"I have a 17-year-old, amongst other children, and I’m at my wit’s end. I ask for a little help around the house: mainly, clean up after yourself, put bins out, pack dishes away, and mow the lawn every now and then (we take that in turns).
Well, he’s been doing work experience and believes he shouldn’t have to do anything around the house. I lost it yesterday when, for the umpteenth time since Wednesday, I told him to shower (4 days in hottish weather doing manual labor in the dirt, dust, and grease with no shower…). I told him I wasn’t taking him for a drive until he was clean.
He snapped it at me and said that because I won’t do anything for him, he won’t do anything for me. Well, this floored me, and I had to take a walk; when I returned, I pointed out to him that if he believed I didn’t do anything for him, then that would be it, he would have to get himself up and off to school/work and walk or ride, buy his own food, as well as his own washing, cooking, cleaning, etc., and because I do nothing for him he would have to figure out how to pay for it all considering I pay all the bills so he can’t use my stuff.
Now I’m feeling extremely guilty. Have I been too harsh?"
TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):
“Good for you. Better a reality check with you, safe, in your own home. Could be worse. Could be a reality check in the real world and he could be starving, homeless, etc.”
“You did good, but in my opinion, it’s your job as the parent to take on the responsibility of cooking, cleaning, making sure your kid is fed clothed, all that till t out of high school, doesn’t matter the age. I get trying to discipline the child and trying to get him to help around the house. But I really sure when parents throw that they feed the kids, buy them clothes, ext in their child’s face… That’s your responsibility as a parent, not the child’s. I totally get the discipline and responsibility teachings. But as far as those being said, it’s your job, not theirs.”
“You did great! I’m not sure I would have been smart enough to take a walk before reacting and having that conversation.”
“My younger brother was just like him. He put my parents through hell. It’s your house your rules until he starts paying rent then that’s when he can have a say. As long as you provide his basic needs, everything else is a privilege. Make sure you stand your ground because as soon as he sees you’re a pushover he will take advantage. Parent guilt is the worst. Hang in there.”
“Don’t feel guilty. Others don’t realize how much a person does for them until it’s not done.”
“Nope. I work two jobs and at 14 and 15 depend on mine to do chores (vacuum, empty dishwasher, do your own laundry). I explained it’s my chore to get groceries and take them to school, so when they ignored chores last week I showed them what me ignoring my chores feels like. We depend on each other as a family team.”
“I think you handled this perfectly. He’s at the age where he needs a reality check if he isn’t helping around the house. He will likely be moving out in a few years and needs to realize what is required for that. Good job.”
“Nope! Excellent lesson to learn now. You don’t want to be out on his own or worse moved in with a partner and him having these thoughts. You are doing great Momma, keep it up.”
“Nope, I would have also canceled his phone service and changed the WiFi password as well. Maybe even give him a bill for electricity and groceries… He’s almost an adult and will learn real quick you not catering to him in no way is not taking care of him.”
“No, you didn’t overreact! He is 17 you shouldn’t have to tell him to shower. If he thinks he is grown & doesn’t need to help you, a dose of reality is what he needs!”
“No, I actually think you handled it well. You didn’t yell, you left to take a breather. And after a little while, he will see that he does need your help and he will apologize. Trust me, I was him when I was younger. Very stubborn but I would always come around because I needed my parents and they knew that.”
“That’s exactly what I would have said! He needs a reality check and to appreciate you more. Just make sure you don’t back down and he knows you mean business. Great job momma!”
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