About a week after we had concluded the L&L class my 13 year old got upset with me for putting a sweater of hers in the washing machine and was super rude about it to me. In the back of my mind I had been thinking about what you said about kids washing their own clothes by the time they got into high school. So when she was rude (I admit I was a little angry with my reply and did not smile like I should have when I said it) I told her that I would be happy to show her how to use the washing machine and that from now on she could wash her own clothes and that this way she would not have the problem of me washing her clothes "wrong. " I told her she could let me know when she wanted me to teach her but I would no longer be washing her clothes.
Well, the week went by and the next weekend I did not wash her clothes. I knew she would forget about me not washing her clothes and I did laundry all weekend like I usually do but I did not include her clothes. Well, on Monday morning she came to me and said indignantly, "Mom, didn't you wash any black clothes this weekend?" This time I was calm and ready and I told her that I had washed black clothes that weekend just not hers and I reminded her that I was no longer washing her clothes. What?!! I got the "waste of water" argument and on and on but I told her I was willing to waste the water for no problems about the wash between us and that more important this way she is in control of what gets washed and when. She has worn a few things dirty and has dug into her closet and worn some of her old clothes over the past few weeks but she is learning how to wash on her own and also washes things by hand on occasion because she does not want to do a whole load.
It is hard for me because I hate wasting water and I especially hate "not doing for her" but we are making our way on this : )
I truly believe that teaching our kids to do their own laundry as early as 4th or 5th grade is an amazing character builder but at least by middle school or high school we should transition this responsibility to them. It teaches them not only to do laundry but if we hold back and don't nag them about WHEN then they can learn a HUGE life lesson and figure out the organizational and follow through skills they will need for such a task when they are adults.