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It's a good thing I read the whole thread this time - I'd forgotten previous posts until her husband's anti-evaluation stance was brought up.

So, my thoughts, in no particular order:

1. If the situation is unhealthy or bad for the cat, then I'd rehome. It doesn't sound like it is, but nobody has brought up that this is a good reason to rehome an animal. If you cannot take care of it properly, for whatever reason, then you need to let somebody else do so.

2. This child needs an evaluation, stat, not just for the EF issues but for depression. Lack of interest in doing basic hygiene like brushing your teeth, putting medicine on a wound, or washing your peed-on clothing is a marker for serious mental illness. This could quite literally be life-or-death.

3. Both my kids have ADHD, they were both washing their clothes long before 15. Not really because I have an Opinion on that, though I'd like to pretend that's the reason, but because I really freaking hate laundry and have my own EF issues and honestly, they got tired of waiting on me to do theirs, or to bring it up from the dryer after. (Plus, every time I'd tell them that they were tall enough to do it themselves and eventually that sunk in.)

4. Instead of helping Kid organize three or four times a year, I'm sorry, it's not fair, but you need to write out a checklist and go in there every single evening and help her tidy her room. Your checklist needs to include a daily shower, daily toothbrushing, and daily ointment application. You have to watch her do two of the three hygiene things, and also help her clean her room, checking each box as it gets done. If you think that incentives motivate your kid, do a sticker chart - every day when everything gets checked off with no arguing, there's another sticker, and a reward when it's full.

5. Rip up the carpet, put down something that's easy to sweep and mop (daily!), and move the hamper to the place she has her clothes pile. (At the risk of being sarcastic, I've successfully littertrained feral kittens by simply putting down a new litterbox everywhere they peed or pooped. Once the floor was 1/3 covered in boxes, they got the hint. It's only the inclusion of the cat in this scenario that has me thinking about putting out multiple laundry hampers....)

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How would I handle it? Most of your kids have executive functioning issues. (Half of mine do too, so I am very much living this also.) Figure out what works for your kid. I have one kid who

I know that this is not what you want to hear, but it's the only thing that I can suggest. You have to provide the executive function that she lacks. I know it stinks. But there it is. So, I

Meant to add: My ds sounds similar to your dd, but we don't have a cat. He drops his clothes in the middle of the floor. I started putting a laundry basket right in that spot and most of the time

Regarding the original question (and that is all I've read except for people's responses to my initial response)--I would tell your daughter that if the cat keeps peeing on the floor her father (I assume it's her father) is going to insist that the cat is re-homed.  So if she doesn't want that on her head, she might want to figure out a way to keep it from happening.  Does she have any ideas?

I believe in keeping it real with kids.  

Edited by EKS
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I don't think a lot of you guys have any idea how traumatic the threat of having your pet (who very well may be the only creature you feel loves you in the entire world) stolen from you as a form of manipulation is.  

I don't want to go into the details publicly, but I can say that is way more damaging than other horrible crimes that have been talked about on other threads.  

Do not do it.  I am not exaggerating about potential to create a super villain.  Your daughter will never, ever, ever forgive you.  

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7 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I don't think a lot of you guys have any idea how traumatic the threat of having your pet (who very well may be the only creature you feel loves you in the entire world) stolen from you as a form of manipulation is.  

I don't want to go into the details publicly, but I can say that is way more damaging than other horrible crimes that have been talked about on other threads.  

Do not do it.  I am not exaggerating about potential to create a super villain.  Your daughter will never, ever, ever forgive you.  

A form of manipulation? Really?   How about Dear daughter, we must rehome this pet because it is peeing on our carpet.  ( ps you have been warned about this issue repeated)

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6 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

A form of manipulation? Really?   How about Dear daughter, we must rehome this pet because it is peeing on our carpet.  ( ps you have been warned about this issue repeated)

Absolutely, 100% manipulation.  It may not be a lie, but you are rehoming the animal as punishment for your daughter doing something that displeases you.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

A form of manipulation? Really?   How about Dear daughter, we must rehome this pet because it is peeing on our carpet.  ( ps you have been warned about this issue repeated)

because in the grand scheme of things a carpet is just a carpet.  A pet is so much more than just an animal to many people.  Carpets can so easily be replaced. The damage done by having a beloved pet taken away from you as a punishment would be long term.  I know for me I'd have lost all trust in my parents if they used my love for my dog as a punishment.

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8 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

A form of manipulation? Really?   How about Dear daughter, we must rehome this pet because it is peeing on our carpet.  ( ps you have been warned about this issue repeated)

 

Terebith's not wrong. Removing or harming - or threatening to remove or harm - a pet is generally considered a red flag for partner abuse. As I said above, it may be necessary for the animal's welfare, but if it's not, I'd very strongly consider literally any other option.

And there are other options. The easiest is to go in there every night and ensure that the clothes have been put in the hamper. Even if the parents don't want to do the work of helping the kid with room tidying, they really could enforce a "pets have to be in this segregated pet-area at bedtime" simply by taking the cat at bedtime and putting it in its own room with water, food, a cushion, and a litterbox.

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48 minutes ago, EKS said:

So, if you'll remember, I started this exchange by making the claim that I, as a teen, was being lazy by leaving my clothes all over the floor.  That is a true statement.

Now you're telling me that my behavior was "meeting a need."

I'm calling bs.

No, I'm telling you what is useful and true for me. You chose to comment, I replied. Let's leave it there.

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I don't want to edit my previous comments, so I'll just say this here - if the kid keeps the cat in her room, then her room needs to have a litterbox and, ideally, a water bowl that's kept on the opposite wall. And, yes, the parents need to be responsible for checking every day to make sure that somebody (ideally the kid) keeps the box cleaned and the water fresh.

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1. I'm not planning on rehoming the cat.

2. People are reading a little much into DD's hygiene habits.  She's not depressed.  She's just not good at remembering to put the eye ointment on regularly.  I wouldn't say she's highly motivated to deal with it, but she's not uncaring either.  As for showers, it's mainly washing her hair that she dislikes (because it's long and super thick and takes a long time to both wash and dry).  She's not a girl who's super interested in fashion and appearance, which is a mixed blessing (and I was the same way--she's probably in about the same place at 15 as I was at age 13 as a kid with good EF and lots of internal motivation).   And we do have structures in place to help her stay on top of those things, but they're dependent on me remembering to implement them all the time, and my brain doesn't work all that well these days due to health issues.

3. I do have her pick up her room regularly.  Not daily, probably more like weekly.  She's perfectly capable of doing this without a checklist.  She also actually worked on organizing and decluttering her room somewhat, on her own, on two occasions the past couple of months.  She is maturing, it's just soooooo slow.

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52 minutes ago, EKS said:

So, if you'll remember, I started this exchange by making the claim that I, as a teen, was being lazy by leaving my clothes all over the floor.  That is a true statement.

Now you're telling me that my behavior was "meeting a need."

I'm calling bs.

 

Perhaps it's like that "sticks and stones" adage. It's one thing if you say it to or of yourself to get through a tough situation, but it's quite another when you apply it to somebody else.

If you're saying that you were lazy as a child, and that's your honest assessment of the situation, okay, fine. In my experience, when adults call children other than themselves lazy, that statement smacks of projection - the adults just don't want to be bothered to put in the work to understand the problem and help the child fix it.

Is this always the case? I think it's usually or often the case, and that at any rate, the "laziness" label is not a very helpful or useful one except inasmuch as it gives the parents/teachers an excuse for not trying.

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OP,  we have had a sort of similar issue in our house but my kids are younger.  In our house, the 13 year old dog has become quite confused and obsessive over the last year.  She had this obsessive behavior of needing to pee in my dds' room.  No idea why it started and why it was happening but basically she could not get comfortable in the afternoon until she found a way to go upstairs and pee in their room.  

The solution seemed simple enough to me, we got a baby gate for one flight of stairs and insisted the girls keep their bedroom doors closed, the room has two, at all times.  Well for months the girls were simply not keeping their door closed because they would forget.  So, every single time the dog peed in their room they were responsible for cleaning it up.  The days they did keep it close she'd end up peeing in front of my bedroom and I would clean that up since it wasn't their fault.  Seriously, it didn't matter how much she went outside, she'd always have more pee to pee upstairs. And we'd watch her like a hawk but the second we turned our heads she'd go upstairs and pee.  Usually coming back down before anyone noticed.

I think they cleaned up pee in their bedroom at least 30 times before they learned to keep the door closed consistently.  Unfortunately, the carpet is ruined.  We'll rent a carpet cleaner in the spring to get it really clean the best we can but they're going to have to live with that carpet until the dog dies or we have the time to put hardwood flooring in.

I couldn't just tell the girls that if they didn't close the door the dog would be and allow them to say, "I know, I know."  I'd ask multiple times a day if the doors were closed.  If they said no or I don't know I'd make them stop what they were doing and go close the doors.  They needed to be told at least 5 times a day for about 2 months before I could stop and they are NT.  So, I imagine your dd is going to need better and longer scaffolding.  Not punishment.

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10 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Terebith's not wrong. Removing or harming - or threatening to remove or harm - a pet is generally considered a red flag for partner abuse. As I said above, it may be necessary for the animal's welfare, but if it's not, I'd very strongly consider literally any other option.

 

There's a big difference between rehoming an animal who is damaging or destroying property, and getting rid of or killing an animal to hurt, intimidate, or manipulate someone in an abusive situation.    *If* we rehomed the cat (which as I've said I am not planning on doing), it would be because he's repeatedly peeing on the carpet, not because DD isn't keeping her room clean.  Her not picking her clothes up is simply encouraging the problem, and as I don't want to rehome the cat, she needs to not be giving him opportunities to have this problem.

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6 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

@caedmyn,this is sorta off topic, but I have super thick hair, as well.  I just bought thinning shears and watched a couple of YouTube videos to learn how to use them.  Seriously, it changed my life wrt to my hair.   Get a pair now and use them!  They will make her life easier!

I have baby fine hair, but I have thick-haired friends and they all swear by thinning shears. They haaaaate having wet hair for hours or taking forever to dry it with a dryer.

I timed it and my hair went from towel dry to dry as a bone in 1 minute and 37 seconds with the dryer on medium heat and medium blowing power. My thick hair friends were amazed. If I used thinning shears I’d be downright bald, but a lot of thick-haired people love them.

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7 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

@caedmyn,this is sorta off topic, but I have super thick hair, as well.  I just bought thinning shears and watched a couple of YouTube videos to learn how to use them.  Seriously, it changed my life wrt to my hair.   Get a pair now and use them!  They will make her life easier!

She actually just had it thinned as part of a trim.  I'll have to ask her if she notices a difference in washing/drying it.

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My mom used to think that wet hair would make you sick, and I had very long, thickish hair, so every time I washed it I had to sit under the hair dryer for a couple of hours.  It was so boring.  You'd better believe I only washed it once a week.  I literally could not wash it and get my homework all done on the same night.

But, what I have done for quite a few years now is that after I wash my still long hair I clip it back with two short clips, one on each side of my head, so that the wet hair does not cover my ears at all.  (Because I actually do get outer ear infections sometimes that way.)  And I just let it dry naturally.  If I can, I wear a hoodie to support the weight, and then it turns out curlier.  If I am in a hurry I dry the back from underneath with a blow dryer, and then I don't have that wetness 'sink' preventing the rest from drying more naturally.  I like how my hair looks when I do this a lot better than how it looks when I blow dry it all the way, but I do go about my day while it's air drying.  

I wonder whether there is something she could do like this that is kind of a middle path?

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You know, Caedmyn, I often see people ask for help with a child and then, when people suggest reasons for the problem and solutions, go "Well, my child is perfectly capable of doing the thing."

I guess if your child is perfectly capable of keeping her room tidy without a checklist, then there's no problem.

Except... there is a problem, and you're asking for help with it. If she's capable of doing it, why doesn't she do it?  If she's really motivated to keep clean, why isn't the very real consequence of having peed-on clothes doing the trick without you trying to brainstorm another consequence or another carrot?

You are trying to tell us two different things. First, you're saying that you can't get your daughter to pick up her clothes... and then you're saying that she's actually totally able to do this without a checklist or supervision. I don't think that both these statements can possibly be true.

To be clear, I think you think they're true - but I don't see how it's possible that they both are.

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8 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Terebith's not wrong. Removing or harming - or threatening to remove or harm - a pet is generally considered a red flag for partner abuse. As I said above, it may be necessary for the animal's welfare, but if it's not, I'd very strongly consider literally any other option.

This isn’t a partner, it’s a child. It isn’t manipulative or a power play. Having a house dirtied by animals is a red flag for child abuse. Having a child smell like cat urine is a red flag for child abuse. I’ve seen a judge order animals removed because people would not care for them and let their children live in the filth. 

8 hours ago, caedmyn said:

There's a big difference between rehoming an animal who is damaging or destroying property, and getting rid of or killing an animal to hurt, intimidate, or manipulate someone in an abusive situation.    *If* we rehomed the cat (which as I've said I am not planning on doing), it would be because he's repeatedly peeing on the carpet, not because DD isn't keeping her room clean.  Her not picking her clothes up is simply encouraging the problem, and as I don't want to rehome the cat, she needs to not be giving him opportunities to have this problem.

This is not abusive manipulation. It is not horrible to rehome a pet you cannot properly care for. It IS horrible to hoard pets you don’t take care of because you’re filling some sort of psychological need. 

Pets are lovely additions to life if you properly care for them. If that’s beyond a family’s current capacity pets only exacerbate a family’s problems. If pets have equal value to your children in your eyes, or worse if keeping an animal is more important than your children you probably need to get rid of the animals and seek therapy. Animals are not equal to people. They are animals. I know this might seem extreme if you love your pets, but there really are families that don’t care for children or pets and the pets sometimes have to go. 

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7 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

You know, Caedmyn, I often see people ask for help with a child and then, when people suggest reasons for the problem and solutions, go "Well, my child is perfectly capable of doing the thing."

I guess if your child is perfectly capable of keeping her room tidy without a checklist, then there's no problem.

Except... there is a problem, and you're asking for help with it. If she's capable of doing it, why doesn't she do it?  If she's really motivated to keep clean, why isn't the very real consequence of having peed-on clothes doing the trick without you trying to brainstorm another consequence or another carrot?

You are trying to tell us two different things. First, you're saying that you can't get your daughter to pick up her clothes... and then you're saying that she's actually totally able to do this without a checklist or supervision. I don't think that both these statements can possibly be true.

To be clear, I think you think they're true - but I don't see how it's possible that they both are.

That's not quite what I'm saying.  Capability and motivation are two different things.  She's capable of picking up her room but not motivated to do it.  Checklists support ability, but they don't provide motivation.  Supervision can help with both ability and motivation.  I don't always have the bandwidth for consistent intensive supervision, so I need to use consequences and incentives to help provide motivation.  In this case I probably need to try to provide more supervision as well as a consequence or incentive.

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2 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

That's not quite what I'm saying.  Capability and motivation are two different things.  She's capable of picking up her room but not motivated to do it.  Checklists support ability, but they don't provide motivation.  Supervision can help with both ability and motivation.  I don't always have the bandwidth for consistent intensive supervision, so I need to use consequences and incentives to help provide motivation.  In this case I probably need to try to provide more supervision as well as a consequence or incentive.

Yeah, it's certainly the case that I've needed to provide external motivators for kids before. 

Question for you: what DOES motivate her? Are there consequences or rewards that would work? What's your experience with that? 

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26 minutes ago, Katy said:

This isn’t a partner, it’s a child. It isn’t manipulative or a power play. Having a house dirtied by animals is a red flag for child abuse. Having a child smell like cat urine is a red flag for child abuse. I’ve seen a judge order animals removed because people would not care for them and let their children live in the filth. 

This is not abusive manipulation. It is not horrible to rehome a pet you cannot properly care for. It IS horrible to hoard pets you don’t take care of because you’re filling some sort of psychological need. 

Pets are lovely additions to life if you properly care for them. If that’s beyond a family’s current capacity pets only exacerbate a family’s problems. If pets have equal value to your children in your eyes, or worse if keeping an animal is more important than your children you probably need to get rid of the animals and seek therapy. Animals are not equal to people. They are animals. I know this might seem extreme if you love your pets, but there really are families that don’t care for children or pets and the pets sometimes have to go. 

A cat peeing on some clothes 4 times a year isn't a cat not being properly cared for. Threatening to get rid of a cat because it pees on your clothes 4 times a year is manipulation and damaging. I'm not saying OP is doing that but it sounds like the dh would if he knew about the issue. So, I hope the OP can find a solution to this problem. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, it's certainly the case that I've needed to provide external motivators for kids before. 

Question for you: what DOES motivate her? Are there consequences or rewards that would work? What's your experience with that? 

Her tablet motivates her.  And going to friends' houses or events she wants to go to.  I use the tablet as both a consequence (blocking it or a particular app), and an incentive (I'll temporarily unblock an app she wants that I'm not thrilled about when X is done)

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9 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

 

Perhaps it's like that "sticks and stones" adage. It's one thing if you say it to or of yourself to get through a tough situation, but it's quite another when you apply it to somebody else.

If you're saying that you were lazy as a child, and that's your honest assessment of the situation, okay, fine. In my experience, when adults call children other than themselves lazy, that statement smacks of projection - the adults just don't want to be bothered to put in the work to understand the problem and help the child fix it.

Is this always the case? I think it's usually or often the case, and that at any rate, the "laziness" label is not a very helpful or useful one except inasmuch as it gives the parents/teachers an excuse for not trying.

I definitely agree that it could be something other than laziness and if this were my kid I probably wouldn't use the "L" word in any sort of conversation about it.

What makes me cranky is when people make statements that what looks like laziness is never laziness or that the behavior is somehow functional and important in the kid's world.  I honestly think that most of the time this sort of thing really is laziness (it's easier to create entropy than it is to destroy it--is that a natural law?) coupled with the typical teenage lack of executive function.

I don't see how that gives the adults in their lives an excuse for not trying.  

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Just now, caedmyn said:

Her tablet motivates her.  And going to friends' houses or events she wants to go to.  I use the tablet as both a consequence (blocking it or a particular app), and an incentive (I'll temporarily unblock an app she wants that I'm not thrilled about when X is done)

That's quite blunt, though. You'd want a small incentive that works whenever she leaves clothes on the floor, wouldn't you? So it'd have to be something very small you can take away every time, and hopefully something unemotional. 

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35 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

That's not quite what I'm saying.  Capability and motivation are two different things.  She's capable of picking up her room but not motivated to do it.  Checklists support ability, but they don't provide motivation.  Supervision can help with both ability and motivation.  I don't always have the bandwidth for consistent intensive supervision, so I need to use consequences and incentives to help provide motivation.  In this case I probably need to try to provide more supervision as well as a consequence or incentive.

You CAN pair motivation and incentives with checklists. I wrote all about it in my previous post in this thread. You can give incentives (related to things that will motivate your child) related to completing the checklist.

The thing about a checklist is that it removes some of the need for a parent to tell the child verbally what to do, which can become a burden for the parent and an annoyance to the child. Instead, you can say, "please do your checklist," and that encompasses a number of different required activities, without having to name each one.

Sometimes the executive function issue is "task initiation" and a checklist will provide the reminder and structure to help with this. Sometimes the EF issue is attention to detail, and a checklist can help with this. Sometimes the EF issue is "task completion" and a checklist can provide structure for this.

Checklists can be super helpful. If you have not tried one, it's worth it.

You are overburdened. Checklists can remove some of the supervision burden for you, but you do have to take some time to create them and oversee that they are being used. Time spent on that now can pay off with better skills for the child and less supervision needed from you in the long run.

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19 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

That's quite blunt, though. You'd want a small incentive that works whenever she leaves clothes on the floor, wouldn't you? So it'd have to be something very small you can take away every time, and hopefully something unemotional. 

I'm going to try fining her .25 per item of clothing on the floor.  And also requiring her to fold and hang all her clean clothes in the laundry room before she takes them to her room, which will hopefully make it easy for her to actually put her clothes away.  I don't think she likes folding clothes so she leaves the clean ones in the basket and chucks the dirty ones on the floor.  Me telling her to take her clean basket to her room and fold and put them away right away hasn't helped.

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3 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I'm going to try fining her .25 per item of clothing on the floor.  And also requiring her to fold and hang all her clean clothes in the laundry room before she takes them to her room, which will hopefully make it easy for her to actually put her clothes away.  I don't think she likes folding clothes so she leaves the clean ones in the basket and chucks the dirty ones on the floor.  Me telling her to take her clean basket to her room and fold and put them away right away hasn't helped.

I did a 25 cent fine for my 8 year old, so depending on how much money your 15 year old has, that may or may not be enough. 

I'd also be very explicit about what's worth a penalty. Is the problem that things are on the FLOOR or not hung up? Will you be OK if she shoves them on the dresser? I'd also be very specific and unemotional about when this happens. Like "Oh, oops, I see you have clothes on the floor again. Penalty, please. Let me know if you need help brainstorming how to make sure to pick them up."

Edited by Not_a_Number
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9 hours ago, caedmyn said:

There's a big difference between rehoming an animal who is damaging or destroying property, and getting rid of or killing an animal to hurt, intimidate, or manipulate someone in an abusive situation.    *If* we rehomed the cat (which as I've said I am not planning on doing), it would be because he's repeatedly peeing on the carpet, not because DD isn't keeping her room clean.  Her not picking her clothes up is simply encouraging the problem, and as I don't want to rehome the cat, she needs to not be giving him opportunities to have this problem.

Exactly.  I never said you should get rid of the cat to punish her. Cat pee on carpet is a real problem and replacing carpet is not like replacing a blanket.  It is expensive .

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So we have been using two kinds of checklists for DS16, who has major EF issues (ADHD plus ASD).

One checklist is a detailed list of what he needs to do at bedtime and in the morning, with tasks such as brushing teeth, using deodorant, and putting clothes in the hamper. He crosses things off as he goes.

The other is a simple grid of squares with the word "study" in the middle of each, and he gets to cross off a square when he studies with me for tests or does homework. Homework was a giant major horrible battle, and he needed an external motivation. So he gets to check off a square, and when he completes the page, he gets to pick a reward. Sometimes he chose going out to eat at a favorite restaurant. Sometimes he picked buying something from Amazon that he wanted (a piece of clothing or an accessory for his guitar or a necklace).

I cannot tell you how horrible studying with him used to be. He would not sit next to me or let me look at his computer screen or listen when I explained things, and he spent all of the time arguing and insulting me. It was BAD. And he was in danger of failing science and needed my to be able to accept my help.

So the first part of this Study checklist was that he got to cross off a square just for doing the flashcards (I would make his study guides into flashcards to make the material into little chunks), even if he had a bad attitude.

Once he was willing to sit and work with me, we shifted the goal to working with me with a decent attitude (at this stage, the bad attitude would keep him from getting to cross off a square, even if he did the studying).

Now, about a year later, he will study with me with (mostly) a decent attitude and doesn't need the checklist any more. Sometimes he asks to use one, so that he can work toward a reward that he wants, and then we will still use it. We also used it during midterms, since he had to study so much.

I'm sharing this with you to show that checklists CAN WORK.

It took years before I tried checklists with DS, and I wish we had done it way sooner. It's made a giant difference here.

We bought a red clipboard to put DS's personal checklist on, so that it's easy to find in his room, even if he doesn't put it back where it belongs. I tied a pen to the checklist, so that he always has one. I used to have to talk him through every item on his checklist and sometimes he would argue about doing it. Now I can sit on his bed for a few minutes, playing games on my phone, while he does his checklist by himself, and he needs very few verbal comments from me. We have reduced the supervision over time, and now it's easy. Eventually, he will be able to do his checklist without supervision at all (though he is still at a stage where he will skip things, if no one checks, so he's not there yet).

Mornings and bedtimes have been battles for years with DS, because that is the time of day when his ADHD meds are not in effect. So it's not just that he is messy, but he was messy and oppositional and extremely unpleasant and hostile.

If checklists helped him, I'm convinced that they can help people who have some of the same difficulties but fewer developmental issues than he does.

I wish you would give them a try.

Think what a difference it might make if each of your kids eventually could use a checklist, and you didn't have to provide as much EF support for everyone in your household. I want things to be better for you.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

This isn’t a partner, it’s a child. It isn’t manipulative or a power play. Having a house dirtied by animals is a red flag for child abuse. Having a child smell like cat urine is a red flag for child abuse. I’ve seen a judge order animals removed because people would not care for them and let their children live in the filth. 

This is not abusive manipulation. It is not horrible to rehome a pet you cannot properly care for. It IS horrible to hoard pets you don’t take care of because you’re filling some sort of psychological need. 

 

Exactly.  Cat Pee is some disgusting stuff.  I have seen an entire house have to have all the subfloor removed because of the damage and smell.  My parents bought a flip house and they had to have very nice hardwood floors completely stripped because of the animal pee. 
 

I am shocked by how many people are saying it is ‘just carpet’. 
 

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52 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

A cat peeing on some clothes 4 times a year isn't a cat not being properly cared for. Threatening to get rid of a cat because it pees on your clothes 4 times a year is manipulation and damaging. I'm not saying OP is doing that but it sounds like the dh would if he knew about the issue. So, I hope the OP can find a solution to this problem. 

 

But it definitely is damaging to property. 

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14 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I'm going to try fining her .25 per item of clothing on the floor.  And also requiring her to fold and hang all her clean clothes in the laundry room before she takes them to her room, which will hopefully make it easy for her to actually put her clothes away.  I don't think she likes folding clothes so she leaves the clean ones in the basket and chucks the dirty ones on the floor.  Me telling her to take her clean basket to her room and fold and put them away right away hasn't helped.

We've worked with DS16 for YEARS on laundry skills. We for a very long time would sit on his bed while he folded and put away his laundry. Tell him to do it was not enough. He needed us to be a presence in his room, while he did it, to make sure it was completed, and to make sure he didn't stuff the clean clothes back into the dirty hamper or under the bed.

I think that you need to make sure she has the skill before fining her for not doing a task.

Yes, she may be able to fold her laundry and put it away. That's not the skill she needs help with. She needs help with the task initiation and task completion EF skills. Fining her is negative. Think about giving her a positive, instead, every time she does it right. And provide support of some kind (your oversight or a checklist) until she can do it right.

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2 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

I think that you need to make sure she has the skill before fining her for not doing a task.

Yeah, I agree with that. On the other hand, if it's just "clothes shouldn't be on the floor," then she almost certainly has the skill. Like, my 4 year old can make sure to shove her clothes on the couch instead of the floor, and in fact, I've been insisting that she does. 

Can DD4 do something harder with her clothes, like hang them up or figure out where they should go? Obviously not. That's why fines work best with things that are easy and a single step. Things that actually require a new skill don't work like that. 

But when the issue is just lack of motivation, small consistent penalties can do wonders and are only usually needed for a little bit before the habit is formed, anyway. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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4 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Think about giving her a positive, instead, every time she does it right.

We tried that here and it simply didn't work as well, because I couldn't actually GIVE them something meaningful every time they did it. I could praise them, or I could give them a sticker or something, but at the end of the day, it didn't help very much, because the point was NOT to do something and not to do it sometimes. 

The point was to form a habit. The easiest way to form a habit (maybe the only way to form a habit) was to actually do it every_single_time. Otherwise, you can take a long time bouncing around and forgetting, since it never becomes an automatic, muscle memory thing. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

We tried that here and it simply didn't work as well, because I couldn't actually GIVE them something meaningful every time they did it. I could praise them, or I could give them a sticker or something, but at the end of the day, it didn't help very much, because the point was NOT to do something and not to do it sometimes. 

The point was to form a habit. The easiest way to form a habit (maybe the only way to form a habit) was to actually do it every_single_time. Otherwise, you can take a long time bouncing around and forgetting, since it never becomes an automatic, muscle memory thing. 

In the OP's case, the meaningful thing that could happen every time is getting to have the cat in her room.

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Just now, Storygirl said:

In the OP's case, the meaningful thing that could happen every time is getting to have the cat in her room.

No, that's too rare, I think. Especially with little kids and EF issues, that takes too much planning and requires too much thought. Like, she'd have to remember to pick up her room herself, whereas with an immediate penalty, you could catch her quite quickly and have her pick things up. 

I'm very behaviorist about this stuff, because it's good for ALL of us for me not to get frustrated about easy things like these. And behaviorally, it's good to have immediate consequences that follow an action as a reminder. And it's good for those consequences to be as unemotional as possible, so that the consequence gets associated with the action and not with anger. 

These are obviously bandaid solutions and they don't solve the overall issues of executive functioning and learning to manage one's own space. On the other hand, getting habits like "always put away your clothes" is actually pretty helpful. I know, because I totally didn't have this habit as a teen and had to work on it, and it was a pain. 

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

No, that's too rare, I think. Especially with little kids and EF issues, that takes too much planning and requires too much thought. Like, she'd have to remember to pick up her room herself, whereas with an immediate penalty, you could catch her quite quickly and have her pick things up. 

I'm very behaviorist about this stuff, because it's good for ALL of us for me not to get frustrated about easy things like these. And behaviorally, it's good to have immediate consequences that follow an action as a reminder. And it's good for those consequences to be as unemotional as possible, so that the consequence gets associated with the action and not with anger. 

These are obviously bandaid solutions and they don't solve the overall issues of executive functioning and learning to manage one's own space. On the other hand, getting habits like "always put away your clothes" is actually pretty helpful. I know, because I totally didn't have this habit as a teen and had to work on it, and it was a pain. 

She would need to have small goals and check-ins to achieve the main daily goal of having the cat in the room.

I agree that just saying "keep your room clean, so that you can have the cat," is not enough structure.

But I think something positive, like a checklist that would earn her a reward for completing is a better choice than something negative like a fine for not doing something.

It depends upon the individual, though. My son can be motivated to earn rewards, but having consequences does not ever make him do it better the next time.

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7 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

But I think something positive, like a checklist that would earn her a reward for completing is a better choice than something negative like a fine for not doing something.

It depends upon the individual, though. My son can be motivated to earn rewards, but having consequences does not ever make him do it better the next time.

I think the better choice is whatever works! For us, small unemotional consequences have worked better than anything else I can devise. For you, it sounds like that wouldn't work. I think the key is to experiment and figure out how a kid's brain works, then to use it. 

I have two kids, both of whom are still little. When she was in preschool, DD8 could ALWAYS be motivated by counting. If I said "I bet you won't do it before I count to 10," she'd do it immediately.

Then we had DD4. If we start counting, she yells at us to stop counting and gets angrier! But... she's incredibly susceptible to reverse psychology. If I say "I bet you can't do it! 4 year olds don't know how to do that! They never do it!" then she does whatever she's supposed to happily. 

These are all parenting hacks, lol. But they help keep the peace in my house... 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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Caedmyn, where do you get the impression that your daughter is consistently able to keep her room tidy without checklists (something that, you know, doctors and pilots use, so it's hardly a terrible thing) and direct supervision?

Because it doesn't sound like this is something she can do or, again, she'd be doing it.

I know that it might seem like somebody who can clean up a really very messy room must, therefore, be capable of simply tidying it nightly - but honestly? The two things have very little to do with each other.

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2 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Because it doesn't sound like this is something she can do or, again, she'd be doing it.

Like @EKS, I'll say that this was something I didn't do but absolutely COULD do 😛 . 

You may be right that this child can't do it; I can't comment on that. But I don't think every teen that doesn't clean their room is incapable of it. 

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

But it definitely is damaging to property. 

Yes, pets damage property some times. No one should get an animal if they are concerned about possible damage to property. That is something you consider before getting the animal not after.

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1 minute ago, hjffkj said:

Yes, pets damage property some times. No one should get an animal if they are concerned about possible damage to property. That is something you consider before getting the animal not after.

Peeing on clothing and carpet is not in the normal realm of pet wear and tear.  
 

We will just have to disagree on this.  OP isn’t getting rid of the cat so for this discussion to doesn’t matter any way.  
 

I doubt I am the only person who would get rid (or make it an outside pet) of a cat that pees on the carpet and clothing.  

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

Peeing on clothing and carpet is not in the normal realm of pet wear and tear.  
We will just have to disagree on this.  OP isn’t getting rid of the cat so for this discussion to doesn’t matter any way.  
I doubt I am the only person who would get rid (or make it an outside pet) of a cat that pees on the carpet and clothing.  

You're not, which is why animal shelters are overflowing and 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.

Too many people have unrealistic expectations of perfection for their pets, and the animals are the ones who pay the price.

Edited by Selkie
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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

Peeing on clothing and carpet is not in the normal realm of pet wear and tear.  
 

We will just have to disagree on this.  OP isn’t getting rid of the cat so for this discussion to doesn’t matter any way.  
 

I doubt I am the only person who would get rid (or make it an outside pet) of a cat that pees on the carpet and clothing.  

Peeing on the carpet and clothing is actually a pretty common issue with many cats.  And for many cats the problem can be solved without needing to be rehomed.  I stand by my statement that these are issues that need to be considered prior to owning an animal.  And if after you own an animal, a common issue like peeing outside of the litter box  arises you work your ass off to fix the problem, which isn't rehoming the cat. 

For the OP, it seems the simplest solution to this problem is enforce not allowing the cat in that room.  There, problem solved.  If the dd doesn't follow that rule then that is a dd problem not a cat problem.

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21 hours ago, caedmyn said:

I have spent quite a bit of time trying to give her tools.  She generally chooses not to use them, so yes, at that point it becomes a motivation issue and consequences or incentives are the only way I know of to motivate, since talking is generally ineffective as a motivator with my kids.  This is a kid who would probably shower twice a month if I didn't tell her (about once a week, after reminding her a few times to shower) that her tablet will be blocked til she takes a shower.  This is a kid who's had a red crusty thing going on around her eyes for a good year and just will not consistently do what both the doctors we've seen for it recommend, which is put antibiotic ointment on 2x/day.  I have tried reminders, motivators, asking her what she can do to help herself remember, suggestions when she can't/won't come up with anything, etc.  At some point she just has to want to, and I'm not willing to have my carpet ruined while I wait for her to develop that on her own.

Sorry, but this issue is a parenting fail.   Your daughter is a minor who has demonstrated that she is not ready to be responsible for medical self-care.  (Entirely normal for a teen, by the way.)   

Set twice daily alarms on your phone to remind YOU that the ointment needs to be applied.  Do NOT tell her to apply the ointment and expect her to comply.  Either you apply the ointment or you stand over her while she applies it.  Yes, this will be an inconvenience for you.  No, your daughter won't like it.  Too bad.  Preserving her eyesight is a battle worth fighting.  

Since you don't seem to like anyone else's suggestions regarding the clothing on the floor issue, here is an extreme one - remove all clothing from your daughter's room.  Put it in your closet or a closet elsewhere in the house.  Give her a new set of clothing each morning in exchange for a dirty set.  Personally, I think this is extreme and not warranted in the situation you describe.  But you may feel differently.  

The not showering regularly would bother me a lot more than clothes on the floor.  If this is a change change from previous behavior, depression could be a factor.  If she has always been this way, my response to not remembering to shower regularly is that my 15 year old is required to shower every school day.  No need to think about when he last showered. If it is a school day he takes a shower before putting on his uniform.   If it isn't a school day and I can smell him, I send him to the shower.   No food, no screens, nothing else until he showers and changes clothing.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have to admit I'm a little confused by the implications that if a kid was capable of doing something, they would. Similar to the OP, I have an annoying but not really a problem example.  I have a child who has fought over taking gummy vitamins several days a week for years.  This kid has no problems chewing, has tried many varieties of gummies and other chewables (and refuses to swallow a pill), and has been able to choose their preferred type.  They take a multivitamin that looks and tastes like gumdrops and a mineral supplement that looks and tastes like starburst candies.  There is no reasonable purpose in fighting this, an yet here were are. 

I have tried checklists, so that I'm not involved in reminding.  Kid hates checklists and will ignore them, even if the vitamins are taken.  I have tried pill boxes or putting the day's gummies into a bowl or baggie at kiddo's place at the table so that I can see if they are taken without mentioning it.  Kid will then sometimes take them from the bottle, leaving the ones in the pillbox and then get mad if I say 'Oh, you need to take your vitamins'.  I have tried directly reminding, but it's never at the time that they want to do it - I can choose a 'do it now' approach but then there must be a consequence, because this kid doesn't usually work with reminders, at least for things they don't want to do.  I have tried putting the bottles at kid's spot.  The only thing that has worked is for us to refuse to leave the house or allow screens unless they are taken.  If kid misses a zoom class or chat, or a sports practice, so be it.  But, we have to remember and enforce it every time.  Between us, spouse and I probably put in at least 3 hours a week towards ensuring that vitamins are taken.  It's mostly a power struggle for the sake of a power struggle.  It started for reasons, but at this point everybody in the family is taking vitamins as a 'help not get covid' preventative.  There are always reasons - kid doesn't want to take vitamins, kid puts it off until right before we go and then doesn't have time and doesn't want to chew them in the car, kid can't chew a vitamin while putting on shoes, doesn't want to take them too soon before or after eating because it makes them or the food taste weird...

I don't know what's going on with OP's kid.  My kid isn't always like this, and isn't like this about everything.  But, it's completely believable to me that a kid just won't do something that they are capable of doing just because they don't want to, even though they know they should.  That's the case for adults, too...otherwise we'd all live in tidy houses and exercise a lot, or at least I would.  

And, just as a minor note about the above post...I'm guessing that the ointment has nothing to do with preserving eyesight.  I've known a number of people to have a red, crusty eyelash thing.  It was a benign infection that's unsightly and possibly uncomfortable but not actually dangerous.  My kid had a bout with it and it took years to get it gone permanently because the germs passed back and forth between that and elsewhere due to some eczema-related skin issues.  The doctors were happy to treat it but were never concerned about it.

Edited by Clemsondana
think and thing don't mean the same thing...
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1 hour ago, hjffkj said:

Peeing on the carpet and clothing is actually a pretty common issue with many cats.  And for many cats the problem can be solved without needing to be rehomed.  I stand by my statement that these are issues that need to be considered prior to owning an animal.  And if after you own an animal, a common issue like peeing outside of the litter box  arises you work your ass off to fix the problem, which isn't rehoming the cat. 

For the OP, it seems the simplest solution to this problem is enforce not allowing the cat in that room.  There, problem solved.  If the dd doesn't follow that rule then that is a dd problem not a cat problem.

Well true, but they don’t let you rehome kids 😉

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52 minutes ago, Clemsondana said:

I have to admit I'm a little confused by the implications that if a kid was capable of doing something, they would. 

Yeah, I don't think that's true at all. 

A truer statement is that kids (and adults!) generally have a REASON for doing (or not doing) what they are doing. There are many possible issues: 

 

a) It can be an executive functioning issue, 

b) It can have become a power struggle with a parent, 

c) It can be something they don't care about much themselves, 

d) It can be something they kind of care about, but it's low on their list of priorities, and their energy gets used up on other stuff. 

 

The way one would tackle these issues is different depending on the underlying cause. Which is why finding the underlying cause is so helpful (and why so many people have suggested evaluations/medication.) 

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41 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

I don’t want to speak more about the ds leaving clothes on the floor, because I don’t think my advice was the most helpful or wise, anyway. 
 

I just want to point out, on the topic of animals peeing on carpets, that when animals age it is often the case that there will be vomiting, runny poop, and pee on the floor in your future. I’m only saying to strongly consider this before getting little Susie that cute puppy she’s been begging for. If the timing is bad, you could have an elderly parent declining while your pet develops kidney failure in old age. This sounds really doom and gloom, but it is reality. It’s mot cheap to care for an aging pet sometimes. And you don’t just get rid of them or put them outside when they are sick. 
 

I’ve personally had many such pets like this. We put carpet down when we built our house. It was down through elderly pets  AND sick babies vomiting, pooping, and peeing both accidentally and intentionally. The intentional offender was my cute toddler who just said he just felt like peeing in the corner one day. (Have you seen the commercial of the grown man standing there peeing in the corner of his living room and his wife walks by and catches him? It advertises Feliway for cats, actually. I sent a clip of it to my now grown ds with a smirk face emoji and we laughed). Carpet eventually gets nasty no matter what you do. When it needed to be replaced, we put down hard floors. I had to convince dh because he wanted carpet again. I knew that we would be a pet-owning household forever, so this was SO much better. Heaven, actually.
 

So a few things I have learned in life:

(1) Know what you are getting into before you get a pet. 
 

(2) I have decided having hard floors for pets (and life in general) is much better than carpet. 
 

(3) Pets aren’t disposable. And they can be expensive and cause damage. 99 percent of the time there is a workable solution. Sometimes there isn’t, as in when they are really sick and need much constant care in their last few months of life. I’ve owned lots of pets and the end of life stage has most always been demanding, sad, expensive, and messy. 
 

I just recommend not getting a pet unless you are prepared and committed to these things. There is nothing wrong with not getting a pet. But if you do, you should know and understand all the facts and be ready to take care of it, through good times and bad.

 

 

 

I have had two dogs that were very important to me and I cared for them until the very end which included much expense, heartbreak and hard physical work. 
I have had my animals damage things and destroy things.  But if I had a cat who peed on the carpet that cat would no longer have access to that....and if I had a child who refused to aid in that  that cat would no longer live at my house.  Period.  

That doesn't make me an uncaring pet owner or abusive parent.  

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6 hours ago, caedmyn said:

I'm going to try fining her .25 per item of clothing on the floor.  And also requiring her to fold and hang all her clean clothes in the laundry room before she takes them to her room, which will hopefully make it easy for her to actually put her clothes away.  I don't think she likes folding clothes so she leaves the clean ones in the basket and chucks the dirty ones on the floor.  Me telling her to take her clean basket to her room and fold and put them away right away hasn't helped.

For me, the time and effort it would take to count the number of clothes she left on the floor and consistently fine her for it would not be worth the trouble. It would be much easier for me to just go into her room every day and pick up the clothes myself. Problem solved!

Also I wouldn't waste effort making her put her clothes away. Let her keep the clean clothes in the laundry basket. Many adults I know do just that. Who has time to fold clothes anyway?

If you simply put a laundry basket in her room for the dirty clothes would she put them in the basket?

 

Susan in TX

 

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