Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Laundry Logic

MS was entering 8th grade. Certain items of clothing were favorites and if they were in the wash when he wanted to wear them loud complaining and criticism could be expected. MS had parents who realized their son had come to think of home as a "hotel" and his parents as "room service." The solution: Waiting until a time when all laundry was clean and MS was in a good mood, Mom lead with empathy ( "I know your clothes aren't always clean when you want to wear them. That's tough!"). She had purchased MS his own laundry basket and explained he was old enough to be in charge of his own laundry. That way he wouldn't have to wait for anyone else in the family. She taught him how to do it and left writtien instructions near the washer in case he had questions. In the months ahead he often had questions... and small disasters like the time his red t-shirt turned all his underwear pink. Lots of teaching and learning occurred.

From that day on he did his own. He complained now and then and his parents responded with empathy but held to the plan. There were days he wore clothes off the dirty pile and there were days he slipped a pair of damp pants on because they had not dried in time. His parents chose to ignore the huge mound of laundry that sometimes piled up before he got his laundry done. It was his problem.

The family decided the same policy would work for all the kids as soon as they turned 13. (Though the Mom in this family thinks they could have started at 10.)

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