A Spoonful of Sugar Doesn’t Work for my Teen Anymore
We can all sing along with delight as we hear the first few chords of “Just a Spoonful of Sugar.” This too, along with the mysterious air of Mary Poppins, captivates and enthrall Jane and Michael Banks. While our children are still young, it does seem possible to entice them with the idea that there is an element of fun in every job that must be done. It is only as they grow up, we begin to realize that forcing a teen to undertake any task, does most certainly not become a piece of cake. Instead it feels more like a cement brick lodged in your throat while listening to the back lashing of your teens rants about how bad their lives are as a result of the slavery of constant chores. And the person most likely needing the medicine to get through the job of raising teens is probably the high-strung, over rattled & extremely frazzled mom.We ask ourselves how in the world things got so far off track. We have taught our children from knee-high to pick up their toys and pack them in the toy box. To put their socks in the hamper after taking them off and to not leave shoes on the furniture as they leave marks. From 3 years of age until about 12 their progress in these areas are phenomenal. We are not at all surprised that we are raising wonderful OCD little replica’s of ourselves. And then that wonderful number 13 hits and from then on the brain seems to go in reverse gear. Socks that are flung across the room have a higher statistical chance of landing in the trash instead of the clothing hamper. Dirty dishes piled under the bed for cockroaches to clean and when you are unable to recall the color of your teens flooring you begin to realize the depth of this issue.
Where is Mary Poppins when you need her? Unfortunately she still sings for Walt Disney Records and occasionally pops up on YouTube and makes her rounds on Television around the Festive Season. But she isn’t popping into our households any time soon to give us advice with our teens. Instead Chaos 2 Organized takes tremendous joy in sharing some well-tested handy-dandy tips for the parents dealing with such an issue.
- Your teen needs to have a very clear communicated message on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in his or her bedroom. As parents we need to discern the difference between a teen room that is very messy or a teen room that is unsanitary and harmful to their health. Unsanitary cannot be tolerated in your home and you have every right being upset over that.
- I cannot express how important it is to learn to pick your battles with your teen. They are their own person and their way of doing things may not always be as thorough as you may like it. In order to keep the lines of communication open, and have a somewhat co-operative teen, it might be beneficial in the long run to have just a few very clearly thought out cleaning rules.
- Let your teen experience the consequence of their slack behavior. I used to get so frustrated crawling on my haunches trying to pick up laundry stuffed in every crevice in the room. My teen had no excuse as she had a laundry basket in her closet. Still she failed to follow through with this task and I would be left rasping with frustration. How complex can it be to place your clothing in the hamper as it falls down your back and slides into the laundry basket? Eventually I decided it was time for her to do her own laundry. Now this is one less complaint on my nagging list and even though I do not remind her of this task at all, somehow miraculously she remembers to do her laundry every week. She has learned over a time period that if she fails to complete this task, then she will be the one to suffer.
- Then finally, and this is my favorite one of all. You are the adult and you are in charge. Your child lives under your roof and needs to earn his or her privileges within the household. So if your teen still fails to comply and defies you further by not cleaning his or her room by your given deadline. Then you need to take very firm control of the situation. Cell phones, car keys, iPods, Television, and hanging out with friends on a weekend are not necessities or rights but merely privileges. Teens need reminding that just as quickly as responsibility and privileges are given, so they can also be removed. Your teen has to display a certain amount of responsibility realistically before being given further responsibility.
So while getting your teen to keep their room relatively organized is not as easy as a “Spoonful of Sugar”, it also needn’t be so hard that the family dynamics oozes with tension and you feel as if you are losing your war against insanity. For further help in Organizing please feel free to go to my website: http://chaos2organized.com.