For some reason, most pre-teens and adolescents don’t appear to recognize messes when they see them. They’re not concerned enough by it to tidy up, at the very least.
Alice Velasquez of Bargersville, Indiana, was at a loss for words after repeatedly urging her daughter Tahlia to clean up her room, only to find that the filth lingered day after day. Tahlia’s room was cluttered with clothing and other belongings as is any teen’s.
There was no way the mother could endure cleaning up after her daughter when she could do it herself, but with the issue deadlocked, Valásquez opted to go nuclear. She would undoubtedly “tidy” her daughter’s room yet again.
The mother entered her daughter’s room with a box of garbage bags and scooped up everything on the floor, packing it as she went. She didn’t arrange anything; she just threw it all in.
When the adolescent returned to her bedroom, she saw it “trashed.” All of her belongings were stacked up in rubbish bags in the corner.
But it wasn’t even the most brilliant aspect of Valasquez’s strategy. Tahlia was not allowed to just unload her belongings. Her mother wanted her to recognise the importance of what she had been dumping on the floor because she had previously treated them with such disregard.
So Tahlia had to earn back each garbage bag, while not knowing what was inside. Her mother charged her $25 for each bag. But here’s the kicker: she could just be purchasing back a bag of items she doesn’t even need or desire.
In a Facebook post, Valásquez described: “What do you do when you’re DONE asking your adolescent girls to stop making their rooms appear like homeless people dwell in them?” You pack everything (YES, EVERYTHING) into plastic bags and sell them for $25 each bag (and they have to earn the money doing chores). What’s the best part? The bags were gathered in the order in which they were discovered in the room – at random! So their $25 might purchase a bag of filthy clothes, a bag of garbage, or their soccer equipment.”
Valasquez’s Facebook post with the pictures and description of the punishment went viral, but responses were mixed. Some parents praised her attempts to educate her daughter about the worth of her belongings. Others referred to it as child abuse and warned to contact Child Protective Services! (Just so you know, it is not an acceptable excuse to spend CPS resources.)
Valásquez came on The Doctors after the viral article to share some of the comments. She stated that it was insane. Some people were telling her how bad she was, that she was psychologically harming her children.
However, Stacy Kaiser, the show’s psychologist, stated that it was not violent and was not mentally detrimental. She described it as “a clever approach to seize power.”
And the mother wasn’t having it either. She defended herself in a stinging Facebook post addressed at people who stepped over the line:
“FIRST AND FOREMOST, MY PARENTAL CHOICES ARE JUST THAT, MINE!! None of you cruel individuals know anything about myself, my kids, or our predicament. My kids are all adored, cherished, very well cared for, social, active in band, choir, church youth group, soccer, track, swimming, scouts, study buddies, and a variety of other family activities — so, before you JUDGE ME, come spend a day with kids who have been raised with respect, who have chores and commitments, and who have parents who take an ACTIVE role in parenting, and then form your own INFORMED OPINION!”
Not only did Tahlia acquire her belongings back, but her siblings also contributed. In the comments, Valásquez stated that her amazing siblings all offered extra jobs to help her earn more quickly as well. So it was not just a learning experience for her oldest girl, but also a terrific family building activity.
Watch the video of the mother’s appearance on The Doctors.