As difficult as it may be sometimes, we need to allow teens to express their individuality when it comes to their bedrooms. Just as we adults need to make our room a haven that we like to retreat to, teens need a space where they feel safe and comfortable. To some it may be where they hang out with friends and play music and to others a quiet place to study or create. They should be given certain guidelines to follow but within those guidelines, to have free reign to make their space special to them.
Here are some tips to help keep things simple for both of you.
- If your teen is sharing a room, use a visual ‘border line’ such as a room divider, bookshelf or curtain. If the room is large enough, consider installing a more permanent partition.
- Try and accommodate a couch or at least some beanbags so that friends can visit.
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- If your teen likes loud music, try and work out a compromise that between certain hours he or she must use headphones in consideration of the rest of the family (and the neighbours!) Is it possible to install some soundproofing material?
- If they spend lots of time at the computer (and don’t they all?), make sure they have a comfortable desk and chair. You can’t always be there to remind them to sit up straight but you can provide the means and hope they do the right thing.
- Your teen should be responsible for the day to day state of their room. What we may see as dirty and cluttered, they see as perfectly acceptable. As long as it’s not unhygienic or a fire hazard, then a weekly tidy up is all that it should need. Fitted sheets and doonas make bed-making easy, and ideally, an easy-mop floor takes less effort than carpet.
- If you really want to clean their room for them, let them know when that will be. Teens are entitled to their privacy.
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- There is no easy answer when it comes to getting your teen to keep their clothes tidy but some ideas are worth a try. A cupboard with shelving is often easier for them than hanging or drawer space. A hanging laundry bag on the back of the door or an open basket where they can toss their used clothes may work. Consider a coat rack or wall hooks for the ‘in-between’ clothes (those that have been worn but are clean enough to wear again.)
- I made a rule early on with my children that I wouldn't wash clothes that were left on their floor and that I would check their pockets when I washed, and any money I found would be mine for the trouble. This worked pretty well in encouraging them to do it themselves and use the clothes basket.
- Consider (possibly as a gift) having your teens favourite poster block mounted. It’s worth the cost to preserve the poster and looks really good.
We need to remember that our teens bedrooms play a large part in establishing their identity and fulfilling their need to express their individuality, so like it or not, we sometimes need to step back and allow them the freedom to make their own judgments.