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to expect 12 year old to keep room tidy?

(67 Posts)
Jw35 Tue 05-Jan-16 14:02:57

Hi posting here for traffic!
My 12 year old dd is very messy. She has the biggest room in in the house (because she has the most stuff and I wanted her to) and she has a bed as well as a sofa bed in there used as a sofa.

Last summer When she was in Paris with the school, I made her room special for her, got some ikea storage units and new bedding, new large fluffy rug and furnishings. It looked lovely and she was over the moon. She has a cute sleeping area and 'lounge' area.

I used to tidy up for her every month or so, having a blitz in there and chucking things out. However she's supposed to do the basics-laundry in basket, no rubbish on floor etc.

Since I had another baby a year ago I've withdrawn from these blitz episodes and it always looks a tip! Clothes and towels everywhere, bed messy, toys and pens etc scattered on the floor. Bin overflowing and it's getting me down!

I have a one year old now and I'm 10 weeks pregnant and feeling shattered! What is fair in this situation? I feel guilty that I haven't cleaned for her in about a year properly and I'm also not sure what discipline is appropriate for clothes and towels on floor? Does she need a laundry basket even though there's one right outside her door on landing?

Advice welcome! Thanks

breezydoesit Tue 05-Jan-16 14:09:41

I'm 30 and I struggle with tidiness blush no help I know but I always feel a sense of kinship for the fellow untidy in the world

coffeeisnectar Tue 05-Jan-16 14:10:24

It's situation normal. My 17 year olds room has been like this for 4 years. I've nagged and helped her gut it but within days hours it's back to looking like a bomb has gone off.

I'm sure there are lovely neat freak teens (I was one and my 10 year old looks like being one) but on average they cba to actually make any effort.

Shut the door. Don't look. Tell her if it's not in the laundry it won't get washed, don't go in there picking it up. Towels HAVE to be removed and all kitchen things will be banned if she doesn't bring them back.

Once she realises you aren't going to do it for her she might do it herself. But don't hold your breath. Some teens seem to cope fine living like this.

gymboywalton Tue 05-Jan-16 14:10:58

she's 12! it is a very rare 12 year old who has a tidy room

seriously -don't sweat about it

BabyGanoush Tue 05-Jan-16 14:13:14

I have an 11 yr old and a 13 yr old

I remind them daily to tidy 5 mins before bed. They also make their bed before going to school.

That keeps it manageable and stops it from becoming a big deal/mess

It would be nice if they remembered by themselves... But not there yet grin

Little and often?

TheFuzz Tue 05-Jan-16 14:33:19

They are all like this. It's the food, drink bottles and wet towels. At least clothing does sometimes make the laundry baskey

Nataleejah Tue 05-Jan-16 14:36:34

Have someting like cleaning up time every week with specific tasks.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 05-Jan-16 15:06:40

I still don't have a tidy house bedroom and I'm 33. You can't force it.

If you can be arsed, get a timer and get her to do a 15 minute fling. I do that with my boys, we tend to pile everything up - toys, clothes, rubbish - in five and then we can put the other stuff away.

Or I get DH to clean it all out while I'm at work.

Hihohoho1 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:09:31

If anyone has a tidy child please share the secret.

Op if she needs a lift or money then that's blackmail time to tidy room. grin

Clarella Tue 05-Jan-16 15:13:37

I must say I always struggled and still do. I sometimes feel it's a bit like the way dyslexics do - I simply struggle to keep tidy when my head is so full of other things.

I'm finally getting better aged nearly 39.blush

Don't make her feel bad about her self or be exasperated. My mum would criticise this aspect of me and I used to feel depressed and down on myself when I was older. But I developed hypothyroidism in my early 20s and so was even more disorganised! And it's taken many years to escape this.

I would show her methods eg arranged boxes even labelled if needed. Maybe even a bit Marie kondo! But then it's up to her.

(My mum is amazing in all other aspects but is super tidy and couldn't understand why I wasn't!)

Clarella Tue 05-Jan-16 15:14:09

I think you either are or are not a tidy person!!

BarryMerry Tue 05-Jan-16 15:14:39

Have some kind of teenage privilege available eg pocket money, wifi password, mobile phone top up voucher, itunes credit that she gets after a successful room inspection. Help/supervise her to start with... treat it as a solution-oriented issue, rather than a discipline/shouty issue. She prob needs help getting started and into the habit. Help her break it down into manageable sub tasks. Also, encouraging supportive words rather than berating.

I never got the hang of tidying when I was younger, due to shouty unhelpful parents, and I'm a messy scatterbrained nightmare as an adult. I just can't see where to start and all the kitchen work tops and other surfaces around the house are cluttered. I also procrastinate & self sabotage. I'm going to get the illustrated guide to Marie Kondo, might be a fun way to tackle it together with your dd?

Clarella Tue 05-Jan-16 15:16:08

I think doing it with her could be helpful, and not when she's tired. With an end goal and time limited.

Clarella Tue 05-Jan-16 15:16:26

I'm going to get the illustrated guide too!

Borninthe60s Tue 05-Jan-16 15:20:15

Laundry basket in her room. Wash what's in it and nothing else. Room tidied once per week for pocket money or phone with sanctions if not done. Bed Changed every week or two. Towels back in bathroom.
Keep door closed. It's her mess you don't have to live in it but once per week get her to clean and tidy it.

Lucyccfc Tue 05-Jan-16 15:21:28

I have a tidy child, but maybe sharing my secret won't help.

Start young. You can't spend your time tidying up after children and then expect them to magically become tidy at the age of 12.

I don't tidy up after my DS, he has to do it. At a young age, he would have 2 or 3 toys out and before he got any more out, he had to tidy up. When he gets out of the bath, he was taught to put his wet towel over the bannister. He doesn't have food or drink in his room. I taught him to use the different wash baskets at a very young age, so he knows that clothes go in the wardrobe, drawer or baskets.

He was also taught to take stuff off the maiden and fold them at about the age of 5 and he has been using the washing machine since he was about 6.

He has to clean his own room and change his bedding once a week. I started by doing it with him and showing him. Now I just remind him to go up and do it. I do a quick check of his room before bed and remind him to: put clothes in the wash basket, turn his PC off and get his uniform ready for the next day.

Lead by example too.

He does make me smile though because when he gets off the settee to come and have tea, he will put the TV remote back on the table and tidy the cushions.

All this has been me expecting him and teaching him to do these things. It's never been a big deal, just something I have expected. (He is 10).

I wonder if all this will come back to bite me on the bum when he becomes a teenager lol.

Katedotness1963 Tue 05-Jan-16 15:34:29

I have boys, aged 14 and 16. They both have really tidy rooms and make their beds every morning. Somehow I feel guilt over this.

tiggerkid Tue 05-Jan-16 17:30:22

My son is 13 and is also very messy. I don't bother arguing with him on a daily basis but certainly expect him to clean up at least once a week. If he doesn't, I hide his Xbox controls until he does smile He whines but it usually works. Probably a bit mean too but seems to be the only way for us. So I stick with it. Either that or I turn internet off until he cleans up.

Not sure if the same would work for your daughter and maybe I am even being abusive but I tried other strategies and this seems to be the only one that works for us. Once a week, he tidies his room properly.

I am hoping he will grow out of this messy stage at some point but don't know for sure as he is the only child, so no prior experience.

I don't remember myself being like that at his age, but many of my colleagues said it's a gender thing too although that seems to contradict your case.

Someone suggested to me to offer to pay him for cleaning but I think it's a terrible idea. I don't think my son should expect to be paid for something that I see as his responsibility. It also sends the wrong message for the future.

On the other hand, you could consider deducting money from DD's allowance if she has one to hire a cleaner just to clean out her room once a month. That will give her the message that if she doesn't want to clean, she has to pay for someone else to do it.

That's not a perfect anwser either and I am not sure there is one.

Jw35 Tue 05-Jan-16 17:45:41

Thanks for replies! Feel a lot better as it does seem to be the norm! I definitely need to have a good blitz, maybe then I could try bribery! Thank god I'm not the only one..I wouldn't say my house is really tidy but her room is certainly the messiest!

jevoudrais Tue 05-Jan-16 17:46:37

I don't remember my parents ever tidying my room. They would help me decide what toys I didn't want and my mum did my bed linen until I was about 9 and could manage it. She's probably used to you blitzing it and doesn't therefore realize she's meant to do it.

Krampus Tue 05-Jan-16 17:52:10

My boys have to tidy their rooms every Sunday, one of us will then inspect it and send them under the beds to retrieve dirty socks, rehang clothes. We don't mind helping them occasionally, suggesting how we could use a container to put certain things in. We have a cleaner but every so often will spring clean with them and give them tasks to do, often asking them what they think needs doing.

itshappenedagain Tue 05-Jan-16 18:00:45

My DS is 9 and his room is a tip...but one a week/ fortnight when I can't take it anymore I get him to sort a section at a time, then go up once he has moved the most it and do a blitz! It take a couple if hours, but he is getting better! My dd on the other hand likes everything in it's place! I was messy as a child but my mum used to do it all for us...hence having to learn a lot when she started working when I was 15...shock to the system. blush

DoreenLethal Tue 05-Jan-16 18:12:04

Link it to 'before we do so and so [something she likes] you need to do A and B [put all the washing in the basket, tidy your room, all toys in the cupboards etc] and only do the thing when she has done what you want her to do.

Jw35 Wed 06-Jan-16 15:24:17

Good idea Doreen x

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 06-Jan-16 16:21:04

Close the door?

My Mum spent masses of time, energy and both our patience, on trying to get me to tidy. It didn't take. I now associate tidying with pain and anguish.

Have her be a full member of the household and have chores, but let her have her room how she wants (barring smells and health hazards).

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