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Whats reasonable for an 11 yr old in the realm of responsibility, chores, extra cirriculars and academics? Am I pushing too hard? I need some ideas on how to help her mature.

I have an 11 yr old who is my second child and second daughter. (I say that because I believe birth order is key in personality). Shes a very smart, funny and compassionate child who loves to do as little as possible to get by. She started in private school at K and went to about 1st grade. In 2nd grade we moved her to public school and shes been pulling A's and scoring very high on standarized tests. She has had it very easy and most of her complaining is done over busy work like writing spelling words. She hates work. Recently, we moved both of our girls to a private school that accepted them both based on their academic achievements and theres much more work involved. Its not hard, per se, but her easy ride is now over. I know shes capable of doing this and I think it good for her to fulfill her potential rather than just do whats required to get by. She has homework most nights except Wed and light work on Fri. CONT...

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Asked by momofsaee at 10:53 AM on Sep. 3, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 4 (56 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • She joined the middle school volleyball team on her own motivation and told us after the fact. She has practice everyday after school except wed and sometimes we arent home until about 6:45 to 7. She has from 3-5 to do homework while she waits on practice to start, but shes not using her time wisely. She would rather talk. She is required to take her PE uniform to school everyday and keep up with it and when it needs to be washed. She is required to gather all her stuff for volleyball each morning such as her shoes, her knee pads, her deodorant, her hair things and then also be responsible for getting me her uniform from that day to wash as well as keep up with her homework for that day, get a shower and get into bed before 9. She spends more time whining rather than just DOING whats required of her and I realize that shes had an easy ride until now. Is this too much? SHould I be doing some of this for her or is she old enough

    Answer by momofsaee at 10:57 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • to learn to keep up with her own things? Its a lot for a child only in 6th grade, I realize that, but this is life training. I want her to learn that if you want something in life, its going to require work and its not just going to be handed to you. Shes being offered opportunities in this school that she couldnt get anywhere else and I dont want her thinking that its too hard just because shes lazy. Ive been packing her gym bag for her every morning until she got adjusted to her schedule and routine. I know she can do this but the constant complaining is more than I can take. My 15 yr old is a natural overachiever and shes jumped in and is working everynight on keeping A's. I feel kinda sorry for them because they are working so hard but I know they have the ability to do this. Whats reasonable for a child her age? Shes just now getting used to being a middle schooler and the responsibility.

    Answer by momofsaee at 11:01 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • I think it depends on the kid - but also possibly by what's been required of them already. By 6th grade (middle for us) I had to make sure I brought my own gym clothes home to get them washed, make sure I knew which days to bring in my instrument and know when to get the necessary equipment (reeds and such) for it, keep track of my homework for all my classes (my mom never checked), be able to get myself up and out the door on time (my mom was already at work when I got up in the morning), etc.

    Help her make a schedule if you have to, and/or checklists for each day so she can see what she needs to do. Help her get organized, and after several months when you feel she is ready, let it fall on her. If her uniform/clothes aren't ready or are stinky - too bad. Have consequences for bad grades and/or maybe motivation for good ones ($ if you can do it, even if it's like $10 an A , $5 a B, nothing for anything below).

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:35 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • thanks anon...thats a good idea. I might be able to write it all out for her on paper and give rewards for achieving at this. Really, I think if she can master this art of being responsible and take on this work load, I am willing to reward her. We are doing that now for our 7 yr old and his bedwetting. Funny what kids will do when you have incentives. He never had a dry night...ever and since taking the doctors advice and creating realistic goals and ditching the pullups, he hasnt had a wet night in 6 nights in a row. He earned an alarm clock on the ceral box. I think I will do an age apprt version of that for her.

    Answer by momofsaee at 11:40 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • I also in 6th grade had to do many of those things and have dinner ready for the family when my mom got home. I would be alittle cautious about "incentives" I agree that children need to feel good when they accomplish some things but I also feel that kids now a days feel like they should be paid for everything they do. Basics, like making their beds, helping with household chores, pets, etc. I feel are things they should do because they live there. Getting up for school, doing homework, getting good grades is also something that I don't think should be "rewarded" with "things" What ever happened to the rewad of just feeling good that you did it. Not, I'll do it if you give me something. Some extra things that they can do to earn money or things they want. mowing the lawn, babysitting etc. But I feel like children now are thinking they do nothing until they get something. My sd complains she makes her bed and doesn't get pd.

    Answer by sue118 at 12:35 PM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • Sue, I agree with you. I wasnt talking about incentives for things she has to do. We dont EVER pay for grades because we expect it and know shes capable and we dont give allowance for things such as room cleaning or dishwasher stuff. Im talking about rewarding her for her effort in doing things that are not the norm for her. Shes taken on a LOT...more than most kids do academically and I think shes just having a hard time with whats required of her in her new life. I realize its harder for someone like yourself to see the value in effort because of what you were expected to do. I never expect her to be an adult or act like one and it sounds like you were forced to grow up much earlier than you should have. Not fun. My mother just left when I was my dd;s age and I did all of her work and it wasnt fair at all. Im talking about training her to keep herself on task and reward her effort without whining,not the accomplisment.

    Answer by momofsaee at 1:04 PM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • Has she been babied a bit? Likely...Has she been allowed to slide by? Probably So this is basically taking her back to square one of training her to just know whats expected of her. Shes perfectly capable of doing this but like how its easy for my 15 yr old to know what she needs for the rest of the day, my 11 yr olds not quite mature enough to think that far in advance. My husband made the comment yesterday that shes probably been in public school too long and its a totally different world. We chose to stay out of the public school system in this county because we knew it would not be challenging to our kids and we want more for them. Life should require SOME effort and this child is used to having more play time and now shes a big middle schooler and though she likes it, shes not liking the amt of work thats coming along with it. Ive been helping her up until this point and I need her to be more self sufficient.

    Answer by momofsaee at 1:08 PM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • OK, I am probably going to sound like the "bad" mom here and I don't mean to offend anyone, but when does this child get "Play" time? It sounds like she is putting in pretty full days if she lives up to everyone's expectations. School from what...8-3...homework from 3-5...practice until almost 7. She is eating late...getting to bed late (my 11 year is getting ready for bed at 7:30 and is in bed by 8 on school nights). I know I am not in sync with the "norm" these days, but we continually complain as parents about our kids growing up too fast...and yet we don't give them time to just be kids.

    Answer by NannyPam016 at 12:56 AM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Bottom line is that you know your kid better than anyone. It doesn't seem to me that you are 'overwhelming' her. Tweens in general are lazy & whiny. The key to our household peace has always been consistency. Do the same thing the same way everytime and you'll know it's right. When our girls (9 & 16) come home from school, we do the 'hey, how was your day' chat, then they hit the homework. My 9 y/o is a competition hip hop dancer so she has practices. I got her enough workout clothes to last her through the week. She has to get her dirty clothes into the hamper, so they can be washed by her big sister. They fold & hang their own clothes. As far as her dance uniform, after she changes, she is to put it on top of the washer (special washing is required, so I take care of it from there). The rule is if she doesn't do her part, and the uniform doesn't get cleaned, she will not compete. So far, it hasn't happened yet :)

    Answer by bracketrat at 11:45 AM on Sep. 13, 2009

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