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So. Hypothetical question


Scarlett
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My sons had been stuffing their clothes into their drawers. Clean, folded, IRONED clothes. Ironed! As if anyone does that anymore! My dh does. He loves to iron.

 

The boys were stuffing clean, folded, ironed clothes into their drawers. And...are you ready?...they were also stuffing dirty, stinky clothes into the same drawers.

 

I was not on top of this. By the time I realized what was going on, every single garment in both their dressers was completely stinky and totally wrinkled.

 

So, I had them take all the clothes out and wash them all. Then, we took about an hour and learned how to fold. It was probably the longest hour of my ds14's life. Because when they folded them wrong, I made them re-do it until they were folded the right way. They hated it, but it had gotten out of hand.

 

So, I do understand. I didn't berate or yell or take it personally. I just pointed out that their clothes stank and that they couldn't ball them up in their drawers anymore. They just couldn't. Part of me wanted to say, "Well, if you want to look like a wrinkled mess, fine." But another part pictured their future wives glaring at me because I hadn't taught my boys how to put clothes away when they were young. So, we had our long folding lesson.

 

So, Scarlett, I go back and forth. Sometimes I make them do the job over and over till it's right. Sometimes I quietly ask them to do it once. Sometimes I write the lists. Sometimes I completely let it go.

 

It sounds like you're having a bad time right now, overall. It sounds like something has unsettled you, deeper than chores. Honestly, your posts lately don't sound like "you." You sound like a completely different person than the Scarlett I've been listening to for these past few years. I think something is stressing you out or something is going on that's beyond your posts. Maybe your life feels a little out of control with the change in your household? Maybe you're not getting enough sleep?

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I just dont know why nothing that is important to me can be important to other people. When called on a small thing that bugs me.....I get no apology or cooperation. I get stone faces and bull faces. I can ignore it and just pick it up. Sure. It takes much less energy to do that then spend an hour hashing it out. But when do I matter?

 

A pair of jeans on the floor just isn't a big deal. Your kids treating you dismissively and with a lack of consideration is a big deal. I'm dealing with that myself, just about every day. It's very frustrating. I find myself getting upset over lots of minor things. And they are minor. But add them all together and it isn't minor. It's a pattern of behavior. How many times should you realistically have to tell a 15 year old not to leave puddles of water on the bathroom floor? I don't know how to fix that. I can't control my kids, make them care about the things that I care about. If something is important to me, I can't make it important to them. But I can make it inconvenient for them. When I find things left out, I call the culprit over and without drama or lecture, I tell them to clean it up. Eventually, some day, my daughter may realize it takes much less time to just throw her lip stick covered tissue in the trash than be called away from something she's interested in all the way across the house to throw her tissue in the trash instead of leaving it on the counter or just tossing it on the floor.

 

This thread would make a little more sense if you'd said in the OP, "My kids are being inconsiderate of me" instead of talking about some jeans on the floor.

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Yes. Yes they are. Just this week I went to work more....and sat my two teens down and told them I need help now...and gave them a laundry schedule to do their own clothes. Yesterday my dss had two,loads unfinished at bedtime......I had specifically said I dont want laundry left undone. My ds was home ahead of us so I asked him to reboot and he is the one who pulled damp clothes out and left them shoved in a basket. I woke my ds up and showed him the wet clothes. He went back to bed and I stayed in the laundry room waiting for the clothes to dry.....my dss came in and told me he would wait up for it and for me to go to bed. I GREATLY appreciated him doing that and told him so.

 

Then at 7 this morning my ds is throwing clean clothes in the laundry room floor. So it isnt about me doing his laundry.....it is about me not wanting clothes, especially CLEAN Clothes left on the laundry room floor.

Why did someone have to stay up waiting for the clothes to dry?  I just leave them in the dryer and take them out in the morning.  If they were your dss's clothes, and he waited to do them until late at night, then if they are a bit wrinkled from staying in the dryer overnight, that's his problem, not yours.

 

I personally love to do laundry and have all kinds of quirks about how I think things should be done.  I teach my kids *why* I want things done a certain way, but if they choose to do them another way, it's not really my problem.  (You dye your underpants pink because red shirt + hot water + white undies = pink undies and you didn't put the Synthrapol in to prevent that, well then you'll be wearing pink undies.)

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Also, just because I ask for opinions doesn't mean I can't have a response to those expressed opinions. I do t need to say JAWM to have conversation abou how I feel and my feelings about it.in fact I welcome opinions and it helps me sort through things. But I am not going to agree with every expressed opinion.

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Here is the thing. I did make a check list. There were not many things on this list.

Boy A do your laundry on these two days

Boy B do your laundry on these two days.

Here is the list of how to do laundry. Wash dry, fold put away. Don't leave clothes in washer or dryer.

So Monday was boy As first day of laundry. We had all,been gone all weekend and there was a lot of laundry....so I reminded him of the schedule and helped him finish up because of the extra laundry and it being the first day of new schedule.

Tuesday it was boy Bs laundry day.....after Bible study at 10 p.m I learn there is laundry in the washer and dryer. I say calmly and kindly, ' well that is exactly what I don't want to happen...I need the laundry finished during the day before we all get home. ' so before we get home I call Boy A and ask him to reboot. He takes very damp clothes out of the dryer and shoves in basket and puts towels in dryer.

 

Boy B has the decency to come in and tell me he would finish up ( it was his laundry)

 

All I can figure is that I can expect nothing of anyone.

Don't forget the part of my post about how even with the list, it can take *weeks* for them to do the job the right way. You *will* be calling them over to point to the list for *weeks*.

 

Weeks.

 

Weeks.

 

With adhd or executive function: months.

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Around here, passive aggressive gets passive aggressive.  I'd take those jeans and throw them back on his bed.  No comment, no stress, no emotion.  Two can play that game.

 

ETA:  And that's what I'd do with someone's clothes who were left in the wrong place at the wrong time, too.  Sorry, bud, your time with the washer is UP, and my laundry room stays clean.  Here's your stuff. :D  

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My sons had been stuffing their clothes into their drawers. Clean, folded, IRONED clothes. Ironed! As if anyone does that anymore! My dh does. He loves to iron.

 

The boys were stuffing clean, folded, ironed clothes into their drawers. And...are you ready?...they were also stuffing dirty, stinky clothes into the same drawers.

 

I was not on top of this. By the time I realized what was going on, every single garment in both their dressers was completely stinky and totally wrinkled.

 

So, I had them take all the clothes out and wash them all. Then, we took about an hour and learned how to fold. It was probably the longest hour of my ds14's life. Because when they folded them wrong, I made them re-do it until they were folded the right way. They hated it, but it had gotten out of hand.

 

So, I do understand. I didn't berate or yell or take it personally. I just pointed out that their clothes stank and that they couldn't ball them up in their drawers anymore. They just couldn't. Part of me wanted to say, "Well, if you want to look like a wrinkled mess, fine." But another part pictured their future wives glaring at me because I hadn't taught my boys how to put clothes away when they were young. So, we had our long folding lesson.

 

So, Scarlett, I go back and forth. Sometimes I make them do the job over and over till it's right. Sometimes I quietly ask them to do it once. Sometimes I write the lists. Sometimes I completely let it go.

 

It sounds like you're having a bad time right now, overall. It sounds like something has unsettled you, deeper than chores. Honestly, your posts lately don't sound like "you." You sound like a completely different person than the Scarlett I've been listening to for these past few years. I think something is stressing you out or something is going on that's beyond your posts. Maybe your life feels a little out of control with the change in your household? Maybe you're not getting enough sleep?

Probably. I have always done everything for everyone and enjoyed it. I felt valuable and valued. Now I have to work more and the things I valued can't get done the way I want and no one seems to care.

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A pair of jeans on the floor just isn't a big deal. Your kids treating you dismissively and with a lack of consideration is a big deal. I'm dealing with that myself, just about every day. It's very frustrating. I find myself getting upset over lots of minor things. And they are minor. But add them all together and it isn't minor. It's a pattern of behavior. How many times should you realistically have to tell a 15 year old not to leave puddles of water on the bathroom floor? I don't know how to fix that. I can't control my kids, make them care about the things that I care about. If something is important to me, I can't make it important to them. But I can make it inconvenient for them. When I find things left out, I call the culprit over and without drama or lecture, I tell them to clean it up. Eventually, some day, my daughter may realize it takes much less time to just throw her lip stick covered tissue in the trash than be called away from something she's interested in all the way across the house to throw her tissue in the trash instead of leaving it on the counter or just tossing it on the floor.

 

This thread would make a little more sense if you'd said in the OP, "My kids are being inconsiderate of me" instead of talking about some jeans on the floor.

Yes you are right. It was more the attitude than the action.

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He's a teenager. I did thoughtlessly inconsiderate stuff as a teenager because...I was a teenager and not super aware of the impact of my behavior on others. Also impulsive in a normal adolescent way, and totally lacking in adult perspective.

 

None of that was a reflection on the worth, value, or significance of anyone around me, or the validity of their needs and desires. Nor was it in fact a reflection on my general empathy or how much I cared for them.

 

I was immature and unaware and thoughtless.

 

I'm no longer so immature but certainly can still be unaware and thoughtless.

 

I give a lot of grace to unaware and thoughtless young people.

 

And I don't stress over pants.

Edited by maize
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Why did someone have to stay up waiting for the clothes to dry? I just leave them in the dryer and take them out in the morning. If they were your dss's clothes, and he waited to do them until late at night, then if they are a bit wrinkled from staying in the dryer overnight, that's his problem, not yours.

 

I personally love to do laundry and have all kinds of quirks about how I think things should be done. I teach my kids *why* I want things done a certain way, but if they choose to do them another way, it's not really my problem. (You dye your underpants pink because red shirt + hot water + white undies = pink undies and you didn't put the Synthrapol in to prevent that, well then you'll be wearing pink undies.)

Because I wanted it done. I was feeling very out of sorts with the laundry wet in the basket and towels in the dryer.....but yes it is true it was dss clothes. His problem I guess.

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Around here, passive aggressive gets passive aggressive.  I'd take those jeans and throw them back on his bed.  No comment, no stress, no emotion.  Two can play that game.

 

ETA:  And that's what I'd do with someone's clothes who were left in the wrong place at the wrong time, too.  Sorry, bud, your time with the washer is UP, and my laundry room stays clean.  Here's your stuff. :D

 

One of the things I've been working on here is emotionless response. I would have put the jeans back in Boy A's room, but I would have said, "Hey, I saw that you tossed these on the laundry room floor. I think they're Boy B's. You can put them on his bed instead." It's actually working pretty well. I don't think kids/teens do most of the stuff they do out of passive aggressiveness--I really think that they're just clueless and thoughtless.

 

I remember being that way myself as a teen. My mom would get mad at me for stuff I had no idea I wasn't supposed to do. Obviously, in retrospect, I was being lazy and/or a slob, but in my own head I was just in a hurry or wasn't thinking about my actions. For example, the towel thing I mentioned earlier. It just didn't occur to me A) how gross it was (ugh) and B) how rude it was to leave my mother with no towel. The lesson simply did not sink in, and no amount of passive aggressiveness or anger on her part would change that. It's all very obvious now, of course, but back then? I very clearly remember being mystified as to why she was so mad!

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Yes. Yes they are. Just this week I went to work more....and sat my two teens down and told them I need help now...and gave them a laundry schedule to do their own clothes. Yesterday my dss had two,loads unfinished at bedtime......I had specifically said I dont want laundry left undone. My ds was home ahead of us so I asked him to reboot and he is the one who pulled damp clothes out and left them shoved in a basket. I woke my ds up and showed him the wet clothes. He went back to bed and I stayed in the laundry room waiting for the clothes to dry.....my dss came in and told me he would wait up for it and for me to go to bed. I GREATLY appreciated him doing that and told him so.

 

Then at 7 this morning my ds is throwing clean clothes in the laundry room floor. So it isnt about me doing his laundry.....it is about me not wanting clothes, especially CLEAN Clothes left on the laundry room floor.

 

 

Scarlett, 

 

What do you think the bolded taught your son?  You protected him from the natural consequence of not finishing his responsibility.  If you are swooping in to save him and doing his jobs for him is there any incentive for him to take the job seriously?  If he was living alone, what would have happened because of his decision to not finish his laundry before bed?

 

His damp clothes and the laundry basket should have been put in his room or outside his door for him to deal with in the morning.  It would have taken you two minutes and saved you a lot of grief.  It would have taught him more for your two minutes than an hours lecture will about how you don't like something, think it is disrespectful, and expect it to change.  

 

Stefanie

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Probably. I have always done everything for everyone and enjoyed it. I felt valuable and valued. Now I have to work more and the things I valued can't get done the way I want and no one seems to care.

 

 

Yep, I'm fighting the same fight here. Talking with them about it has been utterly useless. Simply changing the way I act about a lot of it (without nagging, arguing, guilt, or recriminations) has been more effective. 

 

"Hey, someone left their dishes on the coffee table. Please come get them and put them in the dishwasher!"

"Hey, Kid A, you left your towel on the bathroom floor. Can you go get that and hang it up so it doesn't get moldy?"

"Hey, Kid B, you were supposed to get in the shower by 9:00 because I have to shower at 10, but now you're too late. I'm going in, but I'll hurry and you can be ready to go right in after me. In the meantime, I'll pack up your lunch, OK?"

 

I'm still calling them on their stuff and expecting results and not compromising on my own needs, but there's no conflict to up the ante. 

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Probably. I have always done everything for everyone and enjoyed it. I felt valuable and valued. Now I have to work more and the things I valued can't get done the way I want and no one seems to care.

Now that's something I can get. I don't think this was just about the jeans. It's about a lot of little things adding up, right?

 

Ok, now that we're at the core issue, it all makes more sense. Your life has changed with another person living there. And all of a sudden, all the work you did to create a nice life for the family comes across as petty to them and they don't care or appreciate what you're doing to make a nice life together.

 

There could be a miriad of reasons for this. Maybe with the changes, your expectations no longer match what can reasonably be done. Maybe it's time for a new normal. Myabe not. Maybe with the changes, the rest of the family is unsettled, too, and not at their best. Maybe you need to step back a few steps and re-teach everyone how to show gratitude, the way you had to teach the kids when they were young.

 

Just don't forget what you already know: teenagers are notorious for being self-centered and ungrateful for the simple things done for them until they're adults and finally see how much work it all is, so it's not just your kids. And you get more flies with honey.

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Scarlett,

 

What do you think the bolded taught your son? You protected him from the natural consequence of not finishing his responsibility. If you are swooping in to save him and doing his jobs for him is there any incentive for him to take the job seriously? If he was living alone, what would have happened because of his decision to not finish his laundry before bed?

 

His damp clothes and the laundry basket should have been put in his room or outside his door for him to deal with in the morning. It would have taken you two minutes and saved you a lot of grief. It would have taught him more for your two minutes than an hours lecture will about how you don't like something, think it is disrespectful, and expect it to change.

 

Stefanie

Well here is the deal. They were dss clothes. Dss failed to finish his laundry in a timely manner. Since it is a new system and schedule I called and asked ds to reboot to help dss. Ds shoved very damp clothes in a basket. So I was very torn about whose problem this was. I woke ds up and presented him with the wet clothes. He was not apologetic, he was angry. So he goes back to bed and I stood in the laundry room trying to determine the best course of action. Dss came in and insisted I go to bed and he would deal with it since it was his laundry and he was the one who failed to get it done in the first place.

 

And then this morning the clean jeans are thrown in the laundry room floor,

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I'd tell him off.  Depending on the situation I might make him go get the jeans and do the correct thing with them, or I'd just do it myself.

 

This reminds me of a time when my sister was in her late teens IIRC.  She did something inconsiderate to my mom's clothes in the dryer.  My mom got so mad that she went and took my sister's clean clothes out of the dryer and stomped on them, to my sister's shock.  It drove the point home.  :P

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One of the things I've been working on here is emotionless response. I would have put the jeans back in Boy A's room, but I would have said, "Hey, I saw that you tossed these on the laundry room floor. I think they're Boy B's. You can put them on his bed instead." It's actually working pretty well. I don't think kids/teens do most of the stuff they do out of passive aggressiveness--I really think that they're just clueless and thoughtless.

 

I remember being that way myself as a teen. My mom would get mad at me for stuff I had no idea I wasn't supposed to do. Obviously, in retrospect, I was being lazy and/or a slob, but in my own head I was just in a hurry or wasn't thinking about my actions. For example, the towel thing I mentioned earlier. It just didn't occur to me A) how gross it was (ugh) and B) how rude it was to leave my mother with no towel. The lesson simply did not sink in, and no amount of passive aggressiveness or anger on her part would change that. It's all very obvious now, of course, but back then? I very clearly remember being mystified as to why she was so mad!

It never occurred to me that the jeans were still clean enough to pick up and refolded. When I saw them on the laundry room floor I just thought dirty.

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Why did someone have to stay up waiting for the clothes to dry?

 

Personally, I don't like to go to bed with the washer, dryer, or dishwasher running, just in case of emergency. We've had something unexpectedly block the drain in the slop sink, causing the water coming from the washer to overflow it. My parents have had hoses come loose, and I'm (probably irrationally) concerned about dryer fires, since my DH doesn't clean out our dryer vents nearly as often as I'd like. 

 

Just FWIW!

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Well here is the deal. They were dss clothes. Dss failed to finish his laundry in a timely manner. Since it is a new system and schedule I called and asked ds to reboot to help dss. Ds shoved very damp clothes in a basket. So I was very torn about whose problem this was. I woke ds up and presented him with the wet clothes. He was not apologetic, he was angry. So he goes back to bed and I stood in the laundry room trying to determine the best course of action. Dss came in and insisted I go to bed and he would deal with it since it was his laundry and he was the one who failed to get it done in the first place.

 

And then this morning the clean jeans are thrown in the laundry room floor,

 

So, ds was having a little hissy fit because he was asked to help dss with the laundry.

 

I've seen that before, too! My kids go round and round about whose turn it is to wash a certain pan they both use in the morning for eggs. They are so obnoxious about it and neither one wants to cave and help the other. So puffed up with pride about not having to wash the pan.

 

This sorta sounds like normal sibling stuff. Obnoxious, but normal. DS was mad that he was asked to do dss's job. My youngest really hates it when I ask him to do his older brother's work. He gets really mad.

 

I don't have much advice, but I don't think this particular case was about you. It sounds like it was a brother thing. I was an only child so this dynamic of brothers sometimes being mad about being asked to help each other is new to me.

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I'm going to throw this out there again: smoms.org.

 

Yes, there's a fee now - to protect your privacy, and your DSS from ever reading what you write. It's worth it. You can get a free month, I think. I haven't been there is a long time, but I think that's true.

 

Ten years there saved my sanity and my marriage. Step-parenting is hard. You need creative problem solving help, and caring support from other stepmoms.

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I'm going to throw this out there again: smoms.org.

 

Yes, there's a fee now - to protect your privacy, and your DSS from ever reading what you write. It's worth it. You can get a free month, I think. I haven't been there is a long time, but I think that's true.

 

Ten years there saved my sanity and my marriage. Step-parenting is hard. You need creative problem solving help, and caring support from other stepmoms.

 

I like the site. I did a free month recently. But this isn't my step kid. It is my bio kid.

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I'm going to throw this out there again: smoms.org.

 

Yes, there's a fee now - to protect your privacy, and your DSS from ever reading what you write. It's worth it. You can get a free month, I think. I haven't been there is a long time, but I think that's true.

 

Ten years there saved my sanity and my marriage. Step-parenting is hard. You need creative problem solving help, and caring support from other stepmoms.

I don't have step kids, but I think this is a good suggestion. I think there are underlying currents that Scarlett is experiencing that I don't get. I think if she put this stuff on a step-parenting board, they'd be able to immediately say, "Oh, I get it!" and would probably articulate for Scarlett exactly what's going on, like they were reading her mind or living her life.

 

Like, I only come here to talk about homeschool issues, because no one else will get it in a visceral way like you guys will. Scarlett, I think you need a step-parenting group that will get the subtexts that are going on with your family right now: the good and the bad--the whole ball of wax.

Edited by Garga
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Well here is the deal. They were dss clothes. Dss failed to finish his laundry in a timely manner. Since it is a new system and schedule I called and asked ds to reboot to help dss. Ds shoved very damp clothes in a basket. So I was very torn about whose problem this was. I woke ds up and presented him with the wet clothes. He was not apologetic, he was angry. So he goes back to bed and I stood in the laundry room trying to determine the best course of action. Dss came in and insisted I go to bed and he would deal with it since it was his laundry and he was the one who failed to get it done in the first place.

 

And then this morning the clean jeans are thrown in the laundry room floor,

 

Then you did no favors for your Dss by having your Ds bail him out.  It was Dss job to ask for Ds to help him out, not yours.  I can see why your Ds was mad.  He had to spend his time fixing Dss problem by doing his job.  

 

 

Your are looking at this wrong.  He was actually respectful enough of you to do your request to do Dss work without complaints.  He was attempting to send Dss a message, not you.  If this is how they respond to each other, and I know you've mentioned some friction in the past, you would be best leaving your Ds entirely out of Dss's responsibilities.  You might spend some time thinking about just how much you've been asking your Ds to do the things your Dss was supposed to be doing.

 

Stefanie

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I like the site. I did a free month recently. But this isn't my step kid. It is my bio kid.

But your bio kid was lashing out at you (passive-agressively) because you asked him to do your step son's chore.

Edited by Garga
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Then you did no favors for your Dss by having your Ds bail him out. It was Dss job to ask for Ds to help him out, not yours. I can see why your Ds was mad. He had to spend his time fixing Dss problem by doing his job.

 

 

Your are looking at this wrong. He was actually respectful enough of you to do your request to do Dss work without complaints. He was attempting to send Dss a message, not you. If this is how they respond to each other, and I know you've mentioned some friction in the past, you would be best leaving your Ds entirely out of Dss's responsibilities. You might spend some time thinking about just how much you've been asking your Ds to do the things your Dss was supposed to be doing.

 

Stefanie

Very little. Ds has no clue whose clothes he shoved into the basket all damp. Seriously this wasn't ds angry at dss. It was ds Unconcerned about clothes period.

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Very little. Ds has no clue whose clothes he shoved into the basket all damp. Seriously this wasn't ds angry at dss. It was ds Unconcerned about clothes period.

Oh, ok. I thought your ds knew he was picking up the slack for dss.

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It never occurred to me that the jeans were still clean enough to pick up and refolded. When I saw them on the laundry room floor I just thought dirty.

 

Maybe I missed this. How did you figure out they were actually clean jeans, and how they ended up there? Did you think they were dirty and rewash them, and then DS told you they had actually been clean?

 

My laundry room isn't spotless, but it's certainly not dirty enough to actually soil a pair of jeans so that they couldn't be worn at least once (especially considering what teen boys probably manage to do to their own clothing!). 

 

Another thing that you mentioned is that things aren't getting done to YOUR standards. You're going to have to let some of that go, unfortunately. That's another lesson I've learned as my own paid work has ramped up the past few years. I'm quite the perfectionist myself, and it's been hard learning to let go of managing how other people do things that I used to do myself. But frankly, it's a recipe for resentment and disaster to expect other household members to take over jobs--even jobs you have every right to expect them to take over--and also expect them to do those jobs to YOUR satisfaction. It just doesn't work that way, and if you hold onto that, you're just asking for continued unhappiness. If you start learning to let go of that, you'll find you care less about the BS that goes on around you and you can interact with less emotion when stuff like this happens. And you'll find it much easier to calmly shift the responsibility for fixing errors on the people whose job it was in the first place. 

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So, ds was having a little hissy fit because he was asked to help dss with the laundry.

 

I've seen that before, too! My kids go round and round about whose turn it is to wash a certain pan they both use in the morning for eggs. They are so obnoxious about it and neither one wants to cave and help the other. So puffed up with pride about not having to wash the pan.

 

This sorta sounds like normal sibling stuff. Obnoxious, but normal. DS was mad that he was asked to do dss's job. My youngest really hates it when I ask him to do his older brother's work. He gets really mad.

 

I don't have much advice, but I don't think this particular case was about you. It sounds like it was a brother thing. I was an only child so this dynamic of brothers sometimes being mad about being asked to help each other is new to me.

 

But they aren't siblings.  While siblings might squabble something fierce, there is usually a bond there that step siblings lack.  Squabbling can be very damaging in that situation.  Asking one to look out for or do for the other can just wind up making them very resentful.  

 

Stefanie

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Maybe I missed this. How did you figure out they were actually clean jeans, and how they ended up there? Did you think they were dirty and rewash them, and then DS told you they had actually been clean?

 

My laundry room isn't spotless, but it's certainly not dirty enough to actually soil a pair of jeans so that they couldn't be worn at least once (especially considering what teen boys probably manage to do to their own clothing!).

 

Another thing that you mentioned is that things aren't getting done to YOUR standards. You're going to have to let some of that go, unfortunately. That's another lesson I've learned as my own paid work has ramped up the past few years. I'm quite the perfectionist myself, and it's been hard learning to let go of managing how other people do things that I used to do myself. But frankly, it's a recipe for resentment and disaster to expect other household members to take over jobs--even jobs you have every right to expect them to take over--and also expect them to do those jobs to YOUR satisfaction. It just doesn't work that way, and if you hold onto that, you're just asking for continued unhappiness. If you start learning to let go of that, you'll find you care less about the BS that goes on around you and you can interact with less emotion when stuff like this happens. And you'll find it much easier to calmly shift the responsibility for fixing errors on the people whose job it was in the first place.

I had been in the laundry room at 10:30 the night before.....and they weren't there.....where did they come from. So I asked around. Ds told me.....

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But they aren't siblings. While siblings might squabble something fierce, there is usually a bond there that step siblings lack. Squabbling can be very damaging in that situation. Asking one to look out for or do for the other can just wind up making them very resentful.

 

Stefanie

He had no idea it was dss clothes. It wasn't squabbling. It was ds not caring enough about the task to even notice the clothes were still very damp,

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But they aren't siblings. While siblings might squabble something fierce, there is usually a bond there that step siblings lack. Squabbling can be very damaging in that situation. Asking one to look out for or do for the other can just wind up making them very resentful.

 

Stefanie

Yes, so true.

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I had been in the laundry room at 10:30 the night before.....and they weren't there.....where did they come from. So I asked around. Ds told me.....

 

Ah, OK. So your DS told you he had tossed them onto the laundry room floor. Then what did you do? Did you get mad? Did you ask him to put them somewhere else? Did you bring them to your DSS's room yourself? 

 

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten here for dealing with teens to DISENGAGE emotionally when dealing with them over stuff like that. I'm a hothead, so it has been supremely difficult. It wasn't something I ever saw myself being able to manage when I thought about it before I had a teen, and it's still hard now. But it does help SO much. I wish I was better at it than I am. Of course, by the time I'm actually good at it, the kids will be gone *sigh* But it really makes a big difference in how they respond and how much the tension and obstinacy levels get ratcheted up.

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Ah, OK. So your DS told you he had tossed them onto the laundry room floor. Then what did you do? Did you get mad? Did you ask him to put them somewhere else? Did you bring them to your DSS's room yourself?

 

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten here for dealing with teens to DISENGAGE emotionally when dealing with them over stuff like that. I'm a hothead, so it has been supremely difficult. It wasn't something I ever saw myself being able to manage when I thought about it before I had a teen, and it's still hard now. But it does help SO much. I wish I was better at it than I am. Of course, by the time I'm actually good at it, the kids will be gone *sigh* But it really makes a big difference in how they respond and how much the tension and obstinacy levels get ratcheted up.

I think Scarlett is feeling floored that this happened at all. It sounds like it's new for her son to act this way? (Is it?). So she's feeling like the things that her family valued before aren't valued now.

 

If this is a new thing with ds, then it's probably related to dss coming to live there. It's a disruption and ds is fumbling as he deals with it.

 

If it's not new, then Scarlett is just venting and tired of it.

 

Scarlett, if you want to solve the problem faster and reset everyone to remembering to value you, then stay calm while you reteach some basic manners.

Edited by Garga
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Very little. Ds has no clue whose clothes he shoved into the basket all damp. Seriously this wasn't ds angry at dss. It was ds Unconcerned about clothes period.

 

Okay.  Whatever you say.  I've only got 10 years experience with the "stepkids from hell" (okay, one fortunately wasn't so bad), so I guess I just don't recognize any of the dynamics your not wanting to see.  Yours or the kids.

 

Stefanie

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I think Scarlett is feeling floored that this happened at all. It sounds like it's new for her son to act this way? (Is it?). So she's feeling like the things that her family valued before aren't valued now.

 

If this is a new thing with ds, then it's probably related to dss coming to live there. It's a disruption and ds is fumbling as he deals with it.

 

If it's not new, then Scarlett is just venting and tired of it.

 

Scarlett, if you want to solve the problem faster and reset everyone to remembering to value you, then stay calm while you reteach some basic manners.

 

I get that. I wonder, too, just how much of this is the "teen boy breakaway" that seems to start around 15-16ish. I don't have teen boys, but I know I've read here a million times about how hard it seems to get when they're starting to get ready to leave the nest--like, they have to be as angry and restless and chafe as much as possible so that they can get ready to make a clean break. Couple that with increased expectations around the house (just when they're thinking they're old enough to manage their own lives now and you can just butt out mom, thankyouverymuch :lol:), and maybe that explains some of it? 

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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This also reminds me of a time I got really angry at a houseguest who threw my damp clothes out of the dryer so he could use it, and then left his clothes in the dryer for days so I couldn't finish drying mine.  When I finally bitched about it, the houseguest said he hadn't realized my clothes were still damp.  I found that hard to believe, but maybe he really was that clueless.  Besides that, the question of what constitutes laundry etiquette seems to be a matter of personal opinion.  :P

 

This might be one of those times when stating the obvious shouldn't be necessary, yet is.  :)

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To answer the original question: If I found a clean pair of jeans on my laundry room floor, I would assume that they'd fallen out of a laundry basket, and would put them away myself (or ask my youngest to run them upstairs for me). I wouldn't question my kids about the jeans, because even if one of my boys had thrown his brother's jeans on the floor, it wouldn't be worth my time and energy to investigate just so that I could say, "Hey, next time your brother's jeans end up in your drawer, try putting them in his room instead of tossing them on the floor". 

 

 

If you want your boys to do their own laundry (and actually decrease your workload/stress), I think you need to give them room to develop their own laundry routines/systems. Telling them what time of day to do their laundry, asking them to do each other's laundry in order to meet your deadlines, etc. is not going to help them develop systems that work for them. They're smart kids. They need clean clothes. They'll figure it out. 

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For me, it's always about the relationship. I'm the adult in the relationship. I'm the one primarily responsible for relating to the teen and not the other way around.

 

If there is a pattern of behavior then I need to figure out the best way to communicate. And communication with teens starts with listening. Lectures are a sure fire way to be tuned out, in my experience.

 

I ask genuine questions with no passive aggressive agenda. My kids do their own laundry. I don't micromanage but I will ask "when do you think that you will be done?" "How are you going to manage this?"

 

I try to have objectives that have an end goal in mind. I want my kids to be able to do their own laundry. But doing it "my way " is not part of my end goal. Having clean clothes no matter what the method, is. Having a relationship with my adult kids is too.

 

I do things for my family because I want to. No one makes me do it. If I didn't do these things my teens could figure it out. They're pretty smart. I'd rather let them fend for themselves than to do things under duress as a martyr.

 

My kids respect and like me because I respect and like them. They cooperate so much more as a result.

 

Do I ever lose my cool? Sure. And I make sure that I apologize when I do.

 

Do I require things that they don't want to do? Sort of. I don't tend to force or even do the "because I said so" thing with teens. But I talk to them and listen and so far that's all that has been necessary.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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This also reminds me of a time I got really angry at a houseguest who threw my damp clothes out of the dryer so he could use it, and then left his clothes in the dryer for days so I couldn't finish drying mine.  When I finally bitched about it, the houseguest said he hadn't realized my clothes were still damp.  I found that hard to believe, but maybe he really was that clueless.  Besides that, the question of what constitutes laundry etiquette seems to be a matter of personal opinion.  :p

 

This might be one of those times when stating the obvious shouldn't be necessary, yet is.  :)

Warm clothes feel dryer than cold ones, too

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I wouldn't wake people to handle things. I would announce: "Clean jeans don't go on the floor." I would put wet clothes back in the drier if possible. If not, I'd probably rewash them the next day so they didn't get mildewed. Then I'd announce, "Make sure the clothes from the drier are dry before you switch them out." 

 

None of my kids would in any way consider it an expression of their feelings for me to have messed up the laundry process. Even if they did, my value system is to look for ways not to take offense. I might be annoyed at soggy clothes, but it really doesn't get me anywhere to read more into the situation that exists. 

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Warm clothes feel dryer than cold ones, too

 

I was wondering if I was the only one who had a hard time telling if something is dry.  I pull them out and flip the loads.  A while later I start folding and the load is damp, but now the dryer is full.  

 

It happens when the clothes are warm or when they've been there so long that they are cold.  Cold clothes and damp clothes feel the same to me.  I've gotten into the habit of touching the seams to my face to check for dampness.  

 

I think ds is lucky that homemaking is not one of my skills so I can be very understanding of mistakes in learning.

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So I assume the best of everyone in my household.  My first thought is that ds didn't realize that the clothes were damp or that he didn't think to check because he was distracted from something else when you called and was on autopilot flipping the loads.  On the jeans, I would guess that he knew they were in the wrong place but was distracted and chose another wrong place to put them, probably distracted again.

 

So my reaction to transgressions like that is "Seriously, Dude?"  (Though sleep is sacrosanct here, so no one gets woken for anything short of a life-threatening emergency.  If someone is awakened for laundry, that laundry had better be covered in blood or entrails.)

 

If I thought, as you seem to, that it was passive-aggressive behavior, I would set aside time when no one was angry or frustrated to talk about the root of the issue and find a solution that we could all live with, even if it took counseling.  I don't think I could live in a hostile environment.  

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I try to remember how I would feel (at work, for example) if someone was constantly telling me to do it their way.  Maybe 'on the floor of the laundry room' is not an unreasonable place for clothes in your son's mind?  Maybe he thinks it's pretty clean and no big deal?

 

As an example: I like to dress in the en suite bathroom.  I take my clothes in there (or clean pyjamas at night) and put them down on the only available space, which is the top of the laundry basket.  If Husband comes in with dirty clothes during that short time, he has to carefully lift the lid so that my clean clothes don't go tumbling.  I know that he finds it inconvenient that I put clean clothes on top of the dirty clothes basket.  I see it as a logical thing to do.  We both respect each other, so we neither of us get irritated.

 

I would mention the incident to your son and ask him whether he remembers it.  If he doesn't, I would just say that it might be better if clothes stayed off the floor.  If he does say that he remembers it, I would ask him how he thinks it would be best to handle that kind of slight glitch in the routine.  Either way, I wouldn't see it as a big deal or an example of great disrespect.

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My response would depend on several things, including Did son know whom the jeans belonged to? Did son know how jeans got in his room?  Did son know the jeans were clean? Did son know the correct place to put the jeans?  Was place easily accessible to son?  If the laundry room floor was so dirty that jeans being placed there prevented them from being worn by owner, I would be more concerned about why the laundry room floor was in such a state.  If I thought that the person who put the jeans on the floor needed to apologize, I guess it would be logical to also expect an apology from the person who did not care enough about the jeans and the jeans owner to put them in the proper place to begin with.. 

 

The easiest solution for me would be:  each person does his own laundry--that way nothing gets in your room that doesn't belong to the correct person and nothing then gets left on the laundry room floor

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I'd be surprised that my teen son found anything in the foot-deep detritus that passes for his floor. I celebrate when we can see the floor in the kids' rooms, and if they sorted things out well enough to identify anything that didn't belong in that room, I'd be shocked and awed. I might just throw a party. I'd be likely to give the kid a high 5 and congratulate him on the progress.

 

Meanwhile, I'd use a stick or maybe tongs to move said jeans to the washer without coming into contact with them, get them clean, and then ask household members to claim the next time all were gathered (so likely around the dinner table) . . . 

 

My kids are slobs. It drives me bonkers. I try not to take it personally, but it is hard, as they do know their messes drive me mad. 

 

Small ways I've had small successes recently with my teens: 

 

1) Every so often, I just say NO MORE, and I say the kid can't leave the house until the room is clean. It generally takes a few days for this to result in a clean room, and then not more than a few days for the clean room to become repulsive again, so it's definitely only a partial win.

 

2) An actual, real success is that for the last year or so, we've had a wonderful habit of the entire family working together to clean the kitchen/dining/family area every night after dinner. LOVE. I think it works because the entire family is there together, so we're able to set a good example while also engaging . . . and I can coach a bit . . . This makes me HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY.

 

3) Other actual successes are that my kids are generally compliant/nice enough to me (lately) that when I ask them to do a specific chore/task at a specific time (immediately, not in the future sometime, forget that), they will do it pretty well. As in "Child, please unload the dishwasher once you are done with breakfast." or "Child, please take out the garbage right now." or "Child, please clean your bathroom before going out with your friends." They don't do perfect work, but they do some work, and they do it with a generally helpful attitude, so I'm just so happy about that, as it is one million times better than the surliness I have sometimes faced in response to such requests/instructions. 

 

Scarlett, you have my sympathy living with two (smelly, messy) teen boys. :) I think you need to celebrate the small victories and try to ignore the rest. Trust me. You'll live through this, and in just a couple years, those boys will be up and out and you'll be glad you didn't spend too much more time fighting the tide that is Reality. (Reality = teens are slobs and all the training you try to do is likely for naught; they'll get tidier when they grow up . . . or not . . .)

 

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I just dont know why nothing that is important to me can be important to other people. When called on a small thing that bugs me.....I get no apology or cooperation. I get stone faces and bull faces. I can ignore it and just pick it up. Sure. It takes much less energy to do that then spend an hour hashing it out. But when do I matter?

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Awww, Scarlett, you do matter. 

 

It's just that your boys are at a horrible, no good, awful stage of development. They can't see past their own noses. Only they matter to themselves. It's not evil, it's just the toddler=teen stage of development. You are the mom/giver, and they see you as impervious.

 

I totally get what you are feeling. TOTALLY. This is a universal mom thing, IMHO. 

 

Get your affirmation and caring from your dh and other peers, and look forward to a day when you can squoosh grand babies and give them noisy toys and lots of sugar and let them stay up late to watch Disney movies . . . That's what keeps me going, lol. 

 

Just a couple more years, and these grumpy spoiled teens will be out of our hair and thankful for Mom cooking, Mom laundry service, etc when they come home to visit. And, we'll be thankful for their smelly clothes on the bathroom floor . . . really, it'll happen. 

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