Author Topic: Kids and Free Labor  (Read 17417 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #75 on: September 27, 2013, 01:26:59 PM »
...not asking the boy's parents before having him do a full time job, especially a job that would be a violation of labor laws if the grandparents told anyone in authority about it and most especially a job that it's nearly a forgone conclusion that the boy's health care policy wouldn't cover.

Then consider that your kid could get hurt and your health insurance carrier would tell you to get stuffed because the contractor insurance was responsible for the bills. It'd be even better when whatever contractor policy the grandparents had tells you to get stuffed too because there's no way any construction insurance underwriter would ever be willing to insure a tween aged full time worker.  When something as simple as a broken toe could cost you into five figures and a major injury could easily bankrupt you, would you still be so willing? 
. . .


We're not supposed to go into legalities here, etc. This is an etiquette forum, not a legal or insurance one. So I'm reluctant to prolong this part of the topic. But I just want to say this: I'm not absolutely certain that the bolded would be true. Family businesses (farms, I'm pretty sure are) may be exempt from a lot of child labor laws.

And I'm not willing to accept on faith the idea that the kid's insurance wouldn't cover him for a broken toe in this situation.

I think we need to leave that out completely, and not assert anything either way. Because 1) it's not a given, universal, clearly established fact; and 2) it's not our topic--etiquette is.

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He was working in an environment so hazardous that people who are trained and do it for a living have awards to give out when injuries don't happen.  This particular example is too far-reaching because of the amount and nature of the work.  I fully agree that kids should be willing to help out, but I've always maintained that this example just goes too far.

And while we have heard it was full-on work, 8 hours a day, I'm also willing to think that it was possible for the grandparents to have him doing things where the risk was pretty low.

CakeBeret

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #76 on: September 27, 2013, 01:29:42 PM »
The grandson wasn't working for his grandparents as a paid laborer.  He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities.

Unwillingly. And for which they are making a profit, and he is not, although he is putting in a workweek like an adult.

Forty hours, five days a week is full-time work. How many people would spend their vacations doing this for relatives, for nothing more than room and board? Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?

I must say, if I were Tween, I'd not want to visit my grandparents again. Whether or not the grandparents should have checked with the parents (and I believe they should have), they were rude to their grandchild.

I agree with this. I believe kids should help their families and participate in family activities, but 40 hours a week for no pay? The kid didn't even see the profit via benefits to his nuclear family - presumably, the profit went to his grandparents and they are the ones who benefited from it.
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ladyknight1

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #77 on: September 27, 2013, 01:52:18 PM »
The grandson wasn't working for his grandparents as a paid laborer.  He was participating with them in their day-to-day activities.

Unwillingly. And for which they are making a profit, and he is not, although he is putting in a workweek like an adult.

Forty hours, five days a week is full-time work. How many people would spend their vacations doing this for relatives, for nothing more than room and board? Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?

I must say, if I were Tween, I'd not want to visit my grandparents again. Whether or not the grandparents should have checked with the parents (and I believe they should have), they were rude to their grandchild.

POD.

EllenS

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #78 on: September 27, 2013, 01:58:32 PM »
Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?


That is your assumption. If that were the case, it would indeed be ugly. I imagine the situation differently, but OP has not shared any information about the grandparents' relative generosity/stinginess in relation to their grown children and grandchildren overall.

I also wonder whether those on this thread who talk about their valuable experiences and good memories of a hard-working childhood, did it "willingly" or would have complained about it when they were 9-12 years old. 

artk2002

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #79 on: September 27, 2013, 02:12:27 PM »
I understand the Tween wasn't happy, but is it because he expected to lay on the couch and watch TV or play video games while there? I'm not trying to be rude, but I raised two kids, and they thought summer vacation from school meant VACATION from doing anything they didn't like to do.


I was thinking this too. I mean, how many parents ask for their kid's consent before they tell them to clean their room or do the dishes? Part of being part of a household means helping out. Most teenagers would must rather loaf on the couch and play video games rather than help their parents/grandparents.

Heavy construction labor is a far cry from doing the dishes or sweeping the floors. I believe that the grandparents badly overstepped their boundaries by not getting agreement to this work in the first place. I have no problem asking a child to perform household chores as their contribution to the household. Putting up drywall is something very different.
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Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #80 on: September 27, 2013, 02:21:28 PM »
Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?


That is your assumption. If that were the case, it would indeed be ugly. I imagine the situation differently, but OP has not shared any information about the grandparents' relative generosity/stinginess in relation to their grown children and grandchildren overall.

I also wonder whether those on this thread who talk about their valuable experiences and good memories of a hard-working childhood, did it "willingly" or would have complained about it when they were 9-12 years old.

Or, they could be like my father, who had to go to work in the family business in his mid-teens, during the Depression.

He understood why it was necessary. He still got a distant look on his face when he talked about it, and called it "the worst time in my life".
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Virg

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #81 on: September 27, 2013, 02:24:22 PM »
TootsNYC wrote:

"And while we have heard it was full-on work, 8 hours a day, I'm also willing to think that it was possible for the grandparents to have him doing things where the risk was pretty low."

OK, I'll cast aside the liability and risk issues entirely and ask, do you think it's reasonable or polite to make a tween (or anyone, for that matter) work a 40 hour week for nothing more than a roof over his head?  I posit that this overreaches the concept of pitching in to help family.  I think it was rude to commit this boy to doing that much in that setting without checking with his parents first, and now that someone else brought it up I think it's also rude to the boy to demand that much effort under the guise of "helping out the family".

Virg

cheyne

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #82 on: September 27, 2013, 02:27:19 PM »
The grandparents did have permission after the first day of work.  If the parents didn't want Tween to work they could have went and brought Tween home after his first day there.

Family farms are not subject to child labor laws.  I am not sure about other businesses.

I am having a hard time believing that child was actually doing hard physical labor.  Has anyone here ever lifted a bundle of shingles onto a roof or carried a 4X8 piece of 1/2 inch sheetrock?  Unless Tween can lift at least 75 lbs. there was no way he was doing that!  I see Tween's work as more of the "hand me that screwdriver" or "fetch the tape measure and sweep that crap off the floor" and the story wasn't told completely truthfully to either the parents or the OP.


Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #83 on: September 27, 2013, 02:33:13 PM »
Family farms are not subject to child labor laws.  I am not sure about other businesses.

In general, farms are treated differently. You cannot put your child to work full-time at 10 in your factory just because you own the factory.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Garden Goblin

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #84 on: September 27, 2013, 02:36:34 PM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 02:41:34 PM by Garden Goblin »

wolfie

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #85 on: September 27, 2013, 02:37:20 PM »
I wouldn't take the fact that they didn't bring the son home as meaning the parents were completely okay with it. It could be that they didn't have any options and decided that the work wouldn't kill him, but they weren't that happy about it. The first post said he needed supervision and that the grandparents agreed to do it. I take that to mean that there was a reason he couldn't be left home alone and that there were no camps that could take him. So their options might have been leave him there or have one of them go on a leave of absence from work. If that were the case I would assume they would go with let him stay but wouldn't be all that happy about it.

But maybe they really were okay with it. It does seem like more work then I would be okay with a kid being forced to do, but that is up to each individual.

EllenS

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #86 on: September 27, 2013, 02:42:45 PM »
I see Tween's work as more of the "hand me that screwdriver" or "fetch the tape measure and sweep that crap off the floor" and the story wasn't told completely truthfully to either the parents or the OP.

This is coloring my attitude and where I am coming from as well.  Personally, I have met a few Tweens who were not Drama Tweens, but they are few and far-between.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #87 on: September 27, 2013, 02:45:24 PM »
Only to see the relatives realize a fat profit at the end, without sharing any of it?


That is your assumption. If that were the case, it would indeed be ugly. I imagine the situation differently, but OP has not shared any information about the grandparents' relative generosity/stinginess in relation to their grown children and grandchildren overall.

I also wonder whether those on this thread who talk about their valuable experiences and good memories of a hard-working childhood, did it "willingly" or would have complained about it when they were 9-12 years old.

I know I whined about going out to hunt down new born calves in the snow when I really wanted to be sleeping in, or helping harvest crops when I really wanted to be skiing at the lake. But am I glad I had those expereinces, yep I am and I was just talking with my DH how we wish our parents had lived long enough for our two to have the opportunity to do some outdoor  manual labor like we did . About the only manual labor that our kids particpate in is spending 10 min a week cleaning the pool  bagging up leaves about once a month. 
TootsNYC wrote:

"And while we have heard it was full-on work, 8 hours a day, I'm also willing to think that it was possible for the grandparents to have him doing things where the risk was pretty low."

OK, I'll cast aside the liability and risk issues entirely and ask, do you think it's reasonable or polite to make a tween (or anyone, for that matter) work a 40 hour week for nothing more than a roof over his head?  I posit that this overreaches the concept of pitching in to help family.  I think it was rude to commit this boy to doing that much in that setting without checking with his parents first, and now that someone else brought it up I think it's also rude to the boy to demand that much effort under the guise of "helping out the family".

Virg

In my experience, while the family may have been on site for 8 hours a day, actual back breaking work during a remodel is limited. There is a lot of sitting around. And we don't know what the family thinks of this. A bunch of people here said it would be considered "helping out the family". 

But honestly, since the OP stated the boy needed "supervision" over the summer, my perspective was that there had been some home issues that caused the father and or mother to decide a change of scenery for th summer was a good idea. And keeping him occupied by helping out with a remodel ended up being ok with the father at least.

Some times we have to do things we don't want to do and this boy got a chance to learn that lesson this past summer.

Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #88 on: September 27, 2013, 02:46:10 PM »
I see Tween's work as more of the "hand me that screwdriver" or "fetch the tape measure and sweep that crap off the floor" and the story wasn't told completely truthfully to either the parents or the OP.

This is coloring my attitude and where I am coming from as well.  Personally, I have met a few Tweens who were not Drama Tweens, but they are few and far-between.

Actually, I'd rather be tearing down drywall than standing around for 8 hours, waiting to hand someone a screwdriver when asked. Could there be anything more perfect for driving you mad with boredom?
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Garden Goblin

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #89 on: September 27, 2013, 02:47:52 PM »
This is coloring my attitude and where I am coming from as well.  Personally, I have met a few Tweens who were not Drama Tweens, but they are few and far-between.

I'd be careful just making this assumption though.  I was dismissed as a 'Drama Tween', but no, as it turns out, the family member really was completely toxic and eventually did show her true face (the one known to all the kids but few adults) to everyone.  I still have trouble not saying 'told you so' whenever someone who once accused me of just being lazy and dramatic relates a story of how toxic family member's behavior impacted them.