Author Topic: Kids and Free Labor  (Read 14414 times)

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Daquiri40

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #165 on: October 01, 2013, 11:09:45 AM »
If the dad knew what his parents were like, he knew what situation he was putting his child into. 

Were the grandparents supposed to remodel, paint, and do whatever it takes to fix the house and let the kid play video games or sleep or watch television? 

This is bringing back a bad memory of helping a friend paint her living room while her daughter (14) played video games in the middle of the room.  The daughter did not lift a finger but commented how we should have used primer before painting. 


Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #166 on: October 01, 2013, 11:26:55 AM »
In this situation I think as long as the parents are okay with it then nothing bad is happening here.

Other than, perhaps, the grandparents may wonder why Little Ethelbert, now grown to Bert the Adult, does not visit them a lot.

That, of course, depends on so many variables. Each situation is different. Older Bert may look back and remember the summer as a lot of fun knocking down walls and doing manly stuff, even if he didn't quite appreciate it at the time. Or, he may look at it as a time of unpaid labour with no other benefits at all. If it is the latter, it's probably done their relationship no good. If the former, it may have been a bonding time.
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Virg

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #167 on: October 01, 2013, 12:52:03 PM »
flickan wrote:

"My father was expected to wake up early to milk cows every morning from a young age and he was responsible for chores that I probably would have balked at.  He "earned his keep" so to speak.  My mother was the oldest of a litter of children and become a second mother, taking care of the younger siblings as they came."

The breakdown here that I see is that your parents were directly contributing to the basic upkeep of the household in which they lived.  This boy was pressed into full time work to support a project taken on as a side industry (CoCoCamm wrote that this was the first house they'd bought to flip in nearly a decade) by his grandparents for their own benefit.  I feel this changes the dynamic of the whole thing by quite a bit, because he's not putting in effort so that his family will have food on their table, he's putting in a massive amount of work for a child so that the grands can make money off what can reasonably be called a hobby at this point.


Daquiri40 wrote:

"Were the grandparents supposed to remodel, paint, and do whatever it takes to fix the house and let the kid play video games or sleep or watch television?"

You aren't the first poster to ask this question, and the question I ask in response is, are the only two choices to let him laze about entirely or make him work an adult-grade full time job for weeks?  Is there nothing on the continuum in between those extremes that would be more suitable for a tween?

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Sophia

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #168 on: October 01, 2013, 01:06:10 PM »
Yes, I think those were the only two choices.  Work alongside them, or laze about their house without supervision.  Since this is a kid needing supervision, lazing about the house is probably the best of the possible outcomes, with the alternative being getting into trouble.
I guess there is a third.  For the summer, abandon the expensive project that they started before they were asked to watch the kid. 

ladyknight1

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #169 on: October 01, 2013, 01:10:46 PM »
They started the project after agreeing to watch their grandson.

CocoCamm

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #170 on: October 01, 2013, 01:11:59 PM »
OP here~I apologize for my tardiness in getting back to the thread.

To fill in some more blanks....Kate & Tony are my inlaws and Tween is my nephew. I've purposefully excluded exact details because my in laws and somewhat internet savvy and I the situation is so unique I didn't want them to be able to recognize themselves. That being said, my husband lived at home at the time as we were just dating back then so we were privy to all the details of the project and yes they did work on the house 40 hours a week and yes Tween did do all the projects I previously mentioned. I have no reason to believe that my in laws would fib about that.

I find all the perspectives here very interesting as I was raised in a middle class suburb where no kids in my family or social circles worked to help support the family/family business. That doesn't mean we were raised without chores or without being instilled with a work ethic.

While I do find it outside of my realm of experience I don't judge parents who chose to raise their kids this way. I may feel a twinge of sympathy for a child who has to work to help support the family but it's none of my business and I certainly wouldn't comment unless asked for my opinion. I doubt this will ever happen as no one I know raises their kids this way.

I really was just wondering if it's ok to make someone else's child do manual labor and I see that the majority feels that a Grandparent has a higher authority over a non family member babysitter and therefore has the right. So now I wonder if you know that a grandparent may ask your child to do manual labor do you have the preemptive conversation of "please ask me permission before you task my child with any work?"

FWIW the situation I posed in the OP happened many moons ago. I was just reminded of it because my in laws are looking to purchase a new home and of course all the ones they are looking at require a ton of work, that plus the fact that my husband and I are looking to start a family soon, plus my wild imagination sparked the question :)

I think I might be OK with my hypothetical kid being put to work if I knew beforehand what the deal was and I could talk it out with my kid.

Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #171 on: October 01, 2013, 01:13:02 PM »
Yes, I think those were the only two choices.  Work alongside them, or laze about their house without supervision.  Since this is a kid needing supervision, lazing about the house is probably the best of the possible outcomes, with the alternative being getting into trouble.
I guess there is a third.  For the summer, abandon the expensive project that they started before they were asked to watch the kid.

I am assuming that "supervision" here means "an adult in charge," not "someone to watch him every single moment of the day." For example, my cautious father would not let me be left home alone even for an afternoon at that age. And I was not a kid likely to get into trouble.

I think the etiquette issue for a child is that (1) there be some effort to make him *want* to take part, and (2) he should be warned about the plans before landing at his grandparents.

If someone asked you to come visit them, and when you arrived, they handed you an ax and told you that you would be working full days cutting down some trees on the property that your friends wanted gone, would you not be a little taken aback? And rather insulted if, when you showed a low level of enthusiasm for a chore for which you were not prepared, and would receive no particular benefit yourself, you were told you were lazy for not being up for it?
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."

Judah

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #172 on: October 01, 2013, 01:21:43 PM »
So now I wonder if you know that a grandparent may ask your child to do manual labor do you have the preemptive conversation of "please ask me permission before you task my child with any work?"

I think you're going to get the same wide variety of answers to this question that you got to the first one. My parents wouldn't have asked my permission to put my kids to work and it wouldn't occur to me to have a conversation about it preemptively. My parents would just know that putting my kids to work would be fine with me. My family is used to pulling together when things need to get done, no special conversations would be necessary.
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magicdomino

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #173 on: October 01, 2013, 01:30:33 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?

I believe demolition work was mentioned.  Can you imagine a 12 year old boy's delight at being told, "Here's a hammer.  Go for it."  Sanding new drywall, on the other hand, is easy enough for a boy, but booorrring.   :)

wolfie

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #174 on: October 01, 2013, 01:31:36 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?

I believe demolition work was mentioned.  Can you imagine a 12 year old boy's delight at being told, "Here's a hammer.  Go for it."  Sanding new drywall, on the other hand, is easy enough for a boy, but booorrring.   :)

Last time I sanded drywall I was in pain for days - my shoulders and upper back are not used to doing that motion repeatedly.

WillyNilly

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #175 on: October 01, 2013, 01:44:56 PM »
They started the project after agreeing to watch their grandson.

They started the work after they agreed to watch the kid but the work was planned and the paperwork started on purchasing the house before agreeing to the kid - they would have done the work with or without the kids help:

...So the house they purchased when Tween came to stay (this was a coincidence, paperwork on the house started before they were asked to watch Tween) was the first house in almost a decade so Son really had no reason to think Tween would be used for labor...

Isilleke

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #176 on: October 01, 2013, 02:03:31 PM »
I still believe that they (parents and grandparents) should have gone over the expectations about the stay.

That said, I also think that, if I were the babysitter/grandparent and we didn't have that conversation, I can do as I see fit.

<cut down the quotation tree>

Yes, but isn't everything a learning experience, and he could have been doing something else? Maybe playing sports, and discovering skills there? Or going to the library, and discovering he wanted to be a marine biologist? Maybe developing his own business, like mowing lawns, rather than being told what he has to do every day?

In any case, I feel if you want a boy to do a man's day's work, you either reward him in some way for his efforts, as an adult would expect, or give him the adult's freedom to say "I don't want to do this." You don't give him all the downside of being an adult, and none of the advantages.

(And no, you don't "deduct his room and board" from whatever reward is given. Children are not responsible for being brought into this world, and trying to charge them for their own care is despicable. If the grandparents do not want to pay for looking after their grandchild, they should either refuse in the first place, or take it up with the parents who sent him, not the child himself.)

I also agree with Twik.

On top of all that, I do have another question. There seem to be some posters who really have something against the tween doing absolutely nothing while having vacation. But I have to admit, when I have vacation, I too take at least a couple of days of from absolutely everything. Why can't a tween do the same? I'm not saying they shouldn't lift a finger for the whole time, but I know I also need/want at least 3 or 4 days that I don't HAVE to do anything...

turnip

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #177 on: October 01, 2013, 02:30:45 PM »
I just realized that I'm lucky that my able-bodied child is a girl - because my FIL has a sizable chunk of land, insists on doing all his own maintenance, and does not have a history of good judgment of what tasks he or his friends/children are capable of taking on.  I can easily see him talking <hypothetical son> in to helping him load a pile of cinder-blocks into a wheelbarrow and pushing it uphill - but "Don't tell your Mom! < wink >"

I'm pretty sure my daughter's gender will protect her from these tasks.   That's actually quite a relief.

oogyda

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #178 on: October 01, 2013, 02:32:45 PM »
Well, a 40 hour work week still leaves the weekends free.  Unless, of course, it's stretched out over all 7 days....but then it's a less than 6 hour work day.  Not stressful at all.

While the OP didn't specifically say that the kid had some time off, I would think he did simply because the grandparents probably wanted a break as well.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #179 on: October 01, 2013, 03:19:43 PM »
Quote
I really was just wondering if it's ok to make someone else's child do manual labor and I see that the majority feels that a Grandparent has a higher authority over a non family member babysitter and therefore has the right. So now I wonder if you know that a grandparent may ask your child to do manual labor do you have the preemptive conversation of "please ask me permission before you task my child with any work?"


I think it depends so much on how much you trust your parents, your relationship with them, and the actual issue.

With my parents, had they been alive when I had kids, they would have been given free reign to assign chores or work to the kids while the kids were staying with them. I know they would only assign age appropriate tasks, make the experience educational and fun, but also make the kids feel like they'd accomplished something.

What I would have had to set rules on would be restricting my Dad on the amount of sweet treats and cokes he would have given them and threatened him with a complete cutoff if he offered by teen son a cigar.  With my mom, it would have been "don't let them sleep all day and quit waiting on them hand and foot, and no, I know you let me drive at 15 but it was different then and she is not allowed to."  (I had older sisters and watched what my parents pulled with their kids.)