Lazy teen

Gabriela - posted on 08/19/2013 ( 31 moms have responded )

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My 15 yr old niece lives with me, Im 38 weeks pregnant with a toddler and its obvious i have too much in my hands to handle.So i recently asked her to start doing a little more around the house. Shes extremely lazy & does things when ever she feels like it..I need help!..am i wrong to get mad @ her & exclude her from going out with the fam?

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Morganne - posted on 08/22/2013

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What are these thing that she does whenever she wants? If she doesn't have a job, she doesn't have money. If she wants to do things she has to earn them, just like we all had to, by chores and helping out.
If she doesn't have an allowance start giving her one, but only after having completed the chores she has to do for the week. If she does have an allowance take it away if she's not contributing.
If she's in the "I'm old enough to be treated like an adult" phase, then sit her down and have an adult conversation with her, that if she wants to be treated like an adult she has to act like one.
I always found that if I gave two options for them to do " you can either do the dishes or sweep", then they started helping out more, because it was more of their decision.

And make sure you are appreciative of what ever she does do, that will help her feel useful, and in turn, she may help more to receive more recongintion.

Luludi - posted on 08/22/2013

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An afterthought...I was just thinking of my adolescence. My mother worked all day then, I went to school. I remember the summer in particular. My father was at home with us - he was a teacher - and used to do some chores, I only had to sweep or vacuum in the morning and little more, my younger brother had no chores at all. Well, I felt it was a huge imposition! I hated it! Now I see what a little thing it was. And I remember that I loved reading but I felt always uneasy when my mom was around because I knew that sooner or later she would explode and accuse me of being lazy and wasting my time reading while she had so many things to do....
Now I understand all of my mom's reasons but I feel that having a list which gave me the freedom of choosing when I was to do sth and that gave me the sensation I could read or waste as much time as I wanted as long as some chores were done by the end of the day/week, without feeling "threatened" by the presence of my mom would have helped. And if also my brother had had his small share...well, I don't say I would have loved chores, but I wouldn't have considered them only as a hateful imposition but as my contribution to the "team". Also some appreciation would have helped, instead of hearing it was the least I could do - me lazibone! (Which was probably true, but some diplomacy may help more;))

[deleted account]

I understand. I think a lot of times it is hard to relay everything in a short post.
I agree with you 100% that teens do need chores and should contribute to the household.
In my experience, the best consequences are natural consequences. If she refuses to take the trash out when you ask her to, just put additional trash on the floor beside the trash bin and tell her that she needs to collect that as well, and also mop the area where the trash over flowed. This is the same consequence she would have were she living on her own.

If she has daily chores--certain things that must be done every day, then I think it is reasonable to tell her in the morning "We're going out to a movie tonight, if you want to come with us, make sure all of your chores are finished by 5pm."
Teens do need a certain amount of freedom in order to learn how to manage their time on their own. If you constantly tell her what to do and when to do it, she'll never learn to think for herself. Rather, if you give her a list of things to do, and a time by which they should be done, she will learn to allocate her time wisely so that she can finish her chores, take some time for herself, and still enjoy your family time. She will learn more about how to take care of herself on her own if you give her room to make mistakes and learn from them.

Vickie - posted on 08/23/2013

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I really would not exclude her from the family or threaten to send her back home with her Mom. That would be telling her she's not good enough to stay with you, why would she help out if that's always hanging over her head? Instead, be straightforward: While I'm doing this, please take the trash out. If she doesn't, do it yourself when you can, then when she asks to go out with friends say "I'm sorry, I'm too tired from doing the chores I asked you to do myself. We'll try again next weekend." Or wait until she asks to do something and make it a condition. If she wants to go to her friend's house, sure, after she does the dishes.

Virginia - posted on 09/20/2013

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No, Gabriela, you aren't wrong for wanting help. You are being very kind, giving her a roof over her head. There are some people out there who would be charging the girl's parents rent money. If she is living there for free, she DOES need to help around the house. When I graduated from college, it took a while to find a job. I was living with my parents at the time, so I did laundry, dishes, swept and mopped the floors, vacuumed and dusted. You will be doing her a favor, because once she is out on her own, the cleaning won't get done by anyone else. You sound like a pretty reasonable lady. Don't worry.

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Nastacha - posted on 09/25/2013

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no she should help you. you can't be afraid of giving consequences if she does not follow your rules. you tell her this is what I expect, and if she does follow, you tell her these are the consequences and don't be afraid if she gets upset, she will get over it.... I know it's hard , but you have to be strong and don't give in , eventually she will listen .

Angie - posted on 09/24/2013

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We always had family meetings where we talked about things like this. The kids had a chance to throw their 2 cents in without fear of persecution and we agreed on things expected and the penalties for not doing them. Good luck and be strong!! I just sent the last of my 7 kids to college; so ends the arguments and so begins their lives learning to live their lives on their own terms.

Deborah Ridgely - posted on 09/19/2013

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I am assuming school has started since you posted this question. I think most teens need some jobs to do around the house, so they become responsible. You should make her a chart and expect her to check things off as they are done , and then reward her at the end of each week. Teens also need a lot of attention and guidance. Make sure you develop a really good talking and trusting relationship with her so that she will allow you to guide her on important decisions. If you do these things, I think she will appreciate you for it later, even if it is hard for her now.

CORINNE - posted on 09/18/2013

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Wait, let me get this straight.
You are pregnant and have a toddler.
Your 15 yr old niece lives with you as well.
Ok, so why is your niece living with you?
Chores are one thing, but to expect a 15 yr old to take on a total adult role and take care of all your needs and wants is another thing entirely.
Sit down and talk to her.
Let her know you have rules in YOUR house and the chores should come AFTER homework, and yet still allow her to have a life.
EXCLUDING her from outings with the family, makes you sound like the Evil Step Mother in Cinderella!
You need to think about this one. As long as these chores get done by Friday at 5pm, or are done once a week on Saturday. OR to daily load and unload a dishwasher or wash a pot or pan.
It sounds like you want her to watch YOUR child while you sleep because YOUR pregnant. NO, WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF SHE WAS NOT THERE? IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY NOT HERS. Once in a while is ok but not all the time.
You did not mention if your husband is around or if he helps you with the child. THAT IS YOURS AND HIS RESPONSIBILITY!
Stop getting mad like a two year old and talk, work it out.
AND LISTEN....GOD GAVE YOU TWO EARS AND ONE MOUTH.
STOP THINKING SHE IS LIVING WITH YOU TO SERVE YOU.
WHY IS LIVING WITH YOU?
Is she difficult at home? Is there an abuse or drug issue involved?
Tough love is one thing, taking advantage of her is another.
SEND HER HOME WHERE SHE BELONGS!

I can't really say much more without more facts. But if you would like my honest, straight forward advice. Just ask.

Just my opinion. I hope it helps you if you can get past your anger for not supporting you in your situation. As a mother of two, my boys are ten years apart. But I would never expect them to do my job or give me a break as they are kids!
They both had and have chores. My soon to be 16 yr old does the garbage daily (if full takes it to the dumpster), cleans his room, and cleans his (the main) bathroom. My husband and I use our own bathroom off our bedroom.
Now, I call the main bathroom ....THE GAS STATION!
For me it is dirty!
But I know I am anal about being clean, if it does not smell like Clorox Bleach then it is NOT clean enough for me to use! So I have him clean it and then I go behind him (usually the next day while he is at school) and give it a good scrub down with bleach! BUT I did the nagging and the pleading and the come back in here and see the dirt. I give up, as guys, including my husband just don't see it or care! I DO want him to KNOW how to clean and how to do it right. I printed instructions on MY way of cleaning the bathroom removing everything and using HOT, SOAPY, Bleach water and starting at the highest point and going to the lowest.
I scrub Walls, Doors, Cabinets and Floors when I clean.
I don't believe in SPRING CLEANING and wasting hours to deep clean.
I feel if you have it deep cleaned, then keep up with it and life is much easier and cleaner! Yes, I now work from home but for years I worked two jobs outside the home and still kept it clean! I just did one thing (or room) a night or I'd do it on a Saturday or Sunday. The kids had chores, the step kids had chores. NOTHING DIFFERENT so no one left like they did NOT belong or were a SLAVE!
I lived with a Step mother who treated Us (the first kids from my dads first marriage) and her kids differently! It did not feel good! So I vowed never to do that!

Rethink your cleaning plan. If you house is big, take little chucks and get it in shape and then work to keep it that way! But don't use your niece to do all your work! Stop punishing her for your short comings!

Good Luck,
Corinne Balante

Briana - posted on 09/01/2013

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My brother who is now 22 years old and still living with our parents and still lazy never did anything. Like your niece he only did things when he felt like it. My parents never made him do things and now he's gotten so used to not doing things that now when my parents ask him to do something he makes up excuses or just flat out tells them no. Make her do things or punish her in some way if she doesn't. Take things away like phones, games or going out with friends. I'd make a list of things for her to do, like a cleaning schedule and post it on the fridge. If you don't do this now she will end up like my brother and just stay lazy because no one ever made her do what she should have. Maybe when she does the chores you ask her to do give her some type if allowance or something so she will actually want to do those things.

Kim - posted on 09/01/2013

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Excluding her is wrong. That will only drive a wedge of resentment between you. Teenagers are notoriously lazy. Sometimes having it written down and made out like a schedual helps keep things going smoothly. Maybe a reward system for helping, an allowance or trip out, if you can afford it?

Kristagingrich - posted on 08/26/2013

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Excluding her will only drive a deeper wedge, she needs to spend time with your family to feel included and invested, even if she protests. Its all about getting her connected and that in turn will develop into her feeling a part of your unit. In the meantime try a chore chart, daily chores that must be done. Set a timeframe that they need to be completed in. You can even try making chore time fun, put on some of her fav music and have fun together getting both of your chores done. After 3 days of success, take her out for an ice cream or to the park and give her some one on one time, if only 30 min. If she refuses chores one day then the reward period starts over and a consequence is issued. (No cell, or TV, computer etc. for 24 hrs ) You are teaching her responsibility and life lessons she will need very soon... its tough, I was in a very similar situation last year...but keep at it...remember she is 15 and structure with clear and consistent consequence work best in my opinion. Good luck!

Gabriela - posted on 08/22/2013

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Thank you ladies..I really appreciate you all commenting on my post and helping me deal with this issue. Ive been taking everybodys ideas & putting them all together & so far we have been good. im sooo looking forward with the results..I've been working on some stuff on my own too. Like i previously said im a 25 yr old taking care of my 15 yr old niece and its not easy i also gotta admit i have my own flaws but am really working on them.Hey im taking all this that im experiencing with my niece as practice for when my children grow up i have sumthing to pull out from under my sleeve..=)!!!

Luludi - posted on 08/21/2013

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I really agree with Kelly's suggestions, in particular with the lists. I read about sth like that in a book too... Just point out what you want to be done dayly and weekly, and rotate the chores just for a change. So you won't give her the feeling of being under constant pressure and you won't have to complain about sth every time you meet her around the house. Then you can check together if things were done properly and so take the opportunity to teach her if sth is amiss... I don't think she has no idea on how to do things because she has always lived in a real house with people cleaning around her, she may just need refining some skills. And if she doesn't care about your lists at all, consequences consequences and consequences. Again I agree with Kelly. You are not doing it only for yourself but above all for her sake. Some study showed that having responsibilities at home as kids and teens is more influencial on life success than QI !
And show her you are also teaching your toddler small things and that you are going to expect him/her to do his/her chores as well, so that she won't think or say that you are keeping her at your house as a maiden for your own children (you know teenagers are extremely subtle in finding out reasons for pitying themselves;))

Gabriela - posted on 08/21/2013

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& I dont think you should be embarrassed at all..you should actually be very proud of yourself..& about you not knowing how to clean ,well you were never taught..and to be honest theres just some people that are just meant to study & be really good at something else..what im trying to say is you cant have it all,like have the brains to be good at school & just actually have the brains and patience for home.. thanx again kelly...=)!!!!..

Gabriela - posted on 08/21/2013

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Nice!..yeah thats a very good idea because it is a distraction for her.i too have the wifi @ my home & shes just luving it.so that is such a good idea.thanx!..YOU GOT VERY GOOD IDEAS!!!!...

[deleted account]

Thanks :) I'm always a little embarrassed to share that story, but I could so easily see myself in your niece, and of course, she'd be embarrassed to say that something as "simple" as taking out the trash is difficult for her.

Yes, I mentioned the list, and having the tasks done by a certain time each day too. My friend just told me about what he was doing with his teenaged daughters yesterday, and I thought this was clever.
His teens were spending all day online on social networks with friends and not doing the chores. They already had a rule that all phones were turned off and plugged in for charging at dinner time so that they could all eat together without interruption. He started putting the phones in a locksafe with a programmable code (you can buy them for about $40) then setting the password on the house wifi network to the same number as the safe code each evening (once you know how to do it, it takes less than a minute to set both!) Once the chores are done, he gives his teens the code for the safe & wifi. Might work if technology is a distraction for her. I intend to do it with my son starting next summer.

Gabriela - posted on 08/21/2013

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WOW!!thats sounds so much like my nice except she grew up with our grandmother.nice home,she had everything she wanted & needed. & like you she's a smart girl.Your so right.thats what it is.Nobody has ever made her do anything, let alone teach her.i have taught her but i think i should be more patient with her.Also i believe you wrote on a previous post that i should make a list of the things she needs to do & time so she can kinda start organizing herself or start making her own decisions on when she should do them..THANX KELLY..=)!

[deleted account]

Is it possible that she doesn't know HOW to do the chores you are asking of her?
I know they probably seem like common sense things that anyone can figure out to you, but let me share a little something about myself with you.

As a child, I was homeless. My parents got a home my junior year, but not the kind people on here live in, with electricity, and running water, and all those luxuries suburbanites take for granted. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved into my car for college, and long story short, I didn't live in my first house with actual floors, electricity, glass windows, and all that until I was very wealthy (for a single chick). When my house got dirty, I didn't now what to do or have the time to figure it out (I was running two businesses), so I hired a housekeeper.
When my son was born, and I decided to become a sahm, and I decided I would clean myself--all June Cleaver style--and let the housekeeper go.
I flopped. I had no idea how to keep it clean. I didn't know you had to sweep, mop, or vacuum floors. I didn't even know how to turn my vacuum on, much less use it to actually clean stuff. I didn't know how to load the dishwasher--my dishes all came out dirty every time, but I didn't hand wash them any better. My laundry came out discolored, re-sized, and often warped out of shape. I didn't know you have to wash windows--they got ridiculously foggy. I didn't know you had to polish the furniture. Emptying the trash bins was a precarious balancing act that more often than not ended up with a pile of disgusting trash on the floor. Life was Hell, and I went back to work and hired my housekeeper back.

Eventually, I had my housekeeper teach me everything I needed to know about how to keep my house clean and organized. It took her almost a year to teach me everything and for me to get good at it. A YEAR. And I'm a pretty quick study in most cases.

Maybe you could do the chores with her for a while, then she would be more confident and embark on them herself. She might be overwhelmed. I know, when I first started keeping house, I was often overwhelmed by everything that needed to be done, given my limited skill. You mentioned that her mom never made her do anything, and you hadn't either before your second pregnancy. So it's possible that she has so little experience with them that she doesn't quite know where to start or how to follow through, so she puts them off.

Michelle - posted on 08/20/2013

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The best thing you can do for any child is to give them age and ability appropriate chores. So you have a toddler they can match the clean socks fold the wash cloths simple things for the age. Your niece on the other hand is a teen so she can put her own clothes away, put the trash out, vacuum. You also have to think has she been taught how to vacuum, wash the mirrors, make the beds, fold clothes, wash clothes. She might not want to disappoint or she might need more assertive then just do it... Like on movie night in you can choose the movie if you do your chores or you can go out with a friend to the mall, but the mall is a privilege and being apart of movie night in is a privilege.

Gabriela - posted on 08/20/2013

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ive tried that already and she luvs her mom but she doesnt really get along with her due to she feels remorseful for her leaving her for the first 11 yrs of her life so theyre allways at eachothers throats.now on the other hand i feel she is taking advantage of me because she knows that i dont want to send her back even though ive told her once already that i REALLY need her to help me out or im going to feel more than obligated to send her back with her mom if she doesnt buck up because i dont need more than i can handle..then she'll get in the ball for like a week then she'll go back to the same..i honestly dont get it..= /!..

Lori - posted on 08/20/2013

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Did she like living with her mom? Maybe talking with her and telling her that you love her and love that she is staying with you, but she needs to help you out, that you have alot on your plate, that you would love for her to do some things around the house and then asking if she rather be back with her mother. maybe see how that goes how things change?

Lori - posted on 08/20/2013

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Of course not, i would feel the same way she is just taking everything you are doing for her for granted...i wonder why everytime we do all our best to make someone feel confortable and loved you end up feeling that way unappretiated :(

Gabriela - posted on 08/20/2013

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i understand but she is my niece & im only 25 yr old. & i ask myself should i put up with it?..Or what should i do?..Because i feel like her mom doesnt love her as much as i do so i think twice about sending her back.

Gabriela - posted on 08/20/2013

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Thanx Lori,& no i dont think its the new baby thing because she is my niece & well i've known her of course since she was little. I think the issue here is that before she came into my home she had never done any chores at her moms house.My sister never made her do anything.Like i said in my previous post she has always been like that, lazy. she would always be bumbing it on her moms couch watching tv,on her phone & eating. At first i didn't see a problem with it since i've always been the type to like to take care of the house chores while my husband works but not untill now that my belly grew bigger,not to mention that im 2 weeks away from giving birth, well i do need a little more help with simple chores.but i guess shes used to something else & she cant or should i say doesnt want to do it, and to be honest i feel let down like unappreciated because i do everything for her i buy her clothes,shoes everything she needs for school & she wont help me out?..am i wrong to feel the way i do?

Samantha - posted on 08/20/2013

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although it is very frustrating...teens will be teens, she is still young and will definitely grow out of it. Best of luck!

Lori - posted on 08/19/2013

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I understand you...and i believe you are right. There is no reason why she cant or shouldnt do a few chores around the house, especially if everyone else in the home is doing there part. Have you always had this problem with her, Maybe she is feeling some jealousy toward a new baby ???

Gabriela - posted on 08/19/2013

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nice!..now theres something i was kinda looking for & yes i have told her time after time to do things by a certain time & she still wont do it.Then i sit & have a long talk with her just to try & get her to talk to me so i can understand her a bit more but she wont. she doesnt want to do anything but sleep, eat, be on her cell phone,& watch tv. She has always been like that.since she was younger.lazy i call it..very lazy..Its kinda annoying.i just dont get it?. everybody in this household does something but her.she waits untill i tell her to do it. i have been telling her since 2 days ago to wake up early so she can help me do some gardening work.just to get her moving & doing something other than bumb it all day.she wont budge, she'll wake up the next day late pretending she didnt knw when we were going to do it.or like today she woke up late again, i had already finished doing what i was going to do then she goes out & doesnt even do what i told her to do.Its just frustrating for me because she'll then put on this sad depressed face when i simply ask her why she didnt do what she was supposed to do, then ill just kinda feel like she feels im against her or something.its also very frustrating because i feel like shes not doing anything for this family or household when all ive been doing is make her feel @ home give her evrything she needs.in fact i think ive done a way better job than her mother (my older sister) has ever done for her... I greatly do apologize for just going on & on about my problems with my niece but i honestly think its always best to get an outside point of view. also wanted to say Thanks..

Gabriela - posted on 08/19/2013

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i totally respect your point of view but i am not making her do anything like a maid..I would never do that.shes my niece & luv her to death thats why i accepted her in my home.I have never made her feel out of place.i treat her like if shes my own daughter. in fact i think i made her feel too confortable,she made the choice to live with me now ofcourse theres rules to follow,chores to do in my home just like in any other home.i might only be 25 but i surely do know when a person is just taking my kindness for weakness.Now I believe every teenager should have chores around the house & should do them in a timely matter.it shouldnt take her all day to take the trash out. or for her to do them when she wants.then theres no discipline there at all.The thing about chores is to teach kids or adolescents responsibility, also to start helping them & prepare them for the real world for when they go off to college or start living on there own.she is three yrs shy from going off to college & i refuse to keep her in my home without having to do chores.& when i mean exclude her i mean i don't take her out with me to do fun stuff. I believe in discipline & if she doesn't do what she needs to do at home or school well then she wont be allowed to do fun stuff. Its only fair & part of life. for ex, if she doesn't do her school work is it fair for her to still go out?.

[deleted account]

What kinds of things are you asking her to do? Why does it matter when they get done, as long as they are done? Maybe your post is coming across wrong, but it sounds like she's a normal 15 year old and you are expecting her to be a maid. If you can't handle being pregnant and taking care of your toddler, that is your issue, not hers--they are not her babies.

That said, at 15, she should be taking care of herself, picking up her own messes, doing her own laundry, and not making a bigger mess for you to clean up.
If her room is a mess, let it stay that way until she can't stand it anymore (Just don't let her take food in there). Once she sees the mess doesn't bother you, she'll probably clean it up to make herself happier. If she's not doing her laundry in a timely manor, let her wear dirty clothes to school.

I wouldn't exclude her from family outings or activities--she's already an outsider to your family, and being excluded will just give her a deeper sense of disbelonging, which will lead to rebellion later on. Instead, work on giving her a sense of belonging--let her know you WANT her there, not that you are just putting up with her. She will be more cooperative if she doesn't feel like she's just an annoyance in your life.

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