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Old 07-07-2009, 08:17 PM   #1
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Default How to teach your kid responsibility?

I am so frusterated right now. My kid has no sense of responsibility for herself. She is a great kid and this is her major flaw. She makes messes in the house and never cleans up after herself, and she blames me for the messes.

I tried the chore list and incentives and it just doesn't work with her.

For instance, she is old enough to stay at home now during the day while I am at work. I work 10 minutes away, we have neighbors that are at home during the day whom I know and trust, and my dad is five minutes a day.

It has been HORRIBLE so far. I come home to a house that looks like a hurricane has been through it--she won't help or pick up after herself. I come home to 4 girls in the house that she is feeding [I can't afford this and have told her several times]. She again won't take responsibility for her actions and denies or makes things up.

She is a giant slob and I am at the end of my rope. Here is another example. Today she calls me, "Mom where are my Nikes?" "I dont' know A, they are your shoes, you should know where they are." "Well, I don't that's why I am calling you." How can I keep track of all her stuff.

She dances. Each time before class, "mom, where's my leotard? Where's my shoes? Where's my tights?" If she is big enough to be a part of company and dance so much, why can't she keep track of her things?

I need ideas as I am going nuts!
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

It's the age Lisa. I went through this with my A when she was your A's age, and I am going through it right now with M.

Here is my advise based on my experience, and recommendations from others. It works, the hard part is being consistent, IMO.

You lay out the rules, and lay out consequences that she will NOT enjoy. And stick to it. I know it sounds simplistic. I think as parents and especially single parents we sometimes find ourselves trying to reason with kids who sometimes (even your A and my M ) are just kids and reason doesn't apply. Like the Nike phone call. I mean A is smarter than that, she is just being a kid.

Last summer when Mark was 11 he stayed home some during the summer for the first time, same kind of situation you had and it was sooo bad. I got sick of coming home to it! I am not accustomed to having to punish M. Usually all I have to do is talk to him and he steps up. Not so with the messes when he turned 11! It was like part of his brain quit functioning when puberty hit!! I finally remembered the advice I was given when my A first came to live with us full time at this age and I struggled so with this! I told him I was finished with arguing, being frustrated, coming home from work to find a horrible mess. I laid it out. First, I told him I would call him 15 minutes before I would be home. If I came home to the mess his punishment would be. 1. loss of tv, 2. loss of xbox and on and on.

He did it, but here is a funny story. He asked me to go talk to his counselor, which he does time to time when he is sad about his dad or something. I took him thinking something had upset him. Turned out he was upset with all of these expectations (cleaning up after himself and doing his chores which he receives an allowance for - by his choice)! It was comical, I could tell Doris was having a hard time keeping a straight face. She handled it really well though! She asked him if he would just rather give up the allowance than have his chores if it was too much. She explained to him it is part of my job as a parent to teach him to be responsible for himself and it is part of his responsibility to be respectful enough of me not to expect me to clean up after him as I don't expect him to clean up after me. She did it in a way that worked well with him though.

This summer he started out slacking, but the first time I took his privileges away, we haven't had another problem. Don't get me wrong, his idea and my idea of cleaning up after yourself are two very different things. I still do have to remind him a day ahead to get his things together (scouts for us) I make him get them together and put them on the chest at the foot of my bed the day before.

Good luck! I know how maddening it is! If your A is like my A you will struggle with this with her, then she will grow up and move out, within a few years she will be neater and more organized than you ever thought about being and you will just scratch your head in disbelief!
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

i recommend lots of string and staples...small things get stapled to them...big things get tied to them...nothing gets lost...
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

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Originally Posted by Bubba'sDad View Post
i recommend lots of string and staples...small things get stapled to them...big things get tied to them...nothing gets lost...
Or you could always go with this brilliant idea
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

the 10 year old messes. i agree with idig set up consequences. personally i never left my boys alone at ten, that was a privilege they had to earn, usually at 13yrs.

I would explain to her that one of the things about being with out a sitter is that things [rules, messes, safety, etc] will continue by way that she would be the enforcer. If she is not up for the task, that that is kk and you will find her someone to sit with her while you are gone to do it for her.

idig is right that A's mental reasoning just is not there yet. It is the development [A's age] of the brain, the neurons just have not set up shop and made full reasoning connections yet, this is due to certain hormones that are needed and have not been produced till a certain age. Usually starting at 13 and full hormone production at 15.

summery, threaten with a sitter if shes not up for the task of house running. "home enforcer".

Good luck and what i said is just food for thought, i don't have girls.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

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Originally Posted by idig View Post
Or you could always go with this brilliant idea
i third that motion
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

I only have one son and he is a cyclone. The threat of taking things away does work. I also threaten to get him a sitter if he does not clean up after himself at 13 that just is not exceptable to him. Im on the second week and man Im still pulling my hair out at time. Im praying it get easier soon. Good luck.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

Just wait LSL, teen girls? It's gonna get even better, . A is a good girl, though. She'll come around. All the advice you have already recieved is about all you can do.
I have issues with E and food. He lays out buffets for the ants all over the place. So, I made him watch the "Verminator". Ever see this? Major infestations! Creeped the kid out. . Not enough though...apparently....sigh.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

I was thinking about a discussion that took place at work the other day about motivating people. About the two main ways, with fear or with praise and encouragement. One of my son's constant complaints is that I nag about things he doesn't do, chore wise, instead of pointing out what he does do. Today I tried an new approach. I left him a note saying that he has done so much better this summer about remembering to do his chores, usually after being reminded just once instead of multiple times. Told him I love him and how proud I am of him.

About an hour after I got home (and had to remind him to clean up the mess he left in the kitchen ), he came in and hugged me and said, "Thanks for the note, mom. I saw it this morning and I love you too" Made my evening, even if I shouldn't have had to remind him to clean up after himself before I got home from work!

I hope it is getting better around your place, Lisa!

---------- Post added at 10:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:08 PM ----------

Wow, he just came and thanked me for the note a second time! Must have really meant a lot to him!
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Old 11-16-2010, 11:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to teach your kid responsibility

I always thought I was doing something wrong whenever I would tell her to clean her room and she said she was cleaning it, but go in there and it looks worse than the first time. I agree about the hormones in 13 year old girls. I'm dealing with the "I forgot" syndrome. I have pulled my hair out for years to get her to do her homework. I have almost gone to school to sat in her classes with her. Oh, she did not want that. Everything has gotten better with the remembering once I threatened to go to her school with house slippers, my rob, and rollers in my hair to go to her classes with her one day. Thank you all. I am seeing the light now.
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