AITA for enforcing an "exercise time" for our kids?
By - Pattern_Mysterious
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You're using deception, and that's not OK. This isn't for "Exercise", it's helping out the family on the farm. Why not tell them the truth and enlist their support?
“What I told you was true, from a certain point of view”
Exercise. Yardwork. Forced Manual Labor Time. Outside time. Get the hell away from us for two hours time. Call it whatever you want, it’s a reasonable request. They aren’t forcing their kids to work a 40 hour work week.
Right but the issue is how to elicit compliance, and "get the hell out of here and do these chores" is less likely to accomplish that result then, say, "We need you guys to help grandma and grandpa".
You can call it whatever you want. They still aren’t going to want to do it. Obviously they still comply with their parents request as they are going, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t rather be at home playing video games or lazing around.
Compliance =/= Enthusiasm
Doing family a favour is different than just doing grunt work for the sake of grunt work.
I loved helping my nana and grandad and I still do.
NTA even if they were forcing their kids to work 40 hours a week on the farm for a couple months. That’s what summer break was initially designed for.
I had a friend whose parents made him shovel manure for a summer. He said it was one of the best educational experiences of his life.
Worked many summers on farms. Not everybody's family had the luxury of summer vacations.
What did it teach him? (No snark, genuine question)
Most obviously, that he didn’t like shoveling manure.
But it also taught him that no matter how many hours studying or doing some stupid PowerPoint for his boss, that it was better than shoveling manure. Sometimes you just gotta shut up and do the work. And no matter how bad things got, there were people who had it a lot worse.
Those are good lessons to learn, and it's good of him to have taken something from an undesirable situation.
Then call it what it is (helping grandparents), and not that bs 'exercise' stuff.
The kids are 13 and 14 I think they are aware it’s not “exercise” lol. It’s just chores
Maybe a lot of the people posting how deceptive it is were not really bright at that age. ;)
How is this reasoning, what got to the top?
Its a workout, OPs not deceiving anyone. If the kids have any common sense at that age, they already know that they're not using the farm as a gym, they're obviously helping out.
I did this as a kid too, I still do if I happen to be free when they need help. Its useful, good for you, and you're helping family.
Because AITA is just a bunch of teenagers now.
Physical work is exercise! Any movement of your body is a form of exercise.
Riiight. Except we both know that's not why the OP is using that term here.
I get that, but it sounds like maybe he is using this activity as a replacement for the exercise rule?
If it were just about the exercise, then OP would be okay letting the kids go for a walk or run instead of doing manual labor, so long as sufficient exercise time was achieved.
But since the kids don't have a choice in what sort of exercise they accomplish, then it is chore time, with the side effect of exercise.
y'all are getting too hung up on the words he used, like I said, we weren't there
Or they’re expected to help out and are allowed to also count it as exercise time. They actually have more freedom to manage their time here.
Otherwise it’s “daily exercise time plus 2 hours a week of manual labor to help your grandparents”
There’s literally no issue here at all.
I agree, there is no issue but the word "exercise". So what if he used that word he's the parent and they are the children!!!
People are also acting like OP pulled this on them blindly like there’s a secret. These are older kids. They are well aware that they are helping family...they aren’t just blindly being forced into accepting this as the definition of exercise.
The low standards people here have for kids is astounding.
I agreee with you
Manual labor is not the same as "Exercise time". That's the problem with "Coining" things rather than just talking about them. "Coining" indicates deception, it's a way of making something seem better or different than it is. It would have been easier to simply tell them grandma and grandpa need their help for a few hours.
Well it is hard to know what was really said since we weren't there. He says "exercise" in his original post, but how do we know for sure that he didn't tell them they would be helping their grandparents? I think the point of what he called it is not the purpose the OP had in mind.
We only have their words, so you are right that we don't know what's in his head, but we know what his words say. And to me, those words indicate deception, that's what "Coining" is...it's redefining something, usually more positively than it actually is.... which is *maybe* why the kids were resistant.
And it would have been way more respectful.
I don't think the kids feel deceived or betrayed. They feel lazy and that's alright. If I had a choice between doing chores or not at 14, it's not that much of a choice, really.
I think it's actually good parenting to make sure kids are not glued to the screen all the time. And all this is for exercise, to reduce screen time and to help family out - kill three birds with one stone. I don't understand how the top comment's reasoning is well, top comment.
Oh and NTA, op.
No. The OP was very clear that in the absence of the COVID-free world we once lived in, there kids no longer spend the once 2-4 hours (one hour minimum) of “outside time” that their parents specifically mandated they have so that they would get exercise and not be glued to electronics.
The OP goes on to explain how their parents lost farm workers due to current events, and that he/she and their partner decided that the kids could safely get the outdoor time that is expected of them by helping their parents on the farm and it’s a win-win because their parents need the help anyway.
The only part of it I don’t like is the name “exercise time” (not because it’s deceptive, as again, the onus of OP’s reasoning relies on how due to COVID their children don’t have access to their normal physical activity/out of the house outlets and it is easily interpreted through analysis of the text that this is the primary reason), but because it seems somewhat... patronizing? Just straight up tell them you want them to get some physical activity in during the week and that helping their grandparents around the farm during this time of uncertainty is the perfect way to do that.
She called it exercise but everyone understands what it is. If she was trying to deceive them, then why pay them for the work!?
Sounds like a lot of people here never did any real manual labor growing up.
If they were driving fence posts all day I would say that is excessive, but two hours of yard work is nothing. I started helping my Dad do yard work as soon as I could push a mower.
What? It’s actually a kindness. Like, hey, when you help out we can also count it as exercise time.
How? OP is NTA. Whether they call it exercise time or not, they are given a task for 2 hrs out of an entire week and given an allowance. Highly disagree with this and idk why so many people upvoted it.
Ok all the people saying YTA...this is why a lot of kids are horrible whining entitled brats that grow up to be shit adults. Seriously, NTA! Kids need to learn responsibility and chores for a couple hours a week won’t kill them. Hopefully they learn something from the experience.
This. It’s two hours of basic yardwork and they are getting paid for it. OP isn’t committing his kids to a life of indentured servitude.
They are getting paid a good bit above minimum wage. If their grandparents are anything like mine they are probably getting sweets and stuff as well.
Yes. I did HOURS of work per week at my grandparents' house. Picking weeds out of their enormous gravel driveway, mowing, vacuuming and dusting the house, etc.
At that age especially, I was more than willing to go above and beyond especially considering the kids will be driving age in no time.
If OP was considering buying them cars or helping out financially, their reluctance to help family for two hours a week should definitely give her pause.
No seriously. I was expecting him to say like 20hrs/ a week, but 2? When they’re free to do whatever they like every other hr of the week? AND they’re being paid for it? I wish I was so lucky as a child
I wouldn't say NTA, as it's okay for the kids to not like doing it, so I'd say NAH.
I think YTA if you don't give them a small allowance for the manual labor you voluntold them for? There's a difference between outside time to play and get away from tv & stuff and being shipped to a farm to do farm work you didn't agree to do for a few hours.
Like, going to spend time with their grandparents would be one thing but they're doing mandatory yard work you're not even willing to help out with yourself.
I can get behind this. It's not a huge "YTA" but cmon, allowance breeds incentive and better work ethic. Give them something to look forward to.
For me it's less enforced outdoors time or enforced chores and more they're being made to do what was previously paid work which does include several things (lifting bales, etc) that is farm work outside the scope of normal yard work. And that the parents aren't willing to help but just send their kids to help.
I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe or something. I grew up doing hours of chores a week at my grandparents' house because they were old and needed help.
I know there was a farm in our family and all of the cousins went and helped at harvest time; it wasn’t a labor camp, it was just family helping family.
I had a landscaping job at 15!! And growing up on a farm, chores were a part of daily life. Anytime family needed something done, everyone pitched in and did what they could, especially for the elderly or sick.
It's threads like this that really highlight for you the primary age demographic of these types of sites. Most of the people here are typically between the ages of 14-28.
Yeah it really does. A 13 year old popped in upthread and unironically lectured us on how hard it is to be gen z and they stand up to adults unlike the rest of the generations, so there! OP is wrong, the 13 year old is the expert since they are 13 like one of the children in the post! No yard work! Or something...their logic kind of petered out towards the end.
Op has added an edit that says they get £20 a week for this
I'd need more INFO from the OP to change my mind on this one. Was this allowance in place before these 2 hours farm labor were added on? What other chores do they do around the house?
Come on, an allowance for helping family? They already have game systems and wi-fi. I don't see anything wrong with them "earning" the use of them Paying them for helping their grandparents sets them up for expecting money for doing anything and everything later on life.
Or it teaches them that their labour has value and that they deserve to be paid for it.
No one should have to "earn" the use of a gift/something they already own. Why is it weird to apply this to kids as well?
It’s not about earning. It’s about cooperation. Their needs should of course be covered without any expectation of that being returned. But this is clearly a family that freely gives to their kids; their wants and “extras” are considered too. Teaching basic reciprocity is important.
I agree in principle. I just think that would be better accomplished with an open conversation about family helping family, that being a value in and of itself.
They already contribute to similar chores at home as part of “exercise time”. These are older kids. I don’t think the fact that they are also helping family is lost on them.
They don't own the wifi that their parents pay for and while I agree that most labor should be paid for, this is a family need. What happened to family helping family?
Why are adults entitled to children's labour but children aren't entitled to use the wifi in their own home, without being expected to earn it?
Family should help family, but family shouldn't rescind basic amenities to coerce that help. Teach your kids about the value of empathy, don't shut off their wifi.
You consider Wi-Fi a "basic amenity"? I suppose you consider the top of the line cell phone a necessity too? Hell no! They're kids! The parents have no obligation to provide these items. They have every right to require the children to earn their privledges. I cannot believe so many people on this thread think that the children havemore rights than the parents. Good grief no wonder so many kids these days have no respect for others and feel entitled. Your view on this is exactly why
If my views are why kids believe they're entitled to basic respect from the people raising them, I'm very proud of that. :)
Just putting it out there that the UN did confirm internet access is a basic human right as it pertains to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights document
I agree with this 100%. Basic amenities are food, shelter, clothes...not Playstations, Iphones and wifi lol. Parents are becoming ridiculous these days. Kid: "NO mom I'm not going to help grandma for 2 hours, it's not fair!!" Mom: "Ok honey, no chores for you, go play Xbox."
They probably already got the allowance before they had to work on the farm, so I'm guessing it won't really feel like 'being paid in exchange for work' to them anyways.
Please check his edit!
NTA - it’s important to keep active while being on quasi-quarantine. Two hours a week is nothing and it helps your parents out in the absence of workers. It also gets them away from electronics and out of the house. I think it’s totally fair to expect them to do it. It will teach them a little about the value of some hard work and I’d bet your grandparents have their own way of thanking them for their help (money, gifts, baked goods, etc) in addition to their allowance.
I’m just shocked it’s only two hours a week...my parents realizing that was an option would have had me there damn near every day!
NTA, they are old enough to take on chores and help out family and I think it'll be character building for your kids. Of course they will think it's unfair if they just want to play video games and stare at a screen. I think your doing a good thing for them. Good parenting OP
Nta, this is a good rule. As a teenager I understand how important being outside is and how to take a break from screen time. I try to spend 1 hour outside everyday in addition to my classwork. I'd all they are doing is watching Netflix and are on their phones being outside for 2 hours is nothing.
NTA seems perfectly normal parenting
NTA for having your kids help on the farm a couple hours a week.
YTA for acting as though it's a natural substitution to their usual kid hangouts that can't happen due to the pandemic, instead of riding bike, hiking, fishing, or any other number of outdoor family activities that would be engaging, relaxing, and enjoyable.
Work isn't a substitute for fun.
Hmmm this is a hard one.
I’m leaning towards gentle YTA, not for enforcing a time to exercise but for volunteering to do manual labor at your parents’ house. I think this would have worked better if you explained their grandparents’ situations to them and let them make the decision on whether to help out or not. I understand the need to enforce a time for them to exercise but you should have given them the choice on where (home workout, walks, helping out their grandparents, etc) rather than rope them in to help your parents.
This is the most thoughtful Y T A one so far but as a 26 year old with no kids, 13 or 14 isn’t really the age to give them this kind of choice. I know I would have said “nah I’ll play video games” at 13 not knowing that I’m being selfish. Nothing wrong with parents making their kids help their grandparents outside.
Yeah that’s true. I’m 18 with no kids and I think I would have volunteered myself to go, but it’s unfair to assume that everyone would. Every parent knows how to handle their kids. Although I think that they could’ve enforced an exercise time without necessarily forcing them to use it on their grandparents’ house. I think the fact that OP forced them to go there was what got the teenagers mad rather than the work itself. They’re at the age where they want to be considered adults and have a say, or maybe all I’m saying is bs because that’s how I was a few years ago. Every parent knows how to handle their kids and if op thought this was the right thing to do, then it ends there, we don’t know enough about the kids to know if this was necessary or not.
I was the same way, I think at 18 I would say yes, but at 14 is probably say no, but regardless 2 hours a week really isn’t much.
I know, out of 168 hours a week, the parents are asking for 2. That’s only 1.2% of the time in a week. And even if we are going based on time awake, if we assume 8 hours of sleep, that’s still only 2 hours out of 112 hours a week, or 1.8%. Like everybody here complaining is confusing the fuck out of me.
When I was a kid I did much more than 2 hours a week of helping besides chores. Especially since this doesn’t appear to be a forever thing but really only a summer/major COVID time thing. Besides, I hated helping on my families “farm” at first and now I’m a farm junkie. I doubt this is something that would make the kids resent their parents in the future.
And I interpret OPs thing about exercise being that she’s counting the two hours a week as part of their 7 hour a week outdoor exercise quota. Which is very reasonable to me.
Right exactly, 2 hours a day was what I was used to for yard work. I don’t get it at all.
This. It’s more than fair and gives them more freedom over their own time. Instead of having to manage daily exercise and the 2 hours a week, they can count that 2 hours toward exercise.
> And I interpret OPs thing about exercise being that she’s counting the two hours a week as part of their 7 hour a week outdoor exercise quota.
Exactly, I think OP pointed that out to show she isn’t cutting down on their hours of allowed preferred leisure (Netflix, gaming, etc) time by having them do the farm chores. The chores are simply replacing outdoor time that pre-pandemic they would have had to do anyway, rather than being able to game or Netflix during that time.
Yeah that’s true, two hours isn’t bad at all, and I’m sure their grandparents wouldn’t put them through too much hard work since they are kids.
Edit:. A slight caveat, as always with advice of any kind regarding children, this is not one-size-fits-all and may not work for your child depending on personality and or age.
Some advice I've been given is to give kids only the options you want, to give the illusion of choice. You're still respecting that they are growing in their independence and to make their own choices, but not quite old enough to make good ones consistently.
So phrase it like "Would you like to play/work at home outside or go help Grandma and Grandpa with the farm?" Video games don't even enter the question. Give kids the feeling they've got some agency, like If they want to stay at home and be outside, let them do that, and you'll be more likely to get them to cooperate when you want them to do other things.
Do NOT do this past a certain age or with certain types of kids. Some kids will be even more infuriated and uncooperative with this, seeing it as manipulative, than with simply no choice at all.
Could still have asked. You never know if they would have agreed to it. Any time my mom did this sort of thing, it pissed me off. Not because I wasn’t willing to help, but because I was a *person* and she wouldn’t even do the courtesy of asking me or at least informing me it was mandatory *before* offering my assistance or scheduling some event. It’s a messed up thing to do.
Exactly. Just because they're kids and you're an adult doesn't give you the right to just promise away their time without saying anything to them until moments before.
I find it concerning that people are looking at a little manual labor as a negative thing. They spent some time outside being productive and learning to appreciate the kind of work some people spend there whole life doing. I remember a girl in HS telling me her mechanic Dad made her spend some time in his garage learning. She already knew how to rebuild a transmission. She may never work in a garage, but she can maintain her own car and she will never get ripped off by a dishonest mechanic.
I don’t think that the manual labor is a bad thing at all. When I was 14 (4 years ago) I would’ve gotten pissed at my mother for volunteering me to help other people without asking me first. It’s not the manual labor that’s bad, it’s the fact that she didn’t ask which upset her kids. Maybe my parents were different but they never signed me up to do anything without asking me if I was okay with it first, and I always said yes because I appreciated the fact that they gave me a choice. Maybe it’s cause my parents knew that I would say yes anyway, but idk that’s just my opinion.
NTA who ever say YTA need to evaluate themselves because it’s not like you’re asking much and wanted your kids to have some outdoor life for some bit. Everything work out and since they can’t go out then might as well help THEIR grandparents. Two hours is not asking much where if you make then work all day everyday is a bit extreme but you are not. I wish I can do that tbh.
It is absolutely an asshole move to volunteer anyone for something without talking to them first. My mom did this to me all the time: “You’re under 18 so you’re going to do [whatever] because I said so”. She would never talk to me first and at least make an *attempt* to see if I would agree or see her point of view. It’s fucked.
I think if you want your children to be active you should do something with them, forcing them to exercise will make them resent exercise, however finding something fun to do outside like getting a pool, a volleyball set etc. would be much better.
Mild YTA. Two hours of yard work is fine, but I think your reasons are fake. This isn’t about exercise, this is about looking good to your family without doing any work yourselves and probably getting a break from your kids. Call it what it is.
This seems like normal chore for kids to do, plus that seems like a pretty decent allowance.
I wonder too, if there’s a way you could make this more engaging for them so they actually maybe enjoy being outside a little more and interacting with nature? It seems like your parents would probably know a lot about plants, but I’m wondering if it might be beneficial to take your kids to a nursery, buy a pot for each of them and a plant, and have them grow something of their own? Something hearty that grows quickly that so they can see the fruits of their labor.
I remember as a kid being in the garden with my grandma, and having something as “mine” made the rest of the work less of a chore.
YTA. They’re old enough for you to be honest about it. Just tell them “your grandparents need help on the farm, you guys need to be outside doing something physical because it’s not healthy to be cooped up in doors on tech all day. So you’re going to help them for a couple of hours a day.” Though, they might ask why you guys aren’t doing any physical work if it’s so important. I know I would have done so at 14. Why do I need to work on the farm when mum and dad aren’t doing anything physical? If it’s important, shouldn’t you be working out too?
if you want to force your kids to spend time outside you should find a way to be honest about it-- and also be willing to listen to them regarding why they might not want to. my parents have made us do sports our lives (i'm 19, siblings are 16 and 14) and that definitely didn't make me enjoy being outdoors or working out, but instead made me resent athletes, resent my parents, and just generally have a fucked up relationship with exercise. if there's a way to get your kids outdoors on their own terms, th at would be the best way to go. why don't you plan games for them? play with them? give them some ideas of how to have fun outside. also- listen to them if they're too hot or tired! anyways i'm not making sense but YTA because you're not helping your kids in the long run. sincerely, someone who used to hate sports and currently has a fucked up relationship with exercise (and who is getting over an eating disorder)
YTA. You can't give your kids a regular allowance and then suddenly decide their usual allowance now also pays for extra farm work they never had to do before and seemingly don't get a choice about.
If you're making them do farm work to help the family farm, it's work that was previously done by people PAID to do it. Just give them an extra $10 for making them do manual labour on a farm during their summer break, cheapass.
NTA. The only thing is I wouldn’t call this exercise; I would directly call it going and helping the grandparents.
YTA You voluntold them & that's simply not something that's going to end well. Wild idea, but you could have A. offered to pay them & B. asked them if they wanted to help.
YTA. You volunteered them at an age where kids typically become more moody and rebellious anyway. I understand wanting them to be active but you should let them choose the activity. I hated whenever my family volunteered me for stuff, and I would’ve been highly annoyed if it was manual labor in the hot sun. It’s not really a general “exercise time” as you stated in your title. I also wonder if a) you’re doing the same work to help your family b) if they’ve always gotten a $20 allowance. If they have, and you haven’t given any additional money for this labor, then there really is no incentive for it. Either way I keep my judgement.
INFO: do they have other chores they’re expected to do during the week? And did their allowance go up when they took on the additional 2 hours a week?
To me, offhand as someone who grew up with hours of chores and a tiny allowance, it sounds quite reasonable, but the above info does make a difference.
YTA-You never gave these kids a choice. You should’ve offered them and said “you can work 2 hours a week on the family farm and I’ll pay you $20.” It’s much better for them to be doing exercises on their own schedule and exercising how they want instead of just manual labor.
It’s a soft YTA - and only if you’re not doing the same work.
Firstly - The issue here, for me, is the lying. It’s not considered “exercise” you’re wanting them to work for you. That’s something totally different. Don’t lie to kids because it makes your life easier, it’s disrespectful, and they know that you’re full of shit.
Secondly - if they already get an allowance of $20 and that doesn’t go up while their working - then your not paying them.
INFO on the edit: if this $20/week allowance isn't new, it isn't pay for their labour. Pay them a fair wage in addition to their regular allowance.
Honestly, I think the $20 allowance is perfectly fine, especially for 13/14 year olds. To give them more for helping their family out seems off to me. I don't wish to be one of *those* people, but my dad has not (nor ever) paid/given me an allowance and I've been helping him out at his work every weekend since I was a kid. And I don't ask for one, because why would that be fair? Generally speaking, family does so much for us, it seems odd to expect payment from them simply because we helped them. Sometimes you just have to help out your family and not expect compensation - it sounds kind of entitled, but that may just be me. (Obviously I mean if your family genuinely has need for your help; if they just want you to make them a painting or something in general that isn't "needed", it's fair to charge them.)
Look, I don't care if your dad used you for cheap child labour and you turned out fine, if the kids are replacing hourly workers they should get fair hourly wages.
It's not child labour. They're not slaving away every hour of the day with little to no food and no other means to support themselves - it's literally two hours a *week* where they just help out. I was trying to raise some of my points and see your side of this, this wasn't me trying to be some snarky asshole, dude.
YTA- For tricking your kids into working amd calling it "exercise time". That's not exercise time. That's legit working.
YTA. I was on your side for a minute. I enforce an hour a day outside and exercise time for my kids(8 &11). They were so much for active precovid and that excess energy can get stored as stress/anxiety, etc. They need help learning healthy coping strategies to deal with less structure, less movement, more loneliness, less certainty. My kids fully get to decide how they exercise. headstands, water gun fights, bike rides, gardening, skateboarding, skipping. If they're having a "lazy" day, we go on an evening walk/bike ride. It's a good time to teach coping strategies- they see me looking at my phone too much, being cranky and I tell them that I need to move this energy out of my body. This is not the time to exploit your children- it's time to help them find strategies to manage emotions, loneliness, uncertainty. Up your parenting, OP
> This is not the time to exploit your children
Getting paid $10 an hour to help grandma and grandpa is not “exploiting your children” wtf.
Yta simply because you're making exercise a bad thing... just call it work or helping out otherwise you'll give the kids a complex. Why not buy a football or trampoline and call that exercise time?
13F here. YTA. I exercise on my own accord. Nobody forced me to. Do you want to know why I started exercising? I realized that health is important. They can play video games some hours of the day and exercise at other times, like I do. Don't force them to exercise, because then it becomes a chore rather than something they look forward to. This mindset isn't the type of thing you want them to have, because once they're no longer under your control, they'll stop exercising. Be honest with them about why you're making them exercise. Talk to them about the farm. Talk to them about how they're both exercising and helping out your family. If they find out you lied later on, it's all downhill from there. Us teenagers can be very stubborn. In the future, if you try and get them to exercise they'll think that you're tricking them. All trust is lost, and you won't be able to get them to exercise for a long time.
Be honest with them and don't force them. Instead, talk to them about WHY you're doing this. If they STILL don't want to exercise, try to turn it into a fun activity. They like games, right? Try to turn exercise into some sort of sport that they might enjoy.
Big difference between ‘spend an hour outside however you choose’ and ‘go work at the family farm and be told what to do’
YTA. You can't volunteer other people; that's called drafting.
TWENTY dollars a week? Holy cannoli these kids are swimming in it. Maybe I just grew up poor but this seems like a lot.
Seriously! Wtf is with "is that what you gave them before, if so they deserve more". $20 a week is plenty for their age. I feel like I'm living in the Twilight zone. Too many young teenagers with no kids on this subreddit. And I'm 18!
Your not as asshole for making them help, but calling it “exercise time” is condescending and deceptive. They’re old enough to understand that sometimes you have to pitch in to help, and shouldn’t be too bothered with that. However, if you’d tried to sell it as “exercise time” to me at that age, I’d have lost it on you. Not only does it make it seem like they can’t understand what’s really going on, but it also makes it sound like they’re only doing it cuz you said so and that is never a good enough reason for a young teen to accept. Be straight up with them and say they need to help the family out, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to to oblige. If not, talk to them about kindness and how hard these times are on everyone.
teenagers complaining? you don't say
INFO Did you ask them what they thought of helping their grandparents out before you volunteered them for the work?
My kids are not super helpful around our house but they would help their Nana and Poppop in a second.
Soft YTA, here, but only because you're not being direct with the kids.
You're telling them that they need to exercise for their own benefit, but then you don't give them the freedom of choice and you're, instead, making them do labor work that you and your husband could be doing if you were *that* concerned.
To the other Redditors saying "this is teaching them chores," that's not true at all if these kids don't plan on becoming farmers. I understand getting your kids to take out the trash or do the laundry every now and then, but carrying heavy bales of wheat and trimming hedges in the nasty summer heat as a teenager? That's not a chore. That's making them do labor they didn't agree to do, then tying a shiny bow on it by calling it "exercise" and paying them $20 a week.
Omg sometimes people on here will claim you’re T A for god damn anything.
NTA - two hours of physical help a week is perfectly reasonable. There’s no difference between calling yard work or farm work ‘exercise’
YTA. You volunteered your kids without giving them a choice during a *fucking pandemic*. Their lives have already been turned upside down and they're isolated from their friends, and you've handed them over to their grandparents and not even bumped up their regular allowance even though farmwork is much harder than regular chores.
That labor is worth well more than $20 each. And it is still forced labor if they do not decide to take on the work themselves. The reason chores are not considered forced labor is that chores maintain the household for everyone, so everyone should have a hand in helping out. Your children are not living on that farm, they are not a part of that household, they should not be doing chores for them. Encourage them to look for a job themselves or to pick up a sport or something. Don’t take away their choices.
Question. How many hours a week are you "exercising" at the farm?
I have absolutely nothing against telling your kids you want them to spend two hours a week helping their grandparents. Just be honest. My parents did a wonderful thing by telling my sis and I (when 12/13) we needed to do xyz, they wanted alone time. They also had date night once a week. We learned the value of taking time out (for ourselves) and to strengthen and prioritize our spouses/marriage. Sure, we said ewwww, but these are valuable lessons.
You were deceptive and manipulative in how you went about this. Your children learn to behave from you.
You want them to spend time outside and off electronics.
You want them to be active (?) Was that always part of it?
You want them to help their grandparents.
You want alone time.
You are asking, so you are reflecting on your decision or how you delivered that decision. That's a good thing. This is a different, unusual time; we are all learning as we go.
It's up to you whether or not you feel they should be compensated. Allowance doesn't usually cover go clean, mow, etc. at your grandparents, does it? If not, I don't recommend being manipulative by saying now your allowance covers 2 hours a week of manual labor.
This could be an interesting lesson. What do they pay their workers hourly? Tell or pay them that, minus deductions, etc. Use it as a teaching experience.
My mom pays my 13 y/o niece $10/hour to clean her home. She has been saving for months to buy something. This helps my mom and niece. You may not be able to pay. That is fine!! Tell them that. It isn't "in your budget" or you just want them to help out their grandparents.
I think it's good you are coming here to seek opinions. Again, this is an unusual time for us all.
Growing up I mucked horse stalls every AM for my grandpa (at one point they had 12 horses but I only did 2-3) but they had a ranch hand.
I was also responsible for riding my horse, along with feeding all the horses and refilling their water buckets. Did I enjoy it? Duh. No.
I was about 11-15 when I was doing this.
So, younger than your kids!
No, there were no kick backs for allowance as it was required when I went there for the summer. But guess what? I had so much fun every single
But if the kids do a good job for two hours a week, maybe give them some kind of additional screen time or 10 bucks each. Show them that you appreciate them that they stepped up, and helped with the family farm. It’s something you’re proud of when you can do something good and well.
I don’t think there is a problem with two hours a week.
Sometimes you need to help the ones you love along with stepping up when they need help.
NTA, but just FYI, equating "exercise" with "manual labor," e.g., "something very not fun that no one enjoys," isn't a good idea. Exercise should be celebrated. Turning it into an obligation sort of turns it into a miserable experience for a lot of people, which makes moving their bodies in healthy ways harder for them to do without hating it, which then leads to avoiding it. So it's healthier to talk about exercise as a fun thing, rather than the giant bummer that is weed whacking.
NAH. I understand why other people are saying YTA, but hear me out. I'm a teen (17F) and for years my dad has made my brother and I go outside for at least an hour every day to do some form of exercise. Given, it isn't farm work, but it's still the same concept. To be honest, I 50/50 hate it and am okay with it. But mainly, I get why. It helps keep me healthy and prevents me from having a totally sedentary lifestyle. It seems you are doing the same for your own kids. And they get to help out their grandparents too - it sounds difficult, but it's a better compromise for them to help out 2 hours a week rather than to sit around that whole time.
It sucks that you have to force them to help out and make them exercise, and I get why they might not want to do it, but as a parent, I assume that a part of it is making your kids do things they don't want to do because it's for the best (in this case, it's for the best because it keeps them healthy and active during quarantine, and it helps out your own parents too - win/win). They *do* have a right to complain, though (I would too), so as long as you don't go overboard and start making them do crazy amounts of physical work, you're good.
EDIT: also, the allowance part is a cool cherry on top.
YTa this isn’t exercise it’s child labor
Hell of a difference between "kick a ball around with friends/go on a walk near the house/bike ride somewhere fun", and "manual labor on a farm".
You should have at least had a conversation with your kids before they were voluntold. I guarantee they are primarily upset that you signed them up for this without giving them the choice for discussion, even if they don't consciously realize that that's why they're upset.
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Normally every summer, we try to get our kids to be outside as much as they can. This keeps them active and less reliant on electronics for entertainment. There's never been any complaints, it's kind of what they would have done naturally. My kids are 13M and 14F.
Our "rule" was you had to spend at least one hour outside of the house per day; normally they were gone 2-4hr every day. Some days we ask them to help outside to maintain the backyard or whatever if they've nothing else to do outside of the house.
Then comes pandemic. They're out of school, not allowed to meet up with groups. We're not in lockdown but not a lot of functions are open yet, so they've been staying home all day.
My parents have a farm and they've released employees from seasonal contracts and are trying to do everything themselves with the help of family. In the absence of my kids doing things outside of the house, I've volunteered them to my parents to help once a week for two hours. I've coined it "exercise time" because it's manual labor. Nothing crazy: things like weed whacking, mowing, trimming hedges, carrying bales, etc.
My kids have complained about this but I think it's fair: two hours a week when otherwise they're just watching Netflix or playing videogames. This helps them get outside a bit during the pandemic, helps my parents, and helps my husband and I have some much needed time to ourselves.
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They are complaining about 2 HOURS A WEEK of PAID WORK, for their GRANDPARENTS!?! A lot of kids grow up doing a LOT more without expecting anything in return. Sounds like they are getting spoiled and need some perspective.
When I was their age I was always happy to get small jobs so I could make money. That was the only way I could pay for stuff I wanted. (FYI I'm 31 and not comparing generations).
Don't call it excercise though. Just let them know they need to help out because that is what people do for each other.
I can't believe people are saying YTA for making your kids do a little manual labor. They must be the same age as your kids....
NTA. They're complaining more b/c they're 13/14 and have hit the Age of Complaint. Buckle in b/c it's not going to stop for 4-7 more years.
NTA I honestly just think that this is parenting. Your kids are getting allowance which is a lot more than what I would’ve got for helping out family. They are teens so they are just going to complain no matter what
If you force them to work then you owe them payment. Their not your slaves to lend out.
NAH --- NTA for enforcing exersize time, YTA for forcing them to do farm work the whole time. I think you should not make them do 2 hours a day of specifically farm work, maybe 1 hour of light farm work and 1 hour of their choice exercise.
So imo, double YTA - first for not allowing your teenage kids to do what they want in their free time, and then for making them do labor work instead. They're not stupid, they can see what's going on.
OP, you have to realize that there's nothing wrong with "just" watching Netflix and playing video games at that age. Your kids are teenagers, they aren't that small anymore. I'm saying this because I want you to be careful and think over your "rules", because my friend's mother is like you. When we were younger and over at their place, she'd enforce ridiculous things. Like, we were playing a game and she would come to us and force us to go outside for 1 hour and play in the garden instead. It was ridiculous, she acted like we were 7, even though we were what, like 15? Or she'd force her daughter to take a walk with her every day for 1 hour, forbid the usage of electronics after 10 p.m., she'd also limit her TV time to 1 hour per day, limit the usage of her consoles and shut off wifi after 8 or 10 p.m. (and on top of that, made her diet sugar-free). It was always so sad because our group of friends is mostly active (online) around midnight and she would miss out on so many jokes and fun. She could also never talk with us about TV shows or games because she could hardly watch or play anything.
So please: It's just a hobby, don't demonize it, it's 2020 + your kids are teenagers. My friend didn't take her strict childhood very well, she's now one of the worst shut-in people that I know, she's glued to her phone, online during her whole free time, she has no real life friends and still lives at home (+she only drinks soda and can't even drink a sip of water). So basically she now does everything that her mother wanted to prevent. Don't do that to your kids, they'll later take what they never had as kids, it will be much harder to get them to change.
Btw I learned English (foreign language) through video games and 2 other languages while watching TV, all while going to school. Also, National Geographic was my favorite channel as a kid. It's not like everything is bad.
> forbid the usage of electronics after 10 p.m., she'd also limit her TV time to 1 hour per day, limit the usage of her consoles and shut off wifi after 8 or 10 p.m. (and on top of that, made her diet sugar-free).
What a monster, call Child Protective Services!!
/s, obvs 🙄
Well... That _is_ very restrictive for a teenager, she was 16~17... Other people go clubbing at that age, she couldn't even use her phone. What isn't a big deal for one person might be one for another person.
INFO: is the allowance payment *for* the farm work? Or were they getting that already?
So I actually have a weird thing about “farm kids” being used for manual labor. It’s a family issue. I don’t have patience for it.
This is having your kids do yard work for 2 hours a week for their grandparents. Not the same.
And, you give them more freedom to manage their own time by counting this chore time as part of exercise time instead of separately. More than fair.
a 20 dollar a week allowance is not compensation for actual labour, and for those talking about how family should help family: theres a huge difference between helping family and being voluntold to help family, one is common courtesy and honorable the other breeds resentment for example: my mom would voluntell me to babysit my cousins and I resented my uncle, aunt and still resent my mom for doing this, on the other hand I would often outright offer to give help to my dads side of the family for extra things (outside of household chores) like helping grandparents fix a car, watch and take care of pets, helped take care of sick family members and all without a single thought, why? because I was not forced to do something unpleasant!
I helped my fiance watch both of his parents homes and take care of any animals and have pitched in wherever I could simply because I wasnt forced and it was the right thing to do, even if it was an inconveniance (it also helped that I was actually paid for extra help when necessary by my dads side, while my moms side would constantly short change or outright not pay for extra labour)
moral? teach your children that their time and efforts are appreciated by paying them for things not normally expected of them (helping out in the yard is vastly different from what you described what they would be doing) dont voluntell them for things and dont force them to be decent human beings if you dont lead by example and your kids will be decent kind and will volunteer themselves!
YTA I don't know how things are in the US but where I come from there's a big difference in "I volunteered my kids to replace the seasonal workers in a farm" and "I used to mow the lawn for my grandparents!". They are teenagers and If they decide they don't want to work in your parents farm that should be the end of that.
Child labor laws exist for a reason and if it's so chill maybe you and your husband should "volunteer".
we're in the middle of a global pandemic and you're forcing your children to get outside. even if they're not actively around people, covid is airborne and easily transmittable. that's not a great plan.
like, yes, they're kids, obviously they're gonna prefer not doing chores to doing them, but it's *really* not a good look to force your kids outside when going outside is harmful to both them and the people around them
NTA. It's only 2 hours a week.
YTA 20 a week for hard labor is ridiculously low.
“Hard labor” lol. Also it’s not a full week it’s
> once a week for two hours
They’re getting paid $10 an hour.
NTA. It's two hours once a week they won't die from it. It helps their grandparents and gets them outside for a bit. It's good for everyone involved.
Lol sounds like parenting to me. Wish I had a farm for my kid to help out on. NTA
NTA kids need to learn.
NTA it’s two hours a WEEK!! You’re requiring your children to help out and also paying them $20 a week for allowance. so essentially if they’re only working two hours they’re being paid $10 an hour which is minimum-wage in many states. I don’t understand how people can actually think this is an asshole move. This is like the bare minimum.
HOW IS THIS DECEPTIVE?
Exercise time was a silly name, but she isn't Tom Sawyering them into white washing fences. They are even being paid for it! Anyone that thinks the kids are being fooled by calling it exercise time must not think the kids are very sharp.
Less deceptive, more patronizing.
NAH. I mean, you’re making them do chores. They are young teenagers. Of course they are going to complain. Kids complain about everything. I complained about having to carry empty water bottles from my room back to the kitchen at that age. You’re paying them and I assume it’s nothing physically excessive, so they will be completely fine. When they’re older none of this will even matter.
NTA- That was just called every day life for most people growing up 50 years ago. 2 hours a week doing some yardwork isn't going to kill them.
NTA - anyone who says otherwise is a teenager themselves. It is perfectly acceptable to help out for two whole hours a week.
NTA. Kids are going to complain especially because it is so hot right now. 2 hours is not going to kill them
YTA you are having them work and trying to pass it off as exercise. Last I checked, weeding, trimming making bales etc wasn't exercise and you are only giving them a tiny 20/week for working 2 a week. You are horribly TA
YTA I think the exercise is good but are you paying them for the manual labour? Their grandparents had employees before for a reason. This could not be how they want to spend “exercise time”
NTA, in my day it was called chores! It will do them good to get out and exercising!
Obviously, if you want to throw them a couple of quid for the work, you would re-enforce a good work ethic, it might not be a bad idea, and might encourage them to get out working more!
NTA. You already had a rule about being out of the house for an hour every day, and 2 hrs/week helping out their grandparents is perfectly reasonable.
NTA. We have implemented the same rule with our 12 year old.
9 year old has online dance classes and is naturally more active, but 12 year old would lie in bed all day watching netflix if we let her. And eating. OMG can that girl put away food. During normal times she rides her bike or walks a lot with her neighbourhood bff, plus gym class at school (she has tried a ton of extracurriculars but never likes any).
So, every other day she has to do a youtube exercise class, or a short routine my husband set up for her. And she has to help with yardwork and pool cleaning. She gets paid for the chores.
Nah, but Pay them minimum wage for their work, and call it what it is. And if they do chores around your home, keep the allowance as stated and give them the money on top.
Then, they can stfu. I had to do a whole hell of a lot of unpaid work for family when I was a kid. Or, I thought it was unpaid but I got to have a horse, lessons, shows, and all the gear involved. Once your parents can hire help again, ask the kids if they want one of the jobs. And talk to them about that possibility now. People need to learn how to work at their age, and them having the possibility of a real job through school where they can buy the little luxuries you may not want to provide might make them a bit less resentful. about this time.
NTA. My cousins and I had to help on my grandparents’ farm as a kid and didn’t get anything for it. Two hours a week is nothing.
Can I come with my kids, we're bored as hell.
NTA!!!! I should require myself to get outside too!
NTA, you’re completely within your rights and two hours a week is a minuscule amount. AND they’re getting paid the perfect amount, it’s generous that they get allowance at all - and they can pay that forward by donating the small amounts of time they spend on the farm.
NAH. Spending a minimum to time outside to help the family farm is a great way for your kids to earn their weekly allowance. It also gives them the opportunity to see the family business up close and whether they may want to be a part of it someday.
NTA. It is exercise that’s also getting work done. I’m making my kids do at least an hour a day - yard work, water play, walks around the neighborhood, vacuuming, yoga, etc. Anything that gets them off their butts for an hour is great!
I think the best way to solve your problem would be go and help with the work too.
And, most importantly...
At the end of the work, look your kids straight in the face and thank them for their hard work and tell them they did a great job.
You will likely find the complaints die down a fair bit.
NTA. 2 hours per week helping the family? Not that big a deal.
I think more kids need to learn how to work and doing 2 hours of manual labor a week is a great start for their ages. I started working a fast food job at 16 (for $7.25 an hour). No one likes work and no one likes chores, you do it because you need to.
Also, in these times, being outside and working is probably keeping them from going crazy by being inside all day.
NTA It’s only two hours a week. Thats a reasonable amount of chores to have in summer on top of basic things around your own home. I would call it helping family and learning farm skills rather than “exercise time” but they‘re old enough to understand what they’re doing anyway.
NTA. That said, as much as I understand you need time to yourselves right now, if you're volunteering your kids for the work you should be willing to do it too. Hard to complain about having to do something when everyone's doing it together.
NTA. And this is going to really be an unpopular opinion. Your kids are kind TA, they are complaining about doing work for their grandparents. Whatever form it is, as long as they have never been abusive to them, they should be jumping at it. I couldn't stand a set of my grandparents because my grandmother was verbally/emotionally manipulative but I still willingly went and did yard work for her. Families help families out, they need to learn that. Especially if they are getting allowance. I did my crap for free.
My dad made me work out with him every day before school starting in 8th grade so I don’t see this as that bad. NTA
Depends on why you're doing this. if it's for chores purpose, label it as a chore. If for health reasons, then its for health. If it's for recreation then it's recreation.
As someone who does NOT enjoy physical activity let me suggest the following
Health--parents enforced a once a day walk until it became routine. There was a set minimum for the track. If we completed it quicker we completed it quicker and almost always went as siblings. It got us talking and often enough we'd extend the walk to keep talking.
if it's for recreation then they need to have their own designated recreation spot. If they enjoy painting, then having their own sink to wash up at and desk. If it's growing plants, then having an area for their plants. If it's theirs they'll be more likely to use it. Likely in phases as school gets harder. When their interest spikes again always be willing to help them de-weed or take them for a trip to get the supplies they need to use the area how they want.
NTA, but the name is a bit silly, misleading, unnecessary, and ever-so-slightly patronizing. Also if you or your parents can afford it, maybe offer them extra money if they work more hours. Farms always have work that needs doing, and they’d probably appreciate having more money to do things with or savings for later.
NTA... 2 hours a week is minimal. I think that being available to help family in difficult times is a responsibility worth teaching. My insight for having this opinion of this: I’m only 32 but live in a rural area so my childhood summers were spent bringing in a huge garden and helping my grandparents preserve and can a years worth of food. I HATED it at the time, but now I take time off every July to be available because my 85 year old grandparents can still work circles around me and are an amazing example of perseverance.
If this was taking away their entire summer, or preventing them from being involved in sports or activities, etc I would think differently, but 2 hours a week is completely reasonable.
I agree you shouldn’t call it “exercise time” but only because there is so much more you could be teaching them with this experience.
NAH. Kids are going to be kids. They complain. You are a good parent, getting them outside and active.
NTA. Why on earth would anyone vote differently? I can see how they would prefer riding bikes or playing basketball with their friends for exercise, but it's a totally reasonable request. Farm life is excellent to learn that food doesn't come from a supermarket, but someone is working very hard for it. Hopefully it's a humbling experience for them. It doesn't matter if you call it exercise time or something else.
We make sure that our 6 year old knows that if he wants to ride horses, picking up poop and sweeping the barn is part of the deal (he is too small to carry hay bales, or we would make him do that too).
I don’t normally comment on these, but I’m seeing to many YTA posts.
I agree you should just tell them that they’re going there to help their parents, but it is actually really good exercise. Just bring that up as a benefit.
That’s a minimal amount of time per week and it’s actually really good for them to do.
They are YOUR kids. It doesn’t really sound like they do anything else in the way of chores or work during the week, so absolutely NTA. Even if you didn’t pay them (much) still definitely NTA. Some people in this sub get so touchy about parents parenting, like you are allowed to make them do work (a few hours out of the 168 in a week)
Honestly most people who disagree don't have kids. It is important to have your kids go outside daily. My parents did the same thing and we had to do yard work when ever needed. My stepmom loved to garden so ever spring the whole family would help her spread mulch out and if we refused to play outside she would havw us help weed the garden. We usually choose to play than weed.
Nta you can make your kids do chores, branding it exercise time is annoying but you're probably not working in PR
NTA, learning to help people/family is important. It's only two hours a week. I would have my future kids do the same.
NTA-It’s two hours a week and they’re getting paid. You aren’t depriving them of relaxation or free time and you aren’t forcing them to do it daily. You aren’t even forcing them to do it for free.
NTA it's a good way for them to get a bit of exercise and a bit of cash. I feek like most families wouldn't even pay them for it, they'd just say to help out family. And 2 hours a week is barely anything when in a year or two they would be able to get part time jobs.
NTA especially since you pay them an allowance.
NTA My parents used to do this to my brother and I as kids to help people clean stables, repaint signs, and pick strawberries/tree hanging fruits and tbh, as much as i hated the idea of being forced to go, I always had fun. I always learned something cool or at least got a take away from it (got part of the fruit I collected, got to ride the horse whose stable we cleaned, got to learn why the sign was even there). If its not more than 2-4 hours, its good for them and its not like they don't make an allowance
NTA having kids do 2 hours of physical work per week is just being parent
I'm surprised at all the Y T A judgements. NAH! Your kids aren't assholes for thinking its unfair, kids are kids after all, of course they won't want to do extra chores. But it's a win for everyone, themselves included even if they don't see it. Are these people saying Y T A also against making kids do household chores? It's two friggin' hours a week, no wonder why kids are so awful these days. AND they're getting paid for it!