I, being one of these adults, would like to help you understand this person a little bit better. First off, I know we can be hard to deal with, let alone live with. We typically struggle a lot with organization, and before I go on, just to be clear I am not trying to make any excuses for laziness or lack of effort, (which is a completely different topic) however, I am trying to help you understand that our brains work differently than yours.
Chances are pretty good that we’ve probably left a dish or two for you to clean up, or have forgotten a date or appointment, or left clothes in a heap on the bathroom floor. It seems like every time you tell us to get our shit together it goes in one ear and out the other. I hate to break it to you but you can’t make us super-organized by yelling at us, also you probably can’t make us super-organized period. Peter Jaska from the ADHD center says “A healthy and realistic goal is not to become super-organized, but simply to make work and home life more manageable. Transforming an environment of chaos into ordinary messiness can, and should, be considered a job well done.” Personally, little victories come in the form of only a small accumulation of mess before picking it up. I tend to push my time to the limit and am almost always in a rush so leaving my plate out is not at the forefront of my mind. It is not intentional and hopefully, I intend to pick it up later. Our brains just operate differently, and I know it can be frustrating and confusing to understand… if you’re even willing to open your mind to the possibility that maybe they aren’t just lazy or inconsiderate, maybe it’s just the way they are and have to make tiny steps at a time towards a happy medium, but if you are willing to work with them and be patient, chances are the results will be better than ever before.
Have you ever met a person that has said: “I LOVE being disorganized and forgetful.” We don’t want to disappoint you or live in chaos all the time, we are probably doing our best, I know I can’t speak for everyone, but even small changes are a lot to us. If we aren’t perfect or can’t get it all at once, I just ask you to be a little bit more compassionate. So yelling their age at them to make a point about how they should “know better” to pick up after themselves as if they don’t already know how old they are is not effective, and in fact, it will probably make them feel really bad about themselves. I know it also might be hard for you to understand how it can “be so hard” to remember to put your clothes in the laundry basket or cup in the dishwasher. If it were as easy for us as it was for you then we would never have to argue about it in the first place. I know you don’t understand, and that’s ok, we just want you to know that it does not, in fact, come easily to us. Little improvements for us are a big deal and should be acknowledged to reaffirm positive behavior. There are also different strategies and methods that help different types of people with the disorder. Like with everything else I talk about, different things work for different people. Unfortunately, the effects of this disorder don’t just appear in the home, they appear in many other aspects of our lives, so also try to keep that in mind when reprimanding them. There are lots of areas of ourselves and our lives we would like to fix, but as you know, focusing is one of our biggest issues, so we can’t fix them all at once. It’s hard for us to really feel “in control” and usually we are doing whatever we can to get there, and sometimes bigger things come before little things, i.e.: work and school get our attention, and we come home and our minds are still occupied/dedicated to something else. So do me a favor, cut them some slack next time they are a little too messy for your liking, and if they’re anything like me they’ll be way more receptive to some love and understanding.
As many of you know I have trouble finishing blogs, and there is one still in the infamous limbo about some of my tricks for a disorganized person to stay organized, even though I don’t always take my own advice, sometimes these methods can help! So I’ll be sure to share them soon.