If you have been brave enough to venture into your teenagers room, you’ve probably had a glimpse at what few parents want to see: the real teenaged wasteland. For most parents of teens, it’s the source of a nearly endless struggle. Where should a parent start?
The first tip is to relax. Yes, it’s terrible in there and you want it cleaned. But keep in mind, it’s only a room. How is your teen doing in the rest of their life? If they are doing well in school, participating in after school activities and sports, have a positive circle or friends, then things really aren’t that bad. Let go of the power struggle and take a good look at your teen. The room may be an issue, but it’s hardly the most important issue the two of you will face. If you relax about the room, you might find that things really aren’t so bad. Then take a look at the following steps, they will help you tackle this problem more effectively.
Narrow Down the Rules
Yes, you heard me right! When it comes to a teen, you have to compromise. Not everything will be perfect. Remember what’s important:
1. You don’t want their room to be a breeding ground for bugs. That means no food dishes or silverware in the room.
2. No room should have mildew growing. This means no wet towels. All towels and wet clothes need to be in the hamper.
3. In case of emergency, there needs to be a way out! Your teens room needs to have a clear walking area. The floor should be picked up.
Make these simple house rules. If your teen violates the rule, make the punishment clear and expected. Don’t argue, it’s just the house rule.
Creativity and Self-Expression
Your child is looking for a place to be themselves. It’s true, you don’t want their form of expression to be a hurricane. But you also want your child to have a room that fits their personality. Sit down with your child and see what they want. Some teens like to design their walls. Can you give them space to pain a wall? How about installing a cork board on the wall so that they can arrange posters and pictures. Let the creativity flow. The more involved they are, the more likely they are to want to keep their room clean.
Teens have a lot of stuff because they are between childhood and adulthood. It’s still hard to get rid of some of those things that they loved when they were children. How can you help? Most teens are more inclined to declutter if they realize that it can help someone else.
One idea is to have your teen volunteer with you at a shelter. If they see that other children can benefit from things that they really don’t need, they’ll be more inclined to give. Bring home two boxes, one for you and one for your teen. Then fill it up and donate the wealth. You’ll both feel better!
Not every treasure is meant to be given away: help your child make a keepsake box. As they start to think about moving forward to adulthood, there are many things that they are reluctant to leave behind. Have them go through their possessions and store things that are important to them. It could be books, even clothes. Anything that they value and want to keep safe. These can be things that will someday give to their own children. When they have filled the box, store it in the attic. They can be assured that their treasures will be safe until they need them again.
Storage Space and Storage Bins
Storage space is probably the biggest thing you can do to help your teen. Start out by evaluating the closet. There are lots of space saving devices on the market that make cleaning much easier. Go out and purchase some storage bins. If you want the room clean, you have to make sure that there are enough hooks, hangers and bins to make that happen.
Reinforcing a teen can sometimes be a challenge, but remember they still want your praise and reinforcement. Thank them when they remember to put their things away. Tell them how proud you are of them when they remember to do their chores. Every once in a while, remember to get them something special that they’ll enjoy. For a teen, consider getting them a small gift card. Nothing will get a better response than appreciation. This isn’t payment and shouldn’t be formalized. This should just be a reminder that you recognize how hard they are trying.
They’ll be pleasantly surprised – and hopefully, so will you!