Disorganised DD - need some advice!(17 Posts)
DD (13) is independent and strong-minded, but very disorganised.
It's only causing minor problems right now, but I can see them getting worse, so I need to come up with ways to help her get organised without treating her like a small child.
Here's a couple of recent examples.
Last week, she forgot her blazer for assembly (only needs it for assemblies) and received her first demerit. More than two demerits results in detention...so I was annoyed to realise that she'd forgotten it AGAIN this Wednesday - luckily we'd just got in the car so I could go back to get it.
Then, there was another school thing today and I received a frantic text that she desperately needed it...so I drove home and back to school thru rush-hour traffic to get it for her. It got my workday off to a late start - it was OK, but inconvenient.
Tonight, she's messed up going out with her friends. Earlier in the week, I'd explained that I couldn't give her a lift as I was going to one of DS's activities. If she could get a lift with another friend, great; if not, she couldn't go out. Then I got a stroppy call tonight from another Mum wondering where DD was, as she thought we were giving HER DD a lift! It was embarrassing! DD obviously hadn't properly explained the situation to her friends, or forgotten about it.
What has helped your teens get more organised? Using their phone calendars more? A desk calendar? I try to remind her of things, but it doesn't seem to work!
At 13, let her suffer the consequences.... and the longer you run around after her, the longer it will take her to learn.
Stop bailing her out.
I had a very disorganised child. He forgot things all the time but I generally left him to it. That's how they learn.
He's an adult now and is very organised and never misplaces or forgets things. I'd go so far as to say he is very responsible.
I honestly wonder if she has some aspects of ADHD, though, as she really is v. disorganized, far worse than I was at her age (and I wasn't the most organized!)
I want to help her somehow.
My 16 yr old dd is very disorganised and it's v frustrating. I am encouraging her to use her phone diary more. Her brother (13) is just better at remembering things and always has been.
I also adopted a rule of only rushing into school once per term with forgotten kit, that's it, no second chances. If they get detention that's their problem. That's definitely improved things! Good luck
Thanks for the advice, I know I'm bailing her out too much - I like the "only once a term" rule!
I talked to her today about using her phone diary and we're going to get a big desk diary as well to note the days that she needs items such as her blazer or PE kits. We'll write them in capitals and highlight!
It sounds a bit daft, but I leave myself notes in capitals and they really HELP when I'm shuffling around in the morning half asleep
I like the Capital post its & phone diary-will use with 9 yo ds
Mine have got a box they keep all their school books in in the front room and it has a timetable stuck to it, so they check it each morning to see what they need for the day. Even better would be if they did it the night before!
The other mum sounds a bit of a CF to phone and tell you off for not giving her dd a lift. Are you sure it wasn't her dd who got it wrong?
I came on to mention about asd and see you’ve mentioned it in one of your posts. My teenage dd and I have asd and are both very much like this. It’s not laziness or being disorganised. It’s a combination of genuinely struggling with our memories and getting anxious about things that need to be done which results in burying our heads in the sand.
When I was a teen my parents took a really strict stance with it - no help or support at all - although to be fair asd wasn’t really known back then. But I was also called names like lazy and often heard them criticising me behind my back.
With my own dd I know exactly how challenging it can be. She finds, as I do, that diaries and lists can be very helpful. Maybe alerts on phone/notes on front door/packing bag the night before?
My disorganised DD had a chalk pen and wrote reminders on her mirror the night before.
We have a list of the extra things needed each day stuck to front door. Its their responsibility to check it and they take the consequences if things are forgotten.
Something that gave me a bit of a lightbulb moment was when someone said to me that being disorganised is a systems failure, not a failure on the part of the person. It got me thinking in a very different way about how to tackle DSS12, who's also not a naturally organised person!
I don't believe in the 'just stop bailing them out' approach - if you're going to stop, you need to help them replace the "rely on Mum" system with a new system, otherwise you're setting them up to fail.
Like @Lara53, we've put a whiteboard up by the door with checklists for each day. When he comes home from school we make any additions to the usual suspects, and he checks things off against what he has in his bag when he leaves in the morning.
We have a Tiny To Do's list for the whole family on the fridge, too - the little things that wouldn't normally make it on a to-do list because they're so small you'd think you'd remember! Stuff like finding a lift to go out with friends would go on there the moment we discussed it. It doesn't always work, because we're not always in the house when we talk about things like that, but just yelling "IT'S A TINY TO-DO!" often lodges it a bit deeper in the brain than it would otherwise - the next time someone goes to the fridge it can nudge the memory in a way it wouldn't otherwise.
We're also trying out voice recordings for while he's at school – he sends himself a Whatsapp voice recording at the end of each lesson with homework and notes about extra things he needs, so he doesn't have to faff about with pens and books in between classes.
Maybe also ask your DD about how she DOES tend to remember things? What are the things she very rarely forgets, and how can you use the systems (whatever they are) that she already uses for new things?
I think it must make it harder for your dd that some days she needs a blazer and not others. When they need the blazer every day they can use it to keep bus pass etc in. Could she keep the blazer in her locker if she has one and only needs it for assembly, not to arrive at school in?
Are her motor skills OK?
I agree with the others. She needs more scaffolding. Help her create systems she can operate herself. Don't just stop.
Does she remember her phone and to keep it charged?
When my DD was at school 10 minutes drive away, she was always forgetting things and hoping that i'd run around after her. I told her that i'd only make 1 trip to school per term so she had to work out if she really needed what she's forgotten or whether there'd be something more important later in the term.
Now she's at school an hour away so she has learned that she has got to be more organised. I have persuaded her to pack her school bag in the evening plus today we had extra reminders on a Post It on the front door.
Does she remember her phone and keep it charged - good point, my 17 year old DS is very disorganised and forgetful but would NEVER forget his phone , I have tried to implement every helpful system in the world but I think you can only hope that one day they just ‘get it’.
He hasn’t even remembered to get up for school this morning and we leave in ten minutes I drop him off as it’s on my route to work, otherwise he can walk - 40 minutes but the school don’t seem to actually punish anyone if they are late, plenty of ‘threats’ about detention but never carried through.
Hang on! She forgot her blazer so you went and got it?!
She needs to pack her bag the night before. Ensure she has a copy of her timetable to hand to help.
I’m future if you can’t give her a lift then just say no.
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