This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Adult" Boarder vs Family Girl - Maid Service

Maid Service
For years, I've been arguing with Kitty trying to get her to do chores.

Why do we want children to do chores? To learn responsibility, a feeling of accomplishment, how to take care of themselves... 

Recently, I acknowledged that Kitty is pretty much maxed out on how much changing/ learning she'll be doing. Still, I've been frustrated that she's demanding adult privileges, but barely managing to do some basic 5-6yo level chores. When Kitty chose to no longer be a "family girl," I decided she no longer needed to do the few basic family chores I'd been trying to force her to do for years (feed the dogs, cat litter and fill the dishwasher).

Almost 2 weeks ago, I decided that Kitty's room was so overwhelming that there was no way for Kitty to get it back to an acceptable level of cleanliness, so after giving her some time to do it herself (set a deadline of January 1 and gave her several reminders, suggestions, and encouragement) I did it for her.

I threw away several garbage bags of trash and garbage and anything ruined beyond repair (4-5 trash bags). I washed about 10-12 loads of laundry. I removed all the stuff that wasn't hers (ex. literally 5 feet tall stack of sheets and comforters and another foot and a half of towels). I put everything else in trash bags in the closet.

A couple of days later, we spent 2 hours going through the stuff in those bags (mostly clothes, toys, books, makeup and jewelry). We didn't agree on everything (she prefers clothing that makes her look like a homeless hooker and I don't), but I generally let her keep things we disagreed on or we found a compromise.

I did use an old trick I had when the kids were little - I told them they could keep x number of items of whatever we were talking about. For example, I told her she could keep 10 stuffed animals (totally arbitrary numbers, but for some reason the kids accept them). It is totally her choice what to keep and what goes in the giveaway pile for "kids who will love them." (Post with tips about de-cluttering)

She got it down fairly easily to about 15. I got rid of 2 more because when she waffled on them I took that as a sign she wasn't that attached (which she accepted so I assume I was correct). Then she started begging to be allowed to keep the extra 3. We talked about each of the 13 and why she wanted to keep it. One of them was because it was fairly new and she said she would feel guilty if she got rid of it, but she wasn't actually attached to it. It went in the give away bag.

The last 2 stuffed animals, I put in her "Memory box" (a medium size box we kept in her closet, that she understands once it's full, it's full. She'll have to take something out to put something else in).


To keep Kitty's room at a level she can handle, after cleaning her room to within an inch of its life less than 2 weeks ago and seeing it heading right back to how it looked before, I decided to present a new idea:

Maid service

When Bob lived in a dorm, they were fined if their room wasn't spotless on inspection day (like $.50 if something spilled over in the microwave and they hadn't wiped it out). I decided to accommodate Kitty's issues and actually provide the cleaning services rather than just fines, since otherwise she would probably just let the fines accumulate and leave the room like it is.

Kitty gets $11.50 a week in "allowance." There will be a maximum weekly fine of up to $10. Hopefully that will get her attention.

How It Works

  • Cleaning must be completed by Friday evaluation at 5 pm or account is charged. 
  • If client is present at the time of evaluation then client can complete any tasks free of charge.
  • A maximum charge of $10/ week will be made for maid services. 

{I made the list below based on current issues: like the trashcan that has something brown and disgusting coating the inside that she's been "going to" clean for almost 2 weeks and the special food (she's gone Vegan) that she's made and left on the counters with the sink piled high with mixing bowls, pots and pans.}

$0.50 Clean trashcan
$0.50 Put furniture where it belongs
$.10/each All trash in trash can. Emptied if full or has garbage in it.
$0.25 All clothes off floor
$0.25 Bedding on bed (Doesn't have to be made, but not hanging off the bed)
$0.10 Drawers closed
$0.25 Toys put away
$0.25 Makeup put away
$.05/each All glasses/ dishes/ utensils in sink

$0.25 Empty trash can
$.05/each Only one razor out
$0.25 Floor swept
$0.25 Mirror clean
$0.50 Wipe out sink and counter
$0.50 Wipe out tub and shower area
$.25/each Only using 1/3 to 1/2 of the shelves and drawers {shares the bathroom with others, doesn't make sense to have ALL the shelves covered in her things}

$0.25         Medicine bottles put away
$.50 each         Counters and Stove cleaned off and wiped down
$.25/dish         Food stored properly (Baked goods in fridge)
$.10/each         Unwanted food disposed of
$.25/items Items used for making and cooking food washed and put away

$.05/each        Personal items (ex. eye glasses) out of common areas
$.05/each        Dishes and trash out of common areas



Amazingly enough, this is still working. Kitty hasn't been home much, she spends the night at friends' houses a LOT, but if she's home I give her a reminder about the inspection. If she misses the inspection time because she's not home, I'll give her some leeway if she asks. By Sunday, I just go in and do the work myself. It usually takes less than 15 minutes, because it hasn't had a chance to get too bad.

This week her fine was $5. Partly because last week she'd been told her room looked good, and she just needed to vacuum the carpet in her closet and sweep the floor in her room. She didn't do either one. When I went in to clean this week, she hadn't been home for several days. I found her ceiling fan running and her bedroom window open (this is cedar season AND we don't want to be air conditioning the out doors - yes, it is February, but here in Texas it has been in the 80s most of the week, so we're using air conditioning!). There was food and dishes under her bed and in a drawer. There was a med tablet on her desk (she let a friend's toddler hang out in her room the next night). All in all, pretty good, but what's going to happen when/if she lives on her own?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good idea, but our son doesn't get an allowance. He's 18, and also, we don't know what he'd do with it. Or we do know.