I always give them a free first week to watch TV, play video games, sleep in etc. It is my no nagging week. After that I set up a list of chores & school mandated summer reading.
Honestly I feel I am pretty easy to get along with, I am not asking them to dig ditches, just basic stuff; do your own dishes, brush the dogs, sweep blah blah blah.
By their reaction you would think they had been sold into slavery and were working 18 hour days with a few saltines as their only snack.
Every summer we go through this cycle of my calmly asking… them looking up from their show or video game and saying sure thing.
Me calmly asking again,,,this time to a slightly disgusted response of; “We said we would do it”
This quickly spirals from my calm request to a much more cranky and insistent demand.
At this point I abruptly (with loud exaggerated stomping and a flourish of hand gestures) turn off whatever they were doing in the middle of whatever game or show was on.
This results in much loathing towards me and just all around teenagery snottiness.
And they still are not getting anything done.
This year after the first dysfunctional week I decided something had to change. I put allowance in their bank accounts at the start of every month. They get x $ amount in exchange for doing chores.
This summer I ask once, I give a gentle reminder and then I am done. I take away a % of their money every week if the chores don’t get done. I just transfer from their account back to mine. I don’t yell. I really don’t care anymore. I am using the extra money to hire a house cleaner once a month to help me out.
When this results in indignation and a general dislike of me I don’t care either. I used to yell or get sarcastic. Now I do not say a word. One benefit is that I am getting great passive aggressive pleasure because it drives them crazy. But it also comes with another benefit. One that I had not anticipated and am just tickled pink about.
Without my nagging and responding to their negativity they go off in a huff, slam doors, mumble things about how rotten and unfair I am. But, 20 minutes or so later, they come out apologize and do their chores.
Who knew??? It is the craziest thing.
I almost get excited now when they don’t do their chores because I feel like I am participating in some amazing scientific experiment that is working. It is like finding a cure for a rotten disease.
I wish I had stumbled on to this 15 years ago. Better late than never I guess. Just don’t say anything back to your kids when they are snotty. Wow!