Living with Children: How to teach accountability

Q: Getting my daughters, 15 and 13, to pick up their clothes from the floors of their rooms requires constant nagging from me. I’m at my wits’ end. Please help me out with this. It’s driving me slowly insane.

A: Speaking as your therapist du jour, it is my responsibility to inform you that you may already have crossed the line. Remember the famous line, insanity is doing the same thing over and over even though you keep getting the same result.

You have nagged at your kids about this issue for, what? Five, six years? And if you nag excitedly enough, like you’re about to go full la-la, they decide it’s not worth the risk and they pick up their clothes and keep them picked up for, what? Two days?

OK, I’m going to solve this problem for you. Well, actually, I can’t solve your problem for you, but I can give you the solution. Whether you muster the mojo needed to carry it through is another matter.

I have immaculate confidence in the solution because it worked for me, and it’s worked for lots of parents (who mustered the aforementioned mojo). Simply: Do not ever again so much as politely request that your kids pick up their clothes. Don’t ever again mention it, even. Got that? Then, the next time even one item of clothing needs picking up, pick it up and put it precisely where it belongs. That’s right! YOU do it!

And then, simply wait for a golden opportunity to bring them face to face with reality in the form of bad karma. Bad karma is sorely lacking in the lives of many if