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Am I Enabling My Teen to Become a Lazy, Unmotivated Slob?

I have two teen girls, 13 and 15. For the most part, I feel pretty blessed --they are kind, patient, helpful, smart and compassionate. But I get a lot of flak from my husband about one thing: that between me and my babysitter, the girls are becoming spoiled and entitled. My babysitter does their laundry and even puts their clothes away for them. She changes their sheets every Monday and if they haven't made their bed during the week, she does. On the weekends, suffering from working mommy guilt, I often pick up their rooms and even bring them breakfast in bed. I empty their trash cans and clean up their bathroom. I don't force them to walk the dog or feed the bird. Aside from cleaning up their dishes and occasionally cooking -- they don't really have regular chores. Am I just nurturing my girls or am I messing up big time?

Tags: parenting, spoiled, teens

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As mother's we want so much to give our children everything, to make sure they are happy and feel loved at every waking moment but we also need to teach them responsibility. It's a big word that has been thrown around a lot at my house recently with our teenage son. If I were to do everything for him would I be raising him to be responsible adult, who is able to look after himself once he goes to college or leaves the nest? I don't think so. So he has to take care of our dog, once a week he cooks breakfast for the family (eggs, toast, bacon etc), he babysits his siblings occasionally and it is his responsibility to keep his bedroom tidy. Just this week he asked me to teach him how to do laundry. I think it's equally important to do nice things for your children such as taking them breakfast in bed as it is to show them how to load the dishwasher or put on a load of laundry. Otherwise you may find that they will be bringing their laundry home on weekends and you will be hiring a maid or cleaning 2 houses every weekend once they leave home.

I had images of the show Privileged running around in my head as I was reading this post :)
It sometimes is easier for me to do everything for my kids than to make or teach them to do it for themselves. I remember being a teen back in the day....my mom and dad made me make my bed and put the dinner dishes away. I even had to take the trash out to the road once a week. I thought it was absolute torture, but, as an adult I learned that it has helped to make me a responsible adult. I too have a soft spot in my heart for my kids. It's hard to be a meany.....
Kids learn from their surrounding and the interactions from the people around them. If they are being allowed to have an attitude of entitlement then it is quite probable that the attitude will carry over into adulthood. Once adults reality may back hand them with reality or they may marry a really rich guy and can go on with their attitude of entitlement like it's perfectly normal. I'm curious though why does a 13 and a 15 year old still have a babysitter?
:)Now I don't have much advice for you but I can tell you this....
This was MY mother....
I literally lived like a princess; she ironed my outfit’s everyday for me. They were always name brand and looked perfect. She'd lay them out for me every morning, have my glass of OJ waiting for me when I got out the shower, and let me BLAST my fav. tune on my stereo as loud as I wanted while I got ready. I can't really ever remember getting grounded. I had no chores; my mother would put everything I threw on the floor on my bed and clean everything else for me. Did all my laundry....etc.

On the positive side I grew up a VERY confident teenager. I had NO worries. This led me to be a very confident adult. I knew my mom loved me, and now that I have kids I REALLY appreciate what she did for me and want THAT life back.

However, I have chosen NOT to raise my kids in the same manner.....once my reality check became real, it was a tough thing to overcome.

I would probably say that was long as they respect you, and they appreciate what you do for them, you're fine.

I TOTALLY understand the mommy work guilt thing, just put their needs first. They need a mother, not a best friend. As teenagers, they still need boundaries. Everything you do now is preparing them for life so just keep that in mind when you do the things you do. If they've have a tough week at school, breakfast in bed sounds like the perfect thing in the world. If they've done their chores all week and have been keeping their grades up, they deserve a break and you can pick up their rooms for them. Life does reward hard work and I think all the love and care you are showing them is a great way to imitate that. Just don't let them EXPECT these "exceptional" things from you. It may be helping you get over your guilt, but hurting them in the long run.

Since I am a product of something like this, you are welcome to pick my brain anytime.
they need chores, mamabates. if only so they can have the skills later on. nothing worse than being on your own for the first time and using a vacuum as if it's a coat rack. TRUST me.
There is a balance between nurturing and teaching a person that someone will always do the work for them. Part of helping them to become responsible adults is teaching them responsibility. I don't know how many teens I've met who hit college and someone else (a roommate, a boyfriend/girlfriend) resent having to wake up someone whose never woke up on their own, or watch them eat and leave their dishes in the sink, or their underwear on the floor. Or drop a class because it's too hard.

You may have amazing girls who excel in other areas, but do them a favor and allow them to take the next step in maturity. Teach them to not only start to take care of their own needs, but to occasionally do something for one of you. They may not thank you now, but it's something that will help them later -- as well as those who live with them and love them.
Im going thru the fixing of this at this point in my life - mine are 11 and 13 - i have done way too much for them and its starting to show - where they almost expect me to do those things for them - i have been taking a class at church on finances and it showed me that im not doing my kids any favors - i dont want them to grow up to be helpless and not be able to make their own way - i have started to make changes here and there, they havent been responding to it, so as of today its not gonna be so easy to live here - i spend a lot of time with them - and i will continue to do that - but they have to take over some parts in their lives that they are able to at this point, or certain other fun things wont happen - i do understand your issue because its an issue for me too. Pray for me i will pray for you! lol.
You are nurturing your girls. To become what is the question. If you're operating from "guilt", what may be happening is that your girls are learning how to use guilt to their benefit.
...not to say that they are plotting and scheming (in a secret laboratory, hidden underground accessible through the secret panel in their closet...no, that was just me

- i digress...

I'm not saying that you are teaching your daughters to be lazy and unmotivated. I'm curious to know how you are teaching them the how to not be lazy. How do you provide the opportunities to experience the concept of earning...
there is something quite beautiful in the process of working for what you want. The pair of shoes that you buy from your hard work mean more to you than the pair that you were given...yanno what I mean?

I'm also not implying that you are solely responsible for this. Your husband says that your daughters are becoming spoiled and entitled. What has he put in place to change this? I'm sure that if he told the babysitter that the girls will be doing and putting away their own laundry, she wouldn't quit.
Hello Ladies,

Mamabates, you and cazillions of parents on this known land fall into that same trap, and find themselves, as Sally Kays says is in the "fixing" phase with an 11 & 13 y/o.

Children pick up on your guilty feelings and have a unique way of pushing the right buttons so Your behavior continues to not challenge them to do things you both know they Should be doing..... Sober Mom is absolutely correct.

Moms and Dads a like have confused love with over indulgence, permissiveness, coupled with a lack of responsibility and accountability, and when those "tactics" seemlingly don't please their child, instead of doing an about face, they march forward into a downward spiral that will be difficult to correct and will follow this child into adulthood.

"All behavior is learned, whether desirable or undesirable" This is a quote from James Dobson, founder of "Focus on the Family" and a portion of my article "When Did We Lose Control"

My personal belief is children have approximately 9 months to plot and strategize how they can get their way, and once they hit air (birth) it's on and popping. (That's kind of a joke....but not really)

I'm a nanny of a 6 y/o who's (36) a 2 y/o and a precious 3 week old. This little 3 week old is already so set in her ways and has everyone in the house fooled and wrapped around her finger.....except me. It has nothing to do with how cute she is, or how much I've already grown to love this little girl, but she's an infant. and needs guidance. Even at this tender age, she can be taught.

The 6 & 2 y/o have absolutely NO Respect for their mother and are desperately afraid of their Dad. These 2 have completely different styles of parenting, yet their raising children "in common" I listen with my mouth closed as I hear MOM, screaming at the top of her lungs attempting to get the kids to obey, counting to 5 and all these other nonsensical techniques that cause the girls to not only NOT respond, but actually laugh and chuckle. It's very hard to watch.

When these girls are in my care, all I have to do is LOOK at the 6 y/o twice after calmly explaining what it is I need her to do, and she MOVES The 2 y/o follows suit, reluctantly, but she wants to be like her big sister. I've never threatened these children, put my hands on them or even raised my voice, but they KNOW I am very serious, and will even, on occassion come over and say they're sorry.

During the plotting stage as I call it, children figure out who's the authority and will respond positively once you assert your Parental Rights to raise them and not vice versa.

MamaBates, you've pretty much answered your own question.
thanks quiteaparent - i agree with you totally and hope that i can continue on the path that i am - and just pray and hope that im doing the right things - my husband/their dad works evenings and i do think that i have done some things out of guilt that he is not around as much as he or they would like. i know that God has plans for them and its my responsibility to help them get there. thanks again

QuiteAParent™ said:
Hello Ladies,

Mamabates, you and cazillions of parents on this known land fall into that same trap, and find themselves, as Sally Kays says is in the "fixing" phase with an 11 & 13 y/o.

Children pick up on your guilty feelings and have a unique way of pushing the right buttons so Your behavior continues to not challenge them to do things you both know they Should be doing..... Sober Mom is absolutely correct.

Moms and Dads a like have confused love with over indulgence, permissiveness, coupled with a lack of responsibility and accountability, and when those "tactics" seemlingly don't please their child, instead of doing an about face, they march forward into a downward spiral that will be difficult to correct and will follow this child into adulthood.

"All behavior is learned, whether desirable or undesirable" This is a quote from James Dobson, founder of "Focus on the Family" and a portion of my article "When Did We Lose Control"

My personal belief is children have approximately 9 months to plot and strategize how they can get their way, and once they hit air (birth) it's on and popping. (That's kind of a joke....but not really)

I'm a nanny of a 6 y/o who's (36) a 2 y/o and a precious 3 week old. This little 3 week old is already so set in her ways and has everyone in the house fooled and wrapped around her finger.....except me. It has nothing to do with how cute she is, or how much I've already grown to love this little girl, but she's an infant. and needs guidance. Even at this tender age, she can be taught.

The 6 & 2 y/o have absolutely NO Respect for their mother and are desperately afraid of their Dad. These 2 have completely different styles of parenting, yet their raising children "in common" I listen with my mouth closed as I hear MOM, screaming at the top of her lungs attempting to get the kids to obey, counting to 5 and all these other nonsensical techniques that cause the girls to not only NOT respond, but actually laugh and chuckle. It's very hard to watch.

When these girls are in my care, all I have to do is LOOK at the 6 y/o twice after calmly explaining what it is I need her to do, and she MOVES The 2 y/o follows suit, reluctantly, but she wants to be like her big sister. I've never threatened these children, put my hands on them or even raised my voice, but they KNOW I am very serious, and will even, on occassion come over and say they're sorry.

During the plotting stage as I call it, children figure out who's the authority and will respond positively once you assert your Parental Rights to raise them and not vice versa.

MamaBates, you've pretty much answered your own question.
Sally Kays said:
thanks quiteaparent - i agree with you totally and hope that i can continue on the path that i am - and just pray and hope that im doing the right things - my husband/their dad works evenings and i do think that i have done some things out of guilt that he is not around as much as he or they would like. i know that God has plans for them and its my responsibility to help them get there. thanks again

QuiteAParent™ said:
Sally,

As I stated in a comment on your page, my "advice" is not usually met on a positive level. I've had many parents accuse me of meddling. I just want to thank you for your kind words.

Another example came to mind of how children learn at a very age to manipulate. I'm adding the full story on my blog, but to keep this short when Mom went to have the baby on the 29th of January I had the 6 and 2 y/o for 3 nights and 2 days.

The 2 y/o is one of the ones who brings you diapers and wipes when she has to potty and I've been working toward getting her potty trained, but mom breaks the flow.... ANYWAY, the 1st night Ms 2 y /o tries me to see if I'll give her a bottle. I told her no and she whined for about 2 minutes, I kept telling her No, she's a big girl and doesn't need a bottle.....THAT WAS THE END OF IT. The next night no mention of the bottle, same thing on the 3rd night.

Needless to say, the 2 y/o is back on the bottle at night and NOW with the new baby is insisting on having a bottle during the day. Mom is complying with her wishes.

My hands are obviously tied and I can't go against, or even mildly suggest that a consistent stand on "NO to the bottle" will work itself out. With a new baby in the house, we're obviously all going through a time of transition. It's just easier to give in than to stand firm, and trust me I understand it, but it still doesn't do anything to teach the child.
I gotta say, I came from a rough (harsher than strict) family, but the one thing I am glad my parents did was make sure I had serious responsibilities around the house and made sure that I fulfilled my obligations as they were important to making the household run smoothly. If I didn't do the dishes, that meant no dishes for breakfast which meant no breakfast for myself, my brothers or my parents and that meant flak in the morning, so I absolutely had to do my part. Not to mention, the groundation possibilities also helped keep me in line.

My mother told me and I now tell my kids, "your maid died when you were born", so my kids know that I'm here to teach them to do for themselves, but I am not here to do for them.

There is no time like the present to make an agreement with your kids that certain behaviors, such as fixing their own beds will garner rewards or demotions (for not doing it themselves). If you stand your ground, they will eventually step up.

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