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Help, My Teen's Room Is Always Messy. Navigating Teenage Messiness: A Guide for Parents by Ajoke Giwa-Alatise

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV): "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it."
Hello Dear Moms,

Let's talk about teenagers and messiness. As parents, it's a scenario we're all too familiar with: you've spent years teaching your kids the importance of cleanliness, yet somehow, when they hit their teenage years, it feels like all those lessons flew out the window. It can be frustrating, disheartening, and at times, downright maddening. But fear not, you're not alone in this struggle.

Having two teenage boys myself, I understand the ongoing battle of trying to maintain a clean household amidst the chaos of adolescence. It often feels like an uphill climb, but there are strategies we can employ to navigate this phase without resorting to yelling or screaming.
  1. Don't Take It Personally: First and foremost, remind yourself that your teenager's lack of cleanliness is not a reflection of your parenting abilities. It's easy to internalize their behavior as a personal failure, but remember, adolescence is a time of exploration and boundary-pushing. Maintain confidence in your parenting skills and approach the situation with patience and understanding.
  2. Education and Demonstration: If you observe that the issue stems from a gap in knowledge, take the opportunity to teach and demonstrate proper cleaning techniques. Sometimes, teenagers simply haven't been shown how to effectively tidy up after themselves. Offer guidance and support, and consider having them demonstrate their understanding to ensure clarity.
  3. Implement a Cleaning Schedule: Establishing a designated cleaning day or schedule can bring much-needed structure to the household. Make it a collaborative effort by involving your teenagers in the planning process. When everyone is aware of their responsibilities and expectations, it promotes accountability and consistency.
  4. Offer Encouragement and Recognition: It's important to acknowledge and praise your teenagers for their efforts, even if the results aren't perfect. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in motivating them to continue striving for improvement. Celebrate their successes, no matter how small, and encourage them to take pride in maintaining a clean environment.

If you find yourself grappling with teenage messiness like so many of us do, I hope these strategies provide some semblance of guidance and reassurance. Remember, every family is different, and what works for one may not work for another.

Feel free to share your own tips and experiences in the comments below. Let's support each other on this journey of parenting teenagers.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you! 👇🏾👇🏾

With warmth and solidarity,
Ajoke Giwa-Alatise

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