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how would you handle this?


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2 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

I love natural consequences!   Those awesome natural consequences will eventually make them realize that maybe a little bit neater space is worth a few minutes effort.   I love natural consequences that come easy like that.  

Maybe that works for you and that's great. But personally, I find immediate consequences that make me build habits easier to respond to, because they require less thought.

 

1 minute ago, Indigo Blue said:

My best unsolicited advice to you is don’t be afraid to parent them. Don’t fall for peer pressure from other parents. Help them through this hard transition to being an adult. It’s okay to say no, and to set standards. Teach them to consider others, but also to speak up for themselves. 

I'm luckily pretty immune to peer pressure, lol. And I want to teach my kids to become functional adults. 

Both DH and his sister had parents who never really taught them to run a house. Their "jobs" were their schoolwork. And now they are both highly professionally accomplished but still have no clue how to run a house. It's kind of suboptimal and uncomfortable. 

I never really learned, either, but I've stayed home with the kids and had time to try to figure it out. And I'd like to pass on some of the skills and habits to the kids. These things aren't a hill I'm going to die on, either, but I'm not convinced that every rule becomes a power struggle. We'll have to see. 

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1 minute ago, Thatboyofmine said:

I love natural consequences!   Those awesome natural consequences will eventually make them realize that maybe a little bit neater space is worth a few minutes effort.   I love natural consequences that come easy like that.  

Or your kids continually fail and feel demoralized. We've tried that. It didn't work and actually was worse for our relationship because they were angry that they missed something important (Because mom refused to make the whole family late; they were both angry at themselves and mom because mom enforced what she'd say she'd do.) For many kids it's actually easier to have mom come along side and give some pleasant reminders (not nagging, you can remind wihtout nagging) and offers of assistance. 

I have a very immature (likely a little add) son. Even though he's 13, his organizational skills are more on the level of an 8 year old. It would be unfair to expect him since he's chronologically 13 to be able to manage this. I have to be his frontal lobe for now. Eventually, we'll get there. But I've seen how totally discouraged he gets when left to his own on this kind of thing. He really WANTS to do better. He just doesn't think that way, and no amount of punishment or consequences will make him magically learn to be organized and keep up with his uniforms, shoes, coats, etc. So, we work together to make it happen.  I truly believe that in time, he will get there. But the scaffolding has to happen first. His disaster of a room would be more of an issue in our relationship if I didn't come alongside and help. Because he would be losing things all the time and we'd be very frustrated in trying to do anything at all. 

 

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5 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

But I've seen how totally discouraged he gets when left to his own on this kind of thing. He really WANTS to do better. He just doesn't think that way, and no amount of punishment or consequences will make him magically learn to be organized and keep up with his uniforms, shoes, coats, etc. 

Big consequences, whether natural or not, can be a really blunt tool. For one thing, they happen MUCH later, For another thing, they tend to involve lots of emotions. If your "natural consequence" is that you fail a class, you MAY learn that you have to study every night. But you may also just feel terrible and still not have the executive function to actually figure out how to fix the problem, which is really composed of many small problems that you may not have the ability to immediately identify. 

As I said, I'm kind of behaviorist with this stuff, with a mixture of CBT ideas thrown in 😉 . A lot of problems are best analyzed as a combination of little problems. And you generally want to take unproductive stuff like "lots of emotions" out of the equation. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Well, I’m not thinking about adults at the moment. It’s true that once they are adults, everything changes. I wouldn’t tell my roommates to clean up after themselves, so I wouldn’t do it to adult kids. I’d only expect consideration in common areas.

There is a gradual transition, though.  That’s what the teen years are often all about.

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To the OP—have you ever seen a quilt hanger?  It’s a stand, about waist high, that you hang folded quilts on, either to display them or to get them off the bed if they are not needed.  It occurs to me that that might be nice addition at the foot of her bed, that she could drape her clothes over as easily as she can drop them to the floor.

If I were you, I would have one planning convo about this with her.  “We need you to have a place to put your clothes that doesn’t leave them on the floor.  Do you want a quilt rack or a chair for this?”  Then I’d get whatever it is and enforce calmly.

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31 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

My best unsolicited advice to you is don’t be afraid to parent them. Don’t fall for peer pressure from other parents. Help them through this hard transition to being an adult. It’s okay to say no, and to set standards. Teach them to consider others, but also to speak up for themselves. 

Not policing the state of their room  is not "not parenting them". If the room doesn't smell, and they can escape in a fire or a tornado, I really can't bring myself to fight this. 

I parent my kids; I tell them no; I set standards. My kids consider others, although we're still working on the speaking up for themselves. All while their rooms are in a various state of disarray. They live up to my education standards, deal with my cleaning standards in all public rooms, and often they have to put up with my time schedule, so I let them have (almost) free rein in their personal rooms. 

If you want to set different standards for your teens' rooms, go ahead. 

Not a number, we did family pick up several times a day all through the younger years. Eventually, due to school and extra curricular schedules it came to a weely school/home ec checklist which still includes 10 minutes "pick up" time daily or 75 minutes weekly (I want them to do it daily, so it's less time overall if they choose daily). That time can be spent with up to half in their own room or all in public spaces. 

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To those who prefer not to close bedroom doors, do your teens ever express a wish to...idk..close their bedroom door? Like, when they are in it? I mean, the door must get used some time, right? So why the big deal about closing it if some clothes on the floor bug you?

 

 

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But isn't a parents' inability to function in disorder their issue and not their child's issue?  Shouldn't the parent be encouraged to get to the root of that problem and find coping skills for it rather than pushing the burden to the child who doesn't have a problem with their personal space being a mess?  I am not talking about common areas only their own bedroom.

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Just now, hjffkj said:

But isn't a parents' inability to function in disorder their issue and not their child's issue?  Shouldn't the parent be encouraged to get to the root of that problem and find coping skills for it rather than pushing the burden to the child who doesn't have a problem with their personal space being a mess?  I am not talking about common areas only their own bedroom.

This.

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Just now, Indigo Blue said:

You don’t have to fight it if it doesn’t bother you. It bothers some people, and even then it doesn’t have to be a fight. If it doesn’t bother you, then it doesn’t bother you.

I guess that I see teenagers' rooms as places where they can make some choices for themselves.  I can make my own choices in the whole of the rest of the house.

I remember my stepmother kindly tidying my room when I  was a teenager. It felt like my comfort was gone when she did.

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9 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

But isn't a parents' inability to function in disorder their issue and not their child's issue?  Shouldn't the parent be encouraged to get to the root of that problem and find coping skills for it rather than pushing the burden to the child who doesn't have a problem with their personal space being a mess?  I am not talking about common areas only their own bedroom.

If you live with people, you have to accommodate them to some extent. That's not a bad lesson. I think in this situation, we'd have conversations about how to compromise in a way that worked for everyone. 

ETA: Also, part of the reason I'd want to talk to a teen about cleaning their space would be so they'd know how to clean their space. It wouldn't be entirely for my comfort. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

Why would a teen not be allowed to close their door? 

I don't know, but apparently closing a teen's door to avoid staring into the abyss is not an option for some. 

Are you suggesting many teens object to closing their door? 

This is not my.lifelong experience of teens 😂

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Just now, Melissa Louise said:

I don't know, but apparently closing a teen's door to avoid staring into the abyss is not an option for some. 

It's possible that some people find that it bothers them even if the door is closed, and it's possible that the fact that they SEE it isn't the only reason they would like their teens to pick up after themselves. I believe @fairfarmhandhas mentioned other possible reasons you might like a teen's room to be tolerably tidy. 

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For everyone who's suggesting that closing the door is the perfect solution, I would suggest that you think about whether you're OK about ANYTHING happening behind a closed door, or whether that only applies to some things 😉. Not seeing something doesn't always solve a problem. 

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14 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

But isn't a parents' inability to function in disorder their issue and not their child's issue?  Shouldn't the parent be encouraged to get to the root of that problem and find coping skills for it rather than pushing the burden to the child who doesn't have a problem with their personal space being a mess?  I am not talking about common areas only their own bedroom.

Maybe there is no 'root to get to'.  Maybe it is just a preference and the way the parent wants their house to run.  

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My youngest teen's room is a disaster area.  There's no food or anything, and the door is always closed in order to keep the cats out, after they peed on her floor.  However, she knows where everything is, and if you try to clean it up, she gets incredibly anxious.  A year or so ago we realized that her floor clutter is not random.  It is deliberately designed so that if someone doesn't know where stuff is, they will trip over it and wake her up.  Her messy room is actually full of monster/ burglar traps.  I mean, it's not a huge problem, but her personal issue (I know intellectually it's irrational, but I am afraid a monster might materialize out of my closet or a burglar might break in) is solved by her messy room.  What looks like mess was actually PROBLEM SOLVING.  

 

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1 minute ago, Terabith said:

What looks like mess was actually PROBLEM SOLVING.  

And in that case, I'd probably leave it be, lol. 

But when I was a teen, I didn't clean my room because it had become a power struggle with my mom and not for any deeper reason. I didn't feel like it. That was it. It was the same reason I hadn't done any clarinet practice in grade 8 and managed to flunk band as a result, and let me tell you that I really wish that someone had helped me out with both those tasks without making me feel bad... 

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

It's possible that some people find that it bothers them even if the door is closed, and it's possible that the fact that they SEE it isn't the only reason they would like their teens to pick up after themselves. I believe @fairfarmhandhas mentioned other possible reasons you might like a teen's room to be tolerably tidy. 

Being bothered by something (safe) you do not need to see us unreasonable, imo.

And who gets to define 'tolerably tidy'?

You know, this whole convo reminds me of a poster who used to talk about her kids being in her pocket, and hence, she was the boss until, presumably, they'd set themselves up in their own apartments with a hefty bank balance. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

And in that case, I'd probably leave it be, lol. 

But when I was a teen, I didn't clean my room because it had become a power struggle with my mom and not for any deeper reason. I didn't feel like it. That was it. It was the same reason I hadn't done any clarinet practice in grade 8 and managed to flunk band as a result, and let me tell you that I really wish that someone had helped me out with both those tasks without making me feel bad... 

See, I see rebelling against power struggles as equally valid.  I mean, teens need to differentiate themselves.  Rebelling by having untidy rooms or not practicing clarinet seem like pretty safe ways to rebel.

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17 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Being bothered by something (safe) you do not need to see us unreasonable, imo.

And who gets to define 'tolerably tidy'?

Is safe really the only standard? I want a lot of things for my (putative) teens that don't end at "safe." I want them to be hard workers. I want them to be kind people. I want them to be thoughtful. I want them to work hard at their academics. I want them to be able to take care of other people and I want them to know how to take care of a house. 

NONE of those are about being "safe." If our life is such that "safe" becomes the goal, I'm sure I'll narrow down my list of requirements. But I sincerely hope that's not how life goes. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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Just now, Terabith said:

See, I see rebelling against power struggles as equally valid.  I mean, teens need to differentiate themselves.  Rebelling by having untidy rooms or not practicing clarinet seem like pretty safe ways to rebel.

Except then I couldn't go to the school with the better-known academic program. It wasn't actually a good idea for me to flunk band. As it turned out, it wasn't a bad thing to go to the school I went to, but I don't see how restricting options because I couldn't be bothered to bring the clarinet home due to executive function issues and the problems of being an immigrant was a reasonable outcome. 

And then it was a pain to learn how to cook/clean/take care of a house as a parent. It wasn't exactly a huge deal, but I would have been grateful to learn skills if it could have been done without shaming. 

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What do you think happens in a teens room behind closed doors? 

If you're worried kid is accessing porn, move electronics to main area. 

If you're worried they are taking drugs, your problem is bigger than mess. Ditto self harm. 

Worried they are having sex? Yeah, you are gonna need to chat about that. 

Besides the biggies, what needs controlling in a teens room such that closing the door is some huge problem?

Handy hint: even when your teen is doing some stuff you don't like, it's unhealthy, except in extreme cases, not to allow them privacy and some degree of autonomy by letting them have their rooms a way that works for them and letting them close their darn door!

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1 minute ago, Melissa Louise said:

What do you think happens in a teens room behind closed doors? 

Nothing. My point was that "I don't see it, therefore it's not there" isn't actually always a solution. 

 

2 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Handy hint: even when your teen is doing some stuff you don't like, it's unhealthy, except in extreme cases, not to allow them privacy and some degree of autonomy by letting them have their rooms a way that works for them and letting them close their darn door!

You know, asking for their room to be relatively tidy is not in fact "not allowing them any privacy or degree of autonomy." I'd let my kid have their door closed, decorate however they want, dress more or less however they want, etc. But yes, I think it's part of my job to help them learn to maintain their space, and I have no idea why this is earning quite this much vehement disagreement. If you don't feel like that's important to you, that's fine. There are lots of things that are important to me (like conceptual math understanding) that aren't important to other people. And I'm sure there are things (like religion) that aren't important to me but are important to others. 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Is safe really the only standard? I want a lot of things for my (putative) teens that don't end at "safe." I want them to be hard workers. I want them to be kind people. I want them to be thoughtful. I want them to work hard at their academics. I want them to be able to take care of other people and I want them to know how to take care of a house. 

NONE of those are about being "safe." If our life is such that "safe" becomes the goal, I'm sure I'll narrow down my list of goals. But I sincerely hope that's not how life goes. 

I am happy to chat to you about this in ten years time. 

I genuinely mean it when I wish you all the best raising your kids in the way you want to do it. 

For now, let me just say that mess in a teens room has nothing to do with being hard worker, being  kind, hard working, or knowing/using household skills. 

I have no idea why anyone would make that link, and frankly, it's kinda rude.

A messy room that is not dirty and not unsafe correlates with precisely zero outcomes. 

Untreated ADHD sure as heck does, however. 

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3 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

For now, let me just say that mess in a teens room has nothing to do with being hard worker, being  kind, hard working, or knowing/using household skills. 

I have no idea why anyone would make that link, and frankly, it's kinda rude.

It certainly has nothing to do with being a hard worker or being a kind person, and I didn't say it did. My POINT (which I think I was clear about) was that being "safe" isn't the gold standard for everything I may ask from my teen. Therefore, saying that a messy room is safe isn't sufficient. 

As for using household skills: yes, I think the ability to keep one's own place tidy is a valuable household skill. It's about figuring out what kind of structures you need to keep your place functional. For example, like @fairfarmhand mentioned, the fact that a teen's room is messy might actually prevent them from a certain amount of functionality. It's hard to find clothes when they are all on the floor. If your homework is all in piles, you might have trouble staying organized or remembering when assignments are due. And since teens are still not entirely grown up, they may not see the issues themselves. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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11 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Being bothered by something (safe) you do not need to see us unreasonable, imo.

And who gets to define 'tolerably tidy'?

You know, this whole convo reminds me of a poster who used to talk about her kids being in her pocket, and hence, she was the boss until, presumably, they'd set themselves up in their own apartments with a hefty bank balance. 

 

Until they 'jumped out of her wallet' as I remember. 

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

Until they 'jumped out of her wallet' as I remember. 

OK, saying that your kids need to do everything you want because you're paying their way isn't really much like saying that you are allowed to have household standards when you're living with teens. 

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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

It certainly has nothing to do with being a hard worker or being a kind person, and I didn't say it did. My POINT (which I think I was clear about) was that being "safe" isn't the gold standard for everything I may ask from my teen. Therefore, saying that a messy room is safe isn't sufficient. 

As for using household skills: yes, I think the ability to keep one's own place tidy is a valuable household skill. It's about figuring out what kind of structures you need to keep your place functional. For example, like @fairfarmhand mentioned, the fact that a teen's room is messy might actually prevent them from a certain amount of functionality. It's hard to find clothes when they are all on the floor. If your homework is all in piles, you might have trouble staying organized or remembering when assignments are due. And since teens are still not entirely grown up, they may not see the issues themselves. 

Like I said, happy to chat about it when 'ideal way to raise teens' is no longer a hypothetical for you. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Like I said, happy to chat about it when 'ideal way to raise teens' is no longer a hypothetical for you. 

Again, I obviously haven't raised a teen, but I don't have zero experience with them. I can very well imagine how these things become power struggles and therefore unproductive. 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

OK, saying that your kids need to do everything you want because you're paying their way isn't really much like saying that you are allowed to have household standards when you're living with teens. 

Sincere question - how would it work if your standard of tidiness made the teenager feel uncomfortable in their own room?

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5 minutes ago, Melissa Louise said:

Like I said, happy to chat about it when 'ideal way to raise teens' is no longer a hypothetical for you. 

Also, I really hate this kind of statement. I try not to be contemptuous of people who don't have my exact experiences, and I prefer to find common ground with them. I don't see the point of the "you can't possibly understand this" approach.

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

Sincere question - how would it work if your standard of tidiness made the teenager feel uncomfortable in their own room?

We'd talk about how to make it work for both of us, with the emphasis being on functionality for the teen. I am not in any way a neat freak, lol. I'm probably less tidy than most of you. 

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6 hours ago, SanDiegoMom said:

One other side note about differences in expectations -- living in an apartment vs living in a larger house with more land might contribute to the relative importance of having every space clean vs letting bedrooms get messy.  I know when we lived in a smaller house, I felt like I needed everything organized - otherwise it was visually overwhelming.  Our last house in a semi rural area was HUGE and did not really have an open floor plan.  You could have multiple rooms messy and you couldn't see them.  I never cared what the kids' rooms looked like, and they also barely got cluttered as they were so big.  Now we are in an in between house so we have an in between amount of clutter.  It's all relative. 

Definitely a factor.  Also most farm/rural houses I know even where the family were relatively today will have more clutter because the modern day mantra of you can always just shop doesn’t work when the nearest shop is an hour a way and doesn’t stock a lot of stuff.  You need to have odds and ends on hand for a crisis.  Proper farmers (not play farmers) like us also tend to have more inconsistent income so replacing stuff can be a challenge.  and advice like “throw out anything that’s torn or stained” makes no sense when the next days work will likely result in more tearing and stains.

And lastly there are times of the year when the whole family are working crazy hours to get stuff done.  Even in our play farm situation I have a tonne of stuff for chicken or sheep emergencies sitting by, and my baby laundry becomes an impromptu animal hospital at least three or four times a year.  
 

We spent a while in an apartment and keeping tidy was so easy.  30 minutes or so a day and it was all done and dealt with.  Here I can work for hours and still have mess.

There are definitely variations within that where people will be more or less tidy but overall that has been how it is from my observations.

 

Edited by Ausmumof3
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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

We'd talk about how to make it work for both of us, with the emphasis being on functionality for the teen. I am not in any way a neat freak, lol. I'm probably less tidy than most of you. 

I think this is the way we are talking past each other. As a parent I  had a very basic health and safety - no rats, no rotting food - oversight.  Otherwise there was no compromise to be negotiated. It was their space. 

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Also, I really hate this kind of statement. I try not to be contemptuous of people who don't have my exact experiences, and I prefer to find common ground with them. I don't see the point of the "you can't possibly understand this" approach.

 I wasn't clear. 

I am not finding engaging with you on this topic to be productive. I would like to stop talking with you about it. Unfortunately, I had to quote you to clarify this.

I wish you and yours all the best. I don't feel contempt towards you, I just find this back and forth with you unproductive. Thanks. 

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Just now, Melissa Louise said:

 I wasn't clear. 

I am not finding engaging with you on this topic to be productive. I would like to stop talking with you about it. Unfortunately, I had to quote you to clarify this.

I wish you and yours all the best. I don't feel contempt towards you, I just find this back and forth with you unproductive. Thanks. 

OK. That's fine. You don't have to respond to me, right? I wish you all the best with your own teens. 

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

I think this is the way we are talking past each other. As a parent I  had a very basic health and safety - no rats, no rotting food - oversight.  Otherwise there was no compromise to be negotiated. It was their space. 

Right. That seems fine if that's how you want to run things. That's not what I would prefer, and not because I don't respect their privacy. 

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I think there is a big difference between "having the skills to keep their room tidy" and choosing whether or not to do so.  

It's important that teens have the skills to have tidy rooms.  This can be cultivated when they are younger or by helping clean communal parts of the house.  I actually know very few teens who are completely unable to clean rooms.  I know lots who don't have the skills to KEEP rooms clean or who get overwhelmed by the process of doing so.  

Whether or not they actually keep their rooms tidy or not is a matter of choice and priorities, and I do think it's important for teens to have some autonomy in this regard.  You really cannot control everything that teens do.  Actually, you cannot control much of anything teens do.  I was surprised to find how starkly my relationship shifted when my kids turned about 12.  I actually made a facebook post saying, "What am I doing wrong?  I feel like parenting teens is not at all like parenting kids.  It's more like having amicable roommates who eat all my food and I have to drive a lot of places and periodically have conversations about awkward topics with."  

 

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1 minute ago, Terabith said:

I think there is a big difference between "having the skills to keep their room tidy" and choosing whether or not to do so.  

It's important that teens have the skills to have tidy rooms.  This can be cultivated when they are younger or by helping clean communal parts of the house.  I actually know very few teens who are completely unable to clean rooms.  I know lots who don't have the skills to KEEP rooms clean or who get overwhelmed by the process of doing so.  

Well, that was definitely me. And I had to figure out structures for how to organize my life as an adult. And while that was fine, I would like to communicate some of the things I've learned to my kids. 

 

2 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Whether or not they actually keep their rooms tidy or not is a matter of choice and priorities, and I do think it's important for teens to have some autonomy in this regard.  You really cannot control everything that teens do.  Actually, you cannot control much of anything teens do. 

I guess I don't necessarily want to control them. I just want to parent them as best I can. But at least according to my experience with my little sister, they are really not full grown at age 13 or 14 or 15... they just think they are. 

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Right. That seems fine if that's how you want to run things. That's not what I would prefer, and not because I don't respect their privacy. 

Same here.  This conversation always goes this way.  I am not hypothetically raising teens.  I have one currently who has passed over into legal adulthood.  I don't know why some people find it impossible to see that different families have different standards of cleanliness and neatness.

 

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3 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I think there is a big difference between "having the skills to keep their room tidy" and choosing whether or not to do so.  

It's important that teens have the skills to have tidy rooms.  This can be cultivated when they are younger or by helping clean communal parts of the house.  I actually know very few teens who are completely unable to clean rooms.  I know lots who don't have the skills to KEEP rooms clean or who get overwhelmed by the process of doing so.  

Whether or not they actually keep their rooms tidy or not is a matter of choice and priorities, and I do think it's important for teens to have some autonomy in this regard.  You really cannot control everything that teens do.  Actually, you cannot control much of anything teens do.  I was surprised to find how starkly my relationship shifted when my kids turned about 12.  I actually made a facebook post saying, "What am I doing wrong?  I feel like parenting teens is not at all like parenting kids.  It's more like having amicable roommates who eat all my food and I have to drive a lot of places and periodically have conversations about awkward topics with."  

 

Yes. Both my kids are quite capable of keeping their rooms tidy, and as adults they mostly do.

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3 minutes ago, Dreamergal said:

I grew up sweeping several times a day, sharing spaces and it taught me to value what I have and also contribute to chores as being part of a family. The house belongs to everyone. My kids are welcome to DH and my room always, we watch movies there, eat there sometimes especially during the snow storm. Kids rooms are theirs, but when cousins come they share.

We have cleanliness standards for the whole house and that includes all rooms. We respect our kids privacy, but having their own room is a privilege and not a right to me. So too DH and our room. Each of us is not owed a room of our own, including DH and I, so we do everything we can as a family to keep all our rooms reasonably clean and tidy.

 

Right. My stance is generally "we all live here, we all share this place, and we all get a say on how it is kept." And frankly, I don't think it's a bad lesson in compromising. 

If anything, I usually lean too far on the side of letting my kids have autonomy, lol. So far, DD8 has picked practically all of her academic subjects. So the idea that it's ridiculously controlling to ask their rooms to be picked up once a week is... interesting. 

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3 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I guess I don't necessarily want to control them. I just want to parent them as best I can. But at least according to my experience with my little sister, they are really not full grown at age 13 or 14 or 15... they just think they are. 

Of course they're not fully grown at 13 or 14 or 15.  But you have to decide:  do I want to have a relationship with my teens where I am constantly guiding and motivating them and controlling what they do, or do I want to have a relationship with them where they talk to me?

By and large, you cannot have both.  If you want to have a relationship where they come to you with hard stuff, you have to treat them as equals, even if they aren't fully cooked yet.  Because they are growing into fully cookedness, and they are hurt and offended if you do not treat them, if not necessarily as equals, as people who are far, far more your equal than they were at 10 and who are people with autonomy, and in order for them to learn to motivate themselves, you have to let them DO it, even if they don't do what you want them to do.  

If you want relationship, you have to cede control.  

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1 minute ago, Laura Corin said:

Yes. Both my kids are quite capable of keeping their rooms tidy, and as adults they mostly do.

My current mess head knew how to do his own laundry at ten, can perform all household chores, including cooking meals, to a competent standard, and currently holds down a job where he meets and exceeds his KPI's. He can set goals and save. He keeps carefully to a gluten free diet and works diligently on his mental health. And he's not even an adult yet! It's amazing how treating ADHD can help a teen succeed. 

His clothes are currently on the floor (some of them). 

Zero correlation. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I guess I don't necessarily want to control them. I just want to parent them as best I can. But at least according to my experience with my little sister, they are really not full grown at age 13 or 14 or 15... they just think they are. 

Absolutely, but letting them make mistakes and figure out who they are at 13 or 14, rather than waiting till they're out in the world and the stakes are way higher can be really important. 

I feel like, for a variety of reasons, we've been really restricted about DS13's room.  There are all sorts of reasons that is had made sense for him not to have a lot of stuff in his room,  such as the fact that he shares a small room, and that his Dad works nights and sleeps days so I discourage him from storing stuff where he'd be making noise on the stairs to get it, and that when his brother was sick we were kind of stuck on the first floor so I wasn't up there much, and that he's got allergies and stuff breeds dust. 

But I'm actually kinda concerned that he's missing some developmental experiences in managing more stuff.

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29 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

As for using household skills: yes, I think the ability to keep one's own place tidy is a valuable household skill.

Household is not rocket science. I had very few chores as a kid, my grandmother was eager to do most of the housework. Moving into my own space I had no difficulties figuring it out, and my house is company ready at pretty much any time, with very little effort. I mean, how many "skills" does it take to clean a kitchen? It's fairly intuitive what has to be done. Keeping a tidy home does not require years and years of training.
Both my kids were slobs as teens. They now have no trouble keeping their own homes tidy. The issue is motivation. Once they're motivated, they will do it. Modeling some low key basic housekeeping skills was all that was required.

ETA: the same thing comes up occasionally when people talk about training kids to do laundry. Again, doesn't require years of practice. A washing machine has labeled buttons, and a literate person can figure it out on their first try.

Edited by regentrude
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