Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Please help me...

I posted the following on a forum I belong to, and I thought maybe I would post it here also.

I am struggling with how to deal with my 11-year-old son. He's whiny and disrespectful and lazy. I need to take care of this now before he really hits the teen years. I have never let him get away with behavior like this, so I'm not sure what makes him think he can get away with it now. He's my oldest, I have 4 kids, the others are 6, 4, and 22 months. My kids have a chore chart and they have just 2 things to do each day, simple things like pick up the toys, pick up the books, clear/set the table, load the dishwasher, nothing too crazy, and totally appropriate for them to learn some responsibility. I am the oldest of 6 kids and had to do way more work than that when I was younger, the difference is I did it without complaining. McKee, my oldest, thinks he should whine and complain and argue with me every step of the way. He has ADD and has been on meds for a couple years now, but the behaviors I'm seeing are not related to the symptoms he was having that finally helped me decide to medicate him. I've decided that maybe tough love is the way to go so he can appreciate his 2 little daily chores. He has been complaining about loading the dishwasher. He's being ridiculous, (here's the part where I act like an old lady and walked to school uphill both ways wearing a skirt...) when I was a kid, there were 8 of us and we didn't have a dishwasher. I had to hand wash each dish and dry them and put them away, on top of everything else I had to do. So McKee in throwing his fit 2 weeks ago slammed one of my juice pitchers repeatedly into the dishwasher because it wouldn't fit and snapped the pitcher. His punishment? This is where I get really mean, but hey, I'm desperate here...14 days of hand washing the dishes EVERY DAY. He need to learn how to do the dishes anyway, but if he can't appreciate how easy it is to just load the dishwasher and turn it on, then he can see how it is to really have to wash them. So it's been 2 weeks, and last night was the first night that he's completed the dishes. THE FIRST NIGHT. The other nights after about 9:30pm, which is way past his bedtime, we've sent him upstairs with the understanding that he does not get credit for that day because it's not complete.

The other issue we've had is him fighting with the littler kids. That drives me nuts too, because some reason he thinks that they are out to get him. So when I caught him just over a week ago swinging at his 6 year old brother because he touched his bear, I just about lost it. So in order to learn to love his brothers and sister he is serving them. So for 14 days he has to do their chores also. Again, I know I sound really mean, but I feel like I've tried everything with him and I don't know what to do to break this lazy habit. The whining has to stop, I have little patience for that from an 11-year-old boy.

We've also started waking him up at 5:30 am instead of 6 so he can take a shower. He was showering previously in the evenings every other day, or every couple days. He's not really sweating yet, so it's not a huge deal. BUT, when he went over a week with no shower and then whined and complained about it when he had to take one, it was on. I told him from now on (probably for a week at least) I will be waking him up at 5:30 am so he can have enough time to shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then make it to the bus stop without running and almost missing the bus.

His new trick is to complain and complain until we finally tell him to cut it out, and then he'll say "if this is torture for you then why don't you just unground me?" He's pretty smart to try to torture us into giving up, I have to give him credit for that, but I'm not going to break. He has to learn how to behave, and he has to learn how to do these chores properly and not waste his whole day doing it. He's really torturing himself. With a full sink of dishes and the other 8 daily chores, he should take about an hour tops.

Can you tell I'm getting desperate? I'm fragile right now so please be kind to me! I just need to know if anyone has anything that has worked for them. Have you had any of these problems before?

3 comments:

Carol said...

Crystal--I just barely went to a parenting workshop hosted by our stake here this past Saturday. The speaker James Jones is the author of the book "Let's Fix the Kids!" http://www.amazon.com/Lets-fix-kids-Creating-environment/dp/B0006RQBBE I thought he was great, had great ideas and it was all rooted in the gospel & especially in the scriptures.
I also am a huge fan of the Love & Logic program as well, which has a lot in common with "Let's Fix the Kids" (just minus the scriptures). http://www.loveandlogic.com/

I wish I had a quick fix answer for you but I can point you in the direction of both of those which have been immensely helpful to me in learning how to teach kids to be responsible...to let them learn from consequences without me losing my cool...and let problems become the kids' problems and not my own. Not like I'm totally perfect at it either (hence the need to attend the parenting workshop) but I feel like I have the tools I need and it's up to me to use them.

Carol said...

Crystal--I just barely went to a parenting workshop hosted by our stake here this past Saturday. The speaker James Jones is the author of the book "Let's Fix the Kids!" http://www.amazon.com/Lets-fix-kids-Creating-environment/dp/B0006RQBBE I thought he was great, had great ideas and it was all rooted in the gospel & especially in the scriptures.
I also am a huge fan of the Love & Logic program as well, which has a lot in common with "Let's Fix the Kids" (just minus the scriptures). http://www.loveandlogic.com/

I wish I had a quick fix answer for you but I can point you in the direction of both of those which have been immensely helpful to me in learning how to teach kids to be responsible...to let them learn from consequences without me losing my cool...and let problems become the kids' problems and not my own. Not like I'm totally perfect at it either (hence the need to attend the parenting workshop) but I feel like I have the tools I need and it's up to me to use them.

Carol said...

Oops...sorry for the double post!