Should You Tidy Your Teenager's Bedroom?
Does your teenager have different standards when it comes to keeping your home tidy compared to you? Many parents find a messy teenager can be one of the main causes of friction within the home. This is especially true when it comes to teenager's bedrooms. If you find this is a major problem in your home here are 10 tips that may be able to help you improve your situation.
Tip 1 - Take a Step Back
How tidy a teenager's bedroom needs to be differs between different people. Some parents are able to shrug off the problem completely whereas for other people it is important that the entire house is tidy. If you fall into the second category perhaps you could stop for a moment and ask why this is so important to you. Is it a control issue or do you really dislike mess? If it is a control issue then this issue is likely to be part of a wider issue.
Tip 2 - Think Back To When You Were a Teenager
When you were a teenager was your bedroom spotless? Were you made to keep it tidy? If so did you resent the pressure your parents put on you? If you are one of the few people that kept their own bedroom spotless as a teenager and you now have children that do the opposite then that can be difficult to cope with. For the majority of people a trip down memory lane will remind them that their bedroom was often very untidy. Thinking back to when you were a teenager you probably had a lot more important things to do than keep your bedroom tidy. So maybe it's not quite so important that your own teenager keeps their room spotless.
Tip 3 - Set Some Basic Rules
Problems can arise if your teenager eats and drinks in their bedroom. The problem can then be complicated by hygiene issues. There may also come a time when you are running short of cups, plates and bowls (does this sound familiar to you?). Basic rules could include not allowing crockery levels to reach critical. Most teenagers understand this and will bend enough to bring crockery and cutlery to the kitchen for washing up. Sure they may need the occasional reminder. If this cannot be agreed to then it may be the case that they will no longer be allowed to eat or drink in their bedrooms.
Tip 4 - Most People Will Not See an Untidy Bedroom as a Reflection on You
If you are truly bothered by people seeing the state of your teenager's bedroom then ask yourself who will see the room. If the answer is only your son or daughter's friends then the likelihood is that their friend's bedrooms are probably in the same condition and they will not even notice. They will happily accept that this is the way a teenager's bedroom tends to look. Therefore the untidy room does not reflect on you as a parent.
Tip 5 - Don't Make it a Big Issue
If you make tidiness a big issue there is a danger it will backfire unless you have a teenager that does exactly as they are asked (is there such a thing?). You may find polite requests work better than threats and raised voices. Is a tidy room worth damaging your overall relationship for? After all if your teenager is reluctant to keep their room tidy this is likely to become a recurring argument where there are no winners.
Tip 6 - Explain Why You Would Like the Room Tidy
Unless you have a naturally tidy teenager (I'm not sure they exist either) keeping their room tidy is unlikely to be important to them. Therefore they are unlikely to understand why this issue is so important to you. If this is the case, sit down with them and explain to them why it matters to you. If they can see the reasons for keeping their room tidy it increases the chances that they will do so.
Tip 7 - Rewards Can Help
Rewards help for most things. Teenagers could always do with some extra money, so you may consider an extra allowance for keeping rooms tidy. Rewards tend to work better than fines and penalties as they typically add to any resentment and ill feeling.
Tip 8 - Don't Go There
I know of parents that simply never enter their teenager's bedroom. If you can manage to do this then there are a couple of advantages. As you never see how the bedroom looks it is a case of out of site, out of mind. In addition it gives you son or daughter a feeling that it is truly their space. This can be helpful to them as in increases the feeling of having a sanctuary. This method does mean that the teenager has to take responsibility for putting any dirty clothes out so that they can be washed and taking clean washing into their bedroom.
Tip 9 - Keep on Top Of It Together
Many hands make light work. This is especially true if the room has got out of hand. It may be that your teenager would actually appreciate a tidier room, but is finding it hard to get started. An offer of help from you may meet with a surprising acceptance. Moving forward it may prove easier to spend a small amount of time each week keeping on top of the situation.
Tip 10 - Do it Yourself
If all else fails and you feel the room really must be tidy and your son or daughter is adamant that they will not help then it is probably time to accept it is down to you. Is it better to set aside 30 minutes each week to keep the room the way you would like it to be than for this to be a constant source of friction between you and your son and daughter?
Many parents will find the introduction of a boyfriend or girlfriend will have an almost magical impact on the tidiness of a bedroom. This though will bring a whole new set of issues and questions for most parents.