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Advice please - how to handle without loosing credibility

(12 Posts)
Stitch999 Wed 12-Mar-14 20:53:03


I'm new here and seeking advice. I'm really hoping I've come to the right place.

I have a step-daughter, although my DH and I don't refer to her as that. I married her father last year and we have been together for nearly 4 years. SD is 15. I am 40 (but feeling incredibly out at sea!) and I don't have any children of my own, hence, no previous experience to call upon.

In most respects she is a great girl. However, despite requests by her father to leave her room and bathroom tidy when she leaves our home after a weekend or mid-week visit seems to fall on intermittent deaf ears. He keeps on having the same conversation with her. Sometimes they are ok, sometime completely trashed, clothes, makeup, jewellery, bits of paper, lids off bottles, sweet rappers, you name it, are all over the floor and surfaces - wherever it has landed is where it stays!

I am a complete coward. It drives me mad seeing the way the rooms are left, especially given that I keep such a clean and tidy house. So far, I have been tidying up after her, and she arrives back to a pristine bedroom and bathroom, while I quietly mutter to myself! I can't help but feel it is being done on purpose.

This week, I flipped. I have not done anything, the bedroom is still in the mess it was left in on Monday morning. She is staying tomorrow. I want to tackle her on this, but don't know how to go about it. I admit, I have always asked her father to have the conversation, but I know that I need to 'man up' and do it for myself.

Why am I so scared!!!

Please, does anyone have any advice on how I should handle this?

In anticipation :-) And thank you for reading.

FernieB Wed 12-Mar-14 22:01:52

She sounds like an average teen. I would not make a major issue of it. When her Dad is present I would just say that you're quite happy to vacuum/dust her room etc but you'd like her to put rubbish in the bin and tidy things away before she leaves. Most teens just don't notice mess - hopefully she'll respond well. You could also just tidy her things away for her but deliberately into all the wrong places because 'you don't know where anything goes'. She may then tidy herself.

BettyBotter Wed 12-Mar-14 22:11:13

Just wanted to reply so you weren't all alone smile

First rule of teen management is pick your battles .
I'd say having a messy room is pretty standard teen behaviour. Does it really matter in the grand scheme? Is it a shared room for example? Personally I believe that a teen's room is their own space and I am not going to enter or interfere unless I think it's a serious health hazard I'd just shut the door if you don't like how it looks and insist on her tidying when she's with you.

Second rule of teen management keep it calm
If a tidy bathroom is a non negotiable issue for you then try not to address it as a Big Deal or it will become a massive bone of contention which can be used in the future to rile you. I'd try keeping a low key request, perhaps when dsd is packing to go and a casual, 'Oh make sure you clear up the bathroom,could you?'

Third rule of teen management united we stand
If you and dh agree that the bedroom and bathroom issue needs sorting, you have to back each other up consistently. Teens are experts at finding the wiggle room in any instruction. (well my dad doesn't mind; well I cleaned it last week so it's your turn). Even if you make the speech here your dh needs to be the one nodding and backing you to the hilt.

Good luck - and btw you might get more support on the step parenting board.

Rascalls3 Wed 12-Mar-14 22:20:20

Errm...this is a little tricky. I am very much in the 'pick you battles carefully' camp and if your relationship is generally ok I am not sure this is one worth falling out over. This is fairly normal teenage behaviour and although it probably feels disrespectful, I don't think she is being deliberately so.
You could either leave it as it is and expect it to be in even worse state when she leaves next time or carry on clearing up after her. I think I would try and catch her just before she leaves and try and rope her into a quick joint tidy up session. I would try and keep it on a friendly, lighthearted footing. Good luck!

Rascalls3 Wed 12-Mar-14 22:22:47

Sorry major cross posting. Cooking late supper. Looks like it has already been well answered!

exexpat Wed 12-Mar-14 22:23:36

Sounds like a normal teenager to me, and I'd agree about picking battles. You need to have a few basic rules - eg, no dirty plates/cups/anything with food on to be left in her room, and shared spaces (eg bathroom, kitchen) to be left tidy - but when it comes to her own room and her own possessions I think you need to close the door and leave her to it.

Stricnine Fri 14-Mar-14 11:41:43

I would definitely leave her bedroom alone, unless you have a need for it when she's not staying - as other posters have said teens generally won't notice the mess anyway, and she possibly claiming the room for herself since she only stays part time with you..

Shared space on the other hand is non-negotiable!

mathanxiety Fri 14-Mar-14 15:16:20

Look at it this way -- she clearly feels right at home or she wouldn't be doing this, and that is a good thing in the long run.

It's normal for teens, especially teen girls ime, to generate unbelievable mess.

I agree if you want this cleaned up however, do it together and in a lighthearted way -- 'Let's take our wastepaper baskets and do a quick blitz shall we smile'.

You can ask her to strip her bed and put on a wash herself once every so often when she's there, and then she can make it up herself again.

90sthrowback Fri 14-Mar-14 16:45:59

Sounds pretty normal to me as well and if that is the only issue, then tbh I'd leave it and just shut the door on the mess.

50KnockingonabiT Fri 14-Mar-14 18:37:14

Having gone through the teenage stage with two DDs I would now say close the door and ignore it. If she's happy to live in her mess then let her. I did draw the line at food/dirty pots and towels though. They are not their personal things so should not be stashed in their room/tip

FunkyBoldRibena Fri 14-Mar-14 18:39:26

Strategically placed mouse droppings should do it.

heronsfly Fri 14-Mar-14 18:43:14

Ive got 3dds and I agree its pretty standard behaviour, Im another one who draws the line at dirty food plates but shuts the door on everything else. For what its worth my dd1 (now grown up) has the most beautiful house and often lectures me about the state of mine !!!!!!!

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