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Granddaughter not showing any acknowledgment nor volunteering help

(108 Posts)
bluerinse Tue 29-Sep-20 22:49:30

We have had 16 year old GD living with us since July. She attends school nearby aiming to achieve entrance to university. She doesn’t offer assistance to the life of the household nor does she show any appreciation when anything is done for her. Meal times are becoming a dread of mine as she picks out the food she doesn’t like despite my having altered our eating habits in the attempt to avoid this happening. Help!

Bibbity Wed 30-Sep-20 09:53:35

She’s a child.
Not a roommate, children shouldn’t be grateful for parenting. For being fed, clothed or have a roof over their heads. Where are her parents?
She should do chores, but appropriate to the amount of work she is dealing with.
If she is in full time education that she doesn’t have much free time during the week and down time is important to stop burn out.

Hydra Wed 30-Sep-20 09:54:03

Firstly
Very brave taking on a 16 year a really really difficult time of life. I think you should have a honest chat and maybe tell her you would like to introduce a rota for chores/ cooking. Ask her to do menu planning with you and although still young treat her like an adult and give her responsibility!!!!
Wishing you good luck

Riggie Wed 30-Sep-20 09:54:51

Time to start getting her to help more - maybe start asking her to do things in a non confrontational way - "your turn to do the dishes tonight" or "the washing machines free if you want to do your clothes/strip your bed (whatever)".
A chores list and any necessary nagging to do stuff (because shes a teen) can come later!

Corkie91 Wed 30-Sep-20 09:55:00

Typical teenage behaviour. How about encouraging and helping her cook what she would like to eat.

Sarnia Wed 30-Sep-20 10:07:04

She is 16!! It must be difficult for her too. Perhaps a friendly chat about what she likes and dislikes to eat. We all have them, not just 16 year olds. Housework and teenagers do not belong in the same sentence either. However, taking her dirty crockery to the dishwasher, bringing her clothes down for washing, etc. wouldn't hurt her and you could point out that she will have to do those things for herself at uni, so best have a little practice now. Keep things on a friendly footing. Life has changed since you were 16 whether we like it or not.

Nan0 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:08:54

Even at 16 I knew to hoover, help with washing by putting a load on hanging it on line etc and mow lawn or help with kitchen chores walk dog make beds etc...!!

trisher Wed 30-Sep-20 10:09:15

bluerinse first of all well done you for taking on a 16 year old girl, it's not something I would want to do. I was an awful teenager, in later life my mother loved to recount how I contradicted everybody-and I did! So I have great admiration for you trying to cope but sympathy as well for your 16 year old GD who probably doesn't know why she behaves as she does. I'd say give her some space, her own room which she can decorate/accessorize and keep clean (resist the temptation to look in unless it's essential), perhaps arrange meals so she sometimes isn't eating with you, or even that she sometimes cooks for all of you. Is she OK at school? Sometimes teenagers bring their unhappiness in one area into a part of their lives they feel it's OK to show it. You could ask if she would like to bring friends to your house. It may be that she really doesn't realise how much is being done for her and that's why she doesn't help. Hope you can work things out, but I think with teenagers sometimes only "This too shall pass" is the solution.

Tanjamaltija Wed 30-Sep-20 10:10:04

The more you pander to her whims, the less likely she is to start helping around the house and eating properly. Ask her what she wants to eat, and if it's within reason (and expenses budget) make it for her, but you don't have to eat what she does. Unless she helps you, you won't have time to wash her clothes or take her here and there... because you were managing fine till she came along.

ajswan Wed 30-Sep-20 10:11:33

I feel so sorry for this teenager, not the Grandparent. There must have been a traumatic reason why she was no longer welcome at her own home. I am only guessing but it sounds as if she doesn’t want to be at the Grandparents any more than the Grandparents want her there. As for chores, do you not think that she has enough going on with her studying and trying to get enough marks in order to get to Uni. She sounds to me as if she needs more loving and understanding rather than whinging because she is not doing chores.

highlanddreams Wed 30-Sep-20 10:17:20

It might be normal behaviour for a girl of her age, but it doesn't have to be acceptable! In regards to food I would try asking her what she likes to eat & then if you can manage it make a plan to prepare & cook together at least once a week. When I was young we had to try everything on our plate at least twice before saying no thank you if we didn't like it. Remember as much as you love taking care of her that you're not her servant & she must make an effort, show some respect & help out a bit here & there. It doesn't have to be a daily list of heavy duty stuff, just little bits and bobs that don't take long when you need a hand like laying/clearing the table at meal times, doing dishes, take bin out,help you peg washing out or fetch in, peel veggies for dinner, pop to the corner shop etc, etc Make sure every time she does anything that you say "thank you that's a big help" and she will feel appreciated and more inclined to do more in future & may even ask if you need anything done.

George4444 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:22:05

With teenagers you have to be aware of other issues that can be impacting on their lives. Kicking off, in is various forms from not communicating, picking at food, being moody, to slamming doors etc Are a way of saying I'm unhappy, I need to talk to you about something. It could be very little like having a bad day, to general unhappiness to very big issues like, friends have asked me to drink alcohol in the park this weekend, and I don't know how to tell you with out you shouting at me.

Food is a big one. Can you image if some one called your gran daughter fat at school ie the class room bully. Now your gran daughter is questioning her image, which is so important to teenagers. But it could be some thing simple like she is missing her parents or worried about exams.

Communication. or being able to talk to your grandaughter about any thing with out being judgmental or critical of her is important. You have to set boundaries, but also provide reassurance and support as she grows.

I have two teenager children who do very little around the house. It seems to be normal these days. To be fair they surprise me at times. It sounds harsh but don't expect gratitude. Your doing a good job, just keep talking to her.

fluttERBY123 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:25:03

If you get really desperate treat her as an adult,take her to the pub/caff and have an adult to adult chat about how you/she feel(s) about it all. Neutral territory is key. You could kick off by saying you think she isn't happy and what would make a difference. After a heart to heart things will probably go back to what they were but both parties will probably feel somewhat relieved.

harrigran Wed 30-Sep-20 10:28:14

I understand how you feel, maybe like me you were working when you were sixteen and your attitude to life would be totally different.
Nowadays teenagers are still considered to be children and every whim catered for.
My GD is polite and eats when she visits but I do think that it would be a whole different ballgame if she lived here semi permanently.
Try and let it wash over you otherwise it will get you down.

Seefah Wed 30-Sep-20 10:29:21

My husband taught physics and twice in girls schools. The first thing they said at interviews was can you teach year 10. He cottoned on eventually and got out of it. They were a nightmare!!! They were awful in every way. To top it all we had our own year 10 daughter at home. Sulky isolating opinionated condescending secretive resentful (inbetween lovely) . She apologised age 29 lol 😂. I don’t think it’s usual for teenagers to appreciate much even I didn’t and that was 50 years ago.

dizzygran Wed 30-Sep-20 10:31:06

Sounds about the norm to me. GD should tidy her own room. I would also encourage her to do her own ironing - good practice for the future. Let her get her own food. She is old enough to put a pizza in the oven, or cook, some pasta, make an omelette, open a tin of beans, etc. She should be able to load the dishwasher. If not she should wash up. Try not to worry or get annoyed. All teenagers are morons until they are in their twenties and have their own homes. Good luck and well done for having her live with you.

donna1964 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:34:28

Your Granddaughter needs to pull her weight. Her parents should have had a word with her before you took her in about her her behaviour whilst living with you. If they didn't thats because they are accepting of it and put up with it as some people on here do or have done. You Granddaughter needs boundaries and in order for her to turn in to the nice adult people speak of on here...she needs to start learning now. Effort has to work both ways, Communication needs to work both ways... a sit down talk & rules should have been put in place before she moved in with you.

sandelf Wed 30-Sep-20 10:34:55

Sounds as though you are letting her turn you into a hotelier. Tell her, you can't do it all and tell her you don't know what to do for her meals. Take it from there. Sort out what extra work in the house she causes and get her to help (must be at a set time and while you work too even if at different tasks). Food - who shops? who pays for her? so many questions, at home does she make her own? DON'T do invisible work - the bins, laundry (inc airing, ironing, folding, delivery, stowing) you know the stuff. It is all real work and to be shared or done as your part while others work. Needless to say your OH MUST also take part. Everyone will be happier if it is a fair system.

absthame Wed 30-Sep-20 10:45:09

Unappreciative, sullen, demanding, expecting, know-it-all, loud, volatile and dozzy (sleeping a great deal.). These and many more characteristics are often used description of young people from the about the age of 14is to maybe 21-22 years old. Many of the terms could well have been to us at that age. It is exhausting as a parents or substitute parents to deal with and down right infuriating but most come out of the process, because that is what it is, as really nice generous and caring people who are a delight to know.

So my advice is take time to pamper yourself more frequently to help you retain your patience, be a bit more pushy but expect many sparks and little progress but most of all remember it will end well; in the end.

Carol54 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:49:04

In addition to all the normal teenage behaviour she is also living with all the social distancing rules. All my teenage grandchildren are struggling with the situation (as are we all) but they are showing their stress in different ways.

Hetty58 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:49:09

As others have said, she sounds like a normal 16 year old.

If she doesn't like your food, let her buy and cook her own some days. I assume her parents provide financial support, as they should.

Insist that she clears up after herself, but, otherwise, be easygoing and let her get on with her own life.

It's not as if she's throwing tantrums, doing drugs or staying out all night - you don't know how lucky you are!

wildswan16 Wed 30-Sep-20 10:52:50

If she has only been with you since July, then that really isn't very long to get used to your living "style". Plus she sounds like she is working hard to get the results she and presumably her parents want. She is under a lot of pressure just now and I would honestly just back off and let her be.

You don't say why she has moved away from her family, but whatever the reason it must be a very difficult adjustment. Give her some space and let her know she is welcome in your home.

LadyBella Wed 30-Sep-20 10:56:38

My son, at 16, spent all his time in his room. It was SO untidy and cluttered I can't even describe it. Coffee cups under the bed for days (I refused to take them), clothes strewn everywhere and only about one square foot of carpet space left uncovered. I just left him to it as I got sick of nagging. Now, in his early 40s, he has his own property which is a dream - furnished beautifully and immaculate. It's a waiting game but can take a long time as I said before. Best of luck but honestly don't worry as it's totally normal. Try encouraging her a little bit and, as someone else said, praise works wonders. Try to explain that you get tired too.

EllanVannin Wed 30-Sep-20 11:06:34

No chores, no pocket money or treats. This is how my D treats her 3 charges that she's looking after, (her GC ), 2 teens and a 10 year old.
No problems at the table though. I'm sure if there were they'd be asked to leave the table. Sad as things maybe they have to learn that some behaviour isn't acceptable for their own sakes. Be firm but fair, they're difficult times.

It would appear that there are a lot of grans out there who are looking after their GC for one reason or another.

Davida1968 Wed 30-Sep-20 11:06:39

I agree with other GNs here: set up a meeting together, (OH included) at a time when none of you are "rushed". IMO, what's needed is a calm, quiet, non-confrontational, and non-judgmental discussion about how you are all going to get along with living together! You might like to write a list of "points" (that you want to discuss) to bring to the meeting, and ask her to do the same.

Frankie51 Wed 30-Sep-20 11:11:06

I have 6 grandchildren of various ages , they are lovely till about 10 or 11, uninterested till about 17 or 18, then they seem to come out of it as lovely human beings. Give your granddaughter time, don't worry about it, she will change. Does she get an allownce from you? She should be doing something to help round the house. Sit her down and talk about it. Just doing the dishwasher, keeping her room clean, anything would help.
Put a 'wage' on each task. I've seen lists of tasks online with 'wages' on eg.
£2 for putting recycling out into bins weekly, £2.50 for cleaning shower etc.
Might spur her to do something? She's still a child inside, used to being waited on. Could she be homesick and a bit depressed? It might be part of the reason too.