If you are lucky enough to have a tidy teenager then you are envied by many parents! Untidiness, in most cases, grows at an alarming rate during the teenage years. Clothes on the bedroom floor, glasses and cups with liquids in the end that have often "grown" into some type of fungus and so on. If you have girls, throw in lots of makeup, hair brushes and sprays, jewellery and make-up wipes!
There are some clear guidelines that you can set. Pick a time when you and your teen are calm and discuss the problem. Don't get angry and shout about the room, this will only cause your stress levels to rise and make your teen very angry. This will not foster co-operation from the teen and will not help to solve the problem. When you are both calm talk to your teen about how their untidy bedroom bothers you. Tell them, respectfully, that you don't like having such an untidy room in the house. Ask if you can both work out a solution together. Listen to your teen with respect, remember you are trying to work out a solution not give orders. Some ideas to explore may be:
- Do they need more storage space? Maybe some extra storage will help them to organise their space better.
- Can they make it a habit to bring down their dishes each evening?
- Talk about respecting their privacy by NOT cleaning the room for them.
Remember to remain calm and ask the teenager to suggest ways to solve the problem. Write down suggestions, agree a plan and agree a date to review. As the teen has suggested some solutions and you have agreed the plan, this will place more responsibility on the teenager to solve the problem. Don't nag any more about the problem but wait until your agreed review date and discuss results then. In the meantime, encourage the teen by noticing any improvements - "I noticed that you brought the dishes down from your bedroom, well done, you are sticking to our plan."
This method of communicating with your teenager can make a big difference. You just might be able to see the floor of their bedroom before long.
Stop Negotiating With Your Teen: Strategies for Parenting Your Angry, Manipulative, Moody, or Depressed Adolescent
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