If you’ve read the first part of this series, you may now be ready for some concrete suggestions on how to find peace. This isn’t easy, and it may not ever be solved to everyone’s complete satisfaction, but I believe there are some boundaries that can be negotiated to alleviate a lot of the stress. Here’s a suggested approach:
1. Invite your teen to a special time to discuss the issue. Go where your teen wants to go (ice cream, in front of Xbox, whatever). Say “I know we’ve been having some strife over the way you maintain your belongings. I don’t like having bad feelings about something so insignificant. I wanted to just sit down and talk to you about it because you are a great kid and I know we can find some way to figure this out.” By opening up with some positive words, you put your teen at ease.
2. Ask “How do you feel about the way you keep your things? Do you feel that your system is working for you? Would you like any help in changing the way your space is organized?” This is an important question because some teens would actually like to have a better organized space, they just don’t know how. They may be frustrated with having more stuff than they have space for. Or they just don’t know where to begin. If you are lucky enough to have this be the root of the problem, this is an easy fix. You agree on a time (plan a weekend…the first weekend after school is out is a perfect time), empty the room (I mean empty it), and then go at it. If YOU don’t know how to organize the space, contact The Seana Method for more information.
3. If your teen loves her mess, the next step is to negotiate how to coexist. The key areas you to need to cover are:
The bedroom: I generally believe it is a good idea to let kids keep their rooms as they want, with a periodic clean-up required. For example, you can agree that the teen will have her surfaces (floor, dresser, desk, etc.) cleared every other week by a certain time. In between, just close the door. And whatever you do, DON’T go in and rescue her if she can’t find something, or wants to wear a shirt that is dirty. If your teen shares a room, set some actual, physical boundaries for what is “hers.” Consequences for breaking the deal should be agreed upon in advance, and should be customized for the teen. If your teen loves $$, charge the teen for an unclean room. If you teen wants car access, then a violation means no keys for the weekend. Find something that matters!!
About Seana Turner –
Seana founded The Seana Method in 2010 because she wanted to help people. She was saddened by the many people in her life who complained that their spaces were a mess, their schedules were out of control, and they felt overwhelmed by their “stuff”. In a society where accumulation of wealth had always been linked to high quality of life, Seana was seeing that the direct opposite was happening.
Over time she developed The Seana Method, and since her launch has found great joy in helping others realize the freedom that organization can bring to life. She now lives in the New York metro area with her husband and two daughters.
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