Have you ever walked into your child’s room and thought, “What happened in here?” If so you are not alone. Most parents at some point will be faced with a child who has a very messy room.
So why does you sweet child who used to agreeably clean up the messes that they made now refuse to remove the piles of junk that litter their bedroom floor? Believe it or not the messy room is actually a reflection of your child’s development and personality. Many preteens and teens start collecting things that reflect who they are. For example you might find childhood toys like dolls and action figures along with posters of the latest teen heartthrob or hero. Your child’s desk is probably littered with notes from friends, old school work, and a project or two. To your child the things that clutter their room are a shrine to who they are.
Growing up I used to save everything. It all ended up under my bed. In a two-year period I managed to fill up the entire space under my double bed. When we moved and my parents saw the mess I was instructed to throw it all away. I did manage to save a few things though that I promptly placed under my bed at the new house.
Parent educator Sheila Boyce says that preteen bedrooms reflect the fact that “they’re developing their own sense of who they are. So all of their belongings, their pictures, notes from friends that are important to them are there, and parents need to respect that. Now that doesn’t mean leaving everything around the house, but in their room or special place.”
She also reminds parents that at this age children really need their own privacy. Saying, “Don’t go through their things or take inventory of what’s being saved and what’s not.”
That would be like someone going through your purse and deciding what you do and don’t need. “It’s not respectful. There can be standards in a household, but it’s important that you don’t say ‘right now, clean your room’.”
A child’s bedroom is the one place where they can exhibit their independence. It doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be guidelines or limitations, because your teen’s bedroom is still in your house. But it is important that parent’s allow them that place where they can be themselves.
Stay tuned for my blog on how to best combat a messy room.