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Author Topic: Divisions of Labour
Tommy_Paine
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posted 11 May 2003 11:03 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Stimulated by the discussion in Aunties "Why are left wing men so Deffensive...." I was wondering how everyone deals with getting things done around the house. It needn't be a family situation; you could be roomies with someone, it's all valid.

My thinking is that our abilities to divide up the tasks in an harmonious way is impaired. That it's not always a gender issue, (though, it doesn't preclude that either) but a human issue.

I think we all rationalize to make ourselves believe we at least pull our wieght, if not convince ourselves that we are housework/chore martyrs on level with Joan of Arc.

Before my ex and I separated, I worked more than full time, while she worked part time. Remembering back, she did the cooking, and probably most of the dishes, and the laundry.

I did all the standard 'male' chores, like cutting the grass, garden maintenance, snow shoveling etc.

She also did the shopping, which wasn't just groceries but also taking our daughters out to the stores for clothes and all that stuff.

Because, I think, I had a lower threshold of tollerance for things like pet hair (we had a German Shepard for about seven years) and bathroom cleanliness, I more often than not ended up vacuuming and scrubbing those areas. And windows too.

It seems to me, in my mind, that I did tons more than her, but I'm rather sceptical, surely there are things she did that I've just relagated to inconsequential, or totally forgotten.

So, when we split, I took my three daughters aside, and explained that in order for us to live together, certain things had to be done.

I identified a number of housework items that have to be done and during the meeting I told them that while they had to be done, they were to choose which items they were going to do.

And, I reminded myself from the outset that they'd have thier own standards, their own way of doing things, and I couldn't project my some what obsessive tendancies on them. I would explain how I did things, what constituted 'clean', but their technique for accomplishing those ends were theirs to determine.

Has it worked? We function. It's not always to my liking, but then they are teens, with social lives and school work and at times part time jobs. So, I don't get upset if sometimes things aren't done.

My stuff doesn't always get done, either, for much the same reasons.


Now, of course, I'm in a new relationship. I'm trying to be very conscious of sharing what little work that results from our relationship. I'm thinking it's pretty down the middle, but can we really be objective?

I'm fairly confident, because I know if things got too far out of whack in her mind, we'd discuss it. We've discussed it when it hasn't been out of whack.

So, ramble ramble ramble aside, how do you do it? Do you feel it's satisfactory? Do you think you do more? Are you silently repressing resentment? Or, are you the lazy one and know it?


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 11 May 2003 02:53 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It seems to me, the biggest problems arise, not from laziness or taking advantage, but from different standards and perceptions.
When you get two (or more) people who have pretty much the same idea of how clean the house needs to be, it's easy. When you have two (or more) people who are equally aware of what the others do, it can be fair.

Trouble starts when one person is a perfectionist, one is a natural slob, one doesn't notice what anyone else is doing, one has no idea how much energy and time goes into another's regular chores, etc. In cases like this, it's usually a good idea to draw up a chart, compromise on a standard, do a time-and-motion study... Tedious and not always effective, but i see no other way to stop the arguments.

Our house is slightly messy most of the time (but the books and business papers are organized), because we forget to put stuff away. It's really messy when we're too busy with other work (the cat-box is changed, we always have clean clothes and everyone gets fed regularly). It's quite clean (not immaculate) about five minutes before company is expected - because we all pitch in and just do it.
It took years to work out a balanced system.
Generally, he does the big jobs: snow, grass, trash, chimney, ashes, compost... plus vacuuming and dusting. I do the unending jobs: shopping, dish-washing, laundry, kitchen, bathroom and pets.
We have a great team routine for firewood and a fairly good one for repairs.
My mother bakes bread every day and does about half the cooking; she cleans her own apartment, but we help with the heavy parts.
Which reminds me, it's time to wash the windows. Now, there's a fun job!


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 12 May 2003 02:32 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was thinking of the perceptions end of things as a cause for conflict.

A certain task may seem more onerous to do by one person than another, so it's natural that there would be a difference in how that task is valued.

For example, I'd much rather do dishes than make a bed. I find making a bed very tedious, even if it doesn't take as long to do as the dishes.

So, if I did the bed while someone else did dishes, I could see how both could end up feeling they got the worse end of the stick on that particular division.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 12 May 2003 10:29 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, it does make things easier if each person does the work to which they're least averse - and for which they have the most talent.
However, very few people enjoy cleaning the toilet - and some don't like any chores.
When our kids were at the hate all housework stage, we rotated weekly. They were expected to clean their own rooms and do their own laundry, but took turns at kitchen and bathroom.
For anything extra, like washing the car or shampooing a carpet, they got paid on a contract basis.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 12 May 2003 10:52 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My wife and I have always tried to divide chores up "holistically", ie: with an eye to those things that each of us enjoy most/hate least/excel at.

She likes fastidious work that isn't on a regular schedule, like cleaning floors or vacuuming behind big things or removing the sofa cover and washing it.

I prefer simpler tasks that I can simply "get done", and tend to do them regularly, with the odd fridge cleanout or bedsheet laundering thrown in.

We take turns with the bathroom duties, and with vacuuming/lintbrushing the livingroom, and we both do our own laundry (I have the male habit of punishing my laundry - if it's not "man enough" to survive washing on hot and drying on hot, it doesn't deserve its place in my closet!).

I do nearly all of the shopping (except weekends when we market together) and all the "big" cooking - she'll make us soup and sandwiches on weekdays though. I also do dishes most of the time, although this has lately left her feeling guilty, and she's been trying to beat me to them (I'm the kind of cook who cleans dishes incessantly while cooking, and when I was a bachelor I'd often start dishes whilst still chewing my last bites of dinner).

This weekend she gave me quite a treat; she had a serious "cleaning jones" on this Saturday, and apparently wasn't in her usual mood to go to the market, so in exchange for me fetching all supplies for and cooking 2 "surprise" meals, she offered to do both her and my chore, as well as my laundry! We both counted ourselves as having got the better end of that deal, which is really the best kind of deal there is.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 11:53 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
We divvy things up pretty much 50/50.

The blond guy has always been great with baby stuff, more so than most new dads. Always handy with a diaper. His big peeve was no change tables in men's rooms when the wee grils were smaller. I recall one restaurant where he went into a dirty bathroom with no change table, came out totally insenced and used one of the empty tables... I was a little embarrassed, but I think he made his point.

I know that a number of my friends call it "babysitting" when dad stays home with the kids... We just call it "normal parenting".

Anyway, we don't have specific chores that "belong" to one or the other. Right now, I'm working long days, so he will take the majority of the childcare, cooking and basic cleaning. When I'm done (middle of this week), he will be in a crunch and I will take over most of that stuff. I tend to do laundry, he tends to move heavy objects, but if necessary, we switch off if the other is busy or we're too impatient. Both of us being single into our 30s, we learned to fend for ourselves pretty well.

We've also learned to negotiate and adjust to each other's standards, which is probably the reason we rarely, if ever, fight about housework or child rearing.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 May 2003 12:58 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Raising my kids as I have, on my own, I've never had to battle over parenting issues, and I've also always done for myself where housework is concerned.

A couple years ago I did a mental inventory and discovered that I spent way too much time getting bent over the fact that my eldest doesn't contribute to the household in a meaningful way. She just won't. So I've given up on her - she's an unrepentant slob, and I have to be satisfied if she just cleans up after herself. So she does her own laundry, prepares most of her own food, and keeps much of her slobbery confined to her bedroom. If she leaves small objects lying around, they disappear forever. So she doesn't leave small objects lying around. Much. Of course this means that her bedroom is a vortex that sucks all useful household items (like the iron, sewing box, etc.) into it. The toddler actually enjoys putting things back in their place, though likely the novelty will wear off.

Now, the first time my sweetie washed the dishes unasked, I nearly died of shock. I'm unaccustomed to asking for help, having always done almost everything myself, and it's required a bit of an adjustment, having someone's unasked for assistance. I'm still not comfortable making even small requests, but that's a control thing.

Sometimes it's hard to accept support, even when you're pretty sure it won't be arbitrarily removed just as you're getting used to it. As baggage goes, it's rather heavy and useless. Time to give it the heave-ho, I guess.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 01:12 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey, Rebecca, I read something interesting about teenagers and mess, behaviour, etc, this weekend -- apparently we can blame some of it on brain development...

http://makeashorterlink.com/?I2B012984

I don't think I've ever had to ask the blond guy to help. He just does. Occasionally we negotiate how we're going to get something done, or what we're going to do, but whether or not he's going to be part of it is never really asked. We're both responsible for the functioning of the house.

Having been in a marriage where this was not the case (I once went on strike for 2 weeks and wound up with a really ugly mess to clean up when I could no longer stand it), I really appreciate not having to ask.


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skdadl
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posted 12 May 2003 03:17 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I do everything.

The advantage: more and more, things are arranged my way, and when they are done, they are done perfectly, in my view.

The disadvantage: it is too much, so much does not get done. That can become depressing, and then even more does not get done.

At that point, one looks for help, and it can be found, except, as RW says,

quote:
Sometimes it's hard to accept support,

For the reason, cycle back to point 1 above, and then recycle over and over again.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 May 2003 03:21 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Zoot Capri:
I know that a number of my friends call it "babysitting" when dad stays home with the kids...

That drives me absolutely batshit. One of my biggest pet peeves.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 12 May 2003 03:22 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Only child?
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 May 2003 05:06 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Hey, Rebecca, I read something interesting about teenagers and mess, behaviour, etc, this weekend -- apparently we can blame some of it on brain development...
That's a very interesting article. This research would seem to explain a great deal of my eldest's behavior, though I'm rather reluctant to completely discard the "she's a jerk" rationale.

From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 05:33 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, they're not mutually exclusive theories...
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 12 May 2003 05:55 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the 'disappearing objects' motivation. It worked in getting the kids to put their toys away when they were younger, and in getting them them to do their own laundry later on: any article of clothing i didn't approve of (his raggedy vest, her too-short skirt) tended to get lost in the wash.
I didn't much care how sloppy the inside of their rooms was, as long as my stuff - sweaters, tools, dishes - came back out intact and their pets were properly cared for.
Now that they're grown up, one is neat and clean, the other is still a slob, but their pets are a picture of contentment.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 06:00 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd say you got the important bits right, then, nonesuch.

My mother obsessed about tidyness far too much when I was a kid. She's still doing it, to a lesser degree with my youngest sis, who is just turning 15.

(RW -- the article I posted a link to... It also explained how the above teenager, usually a really conscientious kid, nearly burned down the house while I was out because looking at Orlando Bloom on the computer was way more important than watching the potatoes... )


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nonsuch
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posted 12 May 2003 06:59 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
... as if that kind of thing didn't happen to adults...
Parents often set a higher standard for their kids than for themselves. The "do as I say, not as I do" syndrome. We always have a good reason for forgetting errands, breaking promises, failing to return calls, abandoning projects: we have so much on our minds. Well, so do they! Sometimes their priorities seem peculiar to us, but sometimes, if we look closely, they're exactly the same. And so are their emotional reactions.

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Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 07:27 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Boiling pot on main floor, two free-range kidlets (a kindergartner and a toddler) loose in the house, up on the 3rd floor mooning over a movie star? Sorry, I'd expect better than that from pretty much anybody.

Anyway, my point is that the article explains a lot about how this might be logical to the teenaged brain, even if it escapes the rest of us.


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lagatta
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posted 12 May 2003 07:56 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"If she leaves small objects lying around, they disappear forever." I hope you don't mean you steal her objects - i.e. throw away something that doesn't belong to you. Throw them in her room if you want, but you have no right to throw away another person's property. That is theft. It is wrong.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 May 2003 08:29 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I see your point, lagatta, but sometimes you go to extremes when nothing else works. And I figure if there's fair warning (e.g. "When you leave your things lying around all over the house, I'm going to throw them in the garbage, because I've told you umpteen-billion times to pick up after yourself") then that is just one of those times when parenting does not always follow the rules of social democracy. Sometimes it just has to be a dictatorship or you will go bonkers.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 12 May 2003 08:51 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, I can certainly understand getting infuriated. I'd get infuriated for a lot less. But like smacking someone, it is still wrong. It is stealing.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 12 May 2003 10:16 PM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I wasn't the world's best husband when it came to when our girls were infants, but I never had a problem changing diapers and stuff like that.

Looking back, it seems to me I wasn't as patient as I am these days.

One thing I did do was encourage my ex (hey, I'm officially divorced today) to get out of the house.

She liked to refer to this as me "babysitting" the kids, but I never let it pass; fathers do not "babysit" thier own children.

quote:
Oh, I can certainly understand getting infuriated. I'd get infuriated for a lot less. But like smacking someone, it is still wrong. It is stealing.

Didn't you point this out too once when it sounded like I was going to throw out my eldest's clothes?

I identify with Rebecca a whole lot on this. In fact I'm up to here with finding bobby pins and hair elastics left just any old place.

And yes, they do get tossed. If my eldest hasn't got the time to look after items like this, then why should I?

There's also such a thing as theft of time, too. I'm trying to get my eldest to understand that when she leaves stuff laying around, I have to deal with it, and it takes away from me the one commodity I have precious little of these days, and something you don't get back-- time.

You can explain and be reasonable all you want sometimes, but if there are not consequences, the behavior will not change.

My eldest is about the only person who does not keep me waiting when I give her a ride.

Because I have stranded her before; and now she knows not to screw with me if she doesn't want to walk.

Honestly, if you watch my eldest, you'd swear that she thought SHE was doing the driver a favour by getting a ride.......

We talk it out, not just the housework stuff, but other things too, and my first, second, and third resort is always reason.

But sooner or later, the boom has to be lowered when this fails.

It's either that, or pointless nagging, which I think is worse than throwing out a few bobby pins.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 12 May 2003 10:21 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, I no doubt did point it out, or would have. It means that you and Rebecca have nothing to say for yourselves if your kids filch little things of yours, or throw them out. Stealing is wrong.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 12 May 2003 10:58 PM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
She's welcome to throw out any of my things I leave in her room.
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lagatta
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posted 12 May 2003 11:04 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Two possibilities here. Either you only throw out (i.e. steal) things she leaves in your room, or what is more likely, you don't respect her property.

I know it is hard to get people of any age to agree to standards of neatness. (I certainly couldn't live with you, as you describe how you do the dishes immediately after supper). And I'm not saying I wouldn't do the same thing - we all do things that are morally wrong when we can get away with it. But there probably isn't any point in arguing, because you don't see that you are teaching your kid not to respect other people's property if you wield more power than they do.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Vee
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posted 12 May 2003 11:09 PM      Profile for Vee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My brother (a roommate as of February) and I are slowly evolving a division of chores. Fortunately, we share the same level of cleanliness tolerance (we were raised by the standard of "untidy, but clean"), but it is only fair that he vacuum up his dog's hair from the living room carpet and I clean my cat's litter box. Before he moved in, I did it all from the house cleaning to the lawn mowing to the snow shovelling. Our parents raised us with the idea that if it needed to be done (laundry, lawn mowing, wood chopping and carrying, snowshovelling, gardening, babysitting), then the available body did it regardless of gender or supposed gender role. The only thing that I don't do is change lightbulbs because I do not like heights and my brothers are tall enough to not need a chair to change the lightbulbs!
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Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 11:11 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't throw things out, as a rule, but I have "disappeared" things for a period of time.

I guess the respect has to go both ways. If the kid has been asked numerous times and warned several times and still leaves the object in question lying about, s/he obviously hasn't respect for her own belongings, your space or your rules. You have to do something about it, sooner or later, or the lunatics are running the asylum.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 12 May 2003 11:20 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Agree with the last two, Zoot: "her own belongings, your space or your rules."

People who are messy don't respect their own belongings any less than people who are neat - they like to have them out where they can see them, in little nests. But I agree that a modus vivendi has to be developed, if not, life in common is impossible.

I could go along with "grounding" objects that are left out. It is just that the idea of stealing another person's things really rankles me.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 May 2003 11:32 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
People who are messy don't respect their own belongings any less than people who are neat - they like to have them out where they can see them, in little nests.

Yes, I agree. My desk is a testament to the concept. But kids have to learn that it's okay to do that in their own space, not the common space, or someone else's space. I'm not a "you must keep your room tidy" kind of parent -- although we do tidy along with the wee grils in their rooms, as they are not yet old enough to clean on their own or determine just how they'd like their rooms to be. When they're older they can choose how to keep their rooms, as long as there are no bad smells or unhealthy levels of dirt.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 13 May 2003 12:55 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
what is more likely, you don't respect her property.

Actually, it's quite the opposite; or at least it's my perception. It's like she's disrespecting the common areas of the house that everyone else uses-- not just me-- and it leads to conflicts with her sisters that violates the peace.

And that's the point of housework and dividing up the labour. Hopefully, we arrive at some kind of harmony.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 13 May 2003 01:15 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No disagreeing there - and I could certainly go along with some kind of punishment such as impounding her things or giving her extra household duties - but stealing another person's property is wrong.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 13 May 2003 01:30 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A compromise:

The parent reserves a box in the attic that the kids don't know about or in the master bedroom (where the kids are supposed to not go, anyway. ) where all the bad toys go for a couple weeks to magically reappear after the child expresses dismay at the disappearance of said toy.

Boom. No kids irreparably harmed because said toy went into the trash forever and no parents getting grief from all parties about heartlessly taking stuff that doesn't belong to them.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 13 May 2003 01:51 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, that's more or less what I do. Except for the really awful toys Gramma brings... Those ones "run away from home". And yes, I know it's bad, but my kids are still young enough I can get away with it.
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 13 May 2003 01:56 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I need a box like that for my toys. But that's another topic.

I have to smile about your idea of assigning extra duties as punishment, lagatta. What makes them more likely to be done if the regular duties aren't done in the first place?

It's really too late to be a disciplinarian, my daughters are closer to adults than children now.

I'm trying to get across that these are the things we do because these are the things we need to do not just to function, but enjoy our time together.

I'm sure I'll find a way to make this connection in their minds, sooner or later.


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lagatta
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posted 13 May 2003 01:56 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, those aren't really the kids' things anyway, more "grandma's mistakes".
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 13 May 2003 02:15 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hah! That's a good way to describe them! Anybody in the market for a pink bunny that prays?

Oh, come on, somebody must want it...


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 13 May 2003 08:29 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good lord, Zoot. Reminds me of what my ex used to do when the little guy got loud toys that played the same "sound effect" or ditty over and over again. The volume control would suddenly be stuck at "quiet" for some unknown reason. Or the batteries would mysteriously disappear. Or the soundbox would somehow just not "work" any longer. It was the strangest thing. And you're right, it only works when they're young. But then, they only get really annoying toys (and have the urge to do the sound effects over and over again for three hours at a stretch) when they're young. I guess when they get older it's time for "Turn that crap DOWN!" when they're playing music on their stereo that drives you loony.

The thing is, lagatta, there are lots of things you do with your kids that you can't do with adults because, well, you just can't. But you have to do it with kids because you're raising them. There has to be some kind of leverage.

With an adult, you can't take away their money if they do something you don't like and want to train them not to do, because a) you're not responsible for training another adult, and b) you just can't DO that. But with a child, if they misbehave, some parents DO find it effective to dock them money off their allowance, for instance. I don't agree with taking money from an adult, but when it comes to a child, I do agree with it.

As for the child's belongings - here's the thing. If you sit down with the child and say, "You are a lucky girl/boy. You live in this nice home with mommy and/or daddy, and we give you lots of nice toys to play with and provide you with food and shelter. And we do this because we love you very much, and nothing will change that. But if you want us to continue to provide you with all these "extra" clothes and toys (and make it clear you're just talking about the extras, not the necessities like the food and shelter and basic clothes), then you have to take care of them. It's a privilege to have all of these toys, and that privilege can be taken away, just as your car or tv privileges can be. If you leave your toys lying around, they will be taken away."

And of course, you would only do this if all else failed. I don't consider that theft, because a) most kids don't "earn" their billions of excess "stuff" - it's just bought by parents, and they probably have too much of it to begin with, and b) according to Rebecca and others who have used this method, it works.

No, it does not justify the kids stealing from their parents. The parents are specifically trying to correct a behaviour in their children that is disrespectful and disruptive. Kids who steal money or whatever from their parents are generally doing so for personal gain. Big difference, and kids are smart - they know what the difference is. Especially if it's explained to them.

[ 13 May 2003: Message edited by: Michelle ]

[ 13 May 2003: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 13 May 2003 10:19 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"If she leaves small objects lying around, they disappear forever." I hope you don't mean you steal her objects - i.e. throw away something that doesn't belong to you. Throw them in her room if you want, but you have no right to throw away another person's property. That is theft. It is wrong.
Well I didn't think I would have to explain about the qualified "small objects", but obviously I do.

As most of you know, I have a small toddler. Small objects left around are a choking hazard. My teenager was warned of this repeatedly. She was finally informed that small objects (consisting largely of hair thingys, small coins, disposable lighters, etc.) left lying around where our youngest could reach them would disappear. She did and they did.

She no longer leaves small objects lying around. As an added bonus, she rarely leaves larger possessions lying around anymore either, even though when she did I merely tossed them into her room.

While I've never thrown out anything more significant than a hair-clotted elastic or a few bobbypins, her property rights do not supercede her baby sister's right to a safe home environment. To call it theft is absurd. It is a parent exercising sound judgement in the face of a teenager's almost destructive narcissism.

quote:
No disagreeing there - and I could certainly go along with some kind of punishment such as impounding her things or giving her extra household duties - but stealing another person's property is wrong.
That's pretty funny...extra housework...hahahahaha

[ 13 May 2003: Message edited by: Rebecca West ]


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 13 May 2003 10:43 AM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That was my first thought Rebecca that small objects would pose a danger to the little one.

It must be remembered though it is always those who have all the answers in child rearing who don't have children.


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 13 May 2003 10:47 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle:
quote:
With an adult, you can't take away their money if they do something you don't like ...

Actually, you can. It's called a fine, or confiscation. It's done by legally constituted authority as a punishment for breaking the law.
In a family, parents are the authority and they get to make and enforce laws.
Also, if an adult puts her wallet down in public phonebooth or leaves his coat in a restaurant, those things are lost (unless some kind soul takes the trouble to return them). No theft involved: it's the natural consequence of carelessness. Why should children be exempt from consequences? And if they are exempt for 18 years, how can we expect them suddenly to become responsible at 18.1?

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 13 May 2003 10:49 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, if you've never had to be responsible for small children on a daily basis, it wouldn't immediately strike you as a problem.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 13 May 2003 11:21 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here we go again!
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 13 May 2003 11:47 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rebecca explained the situation entirely differently, as a matter of safety, not the battle of wills she was first presenting. Safety comes first whatever the age of people leaving things around when babies are present.

What I saw initially was a battle of wills and a disrespect for teenagers' property. And I was just pointing out the likely consequences.

Debra, you are rude. My opinion is as valid as yours, and while I've never had children and have no desire to, I have taken care of them.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 13 May 2003 12:31 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anyway...

As nonesuch pointed out, we all deal with different authorities. When you're a kid, the authority is the parent(s). Confiscations are consequences that one can impose without having the bigger fight of trying to make the kid do something s/he doesn't want to do, which can only exacerbate the conflict.

I also use "time out" for certain transgressions, and, if wee gril becomes really hard to deal with, I put her to bed. In the middle of the day, if I have to. Surprisingly effective.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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posted 13 May 2003 01:35 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh Lagatta get over yourself.

It is a joke among virtually ALL parents that they knew alot more about childrearing before they had children.

Babysitting and parenting are not the same thing.


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 13 May 2003 02:07 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Also, it's interesting how one method might work well with one child, but be completely ineffective with another. I always had to play drill sergeant with my eldest, but the young one seems to respond well to more moderate discipline.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 13 May 2003 10:29 PM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The difficulty with kids is that it becomes a power struggle if you let it, and then it's almost imposible to step outside the situation and get a better perspective.

This is happening between my eldest and I at the moment, which is why I'd rather blow off steam to others before I formulate a plan that, hopefully is drained of ego and power related issues.

......a Machievellian plan, fiendish in it's intricacies.......



It's the little things. Scissors kept going missing all the time. One day I spotted a wooden scissors holder for three pair of scissors. It sits on the kitchen counter now, and at any given time there is at least one pair at the ready.

No conflict, no need for nagging, no getting bent out of shape because you're spending altogether about an hour a week looking for the damn things.

Would all housework/housekeeping issues have such harmonious solutions.


From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 14 May 2003 01:42 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Most of them do have simple solutions.
The trick is to find the solution that works in a particular household, between particular people, at a particular juncture.

It used to drive me bughouse when the kids asked for paid work two hours before a birthday party for which they needed to take a present, and they had no money.
So i started picking up, on my regular shopping trips, little things suitable for kids of their age and keeping a stash of potential presents. When they'd left it too late, they could 'buy' something from me and work it off later, when i needed extra help.

Sometimes it's a matter of timing and style. It's nearly impossible to discuss a conflict when you're both in the middle of it. But there are sane moments, even hours (between 13 and 17, about five hours) when you can talk to each other calmly about a problem. It takes a lot of patience on the parent's part, because adolescents are not the world's greatest communicators - or diplomats. But sometimes you can strike a deal where both the kid and the parent promise to curb one annoying habit. ("If i don't tell the outhouse joke anymore, what will you stop doing?")
The hardest thing to remember is that they feel the same way as you would in their place. And you're the one who has to remember, because they don't have a past yet.


From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 14 May 2003 01:00 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, most of the solutions are fairly simple and straightforward. But not so much when you have Fundamental Issues that spill over into every area of your communal life.

In that case, you have to discover what the root problem is, and deal with that. A much more daunting task.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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