Instant 12 year old boy! Family/rules advice please?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by booker81, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    So, looks like we are going to be taking in our nephew for the school year (at least). His parents (DH's brother and SIL) are moving again, and out of the current school district. We are in the district, and the boy desperately wants to stay in the same school and not move again (they've moved...well, a lot). We talked about it briefly last month, and then again last week. Today, DH talked to his brother and found out that yes, it's a go, and that we'll probably have him here starting Monday.

    DH is getting his hip replaced tomorrow, so he'll be home for the next three months.

    I've not had much kid experience (didn't babysit when I was younger), and I want to make sure we set some good ground rules for him when he comes. He's a good kid, we've had him at our cabin a few times, he's very respectful to us. He doesn't get much direction at home though. The last report card he got "OK" grades, but failed Social Studies. I was a straight A student, and I've done tutoring in college, and I want to make sure we can get his grades up and teach how school is important and help him do well. Living with us will be quite a bit different for him than with his parents. (DH has his GED, but has a good job - college isn't for everyone, but it's a good thing to strive for, I feel. My degree is in Molecular Biotechnology/Microbiology, and I work in IT now).

    If you've had a 12 year old boy (or if you were one LOL) could you give me some advise? Tips? Good rules?
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have an 11 year old boy.

    Here you go:

    "Morning chores": bed made, teeth brushed, dressed, breakfast eaten and ready for the day
    "Nighttime chores": computer off, teeth brushed, homework done, dishes off table

    If he doesn't do the chores, early bedtime because he "must be tired." Normal bedtime 9 pm on school nights, 10 pm on weekends.

    Set up the rules at the beginning. Never fail to follow through on the punishment if he doesn't follow the rules. Last resort: 25 pushups.

    NO TV, games, or music that you don't approve of. It is YOUR home.

    Ask him to cook some. Give him a cookbook and tell him to go the ingredients and supervise of course.

    You have a good opportunity for him to do chores like house cleaning, weeding, painting, etc. and he will earn a little money from you for it if you give payment.

    Keep him so busy that he falls into the bed at night.

    Happy is busy for 11 year olds.

    Oh and homework after dinner, so he can unwind from school.

    One more thing: I let him do his own thing on weekends. He loves the freedom of not having to make his bed, etc. on weekends.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  3. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    Thank you!!

    I didn't think about the cooking - I have no idea if he's ever cooked or what, but I love cooking, and I have tons of cookbooks from simple and quick to fancy and difficult. I let my 4 year old "help" me in the kitchen with measuring and stirring, and another person would be fine - I'd like to teach someone else to cook.

    We have one computer (mine) so I'll set up an account for him with the locks I prefer (I'm pretty good at this, especially since some of my job at work includes trying to break and pass through such locks), and make it known I WILL be checking up on it. He does has Facebook, I'm already one of his "friends" there, so I'll track that. His parents decided to get him a cell phone (which I'm meh about), but I'll check that too. The only video game system I have is my Wii, he can play the games I have.

    What is a good allowance/payment for work stuff? When I grew up, basics like a clean room and clearing the table were expected, extras like mucking stalls and picking up the yard (black walnut trees, ugh), got us quarters. I think inflation has increased this amount of pay :)

    We're not good at breakfast here (I eat at work, DD eats at daycare), so I'll need to update my ways to make sure to get him at least a basic breakfast of eggs, toast or cereal in the morning (and urge him to do it himself). Might get myself back in the habit of my eggs and toast in the morning too. It would be good for me.

    DH usually does housekeeping, laundry and dishes, so those might be good chores to start him on while DH is laid up.

    One of his worries is that since I raise and process chickens to for food, he'll get attached to some chicks and be sad. I was already planning on getting some hatching eggs for some more layers (mine are 2 years old +). I'll probably pick up some red sex links and specify those as ones to care about so he can have something to be attached to, as hatched roos will be processed about 20 weeks, and the turkeys I hatched are also set to be processed. I'll do my best to explain why I raise my own chickens for food, without being too gory or judgmental. He's probably never been exposed to what commercial farming of livestock is like.
  4. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    You could set aside 2-3 chicks that can be "his" and he can care for them and raise them, and you will not process those. As for an allowance, I never did that with my child. If he expressed the desire for something, then I would give him extra chores to do to earn it. I don;t really believe in paying a kid for stuff he should do anyways. Life isn't free and chores are expected. No one hands me money for nothing as an adult, so why do that for a kid?

    Also, I never ever forced my child to eat something. If he chose not to finish his dinner, he simply got nothing else to eat until morning. I also never made him eat something he didn't like. We always had an agreement for him to try it and if he didn't like he didn't have to eat it. I believe this is the reason now, the kid will try ANYTHING at a restaurant or someones home. Because we never forced him to eat anything, he grew making good choices. He always preferred a salad instead of fries and to this day he doesn't use mayo or salt on his food.

    I guess I did that ONE thing right LOL! Kids are hard.
  5. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    I raised a large family, including 4 boys who were not my kids by birth (but they became my kids very fast LOL). Anyway, everyone had their share of chores and the kids knew the expectations about those. I agree that kids should not be paid for making their bed or clearing the table. But they do need some money allowance, even if it is just to help them to learn how to manage money. We had a portion of their money designated to save, some for charity, and some to spend. Depending on the kid -- some saved it all up for something they really wanted and others spent it quickly on candy and comic books (later probably on cigarettes, etc. sigh. . .)

    I think that most kids thrive on routine, especially a boy who maybe has lacked some structure in his family life. I'm a basically disorganized person, so we always prepared in the evening for the next morning: made snack/lunch for school, set out the table with cereal, bowls, spoons, etc for breakfast and everyone laid out their clothes for the next day That made mornings way easier -- nobody was rushing around looking for socks/shoes/book bag, special project, etc. That worked for us; and it's become a habit that I still follow for myself.

    Good luck. Remember to have fun!
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    We don't give allowance but we do pay for chores that are unusual like stacking wood, pruning bushes, picking weeds, etc.

    I pay generously because they don't often get a chance to earn some I might give them $10 an hour.
  7. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    These are the kinds of chores we would assign to Brandon so he could earn enough for whatever gadget he wanted. The more expensive it was, the harder the chore - age related of course.
  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Sit down together and have a talk when after he first comes over. Set up an initial plan, and make a definite plan to get together a week later and review and revise. During that time all of you will be finding out what works and what does not. Unless it is something super major/crisis, wait until then to make changes--make sure your nephew also feels involved in this, and that he is allowed to suggest changes to the plan--by getting him involved and feeling a part of the family, not "just" a nephew who is living with you, everyone will benefit. Discuss with your husband ahead of time the issues that y'all consider non-negotiable, and set priorities. Make sure that he knows that y'all want to know about his day, meet his friends and be his HOME while he lives with you. That you are not replacing his parents, but are ACTING for them, and that you love him, and want the very best for him. Get to know his friends' parents and get involved in his school.
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    This is really, really good advise. Willingness to adjust is mandatory.
    2 people like this.
  10. SallyF

    SallyF Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Middle Tennessee
    The one thing I learned from having an obstinate male teenager was to make sure every punishment was something I could enforce. If I told him to do so-and-so for a disciplinary action and he didn't do it I was up a creek without the paddle (he was taller than I was). I always had something in reserve that I could use if necessary. It was an interesting and frustrating time. I would never want to do it again and I wish you luck. Of course, you're doing him a favor so that he can stay in the school he likes, so he probably won't be as stubborn as mine was!

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