How much is too much to expect from an 11 year old?

Becky - posted on 10/13/2012 ( 15 moms have responded )




I recently got chewed out at work by another mother who thinks that I expect too much from my 11 year old. She was angry because she feels that the chores I assign to my 11 yr old boarder on child abuse and thinks I'm a bad mother when I get upset that my child does not follow though.

The things I expect from her are usually a couple loads of laundry a week, cleaning the bath room and her bedroom. When she's off school, I'll ask her to also pick up in the living room & dinning room (typically over 1/2 the stuff laying around in those rooms is hers that she hasn't put away). I also expect that she finishes her chores before going off to play with her friends.

Do you think I'm really asking too much?


Mary - posted on 10/14/2012




I disagree with your coworker. My dad was always traveling and my mom worked 10hrs a day, when I was growing up. At 9 yrs. old, my responsibilities were laundry and dishes, as well as cleaning my room & helping pick up the living areas. My oldest sister did the scrubbing & heavy cleaning(at 13yrs.) and babysat her 3 younger sisters, my other older sister was in charge of cooking & the yard maintenance. My little sister (5 yrs younger than me) had vacuuming & dusting. At our house, doing chores was a necessity. I used to resent it when I was a kid, until I moved out on my own & met 21 & 22 yr olds, in my apt. complex, who couldn't cook or clean for themselves, do laundry, shop for groceries, budget their money or even balance a checkbook. Then, I was grateful for being taught how to run a household.

If you're concerned, ask yourself a few questions: 1)Is your child tired all the time? 2)Does she have a little "down" time each day (20 min. or so)? Does she behave as if she's anxious or overwhelmed? Does she still find time to pursue her own interests, see friends, etc? As long as you are teaching your child these chores in a slow gradual process as she ages, and she has demonstrated she can do them safely; without wearing herself out, then I don't see a problem.

Margarita - posted on 10/21/2012




Depending on how many loads you have her do, I don't think it's too much. I remember years ago I met a girl who at 23, had no idea how to operate a washing machine. In her defense, she did know how to handwash, but we almost had a sense that she expected someone would just take pity and do it for her. Two of us talked her through it once, and one girl did do her laundry once in exchange for something else, but otherwise, we used "tough love."

As for getting upset that she doesn't follow through, that's another story. My mother would complain how I never showed any enthusiasm for housework. Although there is a sense of pride an accomplishment in having a nice comfortable place to live, I don't think many teenagers, or many adults for that matter, get enthusiastic and won't occassionally want to to blow it off. I would definitely remind her to finish things if she's not following through since they have to be done, and unless she's sick or looking worn out, I think you're right in not allowing her to go to bed an hour early just to skip a chore. However, I would try to be patient (easier said than done when you work 12 hours and are probably sleep deprived due to and infant's needs) and keep in mind that she's still a kid and her priorities are not the same as yours. She will forget and need to be reminded, and sometimes there can be consequences for not meeting certain deadlines (not getting to go to the party until she picks up her room, even if her ride is there and threatens to leave without her - embarrassing a teen or tween is a powerful tool), and eventually she'll get better at it. Kids can be flighty, but in time they mature. I certainly did.

As for your co-worker, I'd just stop talking about your daughter around her. Maybe she'll get the hint. You can also point out that your top priority is still her education since homework and violin (looks good on a college application) take precedence. I'm assuming you also take it easy on her during finals week since you only make her pick up the living room when she's not in school. Eventually her sib will do the dishes and take out the trash and she'll pick up other laundry, etc. I'm also assuming that hubby does some housework as well since you say everyone pitches in. If not, you could also have some resentment over sex discrimination. But if he also pitches in than I definitely think you've got a good balance going.

Becky - posted on 10/14/2012




We are doing this puzzle type of rewards system. Take a photo of something she wants, cut it into pieces and everyday that she completes her responsibilities, she gets a piece. The more expensive the item, the more pieces to the puzzle.

Now we've had some issues with her lyeing, so if she's caught in a lie, that's an automatic loss of the piece for the day, but otherwise if she earns it, she earns it! I l like this system better than cash cuz otherwise she just blows her money at the drug store down the road on way more candy than an 11 year old should have.

I have her do the laundry, cuz she can operate the machines with out a problem. I tried having her do dishes, but I wound up having to rewash them . . . she also broke a bowl and a glass (we don't have a dish washer . . . all done by Mom power! lol)


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Lakota - posted on 11/26/2012




Not too much at all. My sons does all that and has cooked dinner also. I have a coworker like that. Her kids do no chores at all. She lets them play video games all the time, doesn't stress the importance of good grades, and lets them eat whatever they want. Now they are overweight, lazy, disrespectful, bad grades, and can't do anything to take care of themselves. I say keep up the great work. We are supposed to be raising independent adults, not big little kids.

Amy - posted on 11/26/2012




Eh danielle I know plenty of kids who were forced to a do a lot of housework as kids who are lazy slobs as adults. Just because someone has a lot of chores does not mean they will be doing that as they grow up.

Amy - posted on 11/26/2012




I mean how much cleaning of the bathroom are you talking? I think if its a full scrub down than yeah all that's a bit much.

Danielle - posted on 10/30/2012




if your coworker thinks its that ridiculous, try asking her to contact you in ten years and you can compare which child is capable of being a responsible human being and who has to still make their childs bed. good for you for teaching your child to be responsible.

A - posted on 10/24/2012




I don't think it is too much. When I was growing up I would do a load a day (for some reason we had that many. I did everyone's). I would clean the whole house- pick up, vacuum, dishes, sweeping, etc, plus homework and I still had time to play and hang out with friends- I stayed on task and got it done quickly. My mom would start the clothes in the morning and I would put them in the dryer as soon as I walked in the door then I would go about my other chores. Plus during the summer I would do outside yard work- rake grass, put miracle grow on roses, etc. That all was too much! But it did teach me responsibility. Now my son helps out- he is only 4 so I don't as much. He helps fold the smaller laundry items and puts them away. He puts pots and pans up, and will start the washer after I load it up with dishes (I had him one of the gel tabs and he knows what to do).

Now if I can get him to put his toys away lol

Samantha - posted on 10/21/2012




No! My parents never had me do laundry, the first time I did a load by myself was when I was in college! If most of it is her stuff, even more so! My parents would randomly have me go outside and sweep the deck or clean the pool.....I almost never sat on the deck or swam, I took walks or rode my bike around if I was outside. And if you have a reward system or simply just an "everyone pitches in equally" rule then go for it! Your child will see your intentions and thank you for it!

Jurnee - posted on 10/14/2012




they sound like reasonable chores for an 11yr old. By middle school all my kids were doing their own laundry and had chores around the house, bathroom, dishes, and of course taking care of their own rooms, picking up after themselves. Three are grown and very responsible, the youngest is 10, and he is responsible for his room, his own bathroom, keeping his things picked up and feeding the animals. I have yet to add laundry, but if he needs something in particular and he forgot to put it in the hamper, then he has to wash it himself.

Becky - posted on 10/14/2012




Thank you all! I didn't think I was asking too much. She does get plenty of time with her friends each week as long as she first finishes her chores. This year she's also taken up violin. Homework and violin take priority over doing the house work. We also have her starting in an archery league the last 2 weeks. She's enjoying it and getting better!

She's not tired all the time, but sometimes she wants to go to bed an hour early to try and avoid finishing a chore.

She doesn't have to do any of the heavy scrubbing. I do the floors, the vacuuming, the sweeping, the moping. I make dinner & clean the dishes & kitchen. The picking up in the living room & dinning room should honestly take her anywhere from 15 min to 30 min most times I ask, but she often doesn't stay on task and it'll take her all day to complete the work. I work 8 - 12 hrs a day, her step dad works full time too, and we also have a 9 mo. old at home. EVERYONE needs to pitch in to keep this place livable!

Dove - posted on 10/14/2012




It doesn't sound like too much to me. My kids have been doing laundry (with help) since 8 and alone since 10. I pay $1/load to wash, dry, fold, and put away.

Doing chores does not equal child abuse on any level. Is your child well loved and cared for? Back in 'the day'.... kids that age and younger would have to be up before the sun and work on the farm all day long (as an example). Kids these days have it easy.

That's what my friend tells me whenever I worry that I expect too much from my kids. ;)

Ariana - posted on 10/14/2012




Well, there has to be a balance of course. Is she doing her laundry or your and other peoples laundry? I think a child that age should only really be in charge of her own laundry duties. How often is she asked to clean the bathroom? That also seems like a job that should be supervised (depending on what you're actually making her do).

Is she your only child? Whether cleaning up the living and dining room is over the top depends on if you have other children making a mess. If you have other kids they should be helping clean up the rooms as well not just the 11 year old (even if they're toddlers they can help a little bit).

I actually think any child that's a toddler can help dry the dishes (obviously little kids have spoons and thigns) but I wash the dishes after every meal/snack so that's just me... My mom used to make us wash the dishes after she cooked but there were 4 kids so it seemed pretty fair with 4 workers...

Do you have any other children? Are they expected to do chores?

I don't think it is unreasonable but I would also try to incorporate other things into your relationship if it's becomming an issue. Like try to spend time with her away from the house doing something special with just her. Or give her one day where she doesn't need to do a bunch of chores. So every Wednesday she can relax (as long as she's done the things she should the other days). You don't want to overwhelm her, but you're also teaching her responsibility.

Just make sure you ARE being reasonable. None of us can know how hard you're being on her because we aren't in the exact situation.

It's really up to you whether she does this and not your friends business.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 10/13/2012




Hmmm....I would think having an 11 year old do laundry is a bit much. I am not sure that I would trust a kid that age with such an expensive machine that I rely on so much, but that is just me.

I don't think having your kid help around the house is to much , but I also believe in reward with it like allowance.

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