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parenting question - kids and chores?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by USMC1345, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. USMC1345

    USMC1345 Gresham, OR Member

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    I would like to go waaaaaaay off topic and get some ideas on how to motivate my boys to each do their ONE daily chore, then properly reward them for said chore. The almost 15yr old's chore is to do the dishes once or twice a day as necessary using a dishwasher. The almost 11yr old's chore is to spend a few minutes each day cleaning the kids/guest bathroom.

    With my work schedule I'm not around much when the kids are home from school and my wife is too soft to make our boys do anything. I have tried several methods of assigning chores with a corresponding reward(s) for a week of completed chores. Neither the 14 or 10 y/o ever gets more than 3 days of chores done in any given week.

    We have the monetary means to consistently reward them with just about anything kids those ages would want to do, and they know this, but would rather do no chores and have no rewards rather than each do their respective chore, and get rewarded accordingly.

    Are all kids this lazy? Have I done something horribly wrong in parenting to make them this way? Any ideas would be appreciated. Should I change the system so that they are rewarded after 4 days instead of 7, then gradually work back up to 7 day schedule? Please help:confused:

    P.S. I do take my boys out camping, shooting, laser tag, go carting, etc. Just because I don't want them to miss out on these things, not because they 'earned' it.
     
  2. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow, will you adopt me?

    My son (13) has dishes (dish washer), garbage, clean bathroom, rake leaves (fall), rake grass (summer), wash mom's car, and more as his attitude allows.

    I had many chores growing up and was expected to do them with no question and completed with haste. Of course my dad had been in the Navy and Marines as well as my Mother had been in the Navy and the dishes chore was referred to as KP. You seem to be on the right track but are still rewarding with the go carts etc. on top of the monetary rewards. The fun and games should be a special reward and not a just cuz that is why they dont mind the not getting rewarded if they do not do the chores.

    I would suggest you sit the wife down and really reflect on what the chore doing is really teaching (work ethics). If they dont learn good work ethics early they will not be a stand out in thework force. I think that your wife should think of it as extra "Me Time" that she will have while the boys are doing what you and her have been doing.

    Some or most of the not wanting to do the chores is purely the age but also the learned aspect o ifI dont do it I still get to do fun and games as well asMom and Dad will do it if I dont anyway and not get mad at me.

    Dont let them manipulate cause they will try.
     
  3. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    No kid wants to do "chores." In my day it was boardgames, toys, skateboards and other outside stuff. Today's kids just have different distractions.

    The good parent makes them do them. It is the biggest/best thing you can do for them.
    It's easy to take the path of least resistance and do the job(s) yourself, but that's not the best thing for the kid. They need to know they are responsible for something more than just their fun.
    Is it hard to do? Sometimes it is. But instilling a sense of responsibility in one's children is paramount to good parenting IMHO.
     
  4. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    I have found loss of privileges works much better than rewards. No TV for the day, no video games for a day, no computer or cell phone for a day, loss of allowance for the day. All these things seem to work for me. I have it especially rough since our kid spent most of his childhood in the foster care system before we adopted him so he is used to going without any rewards at all.

    Of course I am not one to talk. I am way to easy on Zyler. I tell him his only chore is to do well in school. As long as he does well that is his only job. :)
     
  5. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    The thing that worked best for me was to make the chore and the consequences of doing it or not doing it the kids choice.........with a catch. With my son, the chore, homework, etc. was not an option. He was told it was expected of him. If he did the chore to my or his Mom's satisfaction he would get consequence A, something good like let him get a new book or video game, or whatever was appropriate. If he did not do the chore or did a half fast job of it, he would get consequence B, usually a loss of priveleges or something that was important or fun to him. I always told him that I didn't really care what choice he made, but was very consistent with meeting out consequence A or B accordingly.

    One of the problems we had with him when he was in his first 2 years of high school was him just not completing homework assignments. All of the work he completed was A work, but he just didn't do some of it. He was also involved in Marching Band as well as Karate at the time. After one parent teacher conference where his grade had slipped to a C in one class and a D in another simply because he had not completed his homework assignments I gave him a choice. I said to him "It's obvious to me that you apparently don't have enough time to complete your homework with all your extracirricular activities so I am going to give you a choice. You either complete every homework assingment, and I mean every one, or you can make a choice to give up either marching band or Karate.". Funny thing. He completed every single homework assignment after that. :winkkiss:
     
  6. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    The most important thing is to set your expectations and let them know the consequences and when those expectations are not met you must be consistent in the punishment.

    Kids will challenge your authority, it is what they do it is a human trait and it need not offend you if you expect it at certain stages in their development. My son flat out told me "no" last summer when I asked him to pick up the dog poop in the yard one day, I didn't get mad and yell at him I simply informed him that he might be wise to go on the internet and look up the bus schedule for the next day because if the dog poop wasn't picked up before I go to bed don't bother waking me up for a ride to school in the morning.

    To answer your question "are all kids lazy?" yes they are! if left to their own devices they will have no incentive to get stuff done other than what pleases them.

    In a family setting one of the parents must assume the role of the disciplinarian, you can be firm without being mean, it's just a matter of letting the kids know there are consequences and dealing with them before the point at which you get angry and it's a blow up which teaches nothing positive at that point.

    The real controversial question is the question of spanking kids, this of course is not really an effective option with an older child. I personally do believe in spanking and the kids knew there were behaviors that would merit a spanking, consequentially I only had to spank my boys a couple times that I remember as they grew up.

    My kids both were/are on the honor role and my HS senior currently has two college scholarships and will likely have more as he gets closer to graduating, he also received summer scholarships the past two summers with all expenses paid, summer of 2009 he went to Penn State and last summer he went to University of Colorado and it didn't cost me a dime other than walking around money.
     
  7. powermad

    powermad Portland Active Member

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    Rewards for doing chores?
    We were allowed to eat if we did what we were supposed to do.

    How did we know if we did a good job?
    Nothing was said about the way we did did it.

    We had no TV growing up so there was no take away the TV punishment.
    Don't clean your room or make your bed..
    You came home from school to an empty room.. Problem solved.

    Don't split wood as asked..
    Get woke up and dragged out of bed at 2am and do it in the freezing rain when dad gets home.

    Don't like the cloths they buy..
    Go get a job and buy what you like.

    By today's standards my parents would most likely have been jailed on child abuse charges.
     
  8. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    Same here. When my son was very young he got a few swats when he was acting out particularly when he was acting out in public. I would really upset him, not because he was hurt as we never swatted him hard enough to hurt him, but because of the public embarassment. It only took a couple of times of being swatted in public before all we had to do if he was acting out was say "Remember what you got last time you were acting up like this? Do you want it again? Your choice.". Problem solved.
     
  9. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Huh. This is the model I grew up with too.

    Parents are WAY too soft on their kids these days.
     
  10. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Some great responses here. My first thought is this is a whole lot easier to say/type than to do.

    #1 is kids need a choice. Like Cougfan was saying give them option A or option B and let them choose. I would phrase it more like 'you can do the dishes when you get home for school or after dinner. Which is it going to be?' Note that not doing the dishes is not an option.

    For concequences we try to let natural concequences be the best. For instance; since you chose not to do the dishes you may have a cold tuna sandwich for dinner instead of whatever meal has been prepared.

    We fought the dishes fight for so long (more with my wife than kids) that I finally boxed them all up and we used paper for a month. Come to think of it; it may be time to do that again.

    #2 Consistancy & follow through. This is my biggest problem. I can tell them what I expect but unless and until I follow through (usually by doing it with them) it normally doesn't get done. At 9 & 11 they still need a lot of hand holding to do the job 'right'.

    #3 Find the right currency. It may be cash, it may be xbox time but find what's important to them and use it. My oldest is currently very motivated by her ipod. Rewards for doing well are songs added to the ipod at the end of the week. Blatent lies and attitude make the ipod mine for a day or two.

    We're currently using a star chart but it's not working very well IMO.

    #4 No matter what make sure to tell them that you love them even if they've made a bad choice. Make it clear that it's the choice you are unhappy with and not them as a person.

    Finally remember that regardless of the end results you're doing the very best you can with what you have. In the end the choice of who they become in life is up to them.
     
  11. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    It's pretty normal for kids to burn out fast. You've got to ride them non-stop. It's part of the job we signed up for. ;)

    My two usually burn out after 3 days unless they really want money for something. I have one daughter that is a good saver and has lots of money saved so it is getting harder to incent her - the other one is the second child ('nuff said).
     
  12. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    That all sounds very familiar to me somehow.......
     
  13. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    The most important thing my dad taught me about raising kids was to always keep your promises, good or bad.
     
  14. sandman1212

    sandman1212 NW Oregon Active Member

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    Congrats on the success!

    my kids knew that growing up my philosophy was this: I ask them with respect first, if they ignored that, I would tell them to do the chore, if they still ignored that...appropriate consequences (Spanking, loss of privledges, corner time etc) without another word would happen, then they would be made to do the chore anyway. After all was said and done I would explain the importance of the chore, and why they would have to do it. They caught on quick...I RARELY get past asking.
    consistancy is the key!
    Too many people give empty threats to thier kids and they learn if I don't listen there will be no consequences. Very Sad state of affairs.
    I now have two kids in collage and the rest doing great in school. They are always respectful to me and my better half and the chores get done, to our standards.

    I hope you find something that works for you and your children.
     
  15. bugeye

    bugeye Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The good news is that they are smart enough to get out of doing work, if they can manage to keep that up they may have a shot at enlightenment. I guess one of the worst things about being an able, employed, self sufficient head of household is that there is no way to get out of work other than paying someone, and that is even more painful than doing it myself. In my next life I plan to be far more helpless, I think I'm going to put in to be a trust fund baby, after all some one has to do it.
     
  16. USMC1345

    USMC1345 Gresham, OR Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your responses. I agree with most or all of what has been said so far. I grew up somewhat like how Powermad described. I have tried to raise my kids similarly and ended up with DHS/police at the door more than once. After an explanation of what actually happened, they have said that we as parents were well within our rights to do what we were doing, but it's still not a fun experience.

    Public schools teach kids to report EVERYTHING that they feel MIGHT be abuse, and let the authorities sort things out later. Back in my day (which wasn't that long ago) we did whatever we asked, and kept our family business to ourselves. My teachers didn't need to know how late I had to stay up cleaning my own bedroom. Or how long it took to dig a grave for whatever farm animal was sick and died the night the night before. Or whatever else needed to be done on the farm where I lived.

    As for the star charts, they have been tried and failed so far in my house. I'm thinking my best bet at this point is to get my wife to remind our boys of what needs to be done, and then actually verify that the tasks are completed. Maybe also have a smaller reward or goal that they can earn in 3-4 days, instead of the larger reward at the end of 7 days.
     
  17. Cougfan2

    Cougfan2 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I have mixed feelings about the whole reward thing. For chores that are just part of keeping the house up or taking care of their homework responsibilities, that was what allowance was for and my son was expected to do his chores or he could expect no allowance. If he didn't do what was expected after being reminded about it, that was when he would start to lose priveleges.

    I would reward him for going above and beyond the call of duty, for mowing the lawn when it needed it without me having to ask him to do it, or if he brought home a report card with straight A's on it. A reward should be a surprise that is appreciated not expected. If it becomes expected, it is no longer a reward.
     
  18. ZalesCreator

    ZalesCreator Fairview Oregon Member

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    Maybe take them somewhere to see how it is for kids who dont have parents with the means to reward them or who dont have parents at all. Take them downtown to PAL, Police Activities League and let them see how easy they have it. Have them do volunteer work for the Sunshine Division this Thanksgiving and they can see poor and hungry kids and families relying on programs like this to survive. I know for me personally it took first hand reality to learn things. I didnt say "NO" to drugs cuz my parents and school told me to, I said "NO" because I did Police ride a longs since I was 14 and saw what that crap does to you. Reality is not kind at times and some kids have no idea how real the world can be until you are actually in it. My wife and a lot of my family have connections at Sunshine, Pal and Camp Rosenbaum and A LOT of my family are Portland Police, if you need some numbers or contacts for doing volunteer work let me know and Id be more than happy to help ya out.
     
  19. STNOSU

    STNOSU Corvallis Member

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    We have a 5 year old, and we are starting the whole dollar a week if you feed and make sure the dog has water. He doesn't really worry much about money since hes a lil spoiled by the grandparents and comes back with ones. He does love to put money in his John Deer Oil Can bank. I know a dollar isnt much but we asked him how much he wanted and hes happy with it lol.

    The whole spanking thing doesnt work with him, he just gets more defiant. One thing that does work is the whole flick thing. It puts him in check quick and he hates it, you would think a spanking would work better but nope.

    I know for me, my father never laid a hand on me but I had the fear of god with him. He had that presence where if he said something you wouldnt disobey. Growing up I also saw him thump some guys for mistreating women so I saw what he was capable of. Like someone above when my room was dirty I would come home and everything would be in our hallway and the room would be completely bare. Whatever I didn't put away would be thrown away.
     
  20. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    I've gone through a ton of permutations of this particular issue. I'll outline a few below;

    Firstly my wife and I laid out a series of chores that our (then) 8 year old could do to earn money for himself. These things were well within his ability and nothing any other child his age would be unable to do. I spent some time and created a check list in Excel, printed it huge, laminated it and he used an erasable marker to check off each task when done.

    That lasted half a summer before being scrapped. He wouldn't do the tasks when they were meant to be done and we still had to goad him the same amount.

    Secondly we took away one toy/game/electronic item each time he did not complete a task. This was coupled with the previous list so he knew what to expect...and his room was empty but for a bed in a matter of weeks.

    Finally we removed any punishment/reward structure and said "If you're going to live in this house there are things you must do and there is no reward for it beyond the satisfaction of a job well done. If you want money you can elect to do extra work around the house for it." That tact seemed to work pretty well for the most part. I've got a different check list that is detailed for each day and includes explicit descriptions of the tasks outlined(no loop-holes he can squeeze through). If the tasks don't get done, he has work assigned to him in addition to the task he left undone.

    Lately though I'm taking a new direction and adding to the above. He's gotten into an online game and now each task done gives him 15 minutes of play time that accrues and is applied to the next day. If he leaves something un-done and we don't catch it before he's in bed it's an automatic -15 minutes. If we catch it before hand then he still has to do it and he gets +1 minute of time.

    My theory is that if your kid hates work...then the best punishment is the threat of MORE work if they don't do the original, required task.