Your Teens Bedroom:
Is it Theirs or Yours?
By Alison Mays
There is often a conflict between parents and teenagers over their teen’s bedroom. The disarray and clutter drives parents up the wall and teens claim their room as theirs to do what they wish: a declarative statement of their individuality and growing independence. The battle continues and the mere topic of your teen’s bedroom may illicit strong emotions from both of you. What is the right thing to do? Is it theirs to do as they wish?
Teenagers see their bedroom as their territory; a place that they can have privacy and express themselves freely with their possessions. In their mind, it is their space to do with as they chose. However, some limit-setting from parents can be an opportunity for teaching some very important life lessons. The benefits of a clean and organized space can reach beyond tidiness. At the same time, you are teaching your child an important lesson to help prepare them to be a responsible, healthy, and happy adult. Setting some boundaries about the tidiness of your teen’s bedroom aids in the development of self-discipline and increases your teen’s respect for authority and rules. A clean room also promotes organizational skills, which in turn can cause your child’s academic performance to improve. Research has suggested that physical clutter can negatively affect a teenager’s ability to focus and process information.
It is important to set what your expectation of what a “clean” room is. Here are some things to consider:
What do you expect to be put away?
Where is “put away?”
What can be left out?
What needs to be done to keep it clean on a daily basis? For example: making the bed or putting clothes away.
What day of the week do you expect the room to be cleaned?
It is not necessary to seek perfection in the tidiness of the room. Teenagers still benefit even if their room is not perfectly kept. The easiest and simplest way to encourage teens to comply with the expectation of a clean room is to have it done before anything else. The room must be in order before any fun or relaxation begins. This reinforces the importance of responsibility before play. Setting expectations for tidiness and organization in your teen’s space will encourage healthy habits of looking after themselves that will serve them well as they enter late adolescence and adulthood.