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Oh what a mess I've made - 16 year old and lack of cooking skills


cjzimmer1
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I generally enjoy cooking, it's my happy place but our kitchen is very small, there isn't room for even 2 people to manuever comfortablely in it so I'm always sending the kids out of because I hate tripping over people when I work.  Needless to say, teaching the kids cooking skills hasn't been high on my priority list but since I"m pretty much self taught I figured worse case scenario they can do the same. 

 

Despite this, my 18 year old can prepare a few basic meals all on his own, he can make breakfast and can bake well enough that over the course of 3 months he baked enough cookies and brownies to raise over $500 for a cause he cares about.

 

13, 9 and 8 year old can make a simple breakfast, chop up fruit, clean and chop veggies etc.

 

So 4 of my kids have picked up basic skills just by watching me and asking a few questions.

 

This past weekend I was extremely ill (I couldn't even walk to the kitchen with help if I wanted to, it was too far and I was too weak).  So I directed meals from bed, telling various kids what to prepare, chop, bake, defrost.  I asked 16 to help prep veggies for tacos.  He was suppose to start with tomatoes and after 15 minuets of standing there doing nothing his dad asks him what he's doing. He starts complaining, "well I don't know how to do this, I can't do this" and on and on.  His sister stopped, showed him how to dice half a tomato and left the other half for him.  He proceeds to karate chop the second half sending the two pieces flying across the room and says "see I can't do this".

 

Since clearly this is an attitude issue more than an aptitude issue, we've pretty much been leaving him meals where if he wants to eat, he has to chop/prepare SOMETHING to eat the meal.  This morning it was simply cutting a slice off the honeydew that I had already cut in half and cleaned out the seeds.  In every case he chooses to not eat rather than cut/prepare a simple item.  We do not have an open kitchen so the kid isn't just filling up elsewhere.  He is truly skipping 1-2 meals everyday rather than cutting a slice of melon or removing leaves of lettuce from the head.

 

This is a neurotypical kid who is just being stubborn.  I've told him I don't care if it's perfectly chopped, any attempt that results in something smaller than the entire piece of produce is fine.  But he refuses.

 

Any thoughts on how to address this or just keep insisting he chops/prepares something till he gets over himself.

 

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I don't really have any advice for you.  I think expecting him to do some basic things like slicing melon is fine.  I kind of agree with the thinking that once a (neurotypical) person gets hungry, they'll figure out how to eat.   Maybe there is something else going on that is making him dig in on this?

 

My real reason for responding was your thread title.  I don't see how you have made a mess.  Your other kids can do basic food prep.  You clearly have done something right.  

 

Kids' issues are not always Mom's fault, kwim?

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Oh good grief, I have a 15 year old like this with regards to cooking.  I think I'll pretend I'm incompetent in this area so I can get a pass. Next week he is starting a cooking class and he's going to be assigned cooking tasks.   I'm making it a graduation requirement for him.

Edited by WoolySocks
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I would look to see if there's an adult-ed class at the community college or around town for cooking (our B&G club has one for teens).  Make him go.  I made mine go to cooking class for 3 years where he learned a variety of techniques and new dishes.  I'm pretty sure I can leave him for a week now and he'd be just fine.

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It could easily be anxiety at work here.  I would encourage you to actually take this step by step, baby steps, breaking everything down into small pieces, and be VERY encouraging, not punitive and not acting like he has failed in some way.  Maybe have him watch you tube videos with you if he doesn't do well with your instruction or maybe get him enrolled in a teen cooking class if you have one available.  Try to make this a positive thing, not a negative.  Maybe let him play music he likes while you try to work in the little space together.  I know it SEEMS that what you are asking is easy but if he has anxiety it could be locking him up completely, especially since this is a strength of yours and his siblings seem to have grasped certain skills pretty well.  He may be intimidated.  Since he is literally skipping meals instead of preparing them that seems to me to be less about stubborness/laziness than about anxiety or something along those lines.

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I also think it sounds more like anxiety than stubbornness - and not just anxiety about getting it wrong, but maybe anxiety about getting it right and then having to endure well-meant "I told you you could do it!" commentary and nods and the like. He'd feel pretty silly about making a fuss if it turns out that it's easy enough to do.

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I don't really have any advice for you.  I think expecting him to do some basic things like slicing melon is fine.  I kind of agree with the thinking that once a (neurotypical) person gets hungry, they'll figure out how to eat.   Maybe there is something else going on that is making him dig in on this?

 

My real reason for responding was your thread title.  I don't see how you have made a mess.  Your other kids can do basic food prep.  You clearly have done something right.  

 

Kids' issues are not always Mom's fault, kwim?

 

Yeah I keep thinking that too, especially teenage boys but this is day 4, 5?,( I don't know I pretty much lost track of my days when I was sick) of this nonsense of eating almost no food because he can't be bothered to do anything for himself.

 

I kind of feel like I've made the mess because like I said, I've always shoed the kids away from the kitchen when they were little and wanted to help and oldest daughter has taken it upon herself to prepare and serve snacks to all the kids everyday and I cook and serve both lunch and supper to him every day and someone has made breakfast everyday by the time he gets out of bed so he has truely never had a reason to even pour himself a bowl of cereal.  I hadn't realized I had allowed him to become so dependent on the others for taking care of his food needs.

Edited by cjzimmer1
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Could anxiety be in play?

 

I've seen people freeze up out of fear of doing something wrong, in fact I've done it myself. Your ds's reaction as described could be the result of anxiety.

 

My husband has awful anxiety in the kitchen.

 

Well he keeps saying "I do a horrible job" so perhaps there is something to this. 

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I used to freeze up when people asked me to cut ingredients for them because I was scared that every piece had to be/ look a certain way, e.g. onions, fruit, carrots. I kid you not. My perfectionism tendencies were pretty severe. It also could have been because some of my elders took great joy in criticizing everything I did. That's not what you do obviously but like One Step said, it would have helped me a lot to know what the expectations were. So if someone role modeled step by step I know I could have done it more easily.

Edited by quark
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I don't really have any advice for you. I think expecting him to do some basic things like slicing melon is fine. I kind of agree with the thinking that once a (neurotypical) person gets hungry, they'll figure out how to eat. Maybe there is something else going on that is making him dig in on this?

 

My real reason for responding was your thread title. I don't see how you have made a mess. Your other kids can do basic food prep. You clearly have done something right.

 

Kids' issues are not always Mom's fault, kwim?

I agree. Maybe it would have been easier to teach him when he was younger when they maybe have more natural interest in helping out. Maybe not. I don't think that means you've made a mess nor that it would have gone easier for him had you done it earlier.

 

Fwiw, I'm the same way when it comes to cooking. (Meaning I'd rather not have kids under foot. Can do it if I've made that my plan, but otherwise, dog and kids out, don't mess with my zen)

Edited by mamaraby
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I have anxiety over cooking, especially chopping.  As an adult, I am extremely incompetent at it, and flat out miserable when I am at a friend's house and asked to help chop or dice.  I try to get over it, and recently signed up for Blue Apron to get more used to dealing with whole vegetables.  Last night I mangled two heirloom tomatoes. And yes, in my own home, preparing food for DH and DD who care nothing about it, I had anxiety.  For me, it is the incompetency.

 

So, anxiety is a real possibility, but I think you are doing the right thing for pushing the issues.  I so wish someone had made me do so when I was young.  My mom made all the food and I was never involved. 

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Would his own knife inspire him to cut things up? 

 

 

Or youtube videos? My teen loves to learn via youtube, then show off his superior knowledge. 

 

I don't think so.  It feels like he deliberately doesn't want to learn because he doesn't want to have to do work.  I doubt I could get him to even watch one even if DH unblocked the site (we don't watch TV or youtube but DH will open it up if there is something specific I'm trying to learn)

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I would look to see if there's an adult-ed class at the community college or around town for cooking (our B&G club has one for teens).  Make him go.  I made mine go to cooking class for 3 years where he learned a variety of techniques and new dishes.  I'm pretty sure I can leave him for a week now and he'd be just fine.

 

you have to be 18 for the ones at the CC, I've been looking at them for years because I would love to know how to cook different ethnic foods better but the classes always meet W night and we have church then.  I haven't seen any for teens just little kids but I will have to pay special attention.  He would HATE going to a class like that (He's pretty introverted) but if I tell him your choice is to start doing things here or take a class to learn it, he might very well cut the attitude and not give grief about such simple things.

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I kind of feel like I've made the mess because like I said, I've always shoed the kids away from the kitchen when they were little and wanted to help

 

And your other kids are just fine with food prep. Even if this is "your fault", it's done. You can't change it, so why dwell on it? Focus on moving forward.

 

It feels like he deliberately doesn't want to learn because he doesn't want to have to do work.

 

I don't think I've ever met anybody who was willing to go hungry because they were stubborn and lazy and didn't want to work. This is not plausible, no matter how it feels to you.

 

Edit: He's also setting himself up for embarrassment in front of his entire family, and whoever they might decide to tell. I really don't think that's something most teenagers would do just to get out of work. I don't think most adults would do it!

Edited by Tanaqui
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He would HATE going to a class like that (He's pretty introverted) but if I tell him your choice is to start doing things here or take a class to learn it, he might very well cut the attitude and not give grief about such simple things.

 

That's pretty belittling and dismissive. You've called him stubborn, and now you're saying his concern is unimportant.

 

I know it seems silly to you, and he's being a big pain about something super easy, but are you trying to look at this from his perspective?

 

To him, for whatever reason, food preparation is not a simple thing. He doesn't know how much force to apply when using a knife. He doesn't know what margin of error is acceptable. He doesn't know a fast and efficient way to dice things. He doesn't know when to stir things and how often and what temperature is best for cooking something. Cookbooks all assume a certain base level of knowledge that he just doesn't have. It's not simple, and his whole family thinks it is. And he has to ask for help, and that's frustrating too.

 

Now, he needs to learn how to feed himself. There's just no way around it. And you need to find some way to help him learn this. But I don't think I'd be very receptive if my mom came to me with the attitude that I was just freaking out over simple things. Maybe you don't mean "drama queen" and "stupid" and "what a hassle", but at 16, that's what it would have sounded like to me - and I bet that it kinda sounds like that to him.

 

Of course, this is all frustrating for you! You don't know what the issue is, and it's hard to empathize much with people who can't do things that you figure ought to be easy, and this is laid on top of thinking maybe it's your fault. Not a good place to be in! But even if you think his position is strange and bizarre, you'll get further if you try to see things from his point of view than if you start off with this idea that he's "stubborn" and making a fuss over "simple things". You can't help people that way. It doesn't work. Either that's not how he sees himself at all or, worse, it IS but he doesn't know how to stop doing this and he's added a whole bunch of shame to the mess - and if the latter is the case, then it's going to be a lot harder for him to get help in this area, and you need to be on top of making sure you don't reinforce it.

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"Okay, you figuring this out is not working.  I am going to teach you how to cut, chop, dice."  

 

Pull out an onion from a bag, show him.  Give him  bag of onions to practice.

 

Onions are cheap and they freeze. 

 

If the attitude keeps up tell him the onion practice will keep up.  The sooner he 'gets' it the sooner he can stop the onion cries. 

 

 

Onions was how Julia Childs practiced her knife skills...

Edited by Renthead Mommy
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I was your son. Trust me, when I went to college, I learned to feed myself :). It was either that or the mediocre meal plan.

 

In my case, it was because the kitchen was my mom's domain, and when I tried to do more than pour a bowl or cereal or make a sandwich, it was "oh, let me do that". I did become pretty good at baking fancy multi-layered cakes, because cakes were one thing she didn't do. She STILL takes over the kitchen when she comes to visit.

 

DD developed an addiction to cooking shows and I encouraged her to try out her own creations and recipes. She's a lot more creative in the kitchen than I am, but I did eventually become a decent basic cook.

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He does not want to do it. Maybe not because he can't, but because he does not see the result worth the hassle.

 

My DH could cook if he wanted. He is a smart man,  and he can teach himself to fix anything around the house. But you know what? He won't cook, because he does not care enough to make it worth the effort. he lived on his own for plenty of years without cooking. He would never dice himself a vegetable or fruit so he can eat it - he would find something else that did no require prep - eat the pepper whole, or an apple.

Now, if I ask him to slice the melon for the family to help me out, no problem -but if left to his own devices he would never purchase a whole melon that had to be sliced.

DS is the same way.

 

So, leaving your DS meals he has to prep may end with him finding it not worth it to do it. If you want to teach him knife skills, be explicit and give him a lesson and require him to practice. But leaving him food in that passive-aggressive way will have him decline. I know stubborn.

Edited by regentrude
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So, if there is anxiety at play to some degree (and from what you have written that sounds like a real possibility) treating the issue as an attitude problem is going to do more harm than good. That would be like telling a person with a speech impediment that they need to stop having a bad attitude about talking and just do it correctly already.

 

Gentle, explicit instruction in a non-judgmental atmosphere might help. Pressure (you can't eat if you don't help with preparation) makes anxiety worse.

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It sounds like your family is typically a "tight ship" kind of family, but maybe here something more collaborative would work better. Sit down with him and help him see that he'll be on his own and needing to cook, so how can you help him learn? Maybe make a list of basic skills (crack and fry an egg, boil and drain pasta, chop an onion) and have him put them in the order he wants to learn them. He can add anything to the list he wants, too. Then tackle two or three a week. Perhaps the more in control he feels about the process, the less it will bother him that he feels inept in the kitchen.

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How sharp are your knives?

 

Chopping and dicing and slicing is SO much easier with a razor sharp blade.

 

That said, I might have a conversation like this.

 

"You're 16 years old and i am so sorry, I've never shown you this stuff before. That's my bad. So it's important for you to learn this stuff. How can I help you best? Would you prefer to have everyone out of the kitchen so you can figure it out on your own without any criticism or comparison? Or would you prefer that I showed it to you a few times and then left you alone? Or do you want to work alongside me and I can instruct you as you go along?"

 

Cheerful, non judgemental, almost apologetic to him because it's not his fault he's here. He's probably a little embarrassed to be 16 and still not know how to do it.

 

And get his sisters out of the kitchen while he's cooking./slicing.

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I haven't read any but the first few replies, so this may have already been covered. Or it may not be applicable at all. Youngest DS is one of those people who would go for days w/o eating much if someone didn't prepare it for him and call him to come eat, or if the makings of something very, very easy (think PB sandwich) weren't available. He is on the spectrum, but I don't think that has anything to do with it. He's just one of those people for whom food is an afterthought (if that). It's just not important to him. We have a couple of other men in our extended family (but not blood relatives) who are the same way.

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Okay, I'm assuming you're posting to get different points of view. From mine,

 

"He would HATE going to a class like that (he's pretty introverted)"

 

and

 

"I do a horrible job"

 

and

 

Over-the-top reactions to little, inexplicable things

 

are absolutely characteristic of my dds who are on and right-next-to the spectrum. They both have a lot of anxiety over things that seem simple and obvious to me. But I wouldn't have ever understood what I was seeing in one dd if I hadn't experienced the same behavior, expressed more obviously, from the other.

 

So, my perspective probably has nothing to do with yours. But I'd at least take seriously the possibility that for whatever reason this may really not be easy for him.

 

How are his coordination and motor planning in general?

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Since he is just 16 and will be home for a couple more years, you still have plenty of time to teach him!

 

I wouldn't get mad at him or tell him to "just do it."  (It doesn't sound like you're doing that.)

 

I'm currently working with an upper 20-year-old (not my own) family member who is here a lot.  She never learned basic cooking skills at home, and at first I was frustrated with both her and her parents -- her parents for never teaching her!  Then I realized that she is naturally very uncoordinated, and has some anxiety.  Her younger sister is a great cook, and I think their parents just didn't know how to work with this older one who probably always said, "I just can't do it!"  

 

I'm taking slow, baby steps with her, not assuming anything.  I keep having to back up, even to the point of how to hold a knife when you cut vegetables.  Even then her chopping was so slow and meticulous, it would take her 20 minutes to chop one tomato.  It really was a motor issue/coordination problem in her case.  I am working with her on "tricks" to chop vegetables more quickly.  Things that seem obvious, like after cutting a green pepper into strips, you don't need to cut each strip separately into small pieces;  you can line them up to cut several strips at once.  Those things just don't occur to her.  She is making progress though!

 

She is otherwise a very smart, capable person.  

 

ETA:  I'm not saying that's the case with your son, but maybe!

Edited by J-rap
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This is my husband.  And one of my sons.  They  just hate hate hate cooking and preparing food.  Left to their own devices they just don't.  They just grab something and eat it.  Piece of bread or cheese.

 

Now my anti cooking kid asks to bake sometimes.  After what ends up being mostly me doing the work he gets his prize: licking the bowl.  I kid you not the only reason he wants to bake is so he can lick the bowl.  My husband is the same darn way.

 

My other kid is very into cooking and likes to experiment.

 

 

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FWIW, my mother was similar to you.  She shooed us out of the kitchen.  She did all the cooking herself, except for weekends when Dad did all the cooking.  I had little experience with food prep or even seeing food being prepped when I headed out as an adult.  Cooking is not something that everyone can just "pick up".  Just as with any skill some people are going to have a more natural affinity for that particular skill than others and some are going to need a lot of time and step by step instructions.  Please don't assume that with no experience and no instruction and apparently not much supportive encouragement that cooking would be a skill that every single child in your family would be able to pick up anyway.  You haven't mucked him up.  He has time to learn.  But he very well may need a lot of support and targeted instruction and practice and a shift in perspective from you.

 

Learning to cook has been challenging for me.  I don't blame my mother.  She did what worked for her.  That's fine.  But I do wish I had had more support to learn how to cook when I was younger.  I get very intimidated by chopping, cooking, preparing food.  It is not a logical response but it is definitely there.  I am not a good cook because of it.  I manage but it is not something I enjoy.   I have no instincts with cooking.  It is NOT easy for everyone to cook.  Assuming that something must be easy for others because it is easy for yourself is not terribly accurate.  Reading is really easy for me.  It was horrifically hard for my kids.  Accepting that it really was hard for them and supporting them in a very positive way went a lot further in helping them learn than telling them it was easy and they just needed to try harder.  I guarantee that everyone else assuming that cooking should have been easy for me and if I just got in there and DID it I would see how easy it is absolutely did NOT allay my anxiety.  It made it worse.  The pressure was even greater, even though that was not the intention with the well meaning comments regarding how easy cooking or even other kinds of food prep really is.  

 

In fact, this is how it went and what I had a hard time getting past:  Gosh, everyone says it is "easy".  And everyone else seems to be able to cook just fine.  So since it ISN'T easy for me I must be stupid or defective in some way.  

 

That message gets internalized and it gets even harder to want to try.  Why try when the person is just proving they are stupid and defective in front of everyone else?  I have since taken an adult cooking class, which helped, but it still isn't "easy".  

 

Please consider that your son, who has had virtually NO experience cooking and may not easily intuit cooking skills, may not be lazy or stubborn at all.  Anxiety can manifest as seeming to be lazy or stubborn.  If you can make cooking a positive, not a negative, not a failure, and help him truly learn skills with step by step instruction and scaffolding (or find someone he is willing to learn from who won't embarrass him or make him feel bad), you will be doing him a huge service.  

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Your son isn't chopping and you're not letting him eat. You're both sticking to your decisions and you're both within the terms of the proclamation. (Don't prep, don't eat)

 

You can drop the prep to eat requirement and address cooking skills in another way.

 

Seeing adults be flexible helps kids learn to be flexible, imo. Everyone needs time to learn when to bend and when to dig in.

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Well, in my house, we'd go with the no eat option. I'd offer to show him and if he didn't take me up on it, he'd be hungry. So, he's anxious. He'll get over it. I had one anxious about auditions two days ago, who wanted to just do stage stuff. No, you said you wanted to do drama as part of your English credit. So, you have to do it. She did it and survived (I really don't see what the big deal was as she had two leads last year and a big part the year before) and she'll find out casting in about an hour. I don't want to be costume mistress, but there is no one else. So, yeah, I'll do it. S*ck it up, buttercup.

Margaret, it is clear from your post that you do not have experience with serious anxiety. All of us feel anxious or nervous at times, situational anxiety such as one might feel about an audition is perfectly normal and common and can often be overcome or just pushed through.

 

There is another sort of anxiety, something deeply rooted in the brain, not rational in nature. It can be paralyzing and debilitating. To dismiss this reality cavalierly as something people just need to "suck it up butter cup" over is inappropriate and can be profoundly harmful.

 

People do not just choose to "get over" anxiety. Consider yourself blessed that you and yours are not plagued with it.

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Are the foods you want him to prepare things he likes to eat?

I don't think my DD21 has never cut a tomato or cooked eggs, but those are foods she will not eat at all, so she as absolutely no interest in learning how to fix them. She only cooks want she eats which, I admit, is a very limited spectrum of canned, packaged, or frozen foods. She is a decent baker of boxed mixes. She can peel and cut apples, but has no interest in melons at all.

 

Start with something fun that he likes such as cookies or brownies.

 

Maybe he is not up to your standards, but as long as he can heat something up in the microwave he won't starve.

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My 16 year old is like this. If he can't do it perfectly he freaks out. The kitchen is an area where he is way...so I have been calling him into help me a few times a week....I try to be very low key about it and not watch him or micromanage...while giving a tip here or there.

 

But he is also generally unmotivated by food. He stays hungry.....but he would rather do without than prepare it himself. Even pouring a glass of milk.

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Actually, I do. I'm sitting here in tears, completely overwhelmed with a phone call I have to make today. I didn't sleep last night because of this phone call. But, I have to do it. I checked out my route for the drive on Saturday---6 times. I've never driven to this town, and dh and dd have NO idea how hard it is for me to do it. But, I told dd we would go, so go we will. It's not rational that I'm so scared to drive to see some sheep dog trials, not rational at all. So, yeah, I do get it. And thank you--you just gave me the kick to go make this phone call. My hands are still shaking and my heart is racing.

I am sorry, that sounds tough :(

 

It sounds like maybe you do deal with anxiety by just pushing through, no matter how painful. My dad was a lot like that.

 

It isn't a method that works for everyone. And I think it can only work at all if there is internal motivation.

 

I hope your phone call went well.

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I have a guy for whom this would not be an attitude or aptitude issue. It would be an autonomy issue turned into a power struggle around conflicting expectations.

You have the (reasonable) expectation that a teen should know how to cut veggies and do some kitchen basics.

You have a teen who is uncomfortable cutting up veggies, and now feels forced. It sounds to me like maybe the cutting veggies issue has gotten tangled up with the (normal but challenging for parents) stage where teens are moving toward greater autonomy and suddenly veggie cutting has turned into a Thing for him. (FWIW, this is coming from a mom who has inadvertently created many Things with my teens. Sigh...)

I have a teen for whom autonomy is very important, far more than it has been for his siblings. He's been like this since he was tiny. (He's also personable, creative, kind, smart, a good problem-solver.) I have found with him that I am far better served coming alongside and letting him figure things out or even to choose not to do/learn something than I am trying to force his hand. He's actually more likely to learn something new if I say, ok, up to you, then offer some other equally helpful or valuable options, for example: When you do help with dinner what would you like to prepare?/Would you rather do meal cleanup instead?/What is your suggestion for how you might best help with family tasks?

Interesting: This kiddo (mine, the one I'm writing about above) is really uncomfortable using a knife also. I am totally see him reacting *exactly* the way you describe.

Hang in there. :)

Edited by myfunnybunch
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Of course it's plausible.  People do it all the time.  Guys in particular I find are likely to do this.  Before I met DH, he tended to subsist on coffee, smokes, mountain dew, and fast food.  He almost never cooked at home.  Which means, most days, he ate a single meal.  The meal he picked up on his way to work at 6pm.  There are a LOT of people that skip a meal or two each day, rather than actually make some scrambled eggs or put together a sandwich.  I mean, most aren't going to starve, they will probably eat something, at some point during the day.  But lots of people will skip a meal, or eat less of it, just to not have to fix anything. 

There's a big difference between not being hungry enough to make multiple meals and simply opting out of stubbornness to exacerbate family strife and not eat.

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Actually, I do. I'm sitting here in tears, completely overwhelmed with a phone call I have to make today. I didn't sleep last night because of this phone call. But, I have to do it. I checked out my route for the drive on Saturday---6 times. I've never driven to this town, and dh and dd have NO idea how hard it is for me to do it. But, I told dd we would go, so go we will. It's not rational that I'm so scared to drive to see some sheep dog trials, not rational at all. So, yeah, I do get it. And thank you--you just gave me the kick to go make this phone call. My hands are still shaking and my heart is racing. 

 

awww

 

FWIW, I HATE HATE HATE driving to new places and it basically ruins my day for days prior just thinking about it.

 

I hope it goes smoothly.  :grouphug:

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We just subscribed to "kids cook real food". They only open sign ups certain times a year, but I wonder if you email the gal and explain the situation she can let you try it?

 

I know there are plenty of free videos, but I really like how she teaches skills, not recipes only.

 

I'd really give it a try if possible. I waited teaching our oldest, and it's something I regret. I wish I helped her more to learn how to cook. He's 16, you still have time :-)

 

ETA: we just subscribed as I said, but did a few of her lessons through the summer. I never had someone teaching me how to cook, and her lessons have been helpful for me as well. The program is for kids at different ages and skills, it could be a good fit for your situation. Good luck!!

Edited by mamiof5
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This could be anxiety, could be normal 16 yo boy bullheadedness, or it could be like me. I would rather eat nothing than cook. And I have. My dh loves food and loves to cook so he does nearly every dinner. My kids did their own breakfast and lunch as soon as they could put cereal into a bowl and ham on bread. I can cook and do it well (have hosted Thanksgiving and Easter for more than 10 years), I just would rather do just about anything than make dinner.

 

So you are at an impasse. I would start with something like: put this frozen lasagne in the oven. Then open the bag of cesear salad and put in a bowl. Add croutons and serve dressing on the side.

 

Voila dinner and face saving all around. I will say my kids were amazed that a teen boy would go hungry over something so simple. Ds2 asked "will he make himself a sandwich?"

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I wouldn't sweat it. You can only have a battle of wills if you both battle. :) So, stop fighting. 

 

Let him eat, keep fixing stuff for him, etc. 

 

If you fight this, it'll probably get worse. I've fought a battle of the wills with my teen son, and I didn't win, lol. Everyone loses. He's got more energy than you do, and more drive to self-determine than you do to control (trust me on that, unless you are a monster, which I am sure you are not). So, he'll win, and you'll all lose. Let it go. IMHO.

 

When/if he does do any cooking, be SURE not to criticize. Let it be. Thank him for his help, and move on.

 

If you feel like he is being lazy, then simply assign him a housekeeping task to do in lieu of helping out in the kitchen. I.e., "Hey, I'm making dinner. You need to help me out with some chores. Do you want to chop the veggies for me or do you want to clean the bathroom instead?" Offer an alternate task that is helpful but not something he detests. If he hates cleaning the bathroom, too, then ask him to fold a couple baskets of laundry or remake the guest bed or run the vacuum or whatever. It should be helpful to you/the family, but it doesn't need to be (and should not be) punitive. 

 

Obviously, if he refuses to HELP in the household, then that is a behavior/discipline issue. You've got enough kids that I am guessing you can figure out how to handle that on your own, lol.

 

 

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