Allowing your teen to reinvent their space — a lifelong gift — Part 1

 ***image1***We live in a hectic world and it is impacting our children more and more, especially our teens. Schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activities, and, the constant flurry of important socializing with friends. As a result, their rooms often reflect the chaos, resulting in statements such as-- "Mom, I can’t find my favorite shirt?" or "I don’t want to study in my room?" (often a result of not having visible floors or bed-space). While the scenario is frustrating, the adults in our teens’ lives (us!) aren’t terribly successful at suggesting ways to re-create a teenager’s room. If you question whether or not there is a solution to such a scenario, read on!

Q. My daughter just started 9th grade and it seems we need help. Her room is a train wreck, yet she doesn’t seem to have the time or want to take the time to ‘neaten’ it up. These next four years are important for her and I know she’d benefit from some changes. The problem? She isn’t listening to any of my suggestions! M. B.

A. You are not alone! A common scenario for kids entering a new level of school, particularly if it was not a feeder into a high school on campus is tough enough. But, the change in all aspects of life is affected and there are emotional and educational balances to be addressed. If you are butting heads with your child, realize she is in a totally new world. Save yourself the energy of trying to reason with her and bring in someone else (and, yes, I am talking about an Organizer!).

Often, an objective voice will have an impact and it is the smart parent who sees this as a positive move. Let that person work with your child regarding her schedules, goals, and even frustrations. There is a genuine sense of accomplishment as they are working with another adult, making decisions that they are taking responsibility for (they love you, but you are Mom and Dad!). It may be as simple as recreating a study environment in their room or establishing a calendar of her responsibilities and goals. When she shares them with you, give praise. The outcome is sure to instill the knowledge that a clear and positive study space, as well as an ownership of time is valuable. Thanks will be down the road!

Q. If I hear "Where are my shoes?" one more time, I’m gluing them to their feet!! With three teens (my son and two daughters) we are a whirlwind. Any ideas on reining them in and breathing once in awhile? Sarah

A. You’re funny and well within your rights to be frustrated, but there are some simple solutions to the black holes of teens’ rooms. First thing to do is schedule a family meeting and make it mandatory. Pick a time on the weekend when you can definitely have an hour or so of uninterrupted time (after church, Sunday brunch or even the end of the day as school follows the next morning). Find out why things are so easily lost. If simply putting a basket for shoes by the door helps, do it. If more dire instances involve getting your kids to do some serious paring down of clothes and items in their room, have them decide what works and what doesn’t. They are busy people, yes, but getting them to create their own methods for finding things can only increase their positive productivity as they move towards college.

Q. We are chaos after school! How can I get my son to handle his time? Addie

A. Is he playing football or on the debate team? If so, extra-curriculars always impact time. Have him take some time and list all his activities, how much time he feels he spends on them, and what could be revised, eliminated or changed. By giving him the responsibility to evaluate his time, he can create his own ‘schedule’. The power this gives a teen is amazing and you’ll be impressed by his understanding of time and activities. Again, a lifelong skill that takes a small amount of time to resolve will elicit only positive outcomes.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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