“Teenage Bedroom as Battleground”, a recent NY Times article found here, offers parents advice on how to cope with their messy teens. Those of you who have figured out how to crack the whip at home so that your teens regularly pick up after themselves around the house and always keep their rooms neat without your intervention, skip to the end of this article and send us a comment detailing how you get this done. We want every detail. The rest of us can use this ten point guide to help us (and our teens) deal with the seemingly endless clutter.
Much of the advice offered in this article revolves around how to understand and deal with the mess more than how to get it cleaned up. Experts encourage parents to lose the anger, guilt and embarrassment surrounding their teen’s messiness, stop nagging, and focus on containing the mess to their bedroom rather than compulsively trying to eliminate it everywhere. Parenting psychobabble, you say? Maybe, but if at the end of the day you are exhausted from screaming at your teen and the room still stays messy, there is something to be said for having another perspective of the situation.
For the first few days that this article was on-line, the Times asked readers to send in pictures of their children’s messy rooms, and many parents responded. Not sure what motivated them to do so; perhaps it felt cathartic to share, or maybe it was a failed attempt to embarrass their teen into cleaning up (“clean your room or I’ll post a picture of it on the New York Times website!”) In any event, going this route seems a bit extreme to me, but it is interesting to see just how crazily messy some of these rooms are.
GCP readers, how do you get your children to clean up after themselves and keep their rooms neat? Do you go old school, shutting down all privileges until neatness prevails? That may work for a while, but how do you get them to maintain the order? All helpful tips are welcome!!