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messy bedrooms

(12 Posts)
cornishsue Tue 18-Dec-12 14:19:54

Any advice regarding an 11 year old foster child who keeps his room like a bomb site - or rather makes it like one?

I've tried helping/showing him how to keep it tidy, reasoning with him (that works on most other things), encouraging, bribing, punishing by taking treats away and every other way I can think of. He actively seems to want to make as much mess as possible - spending ages putting rubbish/dirty clothes in cupboards when it would take two seconds to put them in the washing basket/bin. Yes, I have tried providing new bins and laundry baskets - that he uses for clean things. I am not asking for miracles, I make and change his bed, dust and hoover, take out the dirty laundry and put clean clothes away...but I just need a bit of help from him.

Of course the above problem can apply to any child - and has with my other children. However, the reason I am posting in the fostering forum is I worry about it more because of social worker visits. The child's social worker usually asking to have a chat with him in his room (fair enough) and so I always end up doing the room myself. Maybe I have answered my own question here, and he realises that too!!! LOL

In other ways he is delightful, we have no major problems with him. He is well, happy, settled and very much a part of our family. It's just his bedroom!

Ideas please - many thanks!

HarkTheHattifattnerSing Tue 18-Dec-12 15:54:39

make pocket money contingent on having a tidy bedroom. Thats his job, his chore if you like. Saturday morning he can tidy it - even if it takes all morning. Then maybe stress that if he picked up every day for 5 minutes, he would have time for cartoons on a Saturday morning.

This of course is all theoretical as my kids have this rule in place and yet still their bedrooms look like a tip every other morning of the week.

Maybe mention it to SW and then have meetings in your lounge instead of his bedroom!!

NanaNina Tue 18-Dec-12 23:00:43

It sounds to me that he is hiding the dirty clothing in cupboards because he is somehow ashamed of them. I take it he is not a bed wetter. The thing is I think this is an emotional problem rather than a practical one. I have heard of mnay foster child behave in this way, though it's usually when pants etc are wet or stained. It may be that in his past he was punished for having dirty clothes. I think it best that you don't make an issue of it, as he seems to be doing very well in all other aspects.

I don't think it's appropriate for the sw to see him in his bedroom, and I certainly think this is something that you should talk with the sw about who may know something from his past that might explain his behaviour. I think it best to talk to the sw first and agree how to proceed. If the sw wants to see him alone then she should be taking him out to McDonalds or somewhere like that. I am surprised that sws are still talking to children in their bedrooms - it's not on.

Fosterangel Fri 21-Dec-12 13:08:30

I have a bedwetter and a soiled pants hider. This is the teen that is being moved on Christmas Eve (see my other post).

Do you mind me asking what is the significance of bedwetting?
This teen bedwet when first in placement with us. Looking at diaries kept by the previous carers the teen bedwet in placement there too.

I was just curious as we have not had a wet bed for 18months or so now.

NanaNina Fri 21-Dec-12 15:07:43

I have no definitive answer but I think bedwetting is the sign of an anxious child about things that happened in his pre placement experiences. It's good that he has been dry for so long with you - must mean you have been doing all the right things.

Yes I saw the other thread and Christmas Eve move - not on in my view - we never ever placed (unless urgent need) or moved a child at Christmas. It's a time when families get together and nothing is normal, probably a good bit of tension around in most families, and the foster child is just going to feel more bewildered and a "spare part" than he would at other times.

mamaslatts Fri 21-Dec-12 15:12:51

As i child i fess up to having a total shit tip of a bedroom. i wasn't fostered but came from a 'nice' home. my parents would threaten,cajole etc but nothing worked. It stayed messy. long term harm? Zero. Now i have a tidy house and currently battle with my 5 year old about his room...

Sounds like you are doing a great job as a foster mum and the bedroom might not be anything to worry about.

Gymbob Sun 23-Dec-12 22:30:48

My foster child also prefers to live in a shit tip. She has to clean and tidy her bedroom herself every Saturday morning, and if it's not up to par, she is called back to do it again. But it never works. The only thing I do in there is clean the windows (because if she does it she uses half a bottle of windowlene), and vacuum. She stuffs dirty clothes in the wardrobes instead of in the wash basket, which is about 10 paces away in the bathroom. She asked if she could use the 'family' wash basket instead of the one installed in her room because it made her feel like part of the family - and now she does feel like part of the family she just can't be bothered to use it at all.

It does drive me potty, and if there is make-up or nail varnish particularly on the carpet when I go in to vacuum on a Friday morning, I confiscate it. It has leaked out onto the carpet before now. I have a collection of liquid eye liner, nail varnish and liquid lip gloss that I have collected off the carpet - but she still doesn't learn.

She lived like this at home, it's deep seated, and she is a typical lazy teenager, but it still drives me mad!

OhThePlacesYoullGo Sun 06-Jan-13 13:34:47

I was in foster care and used to trash up my bedroom in a rage when I was little. It was my way of showing just how angry I was at the whole world.

NanaNina Sun 06-Jan-13 18:41:25

That's a really helpful post as we rarely hear from people who were fostered as children, and yes it makes sense to smash up your room to show your anger as you have no control over anything as a traumatised child, and the anger has to come out somewhere.

bonnieslilsister Sun 06-Jan-13 21:59:36

How are you now OhThePlaces ? I hope things have greatly improved for you smile m

OhThePlacesYoullGo Sun 06-Jan-13 23:02:04

Yes, bonnie they definitely have. I am 23 and pregnant with my first child. The timing isn't perfect (I am still doing my doctorate and boyfriend has another year of med school left), but we are both very excited. Have to say I am kind of looking forward to having my own proper family.

bonnieslilsister Mon 07-Jan-13 00:21:41

Congratulations! I'm really pleased for you and hope you will be very happy with your own little family thanks

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