- Family and Parenting
How can I get my teenager to clean his room?
Buy a big throw rug!
1st measure the room that the teen has trashed and go get a throw rug that will fit the space. Kick everything in the room around until the piles are about the same height and all the floor is equally covered. Then stand back and unfurl that rug and let it cover the mess. Then walk around on it and stomp down the places where it pokes up. You will be surprised at how neat the room looks and so will your teen. Then when the room looses it's tidy look, just roll the rug back and kick the new mess under the rug.
When you hear the teen asking,
"Mom, where is my toothbrush?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"
"Mom, have you seen my IPOD?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"
"Mom, is there any pizza left?" You simply reply, "Did you look under the rug?"
Home Work: "Did you look under the rug?"
Where's dad, "Did you look under the rug?"
Can I have my allowance? "Did you look under the rug?"
Can I use the car? "Did you look under the rug?"
MOM, YOU ARE MAKING ME MAD! "Get under the rug!"
Look it is all perspective, when the mess is under the rug, I don't have to look at it, and looking at it is my problem and I solved my problem.
Do you want to visit your grandparents?
Send the errant teen to see his grandparents. Don't worry they won't keep him! While he is gone, contact the local fire department and let them practice with their fire hoses in the room. Be sure to open the windows and stash your throw rug some place safe. When the teen comes back from his grandparents, show him where his stuff is and tell him to hurry up and pick it up before the yard sale on Saturday.
Then have the yard sale on Saturday and sell all of the stuff he has left in the yard for 5 cents. Then have the goodwill come by and pick up the rest. All the nickles belong to the teen of course and you can gladly hand them over. Then tell him that you are bringing his throw rug back tomorrow.
When tomorrow comes, kick the stuff around in the room to make the floor equally loaded and pretty flat and then roll the rug out.
When the teen asks where anything is, say "Did you look under the rug?"
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How Can you Help?
I know that the humor has probably not helped you much with your problem, but it is important to make sure that your approach never says any of the following:
- Your room is more important that you are.
- I don't think you are capable of cleaning your room.
- I do not believe in you.
- I will not help you.
It is important to convey the expectation and to discuss how to get organized and to offer help at every step. It may even be helpful to consult sources of organization like books, kits, or stores.
I found that involving my son in every aspect of the change was great because he had ideas that I never thought of for organizing baseball cards, magazines and hats. Shopping at a storage store was very helpful too as he chose a bin rather than a hamper for dirty clothes.
As it turned out the room needed more than a cleaning and when re realized that, we were able to focus on the great new way we could make the room over into a more sophisticated place for him and his stuff.
Hints that we got that made a difference to him:
Bold new accessories for the room, a huge mirrior.
The window treatments needed to be more masculine. Change those.
A lot of stuff needed to be junked, get rid of the broken stuff and garbage stuff.
Organizational bins were needed.
Replace the blankets with a comforter that could just be thrown over the bed.
Get some huge pillows for sitting on the floor but can be stacked on the corner.
Get a comfortable chair.
Set up an area for computer, homework, etc.
- How to get a teenager's attention!
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This may have a great desired effect, ask for a timely tune up and help with it. You may have to help keep it up....and you can meet each challenge one at a time.
You may discover that you need more organizational ideas for the closet or containers. Remember to use organizational suggestions and displays.