Disorganization Nation

Dear Parent,

I live with four young adults with extremely disorganized brains.  That, of course, is not the science.  Neuroscience tells us that the executive function–the part of the brain that governs organization, sequencing, cause and effect, logical thinking–of traumatized children has been delayed and in some cases damaged by long term exposure to stress hormone, cortisol dumps.  Whatever the reason, the result is hard to live with.

I thought the following might help some of you with older attachment challenged, trauma-brained children living at home.    They live at home long into adulthood, so prepare yourself. Here are some ways I go about helping everyone participate in the function of the family:

  • Every day there is a chore list waiting with a 24-hour time frame.  There are usually two chores assigned to each person. Some days there are no chores. Yippee.
  • When a chore is not done well, it appears again the next day for a “Try again.” No one gets in trouble over undone chores.  Just a reminder or a little lesson on how to do it better.
  • Bedroom cleaning finds its way onto the chore list, if necessary. And it is always necessary with some.
  • I give them all a full allowance on Friday to support a sense of relationship, family, sharing and cooperation. I don’t nit-pick or take money away for missed chores. I just give them a do-over, training, or reminder for mistakes and accept that they are human.
  • Everyone is responsible for doing their own laundry, and I let them decide how to cooperate around the use of the washer/dryer.  I could organize it for them, but I think they need to learn to collaborate with others.  One day I will not be here and they will still need clean clothes.
  • I talk about cooperation when things lag–like using the last of the toothpaste, TP, paper towels, wash clothes–and encourage them to take initiative to make sure the next person has a supply. No one wants to be on the one sitting down, staring at a bald paper roll with one square of TP.
  • There is a list on the frig when someone uses the last of something, like butter. Everyone writes on the list.  Sometimes frozen waffles gets written four times a week.  I just can’t seem to remember to buy them.
  • We all have established shower times, and exceptions are often made.
  • The main living area is always clean and presentable, so guests are welcome any time without a fuss.
  • I pay for a housekeeper every two weeks to do the deep stuff.  This saves my life. Disorganized brains are not usually deep cleaners, and I have a job.

    The Attach Place

    The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,


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  1. Hi Ce,
    thanks for your posts. I always like to read them.
    I have a question: How does neurofeedback help or not help their ability to organize etc.?
    Blessings, Regula

  2. Hi Ce,
    thanks for your posts. I always like to read them.
    I have a question: How does neurofeedback help or not help their ability to organize etc.?
    Blessings, Regula

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