I’ve been doing an experiment. On my kid.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s really fascinating actually.

We dedicated last Saturday to reorganizing a few rooms in the house. We went through & cleaned out closets, drawers, shelves – everything to purge what we dont want/use/need and doesnt fit anymore in an effort to …. simplify!

Brian & I were getting a lot accomplished with our stuff and I had already asked Taylor 5 or more times to pick up her clothes when I made a final request. In the most apathetic way possible for a five year old, she looked at me over her shoulder while seated propped up against her little chair and said, “I don’t want to clean it up.”

Immediately I thought I was being punished for something I must have done at the age of … say 15, because she sounded just like a 15 year old and I can remember feeling the way she sounded – but only in my head. I would’ve never said it to my mom.

What?” is all I could get out.

“I’m not gonna clean my room.”

Big swallow. Now what? I could yell but that wouldn’t actually accomplish anything or move us closer to the goal. So here’s what came out, because there was no time to delay or consult Brian: “Okay. If you don’t pick up your clothes and put them away, I will take them away and leave you two outfits. And then you’ll learn to take care of your things. Because there won’t be much to take care of.”

She thought a moment and then came what I was hoping wouldn’t: “I’m not doing it.”

“Alright then.” I promptly stepped over her and went into her closet. I chose a dress, a pair of capris & one shirt. I moved them to the edge of the closet, took a deep breath and smooshed the rest of her wardrobe together, lifting it off the hanging rod. And that was it. I walked out with it and laid it all down on our bed. Brian looked at me and asked, “Where is that gonna go?” “Here” I said. “Until Tuesday. And then, she can have it back. Maybe.”

Both our girls are dramatic, but Tay will dig her heels in and yell – she can be seriously difficult to deal with. But she didn’t do that on Saturday. The most curious thing happened after I walked out of her room; she sat there for nearly 15 minutes and stared into her closet. (I would give money to know what she was thinking. I have some ideas, but I digress.) Then she got up, dressed herself in one of the two outfits I left her, brushed her teeth & her hair and asked me for some perfume. She was all smiles. Complete attitude change. And, she cleaned the rest of her room.

So I’ve stuck to this little experiment. Today is day 5 and I plan to give her clothes back to her this afternoon. It has been very interesting. She has not argued or questioned one time what to wear or if she can have her stuff back. And it may be a figment of my imagination, but I think she’s actually been happier. And more creative. You should see the pictures this child is drawing the past few days! Incredible! I know…this is a really scientific experiment.

So….maybe less is more. Fewer choices, Fewer problems? In a five year olds closet anyway. Mine is a whole other can of worms.


~ by hthr on July 25, 2007.

5 Responses to “I’ve been doing an experiment. On my kid.”

  1. It’s like the great philosopher Notorious B.I.G. once said… “Mo money… mo problems.”

    Makes sense to me.

  2. VERY interesting! Once her clothes are returned, I’d love to hear how she responds next time you tell her to clean her room.

  3. Hey hunny have you seen my…

    Uh oh?!?

  4. I don’t know….you might check ebay?

  5. i just ran across this quote and thought of this post…
    The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously. -Henry Kissinger

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