Monday, November 12, 2007

Older Sons and Chores

A reader asked:

How would you handle a 19 year-old son who must be continually prodded to help with the kitchen in the evening, and maintain a minimum of chore requirements. My husband and I recognize we are getting what we have trained for, as some of our convictions have been arrived at recently, and he is not openly rebellious, and he does work full time in my husband's business. We just don't feel like he his conduct shows that he wants to be on the same "team", so to speak. Thank you for any insight you might offer. Beth

Ooooh Beth!

I know right where you are! We too have a 19 year old we struggle with, although he has been taught his whole life to be responsible and work, both at home and he has had a job since he was 15. Even though he is very skilled in many areas, which I have to credit his dad for being so diligent in teaching him, as he has gotten older his heart has strayed away from our family. He is not on the same team as the rest of us. This makes home life VERY difficult. Knowing your duty is one thing, but having the heart to do your duty faithfully is another.

Because we are currently walking this path, I really don't have much advice, other than having your husband be the gate keeper. It is up to him to enforce what is expected of your son. And as his mother (a woman) be careful to not sound bossy (like a nag). Men have this attitude (sometimes spoken, and usually not spoken) of, "Ain't no woman gonna tell me what to do!" lol... So as our sons become men, we have to leave most of the direction, correction etc... up to dear ol' Dad! Norm Wakefield has a great CD about Mothers and Teen Aged Sons. It is great! I only wish I would have had it when our son was 12 instead of 18. sigh

One suggestion would be to keep his chores as masculine as possible. Not that he should never wash a dish or fold clothes, but the over all chores for guys should be more heavy duty. A young man doesn't feel very manly (respected) when he is folding underwear. lol :o) Although there are times when this may need to be done, but I think you get the idea. I just posted on our Teaching Good Things website a list of things guys can be doing around the house to get ready for winter.

If he is working a full time job then be careful not to expect more out of him than you do your husband.

I never dreamed that this would be such a hard transmission time for our son, or us. We are struggling to preserve our relationship (because this too shall pass), and at the same time stand for what is 'right'! It is hard. Every family is different, every child is different.

One last thing, be careful not to nag (not that you would, but I can if I am not careful) your husband about all of this. Kindly, gently make suggestions, but it is your husband's leadership he needs. I can say this because I am in that very place. I am waiting for things to improve and learning how to follow my husband's leading...which is not how I would do it, but God put him in charge, not me. lol

I hope this helps in some way. Please feel free to email me privately if you'd like. Sometimes it's just good to have a sounding board.

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