DS16 refusing to help. I'm not physically fit enough to do it myself.

(20 Posts)
out2lunch Fri 18-Oct-13 00:58:54

I too am in a v similar situation op

my ds is the same - he's 19 he is getting better though.i think it is down to all the reasons flow mentioned and of course teenage hormones added into the mix.

flow4 Fri 18-Oct-13 00:47:28

I could have written this, Cutted: my situation is (oddly) very similar. After many similar rows and stand-offs, I have gained some insight into what makes my DS1(18) behave the way he does in similar situations. Maybe some of this will ring bells with you...?

For a long time, he didn't really believe I was struggling as much as I was. This was partly because my physical deterioration was quite rapid, partly because (like many teens) he wasn't really paying attention, and partly because he was used to me being 'super mum', able to cope with everything.

He didn't want to believe I was struggling; he didn't like it at all. I think he found it quite frightening that I wasn't supermum any more.

I think he also felt a sense of responsibility that made him very uncomfortable. On the one hand he wanted to be able to 'look after' me and worried that he wasn't up to it; on the other hand, he resented having to. Once, in the middle of a row about something he wasn't doing that I couldn't do (actually, I think it may have been woodchopping too), he yelled "You need a husband for that!". And when I pointed out I didn't have one, he responded "That's not MY fault!"

And last but not least, he has never responded well to ultimatums or feeling he has no choice. When I cornered him, he was more likely to refuse or avoid; if I backed off, he was more likely to then help...

I hope maybe some of this will help you understand your own DS...? I hope he got enough of a buzz out of today that he'll feel more motivated next time...

Travelledtheworld Thu 17-Oct-13 23:55:41

Well done for standing your ground.
Give him lots of thanks and tell him how much it means to you.

I too have a very tall, strong teenage son who can be very helpful round the house doing the things I am not strong enough to do.

SirChenjin Thu 17-Oct-13 22:11:18

Good for him! Tell him MN is very proud of him grin

Actually, probably best not to - if he's anything like my 16 year old he'd die a death knowing he was being talked about on MN

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 21:11:52

Reporting back!

I went out 15 minutes after my last posting to find, with an unprecedented change of tune, DS laying into the woodpile with some application.

Fantastic. I knew he was capable of this (and damn well should be at his age/size) but it was a matter of him finding the way to it.

All choppable wood was chopped, with DS streaming with manly sweat and going for it like the blazes with the axe. He actually enjoyed it. He is his mother's son, I used to love doing it too.

I consider the Power of MN (TM) to be wholly responsible thlgrin

SilverApples that's a sweet thought but unfortunately groundless as this is the way DS has behaved since he was old enough to behave in any way at all. I work with it, work to change it, occasionally am defeated by it but overall hope that he is gaining some maturity and responsibility. He does have some kind of SN but it's undiagnosed and since he has managed to get to college and is now learning a practical skill, I consider that we are round the corner in our mutual struggle with and against the system.

MissStrawberry Thu 17-Oct-13 20:46:32

Did it happen?

SilverApples Thu 17-Oct-13 14:50:13

First of all, I agree that he's being selfish and lazy and whinging for no reason, and that he should do his part if he's living in your house. No reason for him not to be out there chopping away.
But
Do you think he's worried about you being so ill, and the rapid change over the last two years, and expressing it by being a PITA? Is he scared?
Has he got someone to talk to other than you that he's trust enough to be honest about his feelings?

SirChenjin Thu 17-Oct-13 14:41:12

Keep us posted grin

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 13:42:03

OK. DS has eaten something (cooked himself) and gone to find some work gloves.
Maybe the magic of MN is working.
Will report back.

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 13:24:16

LeBearPolar when I ask him directly DS just goes into 'meh' mode; he slumps around a la Kevin and Perry and often ends up lying on the floor moaning.

I told him this morning that he is a burden to me, which is harsh I know but feels true at times.
I have changed my life to bring him up alone (including home edding him for a year up to his GSCEs cos he couldn't cope at school).

I just want a little back.

I should mention that a have a 21yo as well who is perfectly helpful, independent and gave me no indication of the trouble I was going have with this one!

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 13:19:18

DS does understand perfectly well how to do the work. He is saying that he doesn't LIKE doing it and that I do. True but not possible any more.

I really wish there was someone in the family who could help Sirchenjin but there isn't. I have friends a distance away who have offered but I would need to get them lifts here and back again - and anyway why should I ask anyone else to do it when DS is right here, nearly 6 ft tall and will have the benefit of the warm house?

LeBearPolar Thu 17-Oct-13 13:17:39

At 16, he is old enough to explain to you why he is refusing to help when you are physically unable to do the job yourself: I would just ask him point blank.

What are his usual jobs round the house and is he still doing those? Is it just the wood that he refuses to deal with?

I think I would be going on strike until he got the job done: if he is so unbelievably selfish that he will not make the effort to make your life easier, then I certainly wouldn't be doing a single solitary thing that made his life any more comfortable.

Just detach from the situation for a while. You have your electric heater so you can stay warm, and you can keep cooking/washing for you so that you are comfortable. But I would ask him why he is refusing to discuss it, then if he can't respond in a mature way, just stop shouting/bargaining/getting upset. Hire someone to do the job, deduct the cost from his allowance, and make sure that your DS takes care of himself independently (within the house) as he is expecting you to do.

Floralnomad Thu 17-Oct-13 13:17:09

Why don't you go out with him and help in a 'supervisory' kind of role ,it may encourage him .

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 13:13:43

My neighbour's husband is also my friend (both of them are) I went to their wedding and we swap dog walks and jam, it's quite a close neighbourhood, if that makes it clearer. I felt the threat of it would embarrass DS into doing the work.

I have asked DS why he won't help, of course. Not that one can expect lucid answers from a 16yo. He usually says that he will help more in the future after we have these frequent chats.

Then, after maybe one time doing the washing up without an argument, his good intention peters out and he doesn't help any more.

SirChenjin Thu 17-Oct-13 13:09:28

Sorry to hear you're having a shit time sad

Is there anyone else in the family who could split them for you? If so, then I would sit your DS down, explain that this is impossible for you , and that you have someone else who could split them if he won't. However, if he won't then you will be removing all privileges - money, washing, cooking, everything - but that's not how you would like to live, and put the ball back in his court.

kilmuir Thu 17-Oct-13 13:01:22

Could neighbour do it with him, show him.

Thumbwitch Thu 17-Oct-13 12:59:20

Why is he being such a selfish little sod? Does he hate you? Does he somehow feel it's "unfair" that he should do anything towards the comfort in your home, for both of you?

I'm disgusted with him on your behalf but since you've already withdrawn food and everything else and he's STILL being a toerag about it, I don't know where you go.

Are you hoping that your neighbour's husband will take pity on you and do it for you if your DS continues to refuse?

mumeeee Thu 17-Oct-13 12:58:37

Does your DS actually know how to do it? Is he somehow afraid of not being able to manage?

MissStrawberry Thu 17-Oct-13 12:51:12

I am sorry your son won't help you but I don't see that it is fair or right or appropriate to involve your neighbour's husband.

Ask you son why he won't do it when you have previously done more than your fair share and now physically can't not won't.

CuttedUpPear Thu 17-Oct-13 12:48:09

Our house and (radiators) are heated by a solid fuel burner. For all of my adult life I have fetched and chopped all the wood for it, organising a family work gang to help but doing the brunt of it myself. It's a blessing because I don't have enough money to pay for normal heating.

Over the past 2 years I've developed severe osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and a slipped disc. I've had to give up my work as a gardener and also dancing, which I loved.
So last month I paid my BIL to deliver some logs to us. He did it for a very small amount so I said that DS would be able to carry, split and stack the bigger logs.

This was three weeks ago now and DS has either kept putting it off or refusing to do it. The logs are out on the grass at the front of the house, they need to be carried up 7 seven steps and taken round the back to be split.
I've been managing with an electric radiator in my room and staying in there.

DS is bigger than me and obviously stronger now that I'm debilitated.
I have taken his laptop away for the past three days because he didn't do it last weekend when I was away and he was home alone. He is at college Mon-Weds so today is the day really.

He has been barricading himself in his room. He will employ every tactic known to defer the work (indefinitely). He spent 5 minutes moving some logs an hour ago but came back in saying he wanted to eat first.
I have said no food, no computer, nothing will I provide for him until those logs are moved, split and stacked.
It's probably 2 hrs work and he had breakfast at 11.

My last threat was that when my neighbour's husband gets home I will get him to speak to DS about it. (Said husband is a stocky working man who doesn't suffer fools gladly).

So...any more bright ideas? I have bargained, shouted and made myself upset now.
I just wish I wasn't so fucking broken, I would be happy to do this kind of work.

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