they are visiting only for a short period? If so, how tough are you with enforcing them? It would be a shame to ground them for not doing something if their visit is only a week.

I hate this stuff. If they were my kids, they would do chores.

Shopaholic's picture

Yes, they need to be taught responsibility on both sides, they should not think one place is all fun and the other place is the strict house.

I really wish BM would enforce this, but she doesn't.

Imustbcrazy's picture

At least a small chore, let them know that is also their house... and they need to contribute to keeping it clean. Maybe taking out the trash or something depending on age. For sure keeping their own rooms clean. You don't want to spend the little time you do have with them making themslave over cleaning stuff that they didn't have a part in messing. But they need to feel that that is THEIR home too. A sense of ownership I guess. I dunno, we have 50/50 so maybe I am way off base here.

Daddys Gurl

It's Better To Have Loved And Lost, Than To Have Spent The Rest Of My Life With THAT PSYCHO!!!!

Stuck in the Middle's picture

But if they are with you for a short time, then I suggest giving them things that are manageable for them, and not overwhelming. It's better to teach kids small steps, rather than telling them to go clean their entire room and they look at you with that deer caught in the headlight look because think about when you have a messy house and how it feels to you to have to get in there and clean it. It's easier to take small steps all the time, rather than building it up. If it's total chaos, they have no idea where to start.

For example, I split up the room cleaning into sections. Today, we're going to spend 15 minuets picking up the floor. Make a game of it. Tomorrow, I may have them focus on the bookcase and desk. The next day, doing laundry, etc. I just break it up throughout the house, 15 minute segments, etc, and rotate it through the month. Does take a little first planning on your part, but once you get a routine down, it flows really well.

But if they complain because of the short bursts, than you have to buckle down, and I don't think grounding is very effective for SK's on short visit, instead you may have to look at other alternatives, such as taking away TV, PC privileges, etc.

Stuck in the Middle
I used to have a handle on life. Then it broke.

Persephone's picture

An annual week or three visit??? I would think that at 14 she could help with dinner setting table, clear table.. etc.. clean her room and take care of her own mess. I think she should show the courtesy that a house guest would do. If she is interested in doing chores over and above like helping you clean your basement/garage... offer an allowance.

Chocoholic's picture

In our home each child Bio and Step have 'their' chores which are handed out based on their age and ability.

Beleive it or not.... the kids (all of them) really enjoy doing chores! I think my skids enjoy it because they don't have chores in BM's house and it gives them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.... plus they are rewarded when they go above and beyond the chore description.

I believe it is very important to teach kids to earn their keep.

"Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people ever have is when they take a bite out of you."

Mary Louise's picture

they are a little relaxed now that school has started and they have an hour commute each way on school days. by the time they get home i don't think it is fair for them to have to do as much as in the summer when the whole day is free.

However, i have made it clear that I am not the maid and that they ar big enough to do certain things around the house. when they complain that they don't feel like doing this or that (usually laundry), i tell them that sometimes i don't feel like washing and drying and folding all their clothes or cooking every day, but i do it anyway because some things have to be done even if you don't feel like it. they seemed to understand that if i am willing to clean, and fold, they can at least put their own clothes away and bring me the full basket of dirty stuff. so far it is working and they seem to like contributing to our household.

Nise's picture

I agree that they should do chores. I think its best not to "mix it up" too much but give them a job that is their own. That way they get the consistency of schedule, which kids need, along with the responsibility factor...

Make a GREAT Day!

Colorado Girl's picture

keep their rooms clean. That's the rule at our house.

sshoho's picture

If you saw her room, it is disgusting. I told her to pickup her clothes but there is DIRTY UNDERWEAR in there. I get so frustrated. I don't consider keeping your room clean a chore, it is a requirement -- but she doesn't adhere to my rules. She told me when she comes for a visit, her mother cleans her room for her. UGH!


Mary's picture

Keep the rules the same for all children in the house. The worst thing that you could do is make Dad's house a "Disney Land"! If you expect them to make the beds, make them. They can help other children do their chores, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, feeding the pets..................

sshoho's picture

Unfortunately, we live in an apartment so there is no yardwork etc. I think kids should do chores but the 8 year old just lies around and plays with her nintendo ds or watches tv. The 14 year old loves the computer and is constantly online chatting until MIDNIGHT our time (which is 2am where her friends live!)...

I'm at my wits end. Living with pigs is driving me crazy.

Struggling Step Mom's picture

my children have hockey or some other activity every day except for Wed. They still have to help with chores and keep their rooms clean and keep their school marks up. She does absolutely NOTHING. She comes to our house and lazes around in her PJ's, doesn't participate in anything..
My DH attitude is that she does chore at BM's????? I highly doubt that she does. But my DH insists on letting her do whatever she wants which is NOTHING...I just shut the bedroom door...her Daddy will clean it once and a while!!!! Can you imagaine it SHE IS 13 not 3!!!

Mary Louise's picture

when she runs out of underwear, she'll start cleaning her room. natural consequences work best as far as i am concerned. and as far as her mom cleaning up at the other house - all you have to tell her is that at YOUR house you don't do it that way

if you break down and clean it because you can't stand it, well, that just lets her know that she can wait you out and eventually you will do it.

sshoho's picture

You're right! This passive aggressive tactic WORKS! The room drives me insane. I try not to show it but inside it eats me up. Hubby thought the underwear was over the top and he reminded her to keep her room clean but she starts to dump things on the floor a day or two later.

My mother would've picked everything up off of the ground and thrown it away if I acted like this.

Mary Louise's picture

as passive aggressive - i like to think of it as her choice to leave her room a mess. it is her job to clean not yours.

once when our rooms got so bad my dad came in with black plastic garbage bags and put everything on the floor in them. he took them to his room and we were allowed to get one item back a day. the first thing i went for was my bra!

our rooms got cleaned a lot sooner after that.

i always thought that was an over the top way to teach the lesson, but it sure got through loud and clear.

Mary Louise's picture

i just got what you meant by passive aggressive...duh

sshoho's picture

I appreciate everyones input. You have no idea what a haven this place is for steps. I felt so alone and frustrated but just reading what others are going through lets me know I'm not crazy.

I just hope this improves after the monthly child support ends at age 18. At least I can cut the financial ties to the ex's and that will be one big relief.

desperateinalabama's picture

I make our SS and SD do chores. They are 16 and 14. While one washes the dishes, the other has to vacuum the floor in the family room, my biokids take our the trash since they are younger. I usually clean the rest of the house. I say they should definately have chores, even if they are there for a short period of time. I have let them know that I am not the maid. When they are there during the summer (since they are there the entire summer) they are responsible for also washing their own clothes. Every weekend before they leave, they have to have their room clean.

strugglingat28's picture

Yes, the skids need to do chores, or whatever you may refer to those tasks as.

If the skids are in your home, they should contribute to maintaining its cleansliness and respect it. If it is their home for one hour or every day of each month, the home itself deserves to be taken care of, no matter what amount of time they are in it, or who else lives there.

Also, chores also gives the impression that this place is a "home". Guests don't do chores, or strangers stopping by. But "family" or "loved ones" or "close friends" do help out.

I tell my step daughter that this is her home for any amount of time she spends in it, so she has the responsibility and privilege of calling it her home and must treat it accordingly.