Hoarders' Kids Grapple With Messy Pasts

Some rarely return to childhood homes, face rifts with parents
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 12, 2011 5:26 PM CDT
A scene from the season premiere of the A&E show "Hoarders."   (AP Photo/HO, Screaming Flea Productions)
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(Newser) – Growing up with parents who hoard can mark a child for life—whether they’re compulsively neat, embarrassed to have friends over, or end up hoarders themselves. It can also lead to rifts between kids and parents, the New York Times learns in a series of interviews. “They grew up in this difficult environment and naturally came to resent it,” says an expert. “But at the same time, these are your parents and you have to not only respect and love but take care of them. What happens when they get old?”

That caretaking can mean pushing hoarding parents to clean up—something they may resent. “She wouldn’t let you help—that’s what’s so frustrating,” said one woman, who was barred from her mother’s home for “eight or nine years” before the mother died. Children of hoarders may also struggle with basic cleanliness. “Without a role model, how can one learn what is valuable and what is not?” the expert asks. Meanwhile, it can make relationships difficult, the Times notes, when one partner tells another “you can never visit my parents’ house.” (Read more hoarders stories.)

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