helping the messy child to not be messy - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 12-16-2008, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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i've been thinking about this, since seeing the recent thread on messy kids' rooms and others in the past. as a messy child myself (now a messy grown-up who is working hard to change), i remember very well my mom and grandma's efforts to reform me, their frustration, and utter exasperation at how i could possibly be so messy and why i couldn't keep clean a room that we had just worked so hard to make perfect.

of course, they told me what to do, how to keep it clean. when you're done playing with something, put it away. put away one thing before you pull out something else. you should make your bed every morning. when you get undressed, put your clothes in the hamper (not that i had one in my room or the bathroom) or put them away if they're still clean. but no one took the time to help me put these simple tasks into practice, to develop habits. i never had a morning or bedtime routine or a specific clean-up time. i'm not trying to blame others, as i did know what i was supposed to do, but i'm still trying to teach myself to keep house. i wish i had learned these things a long time ago, by example, maybe.

i'm not saying any parent here isn't engaged with their messy kids or isn't teaching by example - this is just what i think would have helped me as a younger (to about age 10?) child. i've also been thinking a lot about privilege and responsibility, how owning a beautiful home on a beautiful lot requires that i take care of those things, or i shouldn't be allowed to have them. that may resonate more with an older child, not in a punitive way, but more learning to be truly grateful and to be a good steward of our belongings and resources.

thanks for reading my ramble. i hope it will be helpful to someone! if not a tidy parent who doesn't get their messy child, then maybe at least another messy grown-up-child can relate!
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#2 of 3 Old 12-16-2008, 02:45 PM
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I can relate! I too never really developed the habits. When I look at my neatnik friends I always notice those little habits, which I would have never though of myself. I have friend who never has a dirty dish in the sink. It literally takes her 30 second to put it in the dishwasher or to wash out a glass - so much easier than dealing with a sink full of dishes, duh! Crumbs on the floor? grab the dustbuster. Laundry - folding it right out of the dryer (or off the line as I prefer) it doesn't become a wrinkled mess. It doesn't help that my dh is somewhat messy as well. My dd's space looks like a disaster, she is unorganized too - I want to help her so she doesn't end up like me.

I've had luck assigning myself one chore per day - that keeps things a bit under control. But yeah, I am looking at my kitchen floor right now trying to remember the last time I scrubbed it yuck.
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#3 of 3 Old 12-16-2008, 04:27 PM
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I can relate, too. Except sometimes I think there is just not much to be done. My mom tried SO HARD to instill those habits in me. It was a fight every single day to get me to make my bed, pick up toys, put away clothes. Ugh. I still remember it.

I really, really, really struggle with it now, and I don't want my kids to grow up in a pigsty and go on to live in pig stys of their own. So I've been forcing myself to keep things neat. My three year old likes his room clean, and asks me all the time if we can clean his room. Now if only my 1 year old daughter didn't have a facination with DUMPING everything we just picked up! Ack!
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