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Teen bedrooms - does the mess matter?(25 Posts)
Sorry this has probably been done to death but wanted opinions on how to deal with messy teen bedrooms. I've always picked up after and cleaned DD's bedroom (she's just turned 17) and probably haven't done myself or her any favours. I'm anal about keeping the house clean and tidy and am a touch OCD. Have decided to hand over responsibility to her as I can't see the floor to hoover anymore and am fed up with collecting her dirty laundry and bringing used plates downstairs. We've had a discussion and she said she'd try and keep it tidy.
Just wondering how to proceed if she doesn't keep on top of things. She's a good girl generally, working hard at school, comes home when she says she will and I know who she's with. Is it worth me imposing sanctions if she doesn't keep her room clean? Or should I just let it go?
I was an incredibly messy teen. Mum only had two rules.
No food in bedrooms.
All laundry brought down and collected the owner.
I'd let it go. Just ask her to bring dirty pots down and sort her dirty laundry out.
Then shut the door.
Personally (dds 18 and 15) I just let it go. I go in each morning and open/wipe down their windows as we have trouble with condensation in winter. The only thing I pick up is the towel that dd2 invariably leaves on the floor. Otherwise the rooms stay messy and I mostly ignore it. Every so often I make dd2 sort out 'Clean clothes, dirty clothes, rubbish and dishes', and I ask for all her dirty uniform and other washing every Friday night. Dd1 does her own washing and brings out dishes, etc., without being reminded these days.
Eventually they get fed up of the mess and sort it themselves, although it can take a few months
years. Until then, no food in the bedrooms, if they take a drink up the mug has to come down in the morning, and if they don't put their washing in the basket it doesn't get done. Closing the door is the best thing to be honest, I used to get so annoyed with the mess it made us all miserable, much better to ignore it as much as possible.
My daughter is 12 and the mess is horrendous. I can't leave it but know I probably should otherwise I'll still be doing this when she's 17 and beyond.
All dirty dishes are to be brought down after dinner when the dishwasher goes on. They both have washing baskets in their rooms that they use. I go in and change the bed ones a week and that's the day they are to dust/Hoover/tidy etc. If it's done every week it doesn't take long. Mine are 12 and 14
I shut their bedroom doors & let it go. If they want to live in a mess that's up to them.
I do have a few rules:
Glasses, mugs, plates have to be brought down daily
Laundry has to be put into the basket or it won't get done
Bins have to be emptied weekly
They have to change their bed linen regularly
The rest of it is up to them. I've found that DS2 will tidy up regularly & do his own laundry without being asked, DS3 tidies up occasionally, and DS1 doesn't care about the mess at all.
JLP, like your mum's rule about collecting clean laundry. When I put DD's
clean clothes neatly folded back in her room, they invariably end up on the floor.
Seems like I should just try shutting the door then....she's up in the attic so I don't even have to walk past her room.
No food or drink - attracts vermin.
No damp stuff - damages house. Room to be ventilated. People who dont look after the roof over the head can sleep outside.
Otherwise , just stop doing her laundry.
No food in bedrooms. Teens do their own laundry. I do not tidy their rooms. (unless they ask me nicely to help if they are having a big clear out - about once a year)
It matters much more to you than anyone else. It could be the trigger for lots of teenager/ parent conflict and really there will be more important things to make a stand on.
I don't believe in any of the MN make them do their own laundry. They can do or take what they like into their rooms including food and drink (they eat with us in the evening but we don't eat together for breakfast or lunch). They live and work in their room and I feel it's their space.
In the spirit of not "sweating the small stuff" I adopted a stand back approach . I itched to go in and pick up but I held off.
I got round the problem of clean laundry ending up in a pile by placing all the clean stuff in a pile outside their door with the agreement that they would put it away.
I don't do their laundry unless they slide it into mine, they are not allowed food upstairs and only water to drink. I don't tidy their rooms, I occasionally make a casual suggestion that they spend 10mins lifting crap off the floor.
Sometimes I wince at the mess but it does not affect me so I shut the door.
We strongly encourage a clear desk policy ,as they often start doing homework all over the house because they run out of desk space in their rooms which results in them leaving their shit behind in the kitchen, living room and study.
Two messy teenagers here with an OCD partner, not their dad, not easy!
We have settled for somewhere in between which goes from most of the time avoiding vision of say mess, a lot of nagging to get dirty clothes down, clean clothes back up, and then depending on when I am particularly tired/they are particularly ungrateful teenagers, I shout that I have enough and that their bedroom need to be tidied.
What seems to work best is 1/ give notice, not hours, but days!, 2/ say that I will check at x time (and make absolutely sure to do so, even if I can tell they are tidying, 3/ try to engage in such request a time when they are in their more positive mood cycle, so are more likely to be responding neutrally to the request rather than with grumpiness, which will inevitably get me even more fired up!
About once a year, DS room gets so bad, I can't take it any longer and worry about what could be growing there and I will have a massive clean out. This usually result in him feeling guilty, telling me how much he likes his bedroom looking nice and promising to keep like it....which normally last about 3 days!
I remind myself that it is good thing there is something that will make be relieved when they leave the house to become independent!
Mess is fine, anything that can go mouldy is not, and if you want your laundry done you have to bring it out.
Then shut the door and leave them to it.
I am currently having this nettle with my pre teens and six yer old. Thing is they MOANwhen stuff gets broken or lost or they can't find the clean washing it socks. How do you deal with that?? I say well you should have tidied up and then they scream shout and follow me around the house and are late for school or have nothing ready for school.
Preteens did theirs but the six year old is stubbornly refusing and switches between rolling around on the floor screaming she hates me (her default setting to get her own way. Which I don't give in to but then go to work and frequently dh has so then I am seen as the mean one) or sitting on the step colouring!!
My sons been like this for a couple of years now, late teens, I agree just shut the door and try and ignore My son does his own washing and luckily leaves no dirty cups/dishes but apart from that it's the pits.
Waiting for the day he gets sick of it and sorts it out. He was looking for something the other day for school, he couldn't find it! He even agrees it's bad but not bad enough to tidy apparently.
My DD's room sets from hideously messy to very tidy as she does do a big tidy up once a week. She does art and often there is art detritus all over the place, but she does clear it up on the night before the cleaner comes and on the weekend usually too. I just dump her clothes on her chair and she puts them away. I also say I won't wash anything unless it's within picking up distance of the family bathroom (on another floor). I used to tidy up after her more, but I work now so don't have the time or energy.
Try not to let it get to you, and certainly try hard not to let it come between you. At this point, with DDs aged 26, 21, 18 and 15, I am not sure teens see mess. I have a theory that their brains are not really able to manage tidiness. They do come out the other end better able to manage the work/life balance better though.
NC - I would not try to make a 6 yo clean up on her own or put away her own laundry. Do it cheerfully with her on set days and follow the chore with something pleasant. 6 yos genuinely do not know where to start.
I would also avoid saying 'Well you should have tidied up', to the preteens, and instead try to prevent matters getting to the point where they are going to be late. They are not naturally organised and need a Leader (you) to wrangle them and deliver a non-panicky address to the troops at a time when everyone is relaxed and not facing a deadline. If you can manage this you may find it's possible to get stuff organised and get them enthusiastic about keeping it that way.
If you can, get them together one weekend to come to grips with their stuff and use the occasion to get rid of a lot, then figure out together where the remainder should be kept. Each evening after that event you can tell them to get their stuff together for the morning. Tell them you are confident that this will be done - emphasise this. In the morning, if nothing has been put together (there will be many occasions when they ignore you) and they want you to sort everything out for them, tell them you are sorry they dropped the ball, and better luck tomorrow. Don't engage any further. Above all, do not write notes excusing lateness or missing uniform or kit items.
My wise daughter aged 15 once said, "I don't smoke, I don't get drunk, I have never so much as looked at a drug, I don't have illegal sex. I am working towards and predicted 14 As at GCSE. I'll have an A level at 15 - also hopefully an A grade. My room is untidy. Your problem is exactly what?" She had a point, we relaxed a bit about untidy room . Less stress all round. Her flat now she is 25 is immaculate.
When my two were younger we had a set tidy your room time once a week followed by room inspections. Now they are teenagers their rooms are their own responsibilities. They have both become super messy (dd always had a problem with too much stuff) so we have a keep the door shut policy and only make a fuss if it really gets ridiculous.
They do their own washing (including bedding) so there aren't any flash points - dh would be pretty pissed off if he did the washing and then found the clean clothes on their floors, whereas now if they want to have a floordrobe we don't care too much.
Without me saying a word, both the 18 yr old and the 15 yr old spontaneously cleaned their festering pits until they were spotless on Saturday. Proper, behind-the bed, surfaces wiped, Hoover deployed sort of clean. I've told them their boyfriends are welcome back any time .
MrsKilminster I think we have the same dd😀 I do go in and tidy/clean it myself when I just can't look at it anymore. Every time I say now if you can just keep it like this but within a few days it's back to an awful mess. I'm so tempted to post before and after(my tidy up) on here.,😀
Ds had a typical messy teen room but was doing his own washing from 16. He has moved back in permanently after uni and at first I left his washing to him. Unfortunately the stench of unwashed man clothes coming from his room was too much and I had to take over the washing. (he was waiting until every item was dirty and refusing to get rid of any clothes).
So if you are hoping like I did that they will grow out of it perhaps bear in mind they may not and may be living with you as adults.
He does try a bit more to be tidy in the communal parts of the house so I live in hope that he will be more civilised when living with a future partner.