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Tips from a Teen: Messy Rooms
If you told them once...
You've told your teen a thousand and one times, "Clean up that disaster zone of a room!"
Does it get done?
You see, moms and dads, us teens really don't buy in to your threats. You might be lucky and have a kid who's so brainwashed by your parenting skills that they'll believe everything you tell them, but for the most part, we've grown past the stage of simple grounding threats and possible cell phone/iPod lossage. We've learned to meander around your rules and regulations. That's what being a teen is all about; finding new ways to get around the rules, and changing them for your own benefit. Our minds work in a way that creates change. Change is a good thing.
Without change, I wouldn't be able to post this hub on Hubpages, because the internet wouldn't have been invented.
Inventions are a form of change.
With change comes possibilities.
And with possibilities comes responsibilities, an important thing for teens to learn.
Now, as a teen myself, I will say cleaning my room is THE HARDEST responsibility I have ever had to deal with. Another great thing with still being a teen is that I know how our minds work, and I know what motivates us and gets us to do crap we really seriously do not want to do. And so, because Ntathu's request made me laugh way too hard at how close to home it truly hit, I have graciously decided to create the Hub every parent should read:
Motivating Tips and Tricks to get your teenager to clean his/her room!
Please read responsibly.
Discussions pave the way to breakthroughs.
Talk to your teen. Why is he having such a hard time getting around to cleaning his room? Why does she procrastinate against seeing her bedroom floor for the first time in months? Why are they avoiding it?
To give a good perspective, the average messy teen's room looks something like this:
In case you're wondering, those are honest to goodness pictures I took myself.
That's my bedroom.
If your teen's room looks even remotely similar to this danger zone, the most likely reason for their procrastination is sheer lack of willpower and the feeling of being overwhelmed with personal possessions. When our rooms get to be this bad, it's a sign that we don't have good time management skills. We keep telling ourselves, "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow." "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow." "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow." It's like the broken record concept. We put it off and put it off until we can't put it off no more, but by then, the mess has become so gargantuan that we're afraid we're never going to finish (or that we'll get lost and the rescue team will never find us in time).Thus, we stop thinking, "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow," and move on to, "Oh snap, I don't even know where to start. Maybe I should do this when I have more help."
BING BING BING! THE MAGIC WORD!
It's right there, in black and white:
Your teen needs help.
The problem is, he's not going to come right out and say, "Mom, could you help me clean my room?" because he doesn't want his mom to think he can't do a simple task on his own. We don't like to feel babied or childish, and asking for help on something as menial as cleaning our room is just absurd in our minds.
And that, parents, is where we fall, and you need to jump in and hand us a parachute. There are several ways to go about doing this, but for now, we'll just list a few for future reference.
Don't tell us how to do it. We're not going to listen. If you give us advice, such as good storage ideas or places we can donate/sell our extra things, we'll be more inclined to take it.
Teens are not good with taking orders. Any parent can tell you this. Our will power is extremely strong, despite common misconceptions. We're stubborn. We want to do things our way. By giving us advice on how to do things, we'll twist your words a little in our heads (still keeping the original thought there) to make us believe we thought of it.
You can either verbally do this, or you can write up a list of ideas to help your teen along. Just be careful not to make your ideas sound like we absolutely must follow them, else we won't. Tape the list to their bedroom door. Mention some tips in a casual conversation. Keep everything light and nonchalant. It's how us teens roll.
Get Them Started
If organization's the main issue, go out and buy storage bins. Buy a whole bunch; they're pretty cheap. Set them out where your teen can see them, and when he asks about them, say, "Oh, I just thought you might like these for your room." again, keeping that nonchalant attitude. Using words and phrases like I Thought and Might plants the seed of inovation, instead of making us feel like you're pressuring us.
In all honesty, we like organization. We like knowing where specific crap is. We feel more secure when it takes us all of two seconds to find something in a well organized place than wasting half an hour just to find that stupid shirt we must wear to school today.
(This is for all you teens out there) Don't you feel better when your room is clean? It gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it makes you feel like you could tackle just about anything. You feel more responsible. You feel more reliable. You feel like an adult. So why not get organized?
Parents, if your teen is struggling with organizing, even after you've gotten those dang bins, offer to help. Help is the key word in this hub. Ask them where things go, and help them put those things into the appropriate places. Get active with your teen; it shows us you really do care about our lives, instead of making us feel like you only say you care because you have to.
Encouragement Means A Lot
Yes, I said we teens like having things clean and orderly, but we don't like having to do the cleaning and organizing. Really. We don't. A great way to keep your teen motivated is through encouragement.
Walk by your teen's room while she's working. When you begin to see progress (and what could very well possibly be her bedroom floor), praise her. Tell her you're proud of her work and efforts. Tell her you're excited to see what she decides to do with her space. Offer some sort of treat or reward for when she's finished, like going out to her favorite restaurant or buying her those shoes she's been oggling at the mall. Keep the reward nice and small, but still something they'd really enjoy.
"Why'd you stop?" Sometimes, when our rooms are just that bad, we need breaks. Don't punish us for these, it's not entirely our fault that our brains have been overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of our mess. You get breaks at work, don't you? Well, why can't we have a break or two? Tell her she can take it easy for 30 minutes or an hour, but once that time's up, she should get back to cleaning so she can achieve her reward. Keep reminding her that there is indeed a reward, and she'll push herself to get that bomb-went-off of a room finished.
We like having our work recognized. Recognize our hard efforts, and we'll be glad to work harder.
I happen to like cleaning my room. I like having my things in certain places where I can find them easily. But when it gets to be the disaster it's become, a little help is greatly appreciated.
I offer you my words of wisdom, as a teen myself, on simple and effective ways to help your son or daughter get their dang room cleaned up. I know these methods work, because they work wonders for my dad. As long as you remember that we are teenagers and we get things done our way, your kids will have their work done in no time. Good luck, moms and dads!
Some good links to help you both get started
- Berkeley Parents Network: Teen's Messy Room
These comments are from real parents that have struggled with teens and their messy rooms.
- How to Organize Your Room if You Are a Teen - wikiHow
wikiHow article about How to Organize Your Room if You Are a Teen.
- Teen Rooms
Quite the funny article, with some good words of wisdom.
- How to Encourage Teens to Clean Their Rooms | eHow.com
How to Encourage Teens to Clean Their Rooms. Quit nagging and get better results through encouragement and motivation.
- How to Get Teens to Organize and Clean Their Room
Pretty self-explanatory, folks.