Teenage Girl refuses to put away laundry

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lisa Marie, Oct 30, 2016.


Do you think I'm being too tough on her by taking away her cell phone until she puts away her laundr

  1. Yes. Give her back her phone and let the clean clothes stay in the laundry basket

    0 vote(s)
  2. No. Stick to your rule. Keep her phone until her clothes are put away.

    2 vote(s)
  1. Lisa Marie

    Lisa Marie New Member

    I'm raising my 14 yr old granddaughter. She is expected to put away her folded laundry but recently has said she can't do it because she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She claims there's not enough room in her drawers to fit any more clothing. She refuses to go through her clothing and hang up clothes that can't fit in her drawer. She refuses to let me put her clothes away. So her clothes stay in the laundry basket folded and her cell phone stays with me until her clothes are put away. Do you think I'm being too tough on her?
  2. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Well, you laid down the law...it would be hard to go back on it now.

    Sometimes, I would go in to my teens room, and empty a shelf, then as we put each item back, neatly and with like items, we would have a donate box and get rid of things she no longer liked or wore. It made her life easier not to be overwhelmed with stuff. Once we did that, we knew what items she needed to purchase. JEans and leggings. She got rid of the shabby leggings and jeans that didn't fit. So...she got a couple pair of jeans out of the deal.

    I wouldn't mind a basket of clean clothes, as much as I mind all the dirty clothes strewn on the floor, or dirty and clean mixed together. If you need the laundry basket, take things out of it and place on a chair or an out of the way spot.

    I guess since the line has been drawn...hold the phone...I bet she will give in soon.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that is probably why she wont/cant do this and feel comfortable. I would look into professional help. If she is basically a good girl, I would assume it is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  4. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Well, I think we need more information.

    You have to pick your battles. Is this the hill you want to die on?

    Is she doing her own laundry? If you're doing her laundry, this is one task that I would definitely have her take over from now on.

    This is one duty that I assigned to my two when they were 11 and 12 years old. I think it was precipitated by some event that I can't remember now. I was fed up about something, and ever since then they did their own laundry.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I stopped folding laundry for Miss KT when she was about 11 or 12, because I discovered that instead of putting away the things I had folded and set on the bed, she had just pushed them off onto the floor. Alrighty then. It magically became her problem, just like that.
  6. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    mine would live out of the basket! dirty clothes went on the floor . at the end of the week when i would ask for dirty hamper he would pick up the dirty clothes and just dump into the hamper. I would find items at bottom of basket that were clean and folded , with the dirty clothes on top! ARGH! keep the phone! win the battle or it just gets worse because they think you will cave on other things as well. sets a bad precedent if you give in.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I would keep the phone for now. I would also work with her to find a compromise that you can both live with. Maybe going through the old clothes slowly to weed them out and then working the new ones in. Maybe giving her a box or two for the old clothes so they can be stored somewhere and the new ones can be put away. Maybe hang up most of her clothing if that is possible given closet space. One of my cousins has a daughter who used to completely freak out over any new clothing. This started before the child was 2, so it wasn't a teen suddenly balking at a chore. She literally just couldn't cope with the idea of new clothing. Her mom would buy clothes a season or two ahead and then put them in her drawers for a couple of months before even trying to put them on her. Having seen them for some time, they were less upsetting to her. Getting rid of old clothing was a LOT harder. The girl would suddenly focus on some old shirt or pants and and completely lose it if they were not there. Even when the clothing literally wouldn't go on her, having the clothing taken away was a huge problem. After a couple of years of this, I suggested using the favorite old clothes to make a quilt. It just seemed to me like the old clothes were a security blanket of sorts and I suggested a "work in progress" type of quilt. The grandma of the little girl would cut the clothing into large squares and sewed them into another row on the quilt. Even the backing, when it was large enough for that, was put on piecemeal so the clothes didn't just disappear. They never even left the house or the girl's room unless it was to be washed or sewn on, and it helped her cope.

    I think that you could work together with your granddaughter to figure out a solution that you both could live with. Maybe a t-shirt quilt from the favorite old shirts, or just storing them until she can cope with letting them go. Or some new storage arrangement for the current clothing. An incentive or reward for parting with old things (maybe take nice items to a consignment store so she can sell or trade them - the nicer care you take of your clothes, the more they give you for them, so it provides incentive to take care of them).

    Does she have any idea of how much work goes into laundry? At age 12, my older brother took over the family laundry. It usually took an entire Saturday or Sunday. He did a very good job. Our mom was in grad school and we all had chores like that. I did all the dishes every day (I was 10.). Once you know how much work goes into the chore, you may be less likely to disrespect someone else's hard work. So maybe you could do the laundry together for a week or two, so she sees all the steps, and then she could take over her own laundry or all the laundry. Or at least she would see how much work it is, and if she disrespects you then (which seems to be part of the issue), you could tackle that side of the problem.

    I think it is very good that you took the phone away. NOT because laundry was EVER that big of an issue for me as a mom, but because you followed through on the consequences. Kids NEED that, even if they don't want it. It is the least fun part of parenting, but one of the more important parts.
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    So, she put away her laundry until very recently...

    So what has changed?

    I suspect it is laziness and just not wanting to do the hard work of going through her drawers and getting rid of things she no longer wants, or making the decisions about what to throw out. Or maybe it is so much trouble to try and stuff more clothes into drawers that are already stuffed, that she has given up. She wants the baskets to contain the stuff she wears, while the drawers are full of stuff she doesn't wear.

    I wouldn't let her get away with using Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an excuse to not put her clothes away. If that is really the problem, the solution is to go through things and only keep what she wears and likes. I can't stand the thought of stuffed drawers full of things I don't wear. It would drive me crazy. I got through my drawers regularly, and my daughter and I go through hers, so we know what is in them, and we wear all of the clothes we keep.

    Maybe go through them together in preparation for the upcoming holiday, when she will probably get some clothing as gifts?

    The important thing is that she not be allowed to shirk a responsibility just because it is hard or uncomfortable. Meet it head on and tackle it together, then do something fun together after you are done, like pizza and a movie.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) it's not an excuse. Mental illness is real. If she did it up until now, to me it more indicates an illness. I'd at least take her for an evaluation before being sure is just not complying.

    Mental illness is no fun and as one who lives with it, it is frustrating and sad when nobody believes it's true and punishes us for it. I got that all the time as a kid...dont assume until you check.
  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    In my mind, her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) would manifest itself in being overwhelmed by the clutter and disorganization, and would cause her to shut down and not want to even try to put her clothes away. That is why I said to not let her give in to the disorganization and give up entirely, but work together to get a handle on the mess.

    That may only be my interpretation of things, though.

    I can't think of any other reason why keeping clothing in the laundry basket would be preferable to her, other than being paralyzed by disorganization (and not knowing what to do about it) or just being too lazy to do the work of straightening/organizing the drawers.
  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I could be totally off the mark in my interpretation of how Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) presents, though.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My Son had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It doesn't follow one pattern or make sense. Rather than guessing in my opinion it's best to see a doctor. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does not necessarily mean overly neat. An example of this is that hoarding is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) disorder. Always best to see an expert as none of us are....this is the best way to know.
  13. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    That is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If she says there isn't enough room and doesn't want you putting her clothes away, ask her how you can help her be better organized and maximize her space.