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I have 2 daughters 11 months apart age 14 and 15. They fight constantly about clothes/make up everything! It gets so OLD and tiresome Also trying to get them to help with ANY type of chores is tough I offer to pay them $7/hr and they don't do any work??? Any advice on turing them around?


Mark Viator Replied: The first question you need to ask yourself is "who is in charge here?" While sibling rivarly is normal, and at some times healthy, there needs to be limits. I would recommend that you stop trying to be the judge and jury whenever they fight. Let them know that you will not tolerate their behavior, and if they feel the need to argue, please do so outside of your sight and hearing. Let them learn how to solve these problems. If you get involved, you will always choosing a side. Next, the fact that your daughters will not work, even for pay, should send a signal that some boundaries need to be created. Make a list of chores that each will be expected to do. Let them know that if they do these chores, then they can keep certain important priveleges, like the phone or television or visiting with friends. If they do not perform the chores in the expected manner, then these priveleges will be taken away for a certain period of time. Be firm and be consistent. Understand that adolescents will be adolescents. You should expect some fighting, some complaints, and some self-indulgence, but they should also be respectful and helpful. Set the boundaries and stick to them. Good Luck.
Posted On 2007-03-30 10:26:14
Beverly Willett Replied: It does get old and tiresome, I agree. I have two girls, also, though the age difference is five years. That doesn't seem to make a difference; they fight, too, albeit about different things than your two do. When I commiserate with other moms, it seems like we're all going through the same thing. That's the first good news -- you're not alone and your kids are more or less typical at this age. Second, it gets old and tiresome partly because you have to listen to it. Maybe they even come to you complaining, asking you to referee. Unless one of your kids is getting physical or verbally abusive (e.g. cursing), the next time one of them asks you to step in, say no. Tell them that if they ever get as sick of their fighting as you are and want to honestly try and figure out a way to get along, come see you and you'll try and help. Otherwise, if they're fighting in front of you, establish a rule new that they have to take it elsewhere where at least you don't have to listen to it. Make it their problem and give them ownership of it. It may take a long, long while but they might start to get tired of it too when they realize the only way out of it is for them to do something about it themselves. I don't know how you're handling the situation now but perhaps whatever it is you're doing, try the opposite. Often whenever there's a problem in any context, habits form, people get in a rut they can't get out of it. Doing the opposite, whatever that may be, creates a new dynamic for people to react off of. And that opens up new possibilities, helps people see new ways of interacting. As for chores, I go back and forth on that one myself. I happen to think contributing to the household is just part of being a responsible family member. After years and years of practice and constant reinforcement my kids routinely clean up after themselves at meals. You may just have to keep singing the same old tired song for a long time. Here's one thought: Try fixing the dinner and letting them get their own plate, napkin, fork, etc. I'm sure you can think of lots of other similar tactics. If they refuse to help in other ways you need help, unfortunately, but for their own good, you may just have to take privileges away. Be upfront about it and if they fail it's been their decision, not yours. As I said, I go back and forth about these things myself as a parent. There seems to be a constant tug of war in mothers' hearts between wanting to do what's right by our children to bring them up as responsible adults and the part of our hearts that just melts whenever we think about how much we love our children, which makes us just want to give in. Balancing on that line is the middle is harder than either being rigid about everything vs. letting them do whatever they want. One further thought. I've occasionally "thrown my kids together" so to speak in order to spend time together. For example, about a month ago I suggested they have dinner together and gave them money to go to a local sandwich shop. At first my oldest said they'd just order in and watch tv, but I knew that would turn into a fight over the remote. I stuck to my guns and said no, they'd have to go around the corner to the sandwich place, knowing there would be nothing to do but sit and face each other while eating in silence or talk. It worked. Same thing with sending them off to the Y together one day to go swimming. They came back laughing and giggling; I didn't even have to ask them if they'd had a good time. All the best.
Posted On 2007-02-26 12:36:51
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: How do you suppose your 14 and 15 year old daughters got the idea that helping out with chores around the house was a choice? I ask that because it seems to me that they're opting out because they've never been taught that helping out is part of what being in a family is all about. Forget the money! Have a family meeting and let them know that you have made a big mistake as a parent by teaching them that they are princesses and not fully capable members of the family whose contribution is necessary to the household running smoothly. When you do for them what they can do for themselves, you miss an opportunity to help them grown into fully functioning adults . Tell them that from now on they are required to do X, Y, and Z around the house. Set up a "job wheel" so that those responsibilities rotate. Make sure they know that doing chores is NOT a choice nor is it a punishment. It's simply what is required for the family. Tell them that you were wrong to give them the impression that you could do it all yourself. You can't. And when you try it makes you feel frustrated, resentful, angry and very very tired. Tell them that things are going to change... starting now. Then work WITH them to list the chores that they will now be responsible for and what the job entails (teach them HOW to do the job in case they're unclear) . Also make sure that they know what the consequence will be for failing to do their assigned chores and stick to it! Tell them also what options are open for fun family time as a result of your all sharing the work. As for the fighting... who's paying for the clothes/make up they fight over? Would that be you? Set up a new policy... if they fight over something, they lose it. Confiscate the item. They can earn it back when they work together to figure out a "shared custody" arrangement for that sweater. In friendship, Annie Fox.
Posted On 2007-02-22 04:06:35
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