I finally moved in with my husband a couple of weeks ago. It was meant to be the start of a great new chapter in our lives.
I had no idea that Dave, my husband’s 15-year-old son from a previous marriage, would be such a challenging issue to solve.
I knew there would be a time of getting used to things, but I didn’t expect Dave to treat my efforts to make the house our cozy place so badly by leaving piles of trash all over the place, as if he were doing it on purpose.
I thought at first that it was only brief and maybe just the chaos of being a teenager. But as the days went by, the mess seemed to get worse.
Everywhere in our house, there were empty chip bags, rumpled papers, and old clothes that had been thrown away.
It looked like a storm of careless teens had gone through, leaving behind a mess that would shock even a mother.
My comments and demands that he clean up didn’t bother him at all. It was like talking to a wall.
I chose to do something outside the box because I wanted to stop this.
I thought of a plan one day when Dave left for school. I was going to stop this invasion of trash, which would take more than just words.
With trash bags in hand and a strong will, I went through the house and cleaned up all the trash that had accumulated. I had to teach Dave a lesson about being responsible.
His room, which was a mess, was the first place I went. When I walked in, there were clothes all over the floor, a bunch of folded papers, and a bunch of half-empty soda cans.
Without joy but with a strong will, I started to gather all the things that were lying around and put them in trash bags.
The bags had papers, cans, and his clothes all in them. In the end, the room slowly went from being a disaster zone to having some order. I put all the clothes that were lying around and other trash in bags.
The living room, kitchen, and even the bathroom all had the same thing happen to them.
It took a lot of time, but I thought that if words couldn’t get through to him, these bags might show him what a mess he made.
There was a mix of relief and worry in my heart as I stood among the nicely tied bags.
I had no idea how Dave would respond to what I did. Will he understand why I’m taking such a bold action, or will it backfire and make things even worse?
Dave was surprised to see something when he got home from school.
There was nothing in the living room or kitchen, and his room was clean. Behind his door, there were four fully stuffed bags.
His face lit up with confusion as he looked around at how his home had changed. He carefully walked up to each bag and looked inside each one. The whitest part of his face turned white.
I got ready for a fight and was ready to explain what I had done. He didn’t look angry at all; instead, he saw awareness flashing in his eyes. It looked like my quiet protest made a difference.
He started to carefully rake everything without saying a word. Then, as if he felt guilty, he took out the trash bags to show me that he was now aware. He even put his clothes in the washer after carefully folding them.
As the days went by, Dave’s mood changed in a big way. We both took on cleaning up the trashed battlefield, and he started to help us keep our house clean.
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Even though it was small, it was still a win. In the end, deeds spoke louder than words, and our house turned into a place where everyone could get along.
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