Tag Archives: clothes pins

Solving Daily Challenges with Respect

One of the tasks my son has taken on in our home is to hang the washing on the clothes line. He does this regularly and in general there are no issues except for one which continually rears its ugly head.

To him clothes do not look good on the line unless they are almost glued there with the pegs (clothes pins). Anything placed on the clothes line is literally jammed in place by the force of the pegs – I am sure a hurricane would not displace them! Delicate clothes often have holes in them where the pegs are jammed so tightly that force is needed to release them. It is a problem to which we have only recently found a solution.

At first we thought that new pegs which cannot be jammed on was the solution. Not likely :) His disability would not allow him to choose the new pegs over the ones he has always used.

Now we faced a choice:

1. We could and actually did place a trial set of the new pegs (pins) in the container and remove all the older ones altogether.

Problem solved or so we thought. Our actions were met with an angry response. My son felt violated that the decision to change was not his. He felt that we were treating him like a child. On reflection he was right, we had not considered his chronological age (he is over 21) nor his feelings in our problem solving equation. It had to be acknowledged that this was a failure in terms of the outcome. Another course of action needed to be found and implemented.

So. . .

2. All pegs were returned to their receptacle along with a plea to be a little less forceful in future. No change. Over morning tea the subject was brought up for discussion, this time with respect and caring. We outlined the challenge pointing out that property was being damaged on a regular basis. We also pointed out that regardless of how hard he tried he was unable to change the habit but that we understood that he did not mean to damage peoples’ clothing. We asked if he found it easier to use the newer pegs and his considered answer was “yes.” Then we asked his permission to replace all pegs on a gradual basis with the newer, easier to use pegs. He agreed and is happily instigating the new system. Everyone else in the family is happier also.

Lessons Learned:

1. Meeting the needs of the total family can at times be a minefield of feelings and emotions which must be considered.

2. Actions without forethought can result in hurt and anger rather than actually solving the problem.

3. Disabled or not, everyone needs to be respected and changes which involve the disabled person need to be discussed with him/her not just implemented without discussion.

Moral of the Story.

Think before you act.

P.S. If this article reminds you that you need more pegs (or clothes pins) you can buy them here:

Or maybe you want a whole clothes line:

Or maybe you want a whole clothes line: