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How can I motivate my messy teen to clean up his room?


Ellen Gibran-Hesse Replied: Well, this is always hard to answer as "messy" is a relative term. If this is a case of things thrown on the floor, food and drink left, no organization, it is time to have a talk. Good household skills are important for when they have roommates or significant others. I also believe it helps them to organize and manage the items in their lives and trains the brain in organization. Do not nag. Explain that this is an important skill set and every other week there will be an inspection for neatness. Make sure you both agree on neatness. I have a thing about clothes not being hung up and my sons learned early on to make that effort meant a lot to me. Quite frankly, I would have agreed to clothes laid neatly on a chair. Agree to frequency of inspection and what constitutes "neat". If the inspection comes and they haven't achieved it, then help them. Believe me, no teenager wants mom or dad right there organizing their room. Or if they do, maybe that's a skill set they need help with. It can be a great bonding experience if you don't make it critical or demeaning. It is just helping to acquire a skill set.
Posted On 2010-06-20 21:40:51
Stephen Jones Replied: I have a teenage son and daughter and it seems that a messy room is their way of life. I think we've come to agreement about how messy the room can be. We got baskets for their dirty clothes and we tell them to fold up their clean clothes before they go up stairs. This increases the likelihood that they will get in their draws. We encourage them to be neat and put things on their dresser not on the floor. My son is home from college and he is a lot neater. It's great to see them grow up.
Posted On 2010-06-07 18:22:41
Beverly Willett Replied: This is a question for the ages. From personal experience I've found that the following does not work: repeated requests, grounding, pestering, yelling, ultimatums, talks about how we are a family and should all do our part to contribute, the value of cleanliness. At times, pegging it to allowance has had minimal success, but it is not long-lasting. This seems to be a widespread problem that the vast majority of parents I've spoken to go through at one time or another. While this doesn't accomplish the intended purpose, there are a few strategies that can help with your own frustration. Simply shut the door -- out of sight, out of mind. You shouldn't have to look at it and if you literally don't, while the problem won't go away on its own it might ease your daily frustration. Hand your daughter/son a set of sheets and tell them if they want clean sheets to sleep on, they'll have to change them themselves. Dust bunnies are one thing, but rotting food is quite another. Ban food or drinks other than water in your child's room -- if you see them trying to sneak things in, march them back to the kitchen. I heard a story once about someone in my extended family years ago literally going in with large garbage bags and bagging everything up. If her daughter wanted to find her things, well she was going to have to go through the bags and sort things out. I did have a recent success and was hesitant to mention it at the outset because I don't know yet if it will have long-term staying power. I did what was completely counter-intuitive. I cleaned my daughter's room. When she came home from school, she was in awe. Everything looked so beautiful; literally an orderly room, created an orderly mind and she told me how much she enjoyed studying in her room that night. About a month later, she said she had a surprise for me and called me upstairs to see her straightened room, bed made and drawers organized. I'm anxious to see what happens next. Good luck to you.
Posted On 2010-06-07 07:52:51
Gary Pritchard Replied: Having gone through the "room thing" with our 3 boys.. I can empathize. Although their rooms were never quite the way their Mom would have liked …we did manage a comfortable compromise. Part was explaining benefits of a clean room - a place to sit down when your have friends over ands do homework - you can find things -papers /,shirts , socks etc. you are always wasting time looking for - you can tell what clothes are clean and what dirty - it's a step to becoming organized We asked questions like " Can you imagine if we let our house and yard go and it looked like your room? Would you want to live here? We tried to catch them doing something right and praising them. Each had a hamper to put there dirty clothes in … Even the smallest attempt at "clean up" got a pat on the back. A way of Instilling pride in caring for things and pride in how they look how their room looks etc. There was a point where we took the gloves off and Mom would not wash anything that wasn't in the hamper( after a few melt downs) they got it. I remember a few activities they missed or were late for because they could go until their room was clean… (not a big fan of negative reinforcement .. but kids always want a ride a favor a special privilege sometime as parents we have to play that "card". The Ole…"not until your room is cleaned up" card Lastly, consistency wins ..whatever you choose be consistent on it everyday. Eventually they will get the boundaries of acceptance. Good luck Gary
Posted On 2010-06-06 20:56:24
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