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Old 02-13-2006, 04:14 AM
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ronsan ronsan is offline
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Location: southern Missouri
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Happy face Finding a solution that works for YOU

The answer you are seeking is the solution that works for YOU because you are not going to get the problem taken care of just by asking ~ in the beginning.

You need to have their messes picked up quickly, easily and with a minimum of aggravation to you. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound as if either of these two kids or Dad are going to be part of the solution. Okay, so work this from your vantage point.

You need to pick and choose carefully your battles, and which battles you're willing to "go to the mat" on. Making them sleep upstairs isn't one of them ~ yet. Getting rid of the clutter is.

Purchase two large DEEP plastic bins with 2-part flip over lids, put the children's names on one each and put the bins in a spot in the house somewhere close to or even in an unobtrusive spot in the living room. When you find the bedding and dirty clothes not taken care of, without comment, simply dump or roll the offending objects into a wad in the container marked with the child's name. Do not waste time by folding any of it neatly! Close the lid, and go on without making even one comment.

Sooner or later, someone is going to need that bedding and hopefully you aren't the one making up the beds for them! If you are, stop now! Either your intended or the children need to be responsible for that. When they have to unwad the bedding, they are going to realize (eventually) it wouldn't have been that difficult had the job been done right in the first place by them. If their dirty clothes odors stink up the bedding, then so be it.

The dirty clothes need to stay in that bin until the children want them and when they begin to beller about their clothes not being clean and ready for them, you can quietly state that dirty clothes need to be put in such and such a place for laundry purposes, not left in the bin. Those kids know those clothes are in the bin so leave them there because they are testing your will and your boundaries of authority. If Dad says something to you about the clothes in the bin, then say the same thing to him.

If the bins get totally full of dirty clothes and the bedding gets thrown on top, let it all climb up the wall, but don't say a word. Eventually Dad will find his voice and begin to exercise his parental authority, and the problem will be handled, but in the meantime, you aren't being vexed by the bedding and dirty clothes all over the front room.

In raising teenage foster children as well as my own, I found this solution to work beautifully but the secret is not losing my patience in the process in order to try to hurry up the solution, which was to do it my way in the first place. In dealing with messy teenagers, I found the answer was to deal with their clutter left in communal places of the house in only one way ~ pick it up once, confine it in one spot, and wait for the complaints to starts.

For me, it was a very large spotlessly clean plastic garbage can and lid for each kid. It was labeled with their name, put in an out of sight spot in the house and each of them knew where it was. If I found their "stuff" laying about (other than in their room), it went in their personal "retrieval bin" (garbage can). When they couldn't find something where they left it, my answer was always the same: "Check your retrieval bin."

I had a collapsible hard plastic rectangular bin of my own which was very easy to transport from one spot to another as I picked up the clutter. All of it went into my bin, then out to the spot where the "retrieval bins" were. And into each appropriate bin it went, and there it stayed!

The principle here is for YOU to only have to pick it up once, deal with it once, get it out of your sight and your way, and then forget it until the bellering starts. When it does, quietly make your point: "That doesn't belong where you left it so when you need it again, check here."

It took awhile until all of us were on the same page, which was be responsible for your own belongings, but eventually, it worked!

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