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© 2019 by Joyce Fetteroll

They refuse to help

I have told them calmly and in a non-confrontative way [what I need]. They listen silently and then go about their lives.

 

I think your kids are seeing this in a different way.

 

What if you were ranting and raving or talking calmly about spots on the garage floor and how you worked and slaved at keeping it spotless and how no one else cared. They just tracked muddy prints all over it and left the door open for dead leaves to blow in.

 

Do you think you could convince them to see it your way?

 

Maybe start small. Say -- in a voice you'd use with a friend! -- "Could you bring that cup into the kitchen with you?" "Could you put that back in the case and on the shelf for me, please?" That "for me" is important since you're asking them to do something that's important to you.

 

Be mindful that it's a request to help you with something that belongs to you. Don't say it in a way that really says "Bring in the plate. You know better than to leave it there. You know it belongs in the kitchen."

 

Ask one or more if they wouldn't mind helping you with a specific task, like clearing off the coffee table or even a room if it's not like 2 hours worth of work. And do it with them. It's lonely doing tasks alone. It seems to take 5 times the time.

 

Now that my daughter's 11, she's much more eager to help than she was. She'll unload groceries from the car and unpack bags. Two years ago when I asked for help it was like I was asking her to hike Mt. Everest for me. ;-)

 

I think my husband is purposely not helping. He's just as bad as the kids but since he's an adult I expect a little more from him.

 

Sincerely thanking him -- again, as you would a friend -- for help he does do, will get more repeat help than making him feel like he's not living up to your expectations. Turn it around and picture what it would be like if you had to face constant disapproval at not meeting up with some unreasonable expectations of his. It would suck out some of the joy of home.

 

Not that your expectations are unreasonable or that he's reasonable and blameless. But getting into a mode of communicating that others aren't meeting up with your standards will make any problems that are already there worse. No one will want to put the effort into fixing the problems because they're being shamed and forced into it.

 

If you're thinking leaving sounds attractive, it sounds like this deliberate ignoring of things that bother you is just a symptom of something that goes a whole lot deeper. Have you considered couples counseling?

 

If your child (or your husband) is flat-out saying,"No' to the latter, it's a lot bigger problem than you being the only person in the house who actually notices and cares when the trash gets to waist level.

 

Yes. I meant to mention that if you ask, then no is an acceptable answer. You're asking them to help, not disguising a command as a request. Maybe they're tired. Maybe they're in the middle of something important to them even if you don't think it's important.

 

But, if they're flat out saying no, just because they have no desire to help you in particular, then, as Pam says, there's a bigger problem.

 

 

Joyfully Rejoycing