No! You can’t make me do it! SLAM
I hate you! SLAM
I don’t want to go to my room! SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM
Maybe it’s just us, but door slamming has from time to time been a serious issue in our house. My kids have each at different points in their lives felt that this was the ultimate way to inform their father and me of their intense displeasure about a given situation. So I decided to find a solution.
I can’t tell you that this was my idea. To be perfectly honest, I think I stole it from the Lindsey Lohan version of Freaky Friday. And I’m sure the writers stole it from someone else. But it totally worked.
I grew tired of telling my 10-year-old daughter to stop slamming her door. Actually, I grew tired of telling her to stop slamming all doors. So one night while she was showering I went to her room and took her door off. I tried pulling the pins out of the hinges but they wouldn’t budge so I just got the screwdriver and unscrewed the whole thing. I didn’t bother hiding it. Just laid it down in the hall outside her room.
She got out of the shower and went be-bopping down the hall to her room to get ready for bed. I’m not sure how but she totally missed the door leaning against the wall in the hallway. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that she suddenly started yelling and wanting to know where her door was.
I calmly walked to her room and stood in the doorway. She looked somewhere between scared and pissed off. Once I got her attention I simply stepped aside and pointed to the door leaned against the wall. She started to cry.
“Why would you do this to me? How am I supposed to have privacy?”
“Well honey, you gave up the right to privacy when you refused to do as I asked and stop slamming doors. This door will remain off until I feel you fully understand the importance of controlling yourself. And I want you to know that I can take off as many doors as I have to.”
Self-control is a hard lesson for all kids to learn. For many on the autism spectrum, it can be absolute torture. My daughter has struggled with this concept. She was (and sometimes still is) one of those kids whose every thought came out in either words or actions. That’s why I got a call when she was in Pre-K telling me that she put her foot in a kid’s face and pushed him down the slide. (In her defense it was his fault for walking up the slide rather than waiting in line to climb the ladder.)
There were a few days of complaining about the door and a couple of instances where she slammed a different door. But a quiet reminder about the loss of her door quickly put a stop to the practice. Within a week she forgot about the door all together despite the fact that it stayed in the hallway just outside her room. And after another couple of weeks, I let her have it back. She smiled and I got a hug and all was right with the world.
It’s now been about 6 years and all I have to do is mention losing a door for her to stop in her tracks and reevaluate her actions. Her brother recently lost his door because of his door slamming habit. So now she reminds him to be careful how he expresses himself. Somehow I think he’s going to need a few more sessions of door loss before the lesson sinks in. No problem. I’ve got my screwdriver handy.