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To expect my 13 year old to clean her bedroom

(48 Posts)
Horsegirl1 Sun 21-Aug-16 09:09:12

Just that really . Her room and wardrobe is a disgrace and according to her she shouldn't have to clean her room ?? What are your 13 year olds bedrooms like and do you clean them ? I am ocd in the house and do her room when I absolutely cannot stand it anymore and it gets a thorough deep clean and looks lovely. 2 days later it's back to a hovel. Make up everywhere , clothes all over , cups of half drunk tea or glasses of juice left on her computer desk ,clothes that iv ironed and laid on her bed ready for her to pop in wardrobe are always just rammed in a heap at bottom of wardrobe . I have always cleaned the dc bedrooms but at 13 should she not be doing something to help keep it in order herself ? Thoughts please

Afreshstartplease Sun 21-Aug-16 09:12:24

You should have tackled this year's ago! My 7&8 year olds manage this

user1467976192 Sun 21-Aug-16 09:13:56

Instead of ironing her clothes throw some of her favourites away, she will soon start fending for herself

davos Sun 21-Aug-16 09:27:48

Of course she should.

My five year old cleans up his own mess and puts and his used crockery in the kitchen.

He helps me clean his room and Dd (12) cleans hers herself. It's a non negotiable.

Rumpelstiltskin143 Sun 21-Aug-16 09:36:48

Good luck with that. Until mine was about 12 it used to be kept nicely then the fairies substituted another child that looked like mine. For months we argued, temper tantrums on both sides, until I gave up in disgust and defied her to leave her door open. When her friends started coming round, then it started getting picked up. Now she keeps her home tidier than I keep mine, but guess who has a 13 year old that's driving her nuts.

user1471559761 Sun 21-Aug-16 09:38:36

"You should have tackled this year's ago!"


Btw, liking things clean and tidy does not mean you have OCD.

Lucyccfc Sun 21-Aug-16 09:45:57

Echo what others have said - should have started this years ago, however you cannot turn the clock back.

I had this with a young lady who,lodged with me (she was 16). It got to a stage where the smell from her room affected the rest of the house. She has 1 warning to keep her room tidy or anything left on the floor or bed would go. She ignored the warning. I got 2 black bin liners and removed everything on her floor or dumped on her bed. Make up, clothes, CD's, phone charger etc.

She got it back when she had cleaned her room. It took me 2 instances of doing this and she started keeping her room clean.

FrancisCrawford Sun 21-Aug-16 09:48:13

ask her why she believes she should not be responsible for her own mess.

Tell her If she wants to be treated like a small child where you have to do everything for her, then she will have to accept the other natural consequences like early bed, not having a phone , no pocket money, no being to socialise without you present etc!

There was a time I removed two bin bags of juice cans from DDs bedroom, plus other assorted food remands that were going mouldy. That resulted in a ban of all food and drink (other than water) being taken upstairs. And then I found keeping her door shut and letting her live in her mess was the course of least resistance. She was great in other ways, but terminally messy until she left for uni and had a very small room in halls. That Xmas break she came home a different person.

Choose your battles. Basic hygiene, yes, that has to be enforced. Room looking she's taken a stick and stirred it up? Her problem if that's how she wants to live.

3catsandcounting Sun 21-Aug-16 09:49:51

Don't have an answer, but my DD was tidy and compliant until she hit 13; she's happy to live in a hovel and we've had countless arguments and fall-outs, none of which changed anything.
I usually find striking forth with the hoover and getting items of clothing or suchlike stuck in the beater-bar, a sure fire way of her jumping into action and clearing the floor.

Misselthwaite Sun 21-Aug-16 09:51:32

Course she should clean it. Stop doing it for her and give her a suitable timeframe to do it herself. If she doesn't then remove phone, WiFi or taxi service whichever is likely to be most motivating.

MaureenMLove Sun 21-Aug-16 09:52:21

Leave her to it. This is not an argument you need to have with a 13 year old. It is just a messy bedroom. She is not out drinking or taking drugs, she just lives like a pig! My 20 year old still lives like a pig, but she's a good girl, she's never brought any trouble to our door, so just let it go.

It drives me nuts, but realistically, there are far worse things she could do.

3catsandcounting Sun 21-Aug-16 09:59:23

Francis - I think my previous post reflects the fact that DD is heading off to uni in September! wink

Wigglewogglewoo Sun 21-Aug-16 10:04:10

I just leave them to do what they like in their rooms, it's their own personal space. As long as they keep the rest of the house tidy and don't leave plates and cups in their rooms of course.

SparklesandBangs Sun 21-Aug-16 10:17:20

I've left mine to fend for themselves since Y7, DD2 can be messy but regularly has a good tidy and clean. DD1 is a disaster, I don't think we've seen her carpet in 4 years, she is now at uni where by all accounts her room is also messy, so far we are 2 months into her summer break and she is yet to finish unpacking.

At first I used to stress about their rooms and shout and nag, but apart from standing in the room and basically doing it for them only to have it back in a mess within 48 hours there was no solution, now I just ask them to keep their doors closed.

Leeloo2 Sun 21-Aug-16 10:18:07

Judging by a similar recent post where the op found maggots all over her messy dd's room, I don't think 'leaving them to it' is such good advice.

I think discussion and setting of ground rules is a good idea. So asking if she would like to take food upstairs? If she says yes, then you say ok, then I can respect that it's nice to eat a snack while you do homework etc, but if you do then you have to bring all plates /cups etc down before bed each evening. Any responses of that's not fair/I don't want to, can be met by you saying ok, then don't take food upstairs, as I don't want family plates going mouldy etc. When it's 'negotiated' and 'agreed' (under whatever duress) then each evening supervise her bringing all crockery downstairs for a few weeks, then remind her and check she's done it until it's a routine and you can trust her to do it.

I'd get a huge box and discuss how often the floor needs to be clear enough to hoover. Stay it's a minimum of once a week, but would she like to do it more often? Get an agreement then stick to it (initially i'd do it, then work towards her doing it under supervision, then independently), so each Saturday either she empties the floor, or you scoop it up and dump it in the box - if stuff is damaged then her problem.

End up with a written list of what has been agreed, even if it takes days to negotiate. Any refusal means removal of the privilege. Eg not bringing plates down means next day can't take them upstairs (and if you catch her remove them) etc.

It's hard, but I think the discussion is like when you have a toddler and give the illusion of choices/freedom, so they feel respected, but all the choices are ones that you are happy with. Also whilst it's harder work for you in the interim, hopefully long term it means you can relax a little as she learns to respect her room again.

Oh and stop ironing immediately! It's clearly isn't respected, so whats the point? If she notices/minds then that can go on the list! I will iron your clothes (again, work towards her doing this) if you commit to hanging them up properly (put on hangers as you iron to facilitate this). If she doesn't hang them, you stop ironing again.

SisterKhloe Sun 21-Aug-16 10:18:12

'Tidy and compliant until she turned 13' <--this.

It's a way of asserting her own autonomy over her personal space, and what little if her life a 13 year old can control. As long as she's not breeding maggots up there, then leave her to it. You'll both be happier.

FrancisCrawford Sun 21-Aug-16 10:25:20

Fingers crossed, 3cats!

And hoping she has a brilliant time. DD has matured so much since she went. She was always amazing (in my eyes) but It is lovely seeing her become such a considerate and responsible person.

Choose your battles. Basic hygiene, yes, that has to be enforced. Room looking she's taken a stick and stirred it up? Her problem if that's how she wants to live. YES AGREED, OH AND TO THOSE SAYING MY 5 YEAR OLD KEEPS THEIR ROOM CLEAN, OR MY 7 / 8 YEAR OLD DOES, HA HA HA, (oops sorry caps lock, DIDN'T MEAN TO SHOUT) mynow 20 year oldwas the tidiest,most particular /organised child until about 15 whwn it all went tits up and mess became his middle name, both him and DS1 are of the let the mess build then have a clear upevery week or so, they both live away now but ds2 has been home from uni for summer and is still doing this. I am very much now of the shut the door and leave it to them school of thought, and although I do his washing, we just pile it up for him to deal with.

thenewaveragebear1983 Sun 21-Aug-16 10:30:31

My dd is 12 and very untidy/messy all over the house including her room. We are currently selling so I'm trying to keep everywhere tidy all the time for viewings.
Our rules include- no food, ever, in bedrooms. There's no need to eat upstairs.
Drinks allowed upstairs but cups brought down,
We gave her a washing hamper for her room so at least dirty clothes are in the hamper and not on the floor.
Make sure she has enough storage for her stuff- eg. If she has more books than will fit in her shelf then she will always have books lying around, so clear out/charity or loft some stuff.
We, every day, insist that she has no food waste, cups, dirty clothes, or rubbish in her room. This involves us remembering to ask as she won't do it herself. The rest is just 'mess' really and an hour or 2 tidying can leave it immaculate.
She is not naturally tidy, is very laid back and just sloppy I guess, my constant insistence for tidiness drives her mad.

Afreshstartplease Sun 21-Aug-16 10:32:25

I got the impression from the ops post that she had always done it for her dd until now and hadn't enforced the need for her to do it herself.
You probably have a better chance of them doing it for themselves if you try and enforce it at a younger age

humblesims Sun 21-Aug-16 10:33:34

I generally leave mine to it (DS15) but if it gets too horrid I will make him do it (or incur a withdrawal of privileges such as having his mates around, until its done). Sometimes I ban food in the room or refuse to wash anything that doesnt go in the washing basket etc etc. Its still a tip but its not too toxic.

Thingywhatsit Sun 21-Aug-16 10:49:13

Having worked in a residential setting with 16-25 year olds I would say this is completely normal! My ds 13 is exactly the same!
the first thing that strikes me in your post is that you say you are ocd in the rest of the house. Is it possible to want your 13 yr old to maintain your perfect standards? Cos you are going to have to accept that a 13 year olds priority is never to keep their room as if it was in a show house!

Having dealt with lots of young people and messy rooms, there are lots who were never taught to tidy and clean for whatever reason - some cos their parents didn't care and some cos their parents did it all for them.

Set some basic ground rules - like a) dirty washing goes in a laundry bin that is in their room b) basic levels of hygiene are adhered too c) pocket money not given unless room is tidy (don't set a tidiness level that is the same as the rest of the house) d) you help them do it if necessary one day a week.

My ds is terribly untidy, as am I naturally and I really have to work hard to keep the house in reasonable order. My mother was very ocd when I was younger and would do most of it for me as she wouldn't leave it, so every morning she would tidy my room whilst I was at school etc. This did not help me one bit!

For my ds, I have basic rules, but I also go in and "help" him tidy his room. I don't really help him though, I sit on his bed and chat away to him, offering suggestions about where to put things and what he still needs to do. Not in a condescending way at all, it's just when faced with the mess and being told to tidy it he just doesn't know what to do. You have to teach them! And unfortunately it's a slow process.

Sometimes if he is being particularly bad, and it is affecting the rest of the house I do threaten him with black bagging everything and putting it in the bin but that tends to be a last resort and a threat that is used very rarely!!! (An I have never have had to carry it out!) On the whole though I try to avoid confrontation, as it doesn't help.

As he has got better keeping his room tidy I have gradually put in more "demands". For example he used to just have to put dirty clothes in the laundry basket in his room and I would do collect it as and when, now he needs to bring it down when it's full and only then do I do his washing.

Now my house is not a show house, but it's clean, never dirty. Bathrooms and kitchen always clean and downstairs hoovered every other day at the least. It's very rarely tidy, but I think cleanliness beats tidiness in the importance stakes any day!

Pick you battles with your teenagers they like to rebel so start with something manageable and achievable first and then add to it. So think SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed. So telling them "this week you have to keep you room tidy and clean and I don't want to see any mess in there" would not work. But maybe saying "on Tuesday I would like to hoover your room, so please clear the floor so I can do this. Then on Saturday I am doing a sheet wash so please strip your bed when you get up and bring it downstairs" is much more likely to have an affect.

FrancisCrawford Sun 21-Aug-16 11:22:52

In my experience, teens fall into three categories:
Semi-feral and

If yours is semi-feral (mine was,) then take some small comfort that it could be worse. If yours is feral, then perhaps consider a moonlight flit? smile

MadSprocker Sun 21-Aug-16 11:34:16

My mum is a bit of a clean freak (think tidying away drinks before you have finished them) and I am a natural slob. I am 41 and she is 67 btw! Looking back to when I was 13, I think it was my way of rebelling at the time. You could not literally see my floor for clothes, magazines etc, though I didn't really collect plates, cups.

Like a pp poster said, it could be a lot worse.

Keeping tidy is something I have to work at as an adult, but the magazines are now in piles, and the clothes are hung up, but not necessarily ironed.

I do go on at my two ds aged 13 and 10 about tidying, but not constantly as being tidy isn't the be all and end all.

WatchingFromTheWings Sun 21-Aug-16 11:38:33

My 14yo DDs room is a pigsty. Always been the same. If she dies tidy it she tends to hide stuff or move it around without actually tidying anything. Every now and then I dump EVERYTHING on her bed and polish furniture/sweep floor then leave her tidy and put away the junk on her bed. It's usually back as it was within 3 days. sad

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