In the middle of a situation....advice?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mstang67chic, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    difficult child has been doing nothing since turning 18. I think he did the dishes once and only did it half a**ed. Anyway, he wanted to go to a friend's tonight but was in a bad mood because it looked like it wasn't going to happen.

    husband came home frome work and told difficult child that he needed to do the dishes. Normally we take turns but a while back, difficult child promised he'd do them for the next 9 times if we let him do something. We agreed and even put it in writing with a spot to check off for each time he's done the dishes. He's not done them 9 times yet and husband and I have both done them a couple of times because they needed to be done. So tonight after husband told him he needed to do the dishes, we got attitude, bargaining, more attitiude and flat out refusal. In the house rules/contract we set up, it states that he does chores as needed, required or reqested. It also has a three strike policy in it for not following the rules. He managed to go a whopping 13 days before getting his first strike.

    He decided that he's 18, he doesn't have to do what we say and he's NOT doing the dishes. He also said that he doesn't have to nor does he want to live here anymore. So he left at one point, went to his friend's house down the street to, I assume, ask the mom if he could live there. As he stated that he was moving out when he left, we locked all the doors. (He doesn't have a key) When he came back, he had to ring the doorbell. husband answered the door and they had a discussion culminating in husband losing his temper and yelling for difficult child to get the he** out. So of course, he did. husband waited a few minutes (after I reminded him that we aren't goingt to get anywhere if we don't follow the rules and procedures that WE set down in the contract) and then called difficult child's cell. He apologized for losing his temper but reminded him of the rules and the fact that while he still lives under our roof, he has to follow the rules. difficult child said he was going to take a walk and then he would be back.

    husband and I talked for a bit and for the first time (whether I've said it out loud or not, I've been feeling this way for a loooong time) that he actually wishes difficult child WOULD move out because he's tired of dealing with his ****. I just gave him a kiss and said "welcome to my guilt".

    difficult child has no money, no job, no place to go. But at the same time, I think that all three of us are fed up. Granted, difficult child lives in a world of denial and narcisism but still. husband and I just don't know what to do. difficult child refuses to do anything. He comes home, throws his books in his room (assuming of course that he brought them home) and then goes to his friend's house. There's no way to make him do anything. If he wants to leave the house he does.

    Oh, just remembered. During the trying to get him to do the dishes part, I just kept repeating calmly that he could either do the dishes or go to his room. He went and sat on the couch instead. So I walked over and stood in front of him. Before I had a chance to say dishes or room again, he looked up at me and (VERY snottily) said "You can't touch me, I'm 18" Little poop.

    Anyway, he and husband are talking right now although most of what I'm hearing is "I'll do the dishes tomorrow....I'm not going anywhere tonight but I don't have time to do them tonight. I'll have all the time in the world to do them tomorrow...blah blah blah blah blah blah blah" I just heard husband say something to him and his (again snotty) reply was "Dad, I don't know what you're talking about, you are just rambling on about stupid stuff" (You mean like.........I don't know....doing the dishes?) GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA


    I'm not sure what KIND of help I'm looking for mind you, but any advice would be welcome. (And our trip is NEXT year? Dear God.)
  2. dcwsaranac

    dcwsaranac I hear music...

    Welcome to the world of parenting kids with eighteenitis. been there done that - long hard story.

    You've got the contract, use it.

    He thinks he is an adult now and wants to be treated like an adult who can make his own decisions while enjoying the perks of being a dependent child. Time for him to get a reality check and understand that he has to choose how he is going to live right now.

    I'd say you've already backpeddled a bit by not holding him firm to the rules of the house - so give it a few hours rest. Tomorrow morning - before he eats one bit of the food you bought, or watches your TV, or anything like that - you sit him down and make him choose. Re-read and rewrite the contract if necessary and this time stick to it - it needs to be a black and white business proposition.

    Here's one notion - he wants to be treated like an independent adult, treat him as an independent adult. He he pays room and board - all perks are on him alone. If he doesn't have a job, you determine what work he is to due around the house in lieu of monetary payment. You divide the chores and assign a real dollar value to them ($150/wk room and board divided by 15 specific chores - $10 per chore per week), if he falls more than one week behind in his payments/work, he is locked out until he shows with the money or performs some additional work for back rent. It's tough, but it gives him a good dose of what it's like to live as an independent adult.

    Your love should be unconditional, but you need not put yourselves in a position to be abused by your son. Sometimes love means letting your children learn hard lessons the hard way.
  3. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    dcwsaranac, Could not have said it better, Good advice.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    "You can't touch me, I'm 18?"

    "Fine. You can't eat my food, you did not contribute. Get a job or do a chore."
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would put this on the teen board.
  6. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    I don't have any advise, but sending hugs to help you through this. Teenagers are sooo much fun.:sick:
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Maybe I should be posting on the teen board as well!

    We're going through similar stuff right now with easy child 2/difficult child 2. Right now, she is living in our sleepout with BF2. Her choice. It's a lovely room, free-standing with its own sink, lots of windows. It's big, much bigger than husband's & my room. But the crud they have accumulated! She says she wants to move out, but frankly all she has to do is tidy up and she would have the extra space she needs.

    Anyway, back on topic - when our kids finished school we told them, "To continue to live here, you must either get a job (volunteer or paid) or do further study. or both."

    We also try to live like flatmates. Because husband & I both lived in student housing when we were young, we learned how to live with a random assortment of others and get along. When sharing accommodation, you have to learn the house rules and abide by them.

    Examples of house rules - taking turns with the washing up. Or maybe you can trade, and be responsible for the garbage and recycling instead of washing up. One house I lived in had the rule that whoever was on cooking duty also had to wash up that night. It meant that on the other nights we were free to study without having to stop and do chores. But there were drawbacks, so my preferred rule is - whoever cooks does not wash up.

    So if he doesn't want to wash up, he can choose to prepare a meal. He has to cater for everyone in the house including catering to individual tastes.

    Other rules - keep communal areas tidy. Your own living space can be untidy, but must be clean (ie no food or drink in the bedrooms).
    Laundry - either take a turn, or do your own.
    Shopping - preferably done by the person who is cooking that night. Alternatively, the household keeps a shopping list and people either shop as a group (or take turns helping) or help put groceries away.

    The shopping list - as you open a new jar/packet of something, put it on the shopping list.
    When shopping - if it's not on the list, don't buy it.
    If you didn't buy something that was on the list, put it on the new list as soon as you get home.

    When the kids whinge about my cooking or nag and say, "Why can't we have fish/steak/chicken every night?" I give them the option - THEY can take over the cooking for a week. They can plan the meals, shop for the supplies (but stay within the budget), do the cooking and serving AND put up with the complaints.

    A really important rule - ALWAYS let people know where you will be and when you will be home. This is mostly for catering purposes, but also for household organisation. For example, easy child 2/difficult child 2 is working tomorrow and we need more tomatoes. Rather than me go out just for tomatoes, she can easily get some in her work break.

    Anyone sitting on a couch is asked to help, if help is needed. Failure to help leads to natural consequences - if you don't pull your weight in the household, we will assume you don't really live here and we will stop pulling our weight FOR YOU. This is what happens for real in a student household. Dead wood gets culled.

    If your son finds someone to let him move in with them, let him. If he is as slovenly for them as he is for you, they will soon throw him out.

    My boys get roped in to peel vegetables, to help stir pots when I'm cooking, sometimes to do even more. I was suddenly taken ill last week while I was preparing a roast dinner, so I was able to ask difficult child 1 to make gravy for me.

    difficult child 3 doesn't like to peel potatoes, he is scared of cutting himself. So we swap jobs, he cleans out the henhouse instead. easy child 2/difficult child 2 enjoys peeling garlic, also enjoys wielding the mortar and pestle, so I'm happy to give her those jobs. I mostly do the laundry, but next week I will need help and since BF2 produces the bulk of the laundry, I'm going to ask him to do the wash. I will be on call if he needs help. He's not my kid, but he has chosen to live with us.

    You need to sit down with your son and explain that you all need to follow house rules. If he really doesn't want to wash up, is there another task you would be prepared to swap with him? And he has to learn that doing a half-baked job is not the way to get out of it. All it will do with future flatmates, is annoy them enough to throw him out.

    If he wants to be treated as an adult, he has to meet adult responsibilities. If he ever wants to be happily married, he needs to learn how to be the perfect husband, the best catch. Learning how to cook is a good start. Knowing how to wash up and do the laundry could snag a supermodel.

    Vegging out on the couch and giving cheek will set him up to be a lonely bachelor.

    Good luck with this one.