Only the messiest room ever...

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2004
Only the messiest room ever...
10
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 3:45am
My 10 year old daughter is driving me crazy! She is beyond horrible to her younger brother, which in turn makes him just egg her on even more, and things just seem to get worse by the day. Then there is her room..............I don't even know what to say, it has been our "issue" for as long as I can remember. Everyone always says that there is something you can take away as punishment, that will make them conform...I strongly disagree. I have taken everything away, including cleaning out her entire room, and our problem remains the same. Everytime I try to walk in her room I get hurt (stepping on things). I have made her stay in her room for an entire week other than school and meals, and it still remains a complete mess, and when even slightly possible, the mess is made worse. She does have ADD, and although it has taken an entire year, we have found a medication that helps. Any suggestions for the "impossible child"?

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2004
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 8:57am
Does she not clean her room every day? I didn't use to make my kids, but I found that it was a nice way to end the day and help them be ready to face the day again tomorrow. I know my ADD kiddo needed to learn how to clean in a certain way. We made it a game and I sat in the room with her while she picked up to continually give her some refocus and support. It's been 2 years now and I no longer have to do that. Our game goes like this. First pick up 10 of your favorite things. (use the one touch rule, once you touch it you have to go and put it away where it belongs!), Pick up 10 red things, (or any color), pick up 5 square things (or any shape) etc. I also had to teach my DD to clean in squares. (we drew squares on her carpet lightly with chalk.) Clean one whole square before you move on to the next. It is a pain, but it is worth it. It helps kids to have a "plan". Hope this helps! L
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Registered: 08-04-2004
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 10:26am
We did clean everyday for a long time, but unfortunately my husband and I have very different views on what clean is. He would also rather read to her for two hours at night while she is "cleaning", but he isn't paying much attention, and when he finally looks up and sees she hasn't accomplished anything, he just gets angry and leaves. I'll try your suggestion! We have tried playing games, but maybe this one will work. Generally, the way I tend to break it down so it doesn't seem so overwhelming, is I ask her to put away all of her shoe's, then maybe pick up all of her stuffed animals, then maybe clean off the top of the desk, and so on. Maybe that is still too much. I'll try your suggestion. I will tell you this, I used to sit with her, but I would get extremely frustrated because our deal was that I would help as soon as she made any progress, but I was there to support her, and it would always turn into me constantly prodding her to work, and having to tell her each individual item to pick up, and where to put it. Should I just expect that, or at 10, should I begin to expect a little bit of iniative?

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 1:01pm

Hello and welcome Pam.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 1:22pm
I think you might want to write down your definition of 'clean' together. I've heard that usually helps a lot. That way she has ownership in helping define it, plus is clear on what is expected. I know my definition is WAAAY different than my 11yo's! I asked a friend what her definition would be; she said so that someone could dust surfaces of dressers and tables easily. I thought that was pretty fair...I guess you use the same thing for the floor...that way no Magic cards or socks get sucked up! LOL.

Sue

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-29-2004
Wed, 08-04-2004 - 1:30pm
Pam

From all the reading and research I've done the one lesson I've learned is that kids with ADD or ADHD have a different way of thinking. Abstract relationships (like pick up all the shoes) is too much. That's why we choose to use a bit of chalk on the carpet, or the smaller theme with color or shape. The chalk vacuums up and or I can do a quick swipe with a damp cloth to remove it later. Giving a direct place is much more controlled. (You may have to go square by square with the color/shape pick up, rather than using the whole room). The rule for me, when I sat in the room was that I didn't help. (I didn't make the mess....)I always use a quiet controlled voice, and usually I'd read a book or work on some scrapbook thing while checking often to make sure she was progressing. I would allow her to listen to her favorite cd (I went and bought it SPECIFICALLY for cleaning up room time) as long as she continued to work. If she was having a bad day and fought me on it, I'd turn off the cd player and remove it from the room. Individual constant reminders are completely normal at first. It may take a week or two or three or four! before they remember on their own.

(To be honest after the first week I was ready to give up and let it go, but there are two lessons here. One, ADD kids need expectations. Just like you wouldn't allow the rest of your house to become a pig pen, she too should have a refuge that is clean and safe. Lesson Two... SHe had ENTIRELY too much STUFF! A lot of her room mess ended up being stuff she pulled out to get to the stuff she wanted to play with. We simplified a lot of things by going through clothes, shoes and closet stuff to get rid of the stuff she wasn't using, wanting or liking. Then we hit the toys. She likes barbies, but only the idea of barbies. So we let her pick her two favorites, two outfits for each and gave the rest of it away. All of her stuff is put in bins (clear see through drawer bins we bought at Target). We have one for art/ drawing stuff (the box for markers and crayons and colored pencils also goes in this drawer), one for legos she just likes, and one is a "just her junk" drawer. (see I'm not a total ogre!) She also has a book shelf (2 shelves) and a few games on it. If everything has a place, then it's less likely to turn into junk on the carpet. She stores stuff for her Quantum Pad in the storage bag on the computer desk. Computer games all sit on one spoodle on the desk. We don't keep the covers. We do keep the booklets tho, in the drawer on the desk for future reference.)

Consistancy is the key to it all. Letting her know that no matter what, the room has to be cleaned up BEFORE bed, even when it's late, even if she's mad, even if she'll miss her (or your) favorite show, even if she doesn't feel good - gives a solidarity to it. PLUS if they are only cleaning up ONE day's mess, it's not nearly so bad! Good luck to you! L

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2004
Thu, 08-05-2004 - 1:21am
Thanks for all of the advice. I did try your suggestion today, and it did work. We are going to have to tackle the room over a few days, because the mess is just that out of control, but so far so good!

Thanks,

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2004
Thu, 08-05-2004 - 1:24am
Thanks for letting me know that they are normal, and I have nothing to worry about. I just need to hear it sometimes.

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2004
Thu, 08-05-2004 - 1:27am
Great suggestion!

Thanks,

Pam

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2004
Thu, 08-05-2004 - 1:24pm
We all need to hear that we're doing a good job once in a while.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2003
Thu, 08-05-2004 - 8:23pm

I swear I could have written your post!


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