Recently I had the pleasure of working with the teenage daughter of one of my clients. We spent time organizing her room and chatting about the value of staying on top of clutter as a life skill.
A few months passed by and the room slipped back into a cluttered state as past habits reemerged. Looking for some creative motivation, my client fibbed to her daughter that "Connie is coming over today" as a way to inspire her daughter to clean up her room.
Soon thereafter the room was tidied up.
I am not sure many parents would disagree with a little white lie if it resulted in a clean room.
Teenagers have a reputation for covering the floor of their rooms with clothes and continuously procrastinating cleaning up. The real value of nudging teens is about laying the foundation of life skills that will carry forward into adulthood. Organizing clothes and homework is more about developing systems that instill a sense of pride, efficiency, and organization.
It's tough as a parent to be the broken record. Instead of "please clean up your room", try, "let's set up a system that makes it easy to manage your homework" or "how best can we organize your clothes?" Make it fun. A trip to Target for a laundry basket and new hangers, or some under-the-bed containers or a new shoe rack is a good start. By showing an interest in why it's important to be organized, eventually your message may sink in and translate to long-term good habits.
For more: Here's a great article I found around the psychology of teens and their messy rooms. Read More >