Our expert says:
One starts as soon as possible, rather than waiting to a special age - and VERY long before 7, let alone 13. This is for many good reasons. It is neglect, almost abuse, to leave children with no proper system of discipline, no responsibilities, ano rules and no consequences for breaking them.
Maybe because you've neglected doing this for so long, you need to work out a code of conduct, between father and mother ( you must both be consistent in how you apply these ) and then have a family meeting with the children and explain that unfortunately, you have failed to make clear the necessary rules for the house before now, but from now on, these are the rules, these are the consequences for breaking them, and these are the nicer results of keeping them.
Make clear their share of household chores ( such as helping with meals, washing up, cleaning in the house ( especially starting with their own rooms ). WHen they fail to meet their responsibilities, they should lose a privilege they like ( such as playing those gaimes ) for a day or 2 for minor infringements, or a week if they do something really bad. They should feed and clean up after theirdog, and they don't get their own meals until they have fed the dog.
The mother sounds naive and irresponsible, and neglectful.
It is also highly irresponsible to allow kids of 7 and 13 to play games with an age restriction of 16 - that's lousy parenting.
Maybe as the mother seems foolishly indulgent, you should see a child psychologist together to discuss these daft ideas of hers in detail, and work together on setting reasonable rules.
Her way, the kids will grow into lazy and irresponsible adults ( and incapable of looking after themselves ) and will be appalled to discover that the rest of the world is not prepared to spoil them the way their mother and father did.
Seriosuly, for the mother to be still feeding a child of 7 ( they should feed themselves as soon as they are physically capable of doing so ) sugests a really awful mother who wants her children to remain infantile and needy for as long as possible. This is NOT wholesome.
If friends, of yours or his, came to dinner - would she still feed him in front of them ? If not, would he even know hiow to feed himself ?
Does she blow his nose for him, or wipe his bottom, too ?
And sensible rules are not negotiable or subjects for debate.
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