Why Does Your Teen Have a Messy Room?

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.

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About Teresa McEntire

Teresa McEntire grew up in Utah the oldest of four children. She currently lives in Kuna, Idaho, near Boise. She and her husband Gene have been married for almost ten years. She has three children Tyler, age six, Alysta, four, and Kelsey, two. She is a stay-at-home mom who loves to scrapbook, read, and of course write. Spending time with her family, including extended family, is a priority. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and currently works with the young women. Teresa has a degree in Elementary Education from Utah State University and taught 6th grade before her son was born. She also ran an own in-home daycare for three years. She currently writes educational materials as well as blogs for Families.com. Although her formal education consisted of a variety of child development classes she has found that nothing teaches you better than the real thing. She is constantly learning as her children grow and enjoys sharing that knowledge with her readers.