Why nagging teenagers to tidy their bedroom doesn’t work…

An example of a messy bedroom

If only….a tidy room

 Nagging teenagers is a bit like trying to drive a mini through the Somerset floods… it results in a breakdown.

We know nagging doesn’t work but we carry on regardless, winding up our teenager and stressing ourselves.  But what else can we do…

Take the example of my 15 year old daughter’s bedroom, Indy is creative, her school work is immaculate, however this is not transferred to the standard of tidiness in her bedroom…

Her perception of tidy and mine are a little different.  I appreciate that who she is means that a tidy bedroom is just not important to her and I will explain this in a future blog.  Although not an excuse, it has helped me realise I haven’t failed as a parent just because her bedroom is messy.

So, I recognise I cannot swim against the tide and her standard of tidy will never be mine, however there is compromise.

Nagging her failed miserably for both of us, so I stopped and her bedroom deteriorated, clearly not the answer. 

So, I tried negotiating, my negotiating position was to threaten her dad… “wait ‘till your father…” type approach whilst at the same time respecting her space and her mess. 

I suppose we went through “mediation” on one long walk (I do most of my parenting whilst walking with my girls) and we did reach a compromise.  She now acknowledges that there is a minimum standard of tidiness she must maintain.

Our agreed target is to make sure her dad can hoover her bedroom every Wednesday, therefore the floor needs to be cleared.  Unfortunately, this often means dumping everything on the bed…

I see this as a long-term challenge and I recognise she does need to learn how to keep things tidy, however, she works hard and it seems unreasonable for me to damage our relationship over a tidy bedroom. 

You may disagree, and may have found a better way of dealing with this — if you do, please tell me about your approach… I am willing to try anything!

Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

About Ruth James

I am a mum with 3 daughters who runs workshops for parents of teenagers. In 2019 I launched the Taunton Parenting Cafe and will be developing new and innovative workshops to support and encourage parents of children from 9yrs+
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