An IBMP exclusive: getting your child to pick up their toys

Posted on November 15, 2011

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messy roomWelcome to the seventh instalment of WTF Wednesday where you spent more time thinking up a question than I spent thinking up an answer.

Today’s question comes to us from Lorna via the blog, who writes:

Dear IBMP,

How do I get my son to pick up his toys? Note: my son is 25 and lives in another city with 2 room mates. They aren’t very good at picking up their toys either, but I’m not their mother, so to heck with them.

STOP! Do not approach the piles on the floor until you have confirmed what they may contain. I do not have a 25 year-old but I have been one and I know what can be lurking in those piles. This is not a job for the squeamish, people with compromised immune systems, people who are, could be or hope some day to become pregnant, or anyone with the slightest bit of self-respect for that matter. Do not attempt to remove any items yourself unless there is a clear and immediate threat to life and– no, actually, just life; I’d let some poor bastard lose a limb before I waded into a free-range 25 year-old’s floor piles to get him.

You have indicated that your son lives in another city. I’m assuming this was due to your decision to pack up, sell your house and move elsewhere without informing him in an effort to keep his dirty laundry from fouling your washing machine. Clearly you’re a smart woman so I’ll also assume you’ve tried the easy stuff like arson, and get right to some other, less obvious approaches to solving your problem.

It will probably come as a surprise, but I don’t actually have all the answers to everything. Here at IBMP, we thought it would be a good idea to bring in some expert advice from an actual serial offender: my son. If we can understand the mind of the serial floor-piler, we may be able to find a way to stop it.

In an exclusive interview with IBMP, my son has revealed for the first time what motivates him to offend. Here’s what he has to say, in his own words, about why he leaves his toys everywhere:

I leave my toys on the floor because I find it’s easier to find and I feel more comfortable with stuff on the floor. Another reason that I leave them there is so I can hide and watch my parents step on my Hot Wheels and slide across the floor, and so I can step on a toy by accident, fall and break my arm or leg and not have to go to school.

Well, I don’t know about you, but that clears up a lot for me.

I spoke to him about your problem, Lorna, and he had this advice for you:

For somebody who wants to stop it, threaten to lock the person in the closet and they can’t come out all day except for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner should be liver and boiled broccoli and for dessert is Brussels sprouts. And you tell them you’ll lock them in a dungeon with a fire-breathing dragon because they’ll probably believe in fairy tales, and you do this until they start cleaning up their room.

When asked what else you should say if the offender is older–say, 25, he suggested you say: “Grow up!”

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

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Posted in: Advice (bad)