SO's parents were mean to my 11 year old.

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My So is building his parent's kitchen. He wanted to take my son with him because even though he is 11 he was very excited to help.

They left around 7am and SO told me to go get him around 11am. When I got there my son was like "mommy I am working". He ended up being very useful opening the boxes and putting the cabinets together and a grown up did the staple gun and tools he isn't allowed to touch. In all he worked 7 hours that day

His parents didn't acknowledge what he did, so I encouraged him to write something up and call them. The problem is that he didn't understand why everyone else got paid but he didn't. Their granddaughter actually got $30 for helping unpack the kitchen. this is what he wrote:

I am dissatisfied because I assisted in remaking your kitchen but everyone else got rewarded excluding me.
I believe I should be treated with reasonableness since:
1) I helped constructing the cabinets
2) I explained to the grown-ups exactly how to build the cabinets and door hinges
3) I managed not to make an inaccuracy
In conclusion, I worked for seven challenging hours trying to help you reconstruct your kitchen and I reason that I should be treated accordingly


I did NOT help him write this. In fact I was at work when he wrote it.

He calls SO's mother and her answer was "Well I didn't hire you" she also told him she didn't pay her my stepdaughter, which isn't true. She didn't pay her that day but she certainly did pay her. Which my son knew because they are very close. Also they were discussing money and what they paid the 2 other adults working and my son heard it so he was expecting SOMETHING .
I am so angry they would treat my son this way. She was cold and heartless to him on the phone. She also said, "What do you want? Money? " to which he replied , well it doesn't have to be a lot.
I understand he is a child but he really did do a lot of work and he was doing it right. My BF isn't going to say anything to them because they really don't get along but that is another story.
Sorry, Violets. That is a tough one. My sister in law's grandson (12 years old, no blood relation) will mow my moms yard when he comes over and she always pays him. He is never asked, put's in the work. At the same time (please don't take me wrong) we can't always afford to give him money. We know if hears mention of it, he (along with his sister) will expect it, so we have to sneak around the issue when it comes to my 4 nephews. At times we might plan to give them a gift or help them out, and we have to keep it hidden. I am not fond of that. I have been in more than one situation where specific cousins got gifts or money for chores from my grandparents or aunts and uncles and the rest of us didn't BUT we all understood why and never said a word. We didn't expect it. They couldn't afford matching socks, and needed it. Plus there's 32 of us. No way they could do for all. You don't always get the same as everyone else. I do think she should have offered to give him something, given that they paid everyone else, and not been so cold on the phone. Even if she possibly wasn't expecting it/needed to do it later.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 09-03-2013 at 10:26 PM.
I can't see how they are in the wrong here.

Your SO showed up with another child who, by all accounts, had fun "helping" and then after the fact, he decides he should get paid and confronts adults to ask for money. That was a good time for you to step in and explain how inappropriate that is.

If anyone should be paying him, I would think it would be your SO who "subcontracted" some of his work.
I can't see how they are in the wrong here.

Your SO showed up with another child who, by all accounts, had fun "helping" and then after the fact, he decides he should get paid and confronts adults to ask for money. That was a good time for you to step in and explain how inappropriate that is.

If anyone should be paying him, I would think it would be your SO who "subcontracted" some of his work.
Originally Posted by CGNYC

I agree 100 percent

SO's parents didn't agree to pay your son, he showed up wanting to help and learn something, no arrangement was made for payment and maybe they cant afford to pay an additional person if they were already paying a set amount to other people. Regardless if they decided to reward or pay your stepdaughter (their granddaughter?) that is their choice.


People are teaching their kids that they should always be treated "fairly" and that's just not the way the world works. They were probably much closer to your stepdaughter since it sounds as though she is blood.. so of course she would get preferential treatment. My grandma has 30something grandkids and she told me straight up who her favorites are, and none are me, and I'm ok with that. I love my grandma and am grateful to have her but she is 86 years old and entitled to have her favorites

When my mom used to clean houses she would take me with her. I was like 7 years old, I would dust and clean windows. Sometimes the person might give me a dollar or two, but it was never expected. I was helping my mom and that's what was expected.

I don't even think your SO should pay him unless that agreement was made before he tagged along. Use this as a lesson to your son to be grateful for the experience. And maybe next time if he is asked to help with a project or work have him inquire if it will be paid time or not. As I child I was taught my payment for helping my parents with their jobs was the roof over my head and food on the table but parents don't teach their kids these values anymore.


When I was around that age, 11 or 12, I would baby sit. Started with family and usually they just said "we will pay you" and they'd give me 20 bucks or so. Around 13-14 I cleaned my uncles shop once a week and got 40 for that and it usually took me a good 4-5 gours to get it done.

I will be 29 years old this month, I have received a job offer for every job I've ever interviewed for, and I've never been fired from a job. I bought my first car with money i earned myself at the age of 16. Nothing has been handed to me, Ive worked for everything I have.
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Last edited by Ashleynicol; 09-03-2013 at 11:46 PM.
I can't see how they are in the wrong here.

Your SO showed up with another child who, by all accounts, had fun "helping" and then after the fact, he decides he should get paid and confronts adults to ask for money. That was a good time for you to step in and explain how inappropriate that is.

If anyone should be paying him, I would think it would be your SO who "subcontracted" some of his work.
Originally Posted by CGNYC
I do have to say, my parents would have never allowed me to call an adult and given reasons why I should be paid for something that I was promised no pay for. It is a completely different situation if you are promised something in advance. They would have taken the time to sit me down and explain some things about life to me. In other words, I would have heard, "quit your crying or I'll give you something about".

I also would not be able to leave one person out, but that's me.
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When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

It's sucky that they have one child money and not the other, but I agree this was a good time to teach him a lesson. He offered to help, it's not like they offered to pay them, didn't, or only gave him a little compared to someone else.

I think it was pretty rude that your son asked for money, but he's a kid and its one of those lessons.

When I was about 12, we were at my cousins ball tournament. We were gonna be there most of the day and I was getting bored. My Dad said he would drive me home. I offered to take my baby cousin so he would be out of the way, but more so because I loved being around babies. When everyone w got home, my uncle paid me for babysitting. My dad took me aside and said I had to give him the money back. I had offered, they hasn't asked me to so it. My aunt and uncle are well off, it wasn't a money issue, my dad just took it as a good teaching time.
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I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn
I can't see how they are in the wrong here.

Your SO showed up with another child who, by all accounts, had fun "helping" and then after the fact, he decides he should get paid and confronts adults to ask for money. That was a good time for you to step in and explain how inappropriate that is.

If anyone should be paying him, I would think it would be your SO who "subcontracted" some of his work.
Originally Posted by CGNYC
Agree with this.

I think that your SO should have given him some money for helping (assuming SO was paid by his family) - but here's the thing. Family helps family. Besides repayment for supplies, I wouldn't expect anyone to be paid for the job. Your son helping out (and then choosing to extend his time there) was his choice, and the choice of your SO to take him. The parents didn't ask him to come, and also didn't say they'd give him any money. Whether they paid the granddaughter or not is irrelevant - that's between them and the granddaughter (and we don't know what she was paid for - perhaps it was completing several tasks for them, or any other number of things). We aren't in charge of how other people spend their money. If they wanted to give the granddaughter $100 and nothing to your son, yes, it would be rude, but it's their money.

I do think it's sad that he thought he'd get paid and didn't - but also it's a life lesson. And if that were my house and he called asking to be paid, he certainly would not be - that is also a life-lesson. I may even go out on a limb and say that he owes them an apology for asking them to give him money for a job he offered to do.

All of that said, I think it wasn't fair or nice for him to see others being paid - but that's something for you to take up with your SO, it's not something for you child to take up with your SO's parents.
Modified CG since Dec 2011
I don't even think your SO should pay him unless that agreement was made before he tagged along. Use this as a lesson to your son to be grateful for the experience. And maybe next time if he is asked to help with a project or work have him inquire if it will be paid time or not. As I child I was taught my payment for helping my parents with their jobs was the roof over my head and food on the table but parents don't teach their kids these values anymore.
Originally Posted by Ashleynicol
Very well said, when it comes to experience. And sometimes you need to learn the importance of simply helping a friend or family member, with no expectations. At some point, you may need a favor yourself.

Also well said when it comes to specific values/lessons that are being neglected. These lessons have been heavily neglected in so many areas of children's lives for quite some time now, and it is causing problems in the long run. There is a great deal of proof of this.

(My phone is a mess)... I am sure it is awful to see your child hurt or upset by something, but as we all know and remember, that's going to happen. It's going to happen often, and many times it happens un intentionally or out of necessity. It's good to have an understanding of this.

Side note: When people walk into job interviews with a list of demands, ask to be paid the same or more than people who have been there 20 years because "it's fair" (to them alone) and parents then call their adult child's employer to blast them for not giving their baby what they want (happens every day)... It's beyond clear that some valuable tools for life are missing. They have been discouraged, and this is a huge dis service.

CC: I remember that one. It's a rather good lesson.
WurlyLox likes this.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??


Last edited by Fifi.G; 09-04-2013 at 08:32 AM.
That sucks they were mean, but if your SO isn't going to say anything then..I don't know what to say. I wouldn't have suggested him to write something up and call. I find that odd. I would think your SO would've handled that if needed.
curlyarca likes this.
I think it was BEYOND TACKY for the grandparents to pay granddaughter and not step-grandson!!! IMO there is no justification for that preferential treatment when they are both the same age and like siblings. You just don't do that and the grandparents should be ashamed of themselves.

But honestly, violets, I think that is something you and/or SO should have said to the grandparents. And left it at that. Bc like others have stated above, there was no agreement for them to pay your son. (And to soften the blow and let him know you disagreed w/ the grandparents' behavior, you and SO might have given him a few bucks as consolation.

***

Years ago, I lived in this neighborhood that was very community-oriented. It had a Blockwatch and a civic association, and I was active in both. Every year on a certain date, they would organize a huge block party w/ food, a live DJ, prizes for the kids, etc. Most of this was paid for from civic association dues but the DJ's mom lived in area and did it basically for free and some of the food was donated by two nearby stores.

So when I moved into the neighborhood, they started asking me if they could use my yard/house as the location for all the BBQ grills, food tables and DJ station, bc my house was a corner property and had a huge yard. I always agreed. (Tho after the first year, I told them guests could no longer use my bathroom and they would have to rent a Port-a-Potty bc cleaning urnine and feces off my toilet and floor and walls wasn't my thing )

But one year, I was kind of busy before the block party. I was single at the time and just wasn't able to get the grass cut. It didn't look terrible but the head of the committee thought it should look better and enlisted the help of her friend, an older, retired man, to come and cut my lawn the morning beforehand. I said "OK, great."

Well, after the blockparty was over, the committee head approached me and asked me for money to pay the guy. And when I balked, she reminded me that he was old and not working.

It's been close to 15 yrs since that happened, and I STILL feel some kinda way about that. I just don't think it's right to hit folks up for money when no prior agrement had been made.

***

But in violets' story, I think the grandparents bear 95% of the wrongness here.

And I think A has learned an invaluable lesson in contract negotiation! ((hugs to him))
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG


Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 09-04-2013 at 09:51 AM.
I agree that it would be wrong if the grandparents paid the girl right in front of Violets' son, but it sounds like she didn't even get paid that day. My father always gives my kids a couple of dollars every time he see them. Maybe she's the same and this time just used her unpacking boxes as an excuse for what she would have given her anyway.

I'm sorry to say Violets but I don't think SO's parents are in the wrong. It's not right to volunteer to do something and then after the fact expect to be paid for it. Sure it would have been nice if they did throw him a few bucks, but they didn't have to. Now your son knows to always discuss this stuff up front. Lesson learned.
If you got nothing to bring to the table - don't even bother sitting down.
I agree that it would be wrong if the grandparents paid the girl right in front of Violets' son, but it sounds like she didn't even get paid that day. My father always gives my kids a couple of dollars every time he see them. Maybe she's the same and this time just used her unpacking boxes as an excuse for what she would have given her anyway.

I'm sorry to say Violets but I don't think SO's parents are in the wrong. It's not right to volunteer to do something and then after the fact expect to be paid for it. Sure it would have been nice if they did throw him a few bucks, but they didn't have to. Now your son knows to always discuss this stuff up front. Lesson learned.
Originally Posted by Jenny C

That's tricky IMO bc the kids live together, like siblings.

I always wonder if I ever got remarried to a guy w/ kids how that would play out bc my mother lavishes my kids w/ all kinds of awesome gifts. And I'm not sure she would do that for a step. Not sure.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

I did want to say, amazing letter your son wrote! Maybe not the right forum, but he definitely has a very good future in writing!!!
I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn
I agree that it would be wrong if the grandparents paid the girl right in front of Violets' son, but it sounds like she didn't even get paid that day. My father always gives my kids a couple of dollars every time he see them. Maybe she's the same and this time just used her unpacking boxes as an excuse for what she would have given her anyway.

I'm sorry to say Violets but I don't think SO's parents are in the wrong. It's not right to volunteer to do something and then after the fact expect to be paid for it. Sure it would have been nice if they did throw him a few bucks, but they didn't have to. Now your son knows to always discuss this stuff up front. Lesson learned.
Originally Posted by Jenny C

That's tricky IMO bc the kids live together, like siblings.

I always wonder if I ever got remarried to a guy w/ kids how that would play out bc my mother lavishes my kids w/ all kinds of awesome gifts. And I'm not sure she would do that for a step. Not sure.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
I think it really depends on the grandparents. The woman my uncle marrieds, parents, are brilliant to my cousins. Granted they don't have any of their own, but they spoil the heck out of those kids, probably even more so thence grandparents do for all of us
ruralcurls likes this.
I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn
I did want to say, amazing letter your son wrote! Maybe not the right forum, but he definitely has a very good future in writing!!!
Originally Posted by CurlyCanadian
ITA. He sounds like a little lawyer in the making. Even numbering his evidence.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

It was quite tacky that they didn't give him a few bucks. FTR, I wouldn't give a kid $30, family or not. LOL!

But I'm more surprised that your SO didn't give him any money. That would make me more upset, actually. He was the one who brought him so he should be the one to pay him.

I don't like when steps get treated differently. I have a step-niece and step-nephews and I treat them the same as I treat all the kids in my family. If I buy for one child, I buy for all. I don't even show favoritism for my own children when other children are present. They get treated like everyone else.

But I don't know if this is a step issue... Do they normally treat him like that?
curlyarca likes this.
3c/4a
Also, I'm not sure how I feel about a child confronting an adult, a grandparent at that, about money over the phone...I'm an adult and I wouldn't confront my grandparents about money.

You should talk her IMO. And as an adult, you can pick up some subtle clues that a child can't. Like is this really about preferential treatment or what.
curlyarca and redcelticcurls like this.
3c/4a
I'm not really clear on why you would encourage your son to confront an adult in such a combative way. You say you didn't see the letter before he called, but that seems like it should've been one of the stipulations of him doing this. You could've checked it for tone; the letter he read was presumptuous. I certainly wouldn't give money to a child who asked it of me in that way.

If you really felt like your son was being slighted, the better way would've been for you or your SO to handle it. I know that the goal of parenting is to get kids to learn to handle their own problems (though I don't necessarily agree there *was* a problem), but in this instance, an adult advocate could've kept this from escalating. Now he's sad because he didn't get paid and the SO's parents are pissed because they think your son is rude.

I agree with the other posters who say your SO should've been the one to pay your son if you feel like money should be exchanging hands. He's the one who invited your son along to work, not the SO's parents. They're not under any obligation to shell out money that wasn't agreed to.
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When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

My So is building his parent's kitchen. He wanted to take my son with him because even though he is 11 he was very excited to help.

They left around 7am and SO told me to go get him around 11am. When I got there my son was like "mommy I am working". He ended up being very useful opening the boxes and putting the cabinets together and a grown up did the staple gun and tools he isn't allowed to touch. In all he worked 7 hours that day

His parents didn't acknowledge what he did, so I encouraged him to write something up and call them. The problem is that he didn't understand why everyone else got paid but he didn't. Their granddaughter actually got $30 for helping unpack the kitchen. this is what he wrote:

I am dissatisfied because I assisted in remaking your kitchen but everyone else got rewarded excluding me.
I believe I should be treated with reasonableness since:
1) I helped constructing the cabinets
2) I explained to the grown-ups exactly how to build the cabinets and door hinges
3) I managed not to make an inaccuracy
In conclusion, I worked for seven challenging hours trying to help you reconstruct your kitchen and I reason that I should be treated accordingly


I did NOT help him write this. In fact I was at work when he wrote it.

He calls SO's mother and her answer was "Well I didn't hire you" she also told him she didn't pay her my stepdaughter, which isn't true. She didn't pay her that day but she certainly did pay her. Which my son knew because they are very close. Also they were discussing money and what they paid the 2 other adults working and my son heard it so he was expecting SOMETHING .
I am so angry they would treat my son this way. She was cold and heartless to him on the phone. She also said, "What do you want? Money? " to which he replied , well it doesn't have to be a lot.
I understand he is a child but he really did do a lot of work and he was doing it right. My BF isn't going to say anything to them because they really don't get along but that is another story.
Originally Posted by violets
Sounds like it was your partner's decision to take your son, and your son wanted to help out, at no point did your partner's parents ask or agree to your son being employed. Is it even legal for a child of 11 to work seven hours for a wage?

Reads to me like either voluntary work or your partner subcontracting work to your son, so either he does not get paid or your partner pays him. Plenty of times volunteers work alongside paid employees, that is very much part of the adult world.

Whilst absolutely your son should have been thanked because that is common courtesy, I don't think you should encourage him to think he should be treated the same as adults, nor the same as a relative (not a step since you are not married, that often matters to older generations), nor to expect a gift or reward when he chooses to help someone out. Volunteering can and should be rewarding in itself, you can also learn valuable life skills as an unpaid 'apprentice' or volunteer.
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