Lukas is not certain whether his parents are really too strict. He finds that he has far more duties and far less freedom than others.
Lukas, 12 years old, is at home and thinking that he would like to talk to someone about his parents. He’s not certain whether they are really too strict or whether it just appears that way to him. He finds that he has far more duties and far less freedom than others.
He recently saw the website of the Kindernotruf with the telephone number 0800/567 567 and wrote it down. He calls it and speaks with the counsellor Andreas B.
Kindernotruf, hello, how can I help you? What’s on your mind?
Hello, I don’t know whether this is the right place to call.
We’ll soon find out. What’s your name and how old are you?
My name is Lukas and I’m twelve.
Lukas, what can I do for you?
I have a question, but perhaps it’s not so important.
Just ask, and I’ll see if I can help you.
I think my parents are too strict but I’m not sure. My school friends can do almost anything they want and are allowed out until 9 p.m. on schooldays and as long as they want at the weekend. I have to be home by 7 p.m. during the week and am allowed out exceptionally at the weekend until 9 p.m. And my parents always want to know where I’m going and who I’m meeting.
I can understand that it bothers you that others have more freedom than you. But don’t forget that your parents are responsible for you. That means that it’s their duty to protect you from danger. And they can decide how long you can stay out. But they should listen to your opinion and wishes. I don’t think the rules in your case are particularly strict. And the fact that they want to know where you’re going and who you’re with just shows that they feel responsible for you and are interested in you, don’t you think?
Yes, I see what you mean. But that’s not all. I have to help with the housework, and none of my friends have to do as much at home as me.
What do you have to do?
I have to tidy my room, that’s obvious. But I also have to go shopping, take down the rubbish, clean the bathroom, water the flowers and look after my little brother.
Do you do always do the shopping on your own for the entire family?
No, my mum usually does the shopping, but I have to go when she has no time. It’s my job to take the rubbish down and clean the bathroom once a week.
And how often do you have to look after your brother?
Now and again, and once a week for a few hours while my mum is at yoga and my dad’s at the gym. They give me 5 euros for it.
That’s nice that they pay you. They don’t have to. You live together in a household with your parents and your brother. Everyone has duties and rights in a household. Depending on how old and responsible they are, children might be expected to take on some of the responsibilities. Do you think you’re not yet mature enough to do so? I’m serious. If you feel that it’s too much, you should agree with your parents what you can manage and what not.
No, don’t worry, I’ll figure it out.
Do you sometimes play together, have fun or go out with your family? Or is it only about tidying up, shopping and things like that?
No, it’s not like that! At the weekend we always do something together. Sometimes we hang around in pyjamas all day on Sunday and have a nice time at home. Or dad and I build something in the garage.
Sounds good! Have I answered your questions or is there anything else?
Not for now. But if I have an argument with my parents about something, can I call you?
You can call the Kindernotruf any time. I won’t always be there, because we work in shifts round the clock. But my colleagues can help you just as well. If it’s difficult for you to talk and negotiate with your parents, you can always call us. We are good at mediating between parents and children. You don’t have to ask for help only when things have gone bad. You can also call before it gets that far.
All the best, Lukas.
You too. Bye.