I would really love some feedback on 13 year olds -chores and self-esteem

Louise - posted on 03/17/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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i feel like I'm such a nag always reminding my daughter to do her chores and on her back because of all the attitude and I always worry this constant battle erodes her self esteem so i try and find ways of helping her manage her responsibilities and balance the nagging with praise. But tonight I was so sad by a comment she made that she feels like a bad person because we always have to nag her and keep having talks about her behaviour. Does anyone else have this issue/concern??

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User - posted on 03/20/2013

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YES! My 13 year old daughter (and 12 year old daughter) are exactly the same. We have assigned specific chores to each kid on specific days, we do not feel we should have to remind them at their age. We have no problem taking away cell phones, computer usage, grounding them, etc. for not doing their chores, following the rules, and/or having bad behavior. They know what we expect and they know the consequences. We remind our kids (we have 5) that privileges are earned and therefore can (and will) be taken away. You have to remind your daughter that it isn't HER but her choices that are causing the problems. And she needs to spend some time thinking before she speaks, walk away if she can't keep her comments to herself, and above all RESPECT is NOT optional!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/20/2013

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You can still make a chore chart work. Get a dry erase board, maybe on a wall in the kitchen or somewhere she sees it regularly. Start off with small chores. Pick up her cloths. Dishes in the dishwasher. Pick up room. Have a chore for every other day. Start with giving her the allowance on the day she earned it. Then slowly start to add more, and having the allowance at the end of the week. You can do this when she sees the reward of cleaning, and money or whatever the allowance will be. Have it be a slow transition of simple chores, to daily simple chores....just slowly add...and slowly increase allowance. Praise the shit out of her when she does a good job, and at the end of the nights she does not do the chores, just remind her she can still earn her allowance by doing them the next day. That will be the beauty of starting them every other day, so she can still make up the day before chores, without feeling overwhelmed.

Jodi - posted on 03/20/2013

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Wow, that's the way to build a child's self-esteem Shawn! Congratulations! Just guilt them into it! **shakes head**
Your children don't OWE you. You made a choice to bring them into this world, they should never be made to feel that they owe you an obligation for that. There is a difference between appreciation and guilt.

Kristi - posted on 03/18/2013

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My daughter does not have specific chores. It is just the two of us. On a day to day basis she is expected to pick up after herself. Cereal bowl in the dishwasher, empty water bottles in recycling, shoes by the door and so on. I feel like I have to remind/nag her more often than I should have to. I've asked her on more than one occasion what is so hard about throwing your wrapper away when you're done eating whatever. She says she doesn't know, she just forgets and gets side tracked or she doesn't see it. It drives me nuts sometimes.

From what my parents tell me, that's typical. My mom said we were the same way.

When I ask her to do a "chore" she does it. She doesn't get an allowance but if she wants to go to the movies with her friends, I give her the money.

She also gets a little big for her britches sometimes. Most of her attitude is just normal teenage huffin n puffin so I just ignore it because 5 minutes later she comes back and shows me something funny on FB or shows me the newest outfit she put together, etc. If she is out right disrespectful, I basically give her "the look," and I call her out on it. I do not tolerate that. She knows that and it doesn't happen very often.

IMO, you have to weigh everything out. Grace plays two sports at a time through the whole school year, grades are B+ or better, she volunteers and takes care of our neighbors pets when they aren't home. So, when I trip over her shoes once in awhile, I usually kick them and curse. If I trip over them 3 days in a row...then we have a problem.

But, she has pulled the I'm the worst kid in the world card, too. Only she wasn't the worst, she was the stupidest. She and I both know she knows she is very smart. She didn't feel like rewriting part of one of her history papers so long story short, she tried to pick a fight and when that didn't work she threw a tantrum and now she's the dumbest kid ever. Yup.

Everyone's child is different, though. I know my daughter is being a drama queen when she behaves like that because I know HER. I know how she behaves on a regular basis, I know how she thinks on a regular basis. So again, you have to take all things into consideration before you can write off those kind of comments.

Good luck!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 03/17/2013

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Well, instead of nagging her, make a chore chart for her...of her weekly chores. Let her get them done at her own pace, and each time she does them checks them off. At the end of the week, her praise is allowance, or a nice day out with mom...special day that does not involve nagging.

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Kristi - posted on 03/22/2013

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So glad to hear you're feeling a little better. It took me quite awhile to catch on to that idea. I was all about preventing, preventing, preventing. When I failed to prevent the guilt was overwhelming. It was something I had to work on in therapy a lot. It still hurts when she hurts. I still want to swoop in and fix things or shake her until she listens because I've already done that and this is what happens...don't do it! ; )

Sometimes we can do those things, maybe not the whole shaking thing...but it's a matter of finding the right balance. Just as with everything else, some days you will, some days, not so much.

The silver lining to our "pasts," is that when/if our children do end up going through some of the things we did, there won't be anybody better than us to help them through "it." : )

Louise - posted on 03/22/2013

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Thanks so much Kristi that was really nice. What you said about helping her learn to find solutions when she has a problem and also just accepting some down days really helped me feel better. I think I was so focused on trying to protect her from going through the same problems I experienced that I wasn't seeing how overcoming her own hurdles could be empowering for her. Thank you :-) x

Donna - posted on 03/20/2013

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i have a big issue of the same thing with my15yr old daughter ,her attitude is terrible sometimes i also have a 8yr old so big age gap dont help but back to the attitude issue, if you ask her to do a thing just get a mouthful back off her she does a paper round in order to contribute to mobile phone bill per month condition was could have phone if she paid for it out of paper money, however trying to get the money off her for it is like asking for water to run uphill, i get the money but only after i nag and that starts the your always nagging at me, guilt trip, line, i just tell her if she dont pay for it the phone will go, its not easy ,and sometimes i feel like im either going round in circles with her or that i want to bang my head off the nearest wall, however she can have some nice moments, its like seeing a flicker of sun through a patch of black clouds , i know its a lot to do with age puberty, attitude in school are all factors ,but that doesnt stop you feeling that your on your own with this attitude thing, so not sure if my reply has been of any help , but your not on your own all teenage girls think theyre more knowledgeable than their mothers, and that we who are older than them,know absolutely nothing at all,

Kim - posted on 03/20/2013

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There are so many things going on at their ages and chores are not high on their agenda. Removal of things that are important which you discussed such as cell phone, money, time with friends, etc will hopefully makes chores more of a priority so they don't lose these privileges. Consistency is very important also.

Kim - posted on 03/20/2013

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Your daughter will learn more if you give her a timeline to have her chores done ie... by supper, by the end of the day, etc... and if she does not have it done by the timeline then she receives a consequence. You can even have her assist in deciding the timeline and consequence. You have the final decision. She will have more self esteem and pride in getting it done and you don't have to nag.

Kristi - posted on 03/20/2013

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Louise--

You are so kind and nice and you are so a mom! ; )

You are right that we can't guarantee our children will be happy adults. Nobody is happy all of the time. The best you can do is teach your daughter how to effectively cope with things that cause her stress or emotional pain. That will benefit her more in the long run than all the rainbows and unicorns in the sky ever will.

The next time she says she feels or thinks she's the world's worst kid, swallow your tears with the lump in your throat (you can puke them up later with the knot in your stomach). Gently ask her why she feels that way. Do your best not to settle for I don't knows.

If she gives you a reason(s), then empathize with her. Let her know you can see where she's coming from. Help her figure out how she can improve or fix that situation. If she finds the solution herself, it should help her feel more in control, like she is more powerful (not than you, just inner strength). That will also make you less of a nag. ; ) However, if something that is making her feel bad is a result of her not getting her chores or her homework, etc done, be sure to point out that those feelings are a consequence of her actions. Of course, you don't have to lower the boom, you can be nice about it, if you want.

If she really can't come up with anything and is just in the shitter, just talk with her about her day or her week and help her find some positives (you are obviously, quite good at that) and keep doing what you're doing. Letting her know, we're going to have awesome days and days from hell and everything in between. It's ok to feel bad or mad or whatever sometimes, as long as you can talk it out so it doesn't overwhelm you, it's all good. She doesn't always have to talk to you but you want her to work it out with somebody.

Anyways, at this point, I would/I do just worry about the here and now. Nobody knows what, if anything, tomorrow will bring, right? So, ya love them the best ya can right now. By "love" I mean the all inclusive mother thing we do...cook, nurse, teach, ATM, taxi, lap pillow, good night kisser, and so on!

Louise - posted on 03/20/2013

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Thanks so much for all your posts ladies. I was going to include in my original post that I've done lots of chore charts but they haven't been very successful here because I have to nag her to read it! Ha :-) I also know in this case she wasn't being dramatic, i could tell these we're genuine feelings. But i could see a lot of similarity in my Caitlyn with your daughter, Kristi lol. The tough part is, I think I'm doing as much as I can. I'm giving praise and reassurance whenever possible and I remind her that I (and nearly every person) behaved the same and we just both keep working at it. I guess it comes down to sometimes feeling that no matter what we do or how hard we try, because we so desperately all want our children to grow up and be happy, they still may not be and I hate that thought because I've clung to the hope that if I just try hard enough, she will be.

Shawn, i dont think you meant it like that. I think you were just talking about respect. Your last dozen sentences especially were really helpful to me and i think they were just what I needed to hear and your prayer for us was touching so thank you very much x

Kristi and Jodi, I know you said what you felt was right because mothering brings up such primal feelings of protection in us, I just think these forums that are meant to be about support and advice but can become defensive when we get onto such emotional topics as our beautiful children and I think it shows by your posts that you are both great mums.

Kristi - posted on 03/19/2013

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Shawn-

I am all for laying down ground rules and sticking to them. However, I don't think you have any right to throw your parental duties in her face. Like she begged you to be born and then just to make things worse for you, she pooped her diapers on purpose, cried to communicate because that's what she knew would piss you off the most and then...and then she had the nerve to grow up and ask for clothes and solid food! Then, hold up, wait a minute...now she wants friends and to be involved in positive extra circular activities. Damn ingrate!

I'm sorry, there's a difference between teaching a child to be appreciative, a lesson that is usually hard to realize and fully grasp as a kid and making a child feel guilty or like they owe you for fulfilling YOUR responsibilities that resulted on YOUR decision to have sex.

Shawn - posted on 03/19/2013

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First of all she hasn't been here long enough to have an attitude. Ask her who gave birth to her, who suffered the pain, sleepless nights hovering to make sure she was breathing. Who fed her and leaped at her every selfish whim. Who wiped her eyes every time she cried. Who kissed the boo-boos to make them all better and secretly cried inside because you really couldn't take away the pain. Who the heck cleaned all those stinky diapers, without a hazmat suit!!!!!! Dont get me started about the food, clothes, shoes, sneakers. Toys, doctors appointments, school meetings, club meetings, outings,sleepovers. Like dealing with her wasn't enough. You get the idea. Then tell her, "You have a choice, get the work done or PAY MY BILL FOR SERVICES RENDERED"! I raised six girls, now raising three grands, 6, 3 and 17 mo. teaching children to do chores and be responsible goes back to biblical times, although kids had way different attitudes. It is our job to teach/instill in them values and it is their jobs to learn and apply. It sets them up for success in all areas of life. Whether that happens depends on them. But it is our job to lay that foundation. I will pray for your success with this. Many of us have gone through this or are currently going through it. You are not alone. STAND FIRM. DON'T BACK DOWN. STAY CALM. P.S. Repetition is a must. That is how we learn. If it doesn't get done, repeat yourself again and show her you mean what you say.Don't forget to say thank you. ;-)

Jodi - posted on 03/18/2013

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I was going to suggest the chore chart too.
Even when I have to remind my kids sometimes to do their chores, after they have done their chores, I always say thank you, and they appreciate it. In fact, it has made them more aware of the things I do, and I hear a "thank you" here and there for the things I do behind the scenes too. That makes us all feel good.

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