Discussion: difficult children - Setting Boundaries vs Accomodations

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Bunny had mentioned in another thread that she was being advised to make accomodations for her difficult child...

    so as not to hi-jack - I was hoping to discuss this further here.

    One of the things that I struggle with is when to set a boundary and when we should be making accomodations for difficult child. In so many ways, we already accomodate her a lot without even thinking about it any more - but I wonder if that is really healthy?

    I know that in order to avoid "enabling" we are not supposed to do anything for a difficult child that they can do for themselves. OK - that makes sense.

    But at what point are we allowed to nag them to actually do that stuff of which they are capable, but are not currently doing? Case in point - messy bedroom. It makes sense to allow a child to have a space of their own to keep as they see fit - So we ignore the clutter in a child's room. BUT, what happens when the child's space begins to negatively impact the rest of the house? Am I allowed to order a child to get food out of the bedroom? how about moldy towels? what about a problem with bugs? what if the bedroom smells bad? Do I allow a child to live this way in order to accomodate her need to be left alone about her bedroom? Or do I need to set a boundary about respecting the house?

    When does a parent sit back and let a child figure it out - wait for a child to do for themselves....and when does a parent need to step in? Where is the line?

    What are your thoughts on this?

    What issues do you struggle with in your house?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think you have every right to put boundaries in place when it comes to her BR- it's still your house. Now where to set that boundary, I don't know. Maybe saying she has to keep dirty dishes out- IOW, if she eats in her room, she has to take those dishes to the kitchen sink prior to going to bed that night, then tell her you'll be checking her BR every Sat. afternoon to see that nothing is on the floor that shouldn't be and furniture is cleaned off, and she can decide if she wants to do a little each night or clean it ea Sat. morning. Shoot, even Department of Juvenile Justice and the military require that.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    That's my feeling, too - that it is a pretty minimal and reasonable expectation.

    However, some tdocs have expressed that this is parents being "controlling and overbearing"...
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd say messy conditions are one thing, unsanitary conditions (such as food) are quite another. I had a messy messy room as a kid, drove my parents nuts, but food was not allowed outside of specific rooms in the first place, so dishes and whatnot in my room weren't an issue.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Those tdocs haven't raised a teen difficult child, have they?
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We have had so many problems with food and drink that... If it's in the kitchen, dining room, or on the deck outside, fine. If not, you're grounded.

    But why do husband and I have a fridge? Why are WE allowed?

    We pay for the food, electricity to cook and chill it, and the mortgage. OUR HOME.

    Messy is one thing. Infection waiting to happen is another.

    We had to tear the carpet out of Jett's room, and will likely have to do the same to Onyxx's (but that's actually not her fault, husband is a slob where coffee is concerned and that used to be our room). I used to refuse to go into Onyxx's room without gloves and shoes (not sandals)... Even when "clean". Now, it's just messy, and I can live with that.

    YOU pay the mortgage/rent. It is also a SAFETY issue.

    husband and I were discussing, when Jett hits 18/out of school, finding him a cheap studio apartment to rent and paying the rent for him - so he can learn to do FOR HIMSELF - because he's dang good at acting like he is incapable.
  7. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    To use your example of a messy bedroom- my boundaries are no food, towels and clothes off the floor and clean up on Saturday. The accomodation to GO WITH the boundary is that my difficult child needs prompts to maintain my boundary, he does not independently do these things. Yes, he can physically pick up a towel, but for whatever reason/disability issue we want to claim he does not do so without reminders. So my BOUNDARY is pick up towels, clothes, no food, clean-up on Saturday. My ACCOMODATION is to verbally prompt him each time. I spent a lot of time when my difficult child was younger believing he should understand/comply with my directives without prompts etc, but he has shown me that he is not functioning at that level yet.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think, if the difficult child is capable and you are up for the fight then you go for it. You do a child no favors by providing unnecessary accommodations. That usually means Duckie doesn't use the mildew spray in the shower or carry in groceries in extremely cold weather due to her asthma. Eventually, I suppose, she'll need to use a mask to do those things if they bother her as an adult.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    My kids know... Untidy? their problem. Unsanitary? Mom gets to clean up the room.
    Trust me. They do NOT want me cleaning up their rooms.
    Just the threat of having to do that... keeps a lid on the mess.

    So... no stinky laundry on the floor, no food, no dirty dishes, no wet anything... and no "off" odours.
    It's amazing how messy they can be without crossing THAT boundary!
  10. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member


    I like Thomas Gordon's take on limits and boundaries - kids needs limits and boundaries , the question is how we go about setting them - in a unilateral way or collaborating with kids.

    We also have to ask ourselves are we helping kids to learn to set limits for themselves

    accomodations or addressing a kids concerns when setting a boundary means we are being responsive to their needs

  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Unfortunately, that was a good threat with Onyxx, but not so much with Jett. It just means he doesn't HAVE to do it!

    Last time, I made him help. And he was VERY resistant. Even when I threatened to throw everything away.
  12. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I think that there is a difference between setting boundaries and making accomodations. My mom never allowed a messy bedroom. Come to think of it, I think that they were difficult children in adult form! LOL!! I don't get crazy is their bedrooms are messy. difficult child's room is quite messy, but it's really alot better than it used to be. I don't allow them to leave dirty clothes on the floor. I will let them eat snacks in their room, but the dishes and water bottles need to come back downstairs when they are finished with with.

    difficult child used to sleep on the floor in his room so his floor had to be reasonably neat so that he could lay down. Now that we finally got him back into his bed it's still pretty neat, so I haven't made a big deal out of his room.

    husband actually just finished a huge clean up in easy child's room. I couldn't even walk in there and I had to constantly step over everything to get in there. I told husband that either I was going to do, which would means me throwing everything on the floor in the garbage, or husband could do it because he doesn;t throw anything away. Actually, it looks really good, but we told him that if he doesn't keep it looking nice then Mom is going to go in there with garbage bags.

    If their rooms are becoming messy to the point that you have health concerns, like bugs or mold, then you need to step in. You can't allow your house to be endangered because a difficult child refuses to clean up so that their space can be liveable.
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    It sounds for the most part like the parents on this board share my views - it is reasonable to expect a bedroom to be kept in a sanitary condition (a little clutter is OK) and if a child needs prompting and reminders, that's OK, too.

    I guess the fact that I even had to ask goes to show how far off the rails some of this "professional therapy" has taken us. EVERYTHING must revolve around the child and their wants and their emotional needs. If they want to keep dirty plates in their bedroom - hey, that's their business and Mom and Dad need to respect their privacy. After they have received enough consideration and respect, they will be motivated to bring all the dirty plates back to the kitchen on their own.
  14. idohope

    idohope Member

    I think it also depends on the difficult child issues and priorities. When physical safety of difficult child and family members was looming issue, the room was not a concern. When physical safety and academics are somewhat under control I try to address difficult children room. With a diagonosis of anxiety and some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/hoarding tendencies I am sure that difficult child can not manage her room the way her siblings do. So I could go in an throw everything out but it will just go back to where it is and may increase her anxiety and make her hold on to everything even more. So it takes baby steps. No new clothes go in until a piece of clothing that does not fit anymore goes out. I put that rule in place a couple of years ago. She would not let go of clothes even if she could not wear them anymore. Then she would but she had to know the person that I was handing them down to. Now she will just give me clothes that dont fit. So I feel that I accomodate her but that I am not enabling her. I am actively working on building the skills that she is lacking. With the room example the accomodate/enable line is pretty clear to me. I struggle in other areas to make sure that I am accomodating without enabling. But I work on this with difficult children therapist in sessions with just me and the therapist.

    Having said this I also draw a line at unsanitary conditions and at that point you need to step in. And I have had to address unsanitary conditions in difficult children room by removing things and having the no food any bedroom rule.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Jett is supposed to keep his room organized - reasonably, I'm not that uptight. But... It's starting to get toward where I am not happy. I'm about to go in there with garbage bags, too...
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Yes, I think "reasonably" should be the key. No - parents shouldn't be dictating every little thing...

    but come on - I shouldn't need to wear a haz-mat suit to walk into the bedroom!
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Swear on all that's holy your difficult child and Onyxx are twins.
  20. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, you are being totally reasonable. It's your house and you want it kept up a certain way.