What to Do About Your Tween's Messy Room

Is your tween's bedroom driving you crazy? Here's what to do

Don't let your tween's messy bedroom get the best of you.. iStockphoto.com

It's a problem that nearly every parent faces during their child's tweenage or teenage years -- the messy bedroom. Even children who once kept spit spot bedrooms often let them go during the tween years. It doesn't take long for your child's clean and organized room to turn into a disaster zone if he decides he doesn't want to pick up anymore. The issue is, what do you, as the parent, do about it?

Experts come down on both sides of the issue. Some say set the standard and make your children meet it, others say the bedroom isn't a battle worth fighting. If you're confused about whether or not your tween should be picking up his room, the tips and strategies below might help you decide what do. 

Your Tween's Messy Room - Tips and Strategies

Lower Your Expectations: You might find that if you slightly lower your expectations you can live with your child's messy room and avoid confrontation. If your tween is sloppy, but otherwise clean, then consider letting the room slide, and intervene only when the room becomes a real disaster. You may even find that your child decides on his own that he's had enough, and will pick up the mess before you ever have to get involved. 

Let Consequences Teach Your Tween: There are consequences to a messy bedroom, and it's best for your tween to discover them on her own.

If your tween doesn't pick up and organize her things, she may find that she can't locate items when she needs them, or that the shirt she planned on wearing to school today is dirty or stained. Let your child figure out that a messy room can present challenges and problems, and gently remind her that organizing her things is the best way to keep up with them.

There are other consequences to a messy room that your child may also discover. If your tween isn't taking care of her things, she'll discover that you're not willing to replace them, and throw away your hard earned money on things she won't care for. Let your tween replace items that she's ruined with her own money, and she may learn to take better care of her things. 

Give Your Tween a Realistic Deadline: Your tween may be willing to pick up her room, she just might want to do it in her own time. Give your child a deadline when you ask her to clean her room. You could say, "Clean your room by the end of the week" or "Make sure your room is clean before we go on vacation." See if your child manages to motivate herself to do the job. You could also offer an incentive to get her going. "When you're finished cleaning your room, we'll go out for an ice cream cone."

Step In When Necessary: If your child's room has become a total disaster, you may need to step in and take control. If the room begins to smell bad, or if her mess is spilling out to other rooms in the house, it may be necessary to enforce a few rules.

Your child should know that as a member of a family she has certain responsibilities and should be considerate of other family members. This is especially true if your child shares a bedroom with a sibling or another family member. 

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