“My Daughters, the Hoarders”
Wet towels on the floor, candy wrappers stuffed in drawers, trash creeping into the hallway—it was time to lay down the law.
Does anyone else suffer with a child with ADHD who hoards food, drinks, wet towels, and other nastiness in their bedroom?
I have two girls who hoard enough food in their bedrooms to feed a family of eight, enough wrappers, trash, and clothes tags to fill a kitchen trashcan. Now that I am able to breathe without an allergy attack from the dust, I must share how wrong I was to allow them to keep their rooms the way they wanted.
I kept telling myself for the past few months, “Let them have a messy room. It’s their room, right? They do their laundry, dishes, and help with the dog.” Well, maybe it is right to a point, until it becomes gross and trash creeps into the hallway.
They have clean sheets, clean clothes, properly working lights, and so on. I tried to stop nagging them about their messy rooms and the wet towels on the floor, in an effort to pick other battles instead. That was a stupid idea.
Eleven large trash bags, two vacuum cleaner canister dumps, and one bottle of bleach later, their bedrooms rooms are immaculate — and, guess what? The girls helped. They spent 45 minutes cleaning with me, followed by a 20-minute break. Then we cleaned for another 45 minutes and took a 20-minute break until the room was clean.
ADHD or not, the hoarding of food has to stop. I know it is more common in girls, especially those with ADHD, to sneak food in their rooms. I did the same thing as a teen: I hid in my closet with cookie dough or a bag of Cheetos. Food gives comfort to many kids and is a distraction. Many times, food is stimulation for my daughters, to help them focus.
But starting today:
- No food is allowed anywhere but in the kitchen.
- Immediately after school, all cell phones stay with me until my daughters’ homework is done and their room is clean.
- If they do not comply or I find wrappers, food, candy, and so on, I confiscate their phone for the night.