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Chores at BM's house, but not ours?

Posted by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:05 PM
  • 25 Replies

I'm finding myself getting increasingly frustrated with how little my SKs are doing in the way of chores at our home, while they regularly complete chores at the BMs house.  Any advice on why that might be and what we can do about it?

My SS is almost 12. My SD is 9. My husband and BM have joint custody. The kids are with us from Sun night to Friday afternoon.  Basically, we have them during the week and BM has them on the weekends.  We live in the same house that my husband shared with his ex, so the children have never known anything else for the place where they primarily live.  BM and my husband also never seemed to instill much in the way of keeping the house picked up.  I moved in almost 2 years ago, and my husband and I have done a good deal of remodeling and home improvements.  My husband and I care a lot more about keeping the house nice now.  I can understand why the kids wouldn't care about picking up after themselves before, but we've been trying to change things over the past year and they aren't responding.   

What I don't understand is why, now that they're older and it is reasonable to start expecting more from them, that they are very good at doing chores at their mother's home, but they refuse to do them at our house.  My husband tries to be firm with them, but they never keep up with it for more than a week or so, or they argue and whine and just do nothing.

When I ask them why they will do them at their mother's house but not at ours they seem to recognize that it isn't right, but that doesn't make any difference with their follow-through.

What else can I/we do?  All I want is for them to start picking up after themselves and to do one or two chores a week so they can start learning some responsibility.  Even earning allowance doesn't seem to get their attention...

by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:05 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Derdriu
by Gold Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

They're kids.  It takes more than one reminder.  BM probably has an easier time staying on top of things since they're only there two days per week.  Additionally, they may not feel as "at home" while with her.  Your house, on the other hand, is a comfort zone.  And kids are wickedly fast at cluttering.  You have to stay on them every day if you want chores done, and that takes a lot of effort.  Some things fall by the wayside just because often it's easier to ignore an undone chore or do it yourself than to nag, particularly when you never get a break from it. 

pepper504
by Gold Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Seems like BM does not take and flack from them if she is getting chores done at her house and they are not getting done yours.  DH needs to be more strick with regards to getting the chores done at your house. 

kerrberr17
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

 I think you're right about this, but I think it's her husband who "cracks the whip" in that household.  I get the feeling that they're a little scared of him.  Both BM and my husband are really good at letting the kids walk all over them.  I really don't want to have to be the "bad guy" in our household like step-daddy is at the other house...


Quoting pepper504:

Seems like BM does not take and flack from them if she is getting chores done at her house and they are not getting done yours.  DH needs to be more strick with regards to getting the chores done at your house. 


 

jules2boys
by Gold Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:24 PM

They're kids.  They aren't going to automatically learn these skills you want them to have and at their ages, there is rarely anything self-motivating about doing chores.  They likely don't see the chores as 'theirs' to do (age appropriate), as I'm sure it's been made clear that the house is yours/BFs and not theirs (most kids feel this way about their home, not just COD, at these ages). 

Consistency is they key, however, and allowing for a lot of time to be spent being consistent in the expectations of these chores, with the consistency being from the same person each time.  You've only been there for 2 years, then you made changes.  To them, this isn't 'that long', though it may feel like 'long enough' to you (that they'd want to keep the remodeled home neat/clean).  They aren't as 'invested' in these changes as you/DH are. 

Honestly, I didn't start picking up after myself until I moved out as an adult!  I wasn't motivated to do it.  What motivation do they have to do these chores (positive or negative motivation)?  Are they paid per chore?  Do they lose privileges if they don't do them?  Is the amount paid 'enough' to matter to them?  Is the lost privilege something they find important enough to motivate them to do it? All things to consider...  and, also keep in mind that it takes quite a while (longer than it does for adults) for kids to develop a new 'habit' of doing what should be done/is expected of them, with still a lot of reminders along the way. 

Also, don't compare them to yourself.  If you were the 9 or 12 yo who did what you were told, the first time, remember that the kids weren't raised the same way, by either parent.  Perhaps you were born more self-motivated?  Perhaps you've always liked a clean area?  Remember that the Skids didn't grow up this same way and weren't born with the same feelings you were.  (My poor BM, she's always been a neat freak, things needed to be 'her' way, etc... then I was born and I didn't get that 'gene'... poor woman!  I drove her mad, I'm sure, because I'm perfectly happy in a mess (or rather, I was as a kid!)! LOL) 

ramita
by Silver Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:29 PM
Why not set up an allowance for them instead of 'cracking the whip'. You could do this by saying x, y, & z need to be taken care of without reminders, and you get $x. If you have to be reminded you don't get the money. You could even set up a chart for them for the first month, or just keep it up. Either way.
whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Maybe have your DH ask Mom what her secret is to get the kids to do chores at her house.

kerrberr17
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:52 PM

We've tried an allowance, with a chart and all, and they just didn't care.   


Quoting ramita:

Why not set up an allowance for them instead of 'cracking the whip'. You could do this by saying x, y, & z need to be taken care of without reminders, and you get $x. If you have to be reminded you don't get the money. You could even set up a chart for them for the first month, or just keep it up. Either way.


 

ramita
by Silver Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Then either don't expect anything or someone has to step up and be the bad guy. For my kids, SS included, there are certain things I expect for example I expect their dirty clothes in the laundry room if not well I'm not going to go looking for dirty clothes. If the clothes aren't there they don't get washed. They run out of clothes its on them. I also fold and make a pile for their clean clothes. If those piles get to tall I stop washing their clothes until the pile gets put up. My kids are 4, 6, 7(SS). They also know if their rooms are messy I won't hang up they're clothes because I will not go into a messy room. I don't expect perfection, but I do expect to see the floor. If they can't be bothered then neither should you.


Quoting kerrberr17:

We've tried an allowance, with a chart and all, and they just didn't care.   




Quoting ramita:

Why not set up an allowance for them instead of 'cracking the whip'. You could do this by saying x, y, & z need to be taken care of without reminders, and you get $x. If you have to be reminded you don't get the money. You could even set up a chart for them for the first month, or just keep it up. Either way.



 


kerrberr17
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM

 He has.  For some inexplicable reason she sees the inquiry as an attack on her and her children.  She's a VERY defensive person, about everything.  I don't understand her at all.  She was the one who cheated and left my husband for one of their friends and then she decided that her new husband's desire to live 2 hours away was more important than seeing her children.  I know the children are too young to see this now, but it kind of makes their good behavior for them sting a little, considering how little they seem to respect the rules at dad's house. 


Quoting whatIknownow:

Maybe have your DH ask Mom what her secret is to get the kids to do chores at her house.


 

Thorn.Hearted
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM

My 17 yo SD has no chores at our house at all.  Her father cooks her food (whatever she wants), brings it to her on a tray in front of the TV, and then cleans her dish when she's done.   Her father eventually picks up all her empty water bottles too.   She never fixes herself anything to eat because she doesn't know how (she claims).

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