TIP of the WEEK: The Trouble with Stuff

December 13, 2013

Our kids have a tendency to collect. Some collect items of a particular theme ( like every possible wrestling magazine that has ever been published, ever!) Some collect toys. Some collect papers from school or coupons. Whatever the collection, at some point it begins to resemble a hoard and it is at that point when emotional attachment becomes unreasonable. Any attempt made to manage the collection is near impossible. My suggestion is to try not to get to the point where peace of mind and personal security are tied to inanimate objects. It is tempting to allow our kids to collect, especially when we find something that they are so interested in. We want to see them happy, see them pour their energy into something positive but the problem is, like so many other things, they can’t stop at moderate. Soon that harmless hobby has taken over their rooms, your house and unfortunately their minds. If you see an over interest in one thing, you are watching the beginning of hoarding behavior and it can be stopped. Having an interest in a sports team or the weekly sales flyers is fine as long as they are able to enjoy other interests as well. Family members and friends will latch on when they hear that your son or daughter likes a particular thing and suddenly you have 1000 fire trucks or Minnie Mouses in your child’s room. You all know what I mean…

Here’s what helps- For every one item that comes in, donate one item to a local charity. Let your child choose the item and let them go with you to donate it. Giving items away not only promotes empathy and compassion for those less fortunate it also decreases the likelihood of an unreasonable emotional attachment forming (not to mention it keeps your house a lot cleaner). We know that an organized and simple environment is the most beneficial for our kids. Clutter and abundance creates chaos in the minds of people with poor executive function. Too much stuff hurts them. Ask family members to check with you before buying gifts so that you can manage what comes into the house. We want to see our kids happy but remind yourself that what they want and what they need are almost never the same thing when you have a child with PWS. Start young and it is likely that this behavior can be avoided. And if you have already bought your child every Justin Beiber notebook, t-shirt, travel mug and shower curtain for Christmas that you could find, don’t beat yourself up, New Years resolutions are right around the corner…

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services

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“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” 
~Author Unknown

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