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I have two boys that share a bedroom, closet, bunk beds, and toys. They are ages 7 and 8. When its time to clean their room, they begin arguing that they've cleaned up their mess but the rest is their brother's mess. Its a he said / he said conversation. I've tried dividing the room in "half" and each one is responsible for their own side. However, that didn't work when they decided to play on each others side. Then I tried letting one clean for ten minutes then the other clean for ten minutes. I've made into games and races. I've grounded them from their room so they couldn't make a mess. I don't want to punish one because of the other's messes...but I honestly don't know who to believe. I do know that my youngest likes to pull things out and hates to clean. But my oldest isn't innocent all the time either. Any suggestions?


Kraig Kidd Replied: Try sitting down and creating an agreement everyone agrees to before the next play period that includes a relatable consequence if the 'clean up' job doesn't get done. (i.e. if the toys don't get picked up as you agreed - "together", "half and half") the toys will be put away for a time period or some other relatable consequence. From here, if the agreement doesn't get kept, the follow up conversation becomes about keeping agreements and keeping their word, not cleaning up. This is a more powerful conversation than he said, he said. More ideas can be found in the parenting technique of Redirecting Children's Behavior book or program.
Posted On 2010-06-21 23:43:13
Gary Pritchard Replied: Having 3 boys of our own, who are now much older, and listening to your story, brought a few "flash backs" …and a reason to sympathize. We had two boys in one room for awhile. It can get interesting. Our approach was: "This is our family and a "team" and pointing the finger at the other guy isn't going to fly". We explained their room had to be clean no matter what. Each was responsible for the other to be sure this was accomplished. . If the room wasn't clean they both were accountable. We asked a lot of questions of them. "Do you think you guys and can sit down and figure out a plan to keep this room clean? How? What happens if the room isn't clean? Do you realize you are both responsible? .If they started the finger pointing starts up again… here's what my wife used to say…. "Every time you point a finger at the other look how many fingers on your hand are pointing back at you" This is a T.E.A.M. T-ogether E-veryone Achieves M- ore .and it's less work when it's done together. Making them accountable for their decisions and actions and working together as a "team" now will make things smoother on the road ahead. All the best!
Posted On 2009-05-01 14:53:00
debbie mandel Replied: It seems like your boys are happy, but messy teammates. As a parent you know that cleaning up their room will help them get organized and learn to become creative in a structured environment as well as tend to their responsibilities.however, they are looking it from their perspective which is drudgery. It appears that you are stressed and your boys are watching you - children absorb our stress and our moods. Here's an idea: Tell them to clean their room while you observe and supervise. You can choreograph, cheer lead and see the cleaning to completion. Create a fun mood filled with good energy. Do this a few times before you let them solo.
Posted On 2009-04-24 10:18:27
Charlie Seymour Jr Replied: Though I've never had boys I grew up as one! Here's a suggestion: Use a calendar and post each boy's name every other Saturday. Each boy is responsible for cleaning up on the day when his name appears. And then set a time that works well for you and your family. Like: after breakfast but before any TV or sports, you must clean the room by (say) 10:00 AM. Then go give a big gold star on the calendar to show how well that boy did that day. Praise often works wonders. And here's what to say to the boy that doesn't like how the other one has put HIS toys away: "If you clean up your own toys and they are put away where YOU want them, your bother won't be able to put them away in a location you don't like." Oh, one more thing: my girls were NOT good at cleaning up and it used to bother Mom a lot. But when we decided that they were doing their homework well, participating in sports or theater, were really good kids, we just closed the door and didn't worry about it. And they turned out to be pretty good young women!
Posted On 2009-04-24 09:38:17
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