Daughter won’t let go of literal garbage…

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    • #192993

      My 10-yr old daughter with ADHD is usually a pretty happy-go-lucky person who has so far been able to cope with change with relative ease in most cases. One thing that she has incredible difficulty with these days is letting go of her belongings. I don’t mean her all-time favorites or things with great sentimental value- I mean, for instance, a collection of half-finished projects made out of cardboard, or a candy wrapper that had a cute picture on it, or a folded piece of duct tape with glue and glitter on it. She had always helped us with donating things that she’s grown out of, but completely breaks down over these “treasures”. I’m not unreasonable- I’m always willing to compromise on keeping some- but we do not have the space required to keep piles and piles of this stuff. I’ve tried everything I can think of and I just don’t know how else to approach this, I’ve tried so hard to understand where she’s coming from. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

    • #192999

      My son was the same way. His room was a disaster. However he is now 12 and is letting a lot of things go. My daughter who is 11 is just starting to let go of junk little by little. We had a basket and once it was filled, she / he had to pick something to “go” so new stuff could come in. We also took a picture of it. Now they both could care less about the pics.

    • #193021

      This post could have been written about me at age ten! The thing my mom did that worked well was, she’d pick up a bunch of what she thought was junk and put it all in a box in my room. Over the next 2-3 weeks, I could retrieve things from the box if I found myself wanting or needing them. After that, the whole box and its remaining contents went away. The “out of sight, out of mind” effect meant that within a few days I had forgotten about most of the box’s contents except a few genuinely useful or sentimental objects.

      The other thing I would say, though, is ~ what’s your goal here? If it’s simply getting rid of clutter, you might find that goal is nearly impossible with a kid with ADHD, and it might be more peaceful to just let her keep that soarkly duct tape. If it’s some deeper goal about how your kid relates to her stuff, I can tell you from experience that there is some degree of growing out of it, but therapy might also be important.

    • #193118
      Penny Williams

      There is possibly an anxiety component to it. “What if I let it go and I really miss it? I can’t handle what that feels like.” OR “What if I let it go and I never have something like it again.”

      I love the idea of a basket for treasures and, when the basket is full, you have to let something go to save something new. But, this is clearly very hard for her, so take incremental, tiny steps to help her through it.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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