“Please, clean your room.”
Alice Velasquez might just have been signing that message to a blind person. It would have ended with the same result. But Velasquez was speaking it to her daughters, who can hear perfectly, and she grew tired of repeating it over and over again, with no action taken.
This is an all too familiar scenario played out in homes across the world daily. Velasquez would, always, end up becoming so frustrated, she would clean their rooms herself. Many who have been there can empathize.
So Velasquez decided a more drastic strategy was required, and her daughters needed to learn a lesson.
“What do you do when you are DONE telling your teenage daughters to stop letting their room look like homeless people live there?” she wrote on her Facebook timeline. “You put everything (YES EVERYTHING) into plastic bags.”
Velasquez decided a more drastic strategy was required.
Learning how to be responsible can take awhile for some kids, and this mom had reached her own time limit for what that should be.
Like a human bulldozer, Velasquez went into each of her daughters’ rooms, promptly gathered everything she could find, put them in garbage bags—and kept the bags for herself…temporarily.
Velasquez is one smart cookie; there was a method to her madness that would soon be revealed to her daughters.
Velasquez didn’t waste time carefully separating what she was putting in the bags. Instead, she grabbed what she found, whether it be a clean shirt, dirty shirt, computer, or sock, and just kept going until each bag was full with an entirely varied and unknown contents. Ooooh! Parents everywhere are probably standing up and cheering right about now. But it gets better.
In order for the girls to get a bag returned to them, they would need to pay a price…
Velasquez put a note on their bedroom door for them to find when they got home from school letting them know where their stuff was. In order for the girls to get a bag returned to them, they would need to pay a price—literally.
$25 per bag was the going rate, but none of them knew what was in the bag they would have to purchase. And the bags couldn’t be purchased for just ANY $25.
That $25 had to be earned from doing chores. You know, the chores that had always been assigned them, but they saw as optional. No “dirty” money and no dirty rooms—those were the conditions.
The post was so popular…it landed her an appearance on the popular TV show, The Doctors!
The post she had put on Facebook sharing her strategy went viral and was met with the vast majority of people complimenting (and stealing) her creative approach.
In fact, it landed her an appearance on the popular TV show, The Doctors! The show framed the host-to-audience interview as “Mom’s Punishment = Cruel Or Creative?”
Velasquez said she had intended her post to be amusing to her friends and family, but found that she was met with some resistance.
“This isn’t abuse. It isn’t neglect. …I think it’s a creative way to take control.”
People from all over the world were contacting her. She described to the hosts, “I had people from all over the world contacting me from places like Japan, India, France, and Italy. Some of them were like, ‘Man, this is the most clever thing I’ve ever heard of, I’m so totally gonna do this with my kids,’ but there were [also] some who were telling me how horrible I was, that I was psychologically damaging my kids.”
That’s when Stacy Kaiser, Psychotherapist and Author, interrupted Velasquez from the stage.
“You aren’t psychologically damaging your kids. This isn’t abuse. It isn’t neglect. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a creative way to take control,” said Kaiser. The hosts and the audience all seemed to agree with Kaiser.
Did it work?
Dr. Travis asked, “How did they respond to this? I’m curious.”
“They weren’t as amused by it as I was,” explained Velasquez, “but it worked.”
Her young son, who always kept his room clean and made a habit of always thinking of others, even tried to help his sisters. He asked his mom if he could do chores to help his sisters earn money to purchase back their things.
Dr. Travis, the main host from The Doctors, said: “In a way, this kind of brought the family together.”
Yes, it did. A family that now finds itself with clean bedrooms and kids enlightened from a creative lesson in responsibility.