Apathetic son towards chores. Help please?

Jemma - posted on 01/14/2013 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My son is really apathetic towards chores and even getting paid for them.
I used to give him an allowance for nothing and then I decided he'd get paid for doing certain chores.
He refused so I said :"Well no money then".
He simply responded :"Fine" and went to watch TV.
It's really annoying because it's supposed to teach him a lesson but the only lesson he's learning is "the money's not worth it."
What should I do?

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Karen - posted on 01/22/2013

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Even if the grandmother is providing the money for your son, you do not have to allow access it. I don't know about your state, but here (Washington), a child does not legally have property o any kind until the age of 18; up until then, anything thing they "own" is technically the property of the parent. Even though the grandmother set up the account where you don't have access to it, I would get rid of his card, allow it in your house. You don't have to allow access to it at his age, regardless of what she says.
I would change your whole approach at home. I would unplug every TV in th house, and let him know that they will be returned when his behavior changes and and after he has shown a pattern of doing what is expectedof him. If taking the TV doesn't work, then figure out his next currency until you see a change. We had to do someting similar with my daughter. She was literally down to a mattress in her room (everything else was boxed up - 17 boxes), no makeup, and 1 change of clothes that she needed to wash every night before we saw a change. With every week of doing what she was supposed to, she got 2 boxes back. It may sound harsh, but it was along road to get there with lots of police involvement...
I would tell your son that the chores need to be done before his meal/snack, and stick to it. He will get hungry. I suspect that your son does what he does because he knows that you will give up/give in.

Shawnn - posted on 01/18/2013

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Teh more you give in (and saying "I can't don anything about it" is giving in), the lazier he will get. And you'll be back complaining that now he's worse.

How can he access money in a bank account if he can't get to the bank? If he's got a debit card for the account, you can confiscate that. YOU ARE THE PARENT. And if he's purchasing items online with that card, there are legal issues, as usually no online purchases are allowed to under 18 year olds. So, he's lazy, and he's lying (If he's online purchasing)

Step up. Take charge of your household. Enforce consequences. The first one is take the debit card away, and give him a set routine to follow. You're making excuses for why you won't do anything. If you'd rather he never change, you just go ahead and do what you've been doing.

Shawnn - posted on 01/15/2013

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So, he doesn't ask for any extras, he doesn't hang with buddies, he only watches TV and sleeps?

I'm sure that he has things that you give him "just because". Every kid does, and they take it for granted. You stop doing all of that, and go back to basics with him. He's being an obstinate little jerk, and he's thinking that he's getting away with it.

He gets basic clothing. No "special, because everyone else is wearing it" type things. Jeans, tshirts, socks, underwear and shoes.

He gets school lunch, or home packed lunch daily. No a la carte, no pizza by the slice (or whatever 'specials' his school offers at lunch)

He goes directly to and from school, no side trips.

Does he like (and do you buy) sweets and soda? Not any more. Basic nutritional meals is all you provide.

Is he eyeing a special thing, such as video game, etc? Again, no go.

The bottom line is that you have to be willing to stand up for your house rules, and enforce everyone's participation in caring for the home that they share. Yes, it's difficult when they reach this age. I have 2 young men myself, and I'm pretty strict. They both tried this type of thing, but it didn't get beyond their first or second attempt, because I yanked any and all extras that they had.

And, too, I never have given my kids an allowance. If they had something that they wanted to purchase, or use what would have been allowance money, they had to justify the want/need of the item, and we set up extra things for them to help with to earn the money. They are never compensated for the chores that keep the household running, though, and since I work full time, and their dad is disabled, they do have to take on 1/4 of the household each.

I'm not saying that they're perfect, cuz they most certainly are not! But there are few lapses, and generally the lapse gets taken care of fairly quickly.

Ariana - posted on 01/14/2013

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How old is your son?

I personally don't think children should be 'paid' for chores. Kids should do chores because they should do chores, they should get money because sometimes you need money.

You are in charge, change the rules. Tell him from now on he does chores because he is a part of this family. Whatever chores it is he needs to do he either does it or he loses something (don't know how old he is so that will depend on the consequence). If he's older he could lose internet privilages, or not be allowed to go out. You could also have it as a sort of work before play type situation where he has to get chores done before he can do other things (like watch tv, go out, play games etc.).

If the money issue isn't working than the 'currency' you need for him to cooperate has to be changed. If he doesn't care about not getting money he'll probably care about losing his tv time (or whatever else).

Shawnn - posted on 01/23/2013

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Jemma, you've gotten plenty of good advice. You, however, are content with the way that your household runs, so you're not going to do anything.

How do I know? Because you've come up with an excuse for why you are "powerless". In the US, you are not powerless, and you've been given directions to move in to fix your situation. You continue to make excuses.

So, whatever. Your kid won't take care of his responsibilities. Neither will you, since you refuse to exercise any kind of parental veto. Get rid of your TV sets. Get rid of any online access, and call the damn bank to have them restrict access to the account online. You, as the PARENT can do that.

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Veronica - posted on 01/20/2013

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I have two teens and it sounds to me he is either depressed or he is being bullied and his only way of escaping is hiding in sleep or watching tv. I really think you should get him evaluated? (maybe even by a school counselor) My daughter was the same way at 14yrs. It was until a year later when she went off to highschool that I found out she was being bullied.

Its just a thought.

Mardi - posted on 01/19/2013

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He's 14, the hormone imbalance is only just starting, you have at least a year of unruly outbursts etc as he is going through puberty.

Do up a list, big and bold, detailing what is expected of him.

Then depending on how much of that he has actually done, should then determine what you do for him.

Ariana - posted on 01/19/2013

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You know, although you can't take the card away you CAN keep him from going out to buy anything, or using the internet to buy anything. You can also 'ground' him from things he really likes.

Don't know how important his 'image' to his friends at school is but you can 'ground' him from his nice clothes and make it so he only wears regular clothes, just secondhand stuff you bought. That would only work if his image is important to him, how his friends see him etc.

Jemma - posted on 01/19/2013

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I cant really ask the grandmother to do anything because you know.
She's dead.
But I'm definitely going to try the no cooking thing.
Thats the only good piece of advice I've gotten from anyone on the forum.

Jemma - posted on 01/19/2013

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Again I can't take his card away by law.
I have no influence over his bankaccount and I have no acess to the money.
If I took his card away its classfied as stealing.
And listen love I'm not trying to make excuses This has (apparently ) been thought out very carefully.
I've had a solicitor come in and look at what I can do to stop his flow of money but unfortuneatly his grandmother has a masters degree in law and business too.
I mean He's a good kid.
Just lazy.
He gets good grades and has never been in serious trouble from school ever.
Its just his laziness.
The doctor said it could be a hormonal inbalance of something.

Mardi - posted on 01/18/2013

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Slap the grandmother for not putting htat money into trust until he was at least 18 if not 21 or 25, as it wont be around when he actually needs it later in life.

If you haven't gotten this all sorted out by now, your leaving it a bit late, the old, you made your bed, now lay in it.

I'd even go as far as to dump the things he is supposed to be doing into his bed (between the sheets() for him to find when he goes for his nap.

I'd then sit down with him and give him a list of expectations and negotiate with him over them, if hes not willing to negotiate, he needs to work out how he is going to eat, c lothes and cook for the next few years until he can leave home and be a slob in his own space.

My 19yr old moved back home a year ago after living with his gfather for 3 years, it was an effort to get him to chip in around the house, and I negotiated after he got a part time job and signed up for studies, but before that I was pretty hard core (have removed doors, priveledges, locked up tv cables etc in the past) and am very believeable in my threats.

If he wants to keep this attitude, you need to inform him of your exit plan....ie he can be a slob, but come 18 he is out the door and supporting himself fully, since he will then be an adult and your obligatory time is up. I'd throw in expecting him to get a part time job etc, nothing wrong with having expectations on your kids, and not your fault if they dont live up to them (unless you go out of your way to sabotage them).
There will come a time in his future where sleep and study will need to be his primary focus and more will fall to you, and for that to happen he needs to step up now and show he can be an active contributing member of the home.

Allegra - posted on 01/18/2013

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I have to say, it sounds as though there could a possibility that he might be clinically depressed, from the information you give - lives a very limited life, watching TV, doing homework, not socialising - not interested in fun, not interested in money, not doing anything you ask, lethargic, sleeps a lot, no friends, behaving in what sounds like a low-level antisocial way at home.
Have you considered this? Children and adolescents can suffer from depression despite our hopes that they never will. (I now know that I did, although I didn't know it at the time.)

If so, then counselling or medical intervention might make a difference, but you might need to do a fair amount of "unpacking" with him to try and identify how he feels in himself.

Joanne - posted on 01/16/2013

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Well clearly money is not the issue for him and it sounds like he's just lazy. Instead of taking away his privaleges because that doesn't bother him try another tactic. You want him to do household chores, but he won't and you really can't do much about that and fighting with him is getting you nowhere. He must have some personal chores, laundry for instance. No one wears his clothes so stop doing it for him. He has dishes in his room, let them stack up and don't wash them. If he has a messy room leave it, don't sweep or straighten up or vaccum in there. Once he runs out of clean cothes or dishes to eat off of or is tripping over the garbage collecting in his bedroom he'll change his tune. Good luck!

Jemma - posted on 01/15/2013

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No he literally Eats sleeps studies and looks at TV.
Anything he buys he has his own money from an Inheritance from his grandmother.
He always favored her son and when he died her grandson.
She included some special law term and set up his own bank account so I couldn't get at it if I wanted to.

Jemma - posted on 01/15/2013

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These are brilliant suggestions and I tried them.
Well I woke him up and he seemed upset thatI had did so. I explained the situation and he rolled his eyes and announced he was going to do homework.
I couldn't really sytop him as it was homework.
I was in there for an hour and when I walked in I found him sleeping again.
This is extremely difficult to deal with because he doesn't exactly do anything "Fun".
I mean he has no friends that come over or anything.
I'm really stook on what to do.

Shawnn - posted on 01/14/2013

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Mine are the same way. However, you have power.
Picture the following conversation: Son: "mom, I want to go to _______ this weekend"
Mom: "I'm going to have to say no, son"
Son: "but, I really wanna go"
Mom: "If you'd finished your assigned chores, I would have been more inclined to allow this activity, but as it stands, the answer is no"
Son: "But everyone else will be there"
Mom: "If you'd finished your chores...you'd most likely have been allowed. As it stands, if you cannot take care of your responsibilities at home, I cannot allow you extra activities"

It only takes once.

And when he shrugs and "goes to sleep" when you unplug the TV, you WAKE HIM UP. His attitude is disrespectful and rude. The very least ANY family member can do is contribute to the upkeep of their home.

Jodi - posted on 01/14/2013

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Yeah, I'd be turning off the TV and grounding him from all the fun stuff. He has to realise that in order to get the fun things in life (such as TV), we first have responsibilities, and his chores are one of them. Obviously money is not an incentive for him, that's why that doesn't work.

Jemma - posted on 01/14/2013

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Those brilliant ideas but if I did take away TV he'd probably just shrug and go to sleep.
Oh he's 14

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