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DD's mess of a room - should we change tack and make her tidy it?

(37 Posts)
lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 11:44:10

I know the whole debate of leaving the childs untidy and dirty room alone for them to hopefully sort has been discussed many many times but i'm at the end of my tether and so is DH.

We have left alone as she has asked and we did hope she would eventually get round to cleaning it all up but to no avail, it's getting worse.

What I am wondering is where and why it's advised to leave them to it? DD is 15 and keeps all other area's of the house tidy when asked so why must we leave her to do as she pleases in her bedroom now she's a teenager and we didn't allow it when she was 13?!?!?. A room still within the house which we pay for.

Why is it deemed acceptable for her to do as she pleases in here without consequence. Surely if she knows it has to be of a clean and relatively tidy space she should be able to keep it that way.

Duchessofealing Mon 13-Mar-17 13:44:57

Why does it matter if it is tidy? Why not have a few smaller rules such as no dirty plates and no left food / drinks plus laundry left out for washing. You could make her have it tidy enough to hoover once a month?

aginghippy Mon 13-Mar-17 14:19:01

It's advised to leave them to it because the outcome of having a (temporarily) tidy room is not worth the arguments and bad feelings involved in getting them to do it. There is a consequence - she has to live with the mess and can't find her stuff when she wants it.

I just close the door and let dd get on with it. Out of sight, out of mind, as far as I'm concerned. If her clothes aren't in the laundry basket, I don't wash them.

Why is it so upsetting to you?

applefalls Mon 13-Mar-17 14:23:19

If she's happy to respect and keep tidy other areas of the house, I'd say respect her space and just leave it for her to tidy if she thinks it's a priority.

I occasionally clear out my teen DD's room because she has so many other activities on her plate and she is always so delighted that her room is a haven.

She never expects it and if I didn't I'm sure she'd be happy to wallow.

FWIW my teenage bedroom was a hideous place and now, much older, I am positively anal about cleanliness, order and Putting Away.

Leopards and spots.

FATEdestiny Mon 13-Mar-17 14:27:34

I spent ages leaving my DDs room. I'm not adverse to mess myself, so it never bothered me it was messy. But she just learnt that messy/dirty room is normal - therefore doesn't need tidying.

Im a SAHM and have plenty of time to tidy the house. So recently I started a weekly tidy of DDs room. She's not bothered either way, I can tidy it or leave it.

I find that when she has an already tidy room, she's much better at maintaining the tidiness. So the amount of tidying I need to do is continually reducing.


I have come to the conclusion that
- if her room is mostly tidy, she keeps it tidy
- if her room is mostly messy, she is ok to leave it messy

I don't mind tidying. And it's making her a more tidy person as a result.

Davros Mon 13-Mar-17 15:20:35

I tidy 14year old DD's room which is mostly picking up clothes. My rule is that, if it's on the floor, it gets washed unless I'm certain it hasn't been worn. Sometimes that bites her in the arse when she wants something and it's not available. I started moaning at her about a year ago about picking up her stuff but had an epiphany when I found myself picking up DH's stuff without a thought. Why should I be prepared to pick up his stuff and not hers? Because he's a man?! So I do a reasonable amount to keep it ok enough for her not to be embarrassed if anyone sees it and to keep the clothes clean and because I've got time.

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 17:10:24

I'm not upset just pissed off. I open the door and can't see the floor for dirty and clean clothes all over it. Makeup and brushes laying on floor and every surface available, shoes and books scattered all over floor.

Like a previous poster mentioned, if it's messy then she live in a messy room quite happily. She isl lazy and won't tidy up after herself. She has plenty enough time to pick stuff up and put it in the correct place but would rather be on her phone etc than do that.

Why does it happen that if she was 12 and had her friends over and they made a mess I was in the right to get her to tidy that mess up but now she's 15 I should just close the door to it.

I would love to keep on top of it and did in the PST but that resorted to her screaming g at me like a banshees that I put it away wrong and was going through her stuff. I started just pick up from the floor and putting on her bed so she could put it where she wanted but again, not acceptable and would all be thrown on the floor.

What I want to do now is go on and put iit all in a bin bag and maybe she'll learn to keep tidyish

I'm not asking for spotless but a little respect for the stuff we have paid good money for. I.e. Carpet (without makeup/nail varnish/stains)

hollinhurst84 Mon 13-Mar-17 17:13:06

I was left to it but with a few rules
So no destroying the carpet with nail polish etc
No food left about
Apart from that, it could be as messy or as tidy as I wanted

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 17:22:09

I think I would leave her to it if it was just untidy but all her make up is every where. There are piles of clothes behind the door and at side of desk. She has a bin that she has emptied into aplastic bag which sits at the side of the now overflowing bin again.

You said you were left to it, was it like this?

Duchessofealing Mon 13-Mar-17 17:32:57

So, how about telling her make up needs to be tidied always and the bin emptied weekly or you will throw it away (the make up)? Set between 5 and 10 rules that are reasonable to you both, give her a month to comply and then start sanctions (confiscate phone, make up in bin, no shopping trips etc as reasonable to you both). I think the key is both agreeing calmly what is sensible and ok and what happens if the rules aren't complied with. You could have a warning system - i.e. If xyz isn't clear by 5pm Friday I will do... set it out on a Monday, remind on a Thursday (make sure she listens/ repeats back to you!) and then follow through. In terms of her age, i suppose it is a respect thing? You want her to behave like an adult so you treat her as one. I imagine you also want her to feel at home and privacy is part of this. brew and cake - I was a messy teenager and she probably doesn't notice it - I never really did.

228agreenend Mon 13-Mar-17 17:40:49

My teens have to tidy their room on a Friday night. Basically they have empty their bins, sort out any clothes, make sure their flloors are clear etc. On a good week they will also polish and Hoover, but that's rare.

The downside of a weekly tidyup is that the laundry basket gets full, with dirty and clean clothes, and clothes they haven't even worn!

Mehfruittea Mon 13-Mar-17 17:43:08

I only ever tidied my room if a friend was coming over. Can you engineer some regular visits? Rather than conflict about bedroom, do you want to invite girls over for a sleepover? I'll get some food in etc. It builds the right behaviours in a positive way without resentment. She will be happier, you will be the cool mum and you will know where your daughter is/what she's up to.

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 17:52:31

Thanks for your input. Lots of great ideas.

I think I'm going to start with what I expect rather than a general "tidy your room" which can be daunting.

So.... make up away where it belongs. Bin emptied. Clothes in wash basket and shoes in wardrobe.

And if not done by Friday night it will all go in a bag together in the bin when she's out at her drama club on Saturday morning.


228agreenend Mon 13-Mar-17 17:54:11

I would probably say no drama until the room was tidy.

Mehfruittea Mon 13-Mar-17 18:18:58

My step Dad used to go in my room every so often and trash it if it wasn't tidy enough. He's actually destroy things though.

It was very invasive and abusive IMO. I was regularly told it was not my home, not my room and his rules or out. Did wonders for my self esteem.

I think your proposal is too heavy handed and will do more damage than good. Set out some ground rules but you need an alternative to the bin bag. Loss of privileges? Think about carrot and stick, you are all stick right now.

hollinhurst84 Mon 13-Mar-17 18:18:58

look - yes to piles of clothes and makeup
Bin - no. Bin had to be emptied

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 19:37:30

Fruit tea - your father sounds mean. I wouldn't damage her stuff and though I've said bin, What I mean is i would plastic bag it all (not in the same bag as rubbish) and put in top of bin so it was easily accessible and retrievable and useable once the lesson was learnt so to speak

FATEdestiny Mon 13-Mar-17 19:42:36

I would way, without any threat or agression in your tone just factual:

"Im going to clean and tidy your room on Saturday morning while you are at drama. If you would rather I didn't, you need to do it by Friday evening."

Sundance2741 Mon 13-Mar-17 19:53:52

My 16 year old has a messy room. However when we got a maths tutor, she wanted them to work with her in her room (she has a desk in there). She accepts that the tutor needs to be able to walk across the room to the desk without tripping and that the desk needs to be clear enough to use, so she tidies up (sort of) every week before they come - not without me prompting though.

She's ADHD and generally disorganised. Withing hours the room is trashed again . I have enough to do without constant nagging over this so I reluctantly let it go. Sometimes I help her to tidy and once in a blue moon she gets into the zone a D has a good clear out.

I do make sure school uniform is washed and empty the bin when I do the other bins. Also remove food that might rot though I know she should do that really.

Younger dd going the same way but she is embarrassed for her friends to see the mess whereas 16 year old isn't.......

Frouby Mon 13-Mar-17 20:16:30

My dd is 13 this summer and would live like a pig if I let her.

I made a deal at Christmas when she asked for expensive make up as presents. I told her if she was old enough for a £38 make up pallette she was old enough to keep her room tidy. If she didn't she wouldn't get the grown up make up and clothes.

I mind if it's a mess because if I can't vacuum once a week everything from her bedroom carpet treads into the landing carpet. And because dust moves around. And because it might be her room but we paid for everything in it. And stuff getting lost or broken impacts on me if it needs replacing.

It's not immaculate. But it's relatively tidy most of the time. And when it isn't then she has to do it before anything else like tv or going out.

Her 3 year old brother is much better!

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 21:04:37

I mind if it's a mess because if I can't vacuum once a week everything from her bedroom carpet treads into the landing carpet. And because dust moves around. And because it might be her room but we paid for everything in it. And stuff getting lost or broken impacts on me if it needs replacing.

lookatmenow Mon 13-Mar-17 21:06:55

Oops - *
I mind if it's a mess because if I can't vacuum once a week everything from her bedroom carpet treads into the landing carpet. And because dust moves around. And because it might be her room but we paid for everything in it. And stuff getting lost or broken impacts on me if it needs replacing. *

This exactly. The leaving alone impacts on me and DH one way or another

WorshipTheGourd Mon 13-Mar-17 22:33:40

Ds is hugely messy and a hoarder. ASD.
H is anally tidy.
It is difficult.
Ds triumphed on Sat by sellotaping his collection of newspapers (there are many) to the bedroom carpet to prevent his Dad throwing them out..
I told H to leave his room alone.
I go in to remove laundry, check for food, and I clean and tidy a bit but he simply doesn't seem to see it and will literally walk over books, scart leads etc.
He is 12

thefairyfellersmasterstroke Tue 14-Mar-17 00:05:21

Wait till she gets a boyfriend - she'll keep it tidy then.

Onegreatday Tue 14-Mar-17 00:14:20

I was super, super messy as a teenager. I am super, super clean and tidy now, even with 3 small dcs. House is always presentable, clean and organised. So there's hope smile

However, one of the reasons I was bad at being tidy was inadequate storage and nothing very pretty to look at. Could you decorate dds room if it's not been done recently and you can afford it? Even things like laminate flooring (some people hate it, I know, but teens tend to think it's trendier than carpet) can give the room more of a cool/pretty (whatever she's into) look and they are easy to get marks like nail varnish off too. We have some which is scratch proof and looks like real wood, as far as laminate can. Very hard wearing and impervious to water spills.

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