Thanks @Breez-RO. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. You comments about consistency really chime with me. The younger girl is in contact with child and adolescent mental health services and receives support from a psychiatrist and a buddy (peer). I did wonder about us all trying a group therapy / family therapy session as her mental health is often the reason why her participation is not possible from her perspective. I know she will not go along with this and I dont know if it is really to do with anxiety and depression or if on a subconscious level is about making people stop asking her to do something she doesnt want to do. @sunflowermom @taokat @Schooner @Dakotah @Orbit64 How would you deal with introducing some new house expectations and shared responsibilities? Any advice? I'd really like to find a way forward that is fair and doesnt cause any damage. Thanks again.
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I live with my partner and his two teenage daughters (15 and 17 yrs). We have lived together for over 18 months. The girls are messy and do not help out around the house. More recently it has become and issue and starting to impact on our relationship as a couple.
We discussed how the place was too messy and how we need to get the girls to do more. (They dont make food for themselves (even a sandwich) only bowls of cereal they then leave wherever they ate them, tidy up after themselves, their rooms have dirty clothes, used sanitary products, rotting food and plates etc). It's beyond what you could call a little bit of a mess. So, my partner suggested I ask them to do more, directly.
Last week I asked both girls to put their dirty clothes, clothes etc into a basket I provided and rubbish etc from floor in binbags I provided. In return I'd bought a large bar of chocolate for each of them. The eldest did this the same evening as she wanted the chocolate. She did a pretty good job and it wasnt stressful.
The youngest asked for the chocolate anyway (to her Dad) and sent sad emojis when he said not until you've done what was asked of you etc. Days passed and we get to Sunday when eventually a few items of clothing and rubbish, crockery where brought down. My partner, without checking, handed over the chocolate but, in fact, the room was still a complete mess. Being asked to do the job properly was met with 'I just cant' and then telling her Dad to stop asking as it was making her anxious and depressed. She has a history of depression and anxiety.
That weekend, without me knowing, he also raised with the girls that I was feeling uncomfortable tidying all the time and they needed to help out more. The youngest responded (I'm told) saying she took it personally and felt she was the reason I was going to move out. (I had not said I was thinking of moving out so find this an interesting choice of words.)
She rarely goes out although her boyfriend does visit the house. At times this means my partner and I go to our room to give them the lounge space - against my opinion but I go along with it to avoid arguments.
My worry is that we are not instilling any boundaries or consequences which is not healthy. When pushed the younger daughter brings up her anxiety and depression as a way to avoid having to change her behaviour. She is not eating well at the moment (she only really likes chocolate and crisps) and talks of being light headed and not eating during the day - this usually results in being given chocolate by her Dad as he is understandably worried about her.
I am not their Mother so need to be respectful not to overstep and mindful of the pressure I am putting on my boyfriend who frequently feels 'caught in the middle'. He would rather do everything for the girls than have a confrontation and is happy to do as the younger daughter asks rather than upset her.
My job is in mental health although I am not a clinician. I would love us to find a way to show particularly the younger daughter how to take more control in her life and more independence. It feels like it is everyone else's responsibility to keep her well without her thinking about her own behaviour, wellbeing and contributions she can make. She's a very bright, strong willed girl who, until now, has her family walking on egg shells around her. She's fragile and fierce in equal measure.
Help! It's so intense right now as we have not had any time together in months (the girls have only been to their mother's on one occasion due to family illness). I work from home a few days a week so can feel there is no escape from the place. Do I just go against my instincts and let the daughters walk over me? Do I move out? Do I text or email the youngest (I know she wouldnt sit down and talk to me)?
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I am living with my partner and his two teenage girls (15 and 17). They are both messy and it has reached the point when it is having a negative impact on our relationship as a couple as we (mostly me) spend so much time cleaning and tidying, plus daily trips to the supermarket. The girls do not cook, clean, do their washing and their rooms are messy and dirty. I work from home a few days a week so spend a lot of time in the home environment. Last week I asked both girls to put their dirty washing in a basket I provided and empty their rubbish bins (and rubbish dropped over their floor with rotting food, used sanitary products etc) the eldest daughter did this the same night. I also said there was a big bar of chocolate as a treat - and she wanted the chocolate so she did the chores. The youngest refused all week and sent sad emojios when she asked for chocolate and my boyfriend said only when she'd tidied your room. By Sunday a few items of clothing and rubbish items were brought down, but after i'd started the washing etc. My boyfriend passed over the chocolate without checking if it had been done properly. When it became clear this hadnt been done properly a combination of headaches and 'i can't' were the reasons why. Finally telling her Dad not to keep asking her as it was making her anxious and upsetting her. Over the weekend my boyfriend had also raised with the girls that I was feeling uncomfortable over how messy the place was all the time I was spending tidying up after them, without any contribution. (I didnt know he had done this.) The youngest's reaction was to 'take it personally' and say something about her being the reason I was thinking of moving out (I'm not sure of the exact words etc as I wasnt included) but I am sure my boyfriend had not said I was thinking of moving out... It's a tricky home environment as the girls have not been raised to be independent and when asked to help the youngest daughter will say her anxiety and depression are the reason why she cant do something. She does go out occasionally but usually her boyfriend comes to the house (and there have been times when my partner and I then go to our bedroom to give them the lounge space - against my opinion). I'm very conscious of not putting demands on the girls or making them feel unwell but I worry for the life messages we are teaching when there are no boundaries and they take without giving. The youngest is also not eating - which she talks about saying how light headed she is, and she hasnt eaten and there is no food she wants to eat - as chocolate is the only thing she really likes. So the 'reward' for making a contribution is given without the good behaviour as my partner is worried she is not eating. I work in mental health although I am not a clinician. I would love to find a way where she takes more responsibility for her actions and sees consequences in her behaviour. Unfortunately I am at the point when I wonder whether me moving out is the only solution for the sake of all our relationships. It's interesting that was almost the suggestion made by the younger daughter. Both my partner and I have had parents separate and find new partners when we were teenagers so we are not idealistic about happy families but we need to find a way to all live together - without it being on me to stay quiet and clean, wash, cook etc! any help would be appreciated. I should also say this year, the girls have only been to stay with their mother due to family illness on one occasion when we were on holiday so have not had any real time to ourselves and it's a pretty intense time.
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