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Old 03-19-2004, 11:34 AM   #1
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Need advice on 13 year old daughter

Need to get some input here on a problem with my 13 year old daughter. I have struggled with her for a while over the state of her room. About 6 weeks ago I decided to just "let it go" because it was making me so nuts. So, I just started closing her bedroom door.

Well, things in there have gotten worse than I ever imagined they could have. Every (and I really mean every) item of clothing she owns is stomped into piles on the floor. Every drawer in her room is just crammed with junk, clothes, there was even a 1/2 eaten apple in one. She has not put any underwear into the laundry for 2 weeks (I don't even want to know where they are). In addition to the clothers, there's papers, books, stuffed animals, jewelry--you name it--all mixed in with the crap on the floor.

I never dreamed it would get this bad and I feel like this plan has totally backfired. I don't think I should allow her to live like this, as it teaches absolutely no life skills.

So, this afternoon when she returns from school she and I are undoing the disaster. After that, there are going to be strictly enforced rules concerning her room. When she goes to bed at night, any clothes on the floor have to either put in the laundry or folded and returned to their drawer. Every other week she will be required to work with me to dust her room and change her sheets and vaccum. I plan to enforce these rules pretty strictly.

When you think of what you would do, please really believe that you cannot possibly imagine how bad she let the room get. I've truly never seen anything like it in my life--it looked like those pictures of places in the paper where children have been removed by Child Protective Services!!

Thanks for your help or criticism here, am looking for a reality check.

 
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Old 03-19-2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

Sounds like a typical teenager. Way back when, I learned my lesson after I ate candy in bed and spilled some. Pulled back the covers later and there were ANTS everywhere! I was totally grossed out. I just remember how my room would get horribly messy, I'd be under orders to clean. I'd cry, throw a fit 'cuz I wouldn't know where to start. I could never ever throw anything. And then I'd plug away -- throw stuff, sort stuff... And I would just enjoy my nice neat clean room again. Until it became a disaster and I had to start all over again.

My sister never learned. She'd let the clothes pile up. Didn't care if she ran out of clothes 'cuz then she'd start scavenging form the rest of us. Luckily we didn't have to share a room after the "mouse incident". We'd just moved to a new home in the country that had been vacant for several months and we had to share a room. Our room started to stink. And one morning I picked up a blanket that was on top of one of her piles of clothes and there was a DEAD mouse!

Anyway, maybe spend the day with her going through all her stuff, get things organized and in the right place. Have her throw a bunch of junk. Set aside clothes and shoes she doesn't wear for goodwill, hand-me-downs or the rag bag. Get her a hamper for her own clothes. There are probably books and/or toys she's outgrown. Maybe pack them away for when she's older (and has her own home/kids) if she's emotionally attached to them. I'm sure it's just gotten out of control for her, too and she's probably a little overwhelmed.

 
Old 03-19-2004, 12:25 PM   #3
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

My dd is 12 going on 13 in July. I totally understand you problem. My daughter and I have been having this same arguement for almost 2 years now, My dd even keeps garbage, I do mean garbage the stuff that should have been thrown out. I finally got to the point that I told her if she didn't keep her room clean, I would throw her stuff out. I told her "if i notice clothes or anything else on your floor while she was at school I will throw it out, there will be no more going to her dad's house unless her room is clean". She know I mean business b/c I will and have got a garbage bag and start bagging she stuff up to throw out, I have throw some stuff out. I told her if she wants to keep her stuff then she will keep her room clean, if she leaves it on the floor and is collecting garbage apparently she wants me to throw it all out. It is no longer an arguement to clean the room, I remind her just about every day "your room better be clean" and leave it at that, She always goes to check her room and make sure it's clean. Once a week (usually on Friday night or Saturday morning) I remind her that the drawer had better be in order, no garbage in her room. I have tried everything to get her to keep her room clean. I found throwing some of her things out and letting her know that I WILL throw her things out if she cant keep her room clean has work.

As for the dirty clothes not getting to the laundry...I simply told her that we have a new rule...If your clothes arent in the laundry room they wont be cleaned and apparentlly you have to many clothes to keep track off, so I will make you life easy, You will have only 1 pair of pants, 1 shirt, 1 pair of underwear, 1 pair of sock, everything else will be thrown out, you will sleep in those clothes and wear them every day to school. Her arguement back was I will smell and the kids will make fun of me. I told her if you need to clean them I guess you will just have to go to the bathroom and wash them out and put them back on wet and wait for them to dry, as for the kids at school, I'm sorry but that will be your problem, you can just tell them that you aren't responsible enoug to own to many peices of clothing. I will tell you what..It worked! I never took her clothes away, but she no longer leaves dirty, smelly clothes in her drawer, clothes or the floor or hiding them in her room anymore and her clothes ALWAYS get into the laundry room to get washed.

I know that was probably not the best way to handle it, but as I said it worked when nothing else would. From what you said you have tried everything, but this is an opinion to try, you will have to be firm, stand your ground, and be willing to follow though with this threat.

 
Old 03-19-2004, 04:21 PM   #4
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

Does it SMELL TOO...I have a 15 yr old son...SAME THING...and I did the same thing as you...

what kills me is I'm a cleaning nut and neat freak...I have always been this way so you think my son could pick up my habits?

His bedroom is in the basement...I have tried NOT going into his room to clean it...When he turned 14 we made a deal I would stay out of his room and he would keep it clean...that lasted about a month...I tried to give him his space and privacy that teenagers are suspose to get....I refused to buy him new clothes, or CD's because how he kept his room....

When I got laid off this past November...I did a complete clean out of his room and every morning I would make his bed and pick up his laundry..and the damn wet towels on the bed...after a month of that I gave up....If that's how he wants to live in his bedroom fine but not anywhere else in the house and NO FOOD OR DRINKS allowed in his room! I just slammed the door...

Well....it got so bad in his room that even HE didn't want to sleep in it anymore..I found him on the couch two nights in a row and asked him why and he said because HIS ROOM SMELLED! I told him too bad either clean it or sleep in it....HE CLEANED IT...Did a good job too...

It's only been a week but he has kept up with it...I have seen many teenagers with the same room as my son's...My neices are just as bad, I have been in my friends beautiful homes but not their teenagers room..
Doors are always shut...

 
Old 03-19-2004, 06:52 PM   #5
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

my mom kept my door shut too back when.....i was pretty messy, but you couldnt tell it now, my house is spotless!!! but i have a friend who's mom made her clean her room to a shine constantly and she keeps a messy house...
i have thought about this with my daughter (who is just a baby right now) and i think i am going to set weekly cleaning rules and they are to be met by friday night and if they are not she will not go out that weekend...i hope that works (i know it would have worked with me when i was that age!)

 
Old 03-19-2004, 07:11 PM   #6
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

It was funny reading these posts! I have 4 kids, 2 are neat freaks and 2 are slobs! I never have to remind the neat freaks to clean their rooms, they do it on their own. Fortunately for the slobs, the rooms have never gotten to the point where they smelled or had critters living in them. You just can't see any floor space!
I did find that they need to be taught how to clean such a disaster. For a 10 year old to walk into that mess that he's supposed to clean, it can be overwhelming, especially if they are ADD. I found that for each one in turn, as they got old enough, I took them in there and sat in there with them while I showed them how to irganize the mess. i.e. First you take all the dirty clothes and put it in the hamper, when that is done you take all the clean clothes out of laundry basket and put it away. I got my son several clear plastic totes so that he could organize toys, one for legos, one for bionicles, one for little cars, etc. He starts in one corner of the room and refills totes as he goes along.
It takes alot of patience to do it this way, but they will work harder at keeping it clean if THEY have to do the work instead of having MOMMY do it for them!
This all reminded me of growing up and having to share a room with my older sister. She was a slob and I was a neat freak. We are still the same way!
Her whole house is a mess, but it's just that people have different needs, different priorities. I like to clean, she doesn't, but she has other skills and talents that I don't! She loves to cook, I like to order out!
All you can do is teach them the skills to keep their rooms from being health hazards, the rest is up to them.

 
Old 03-19-2004, 08:04 PM   #7
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

If my mom had nagged me about my room back then it would have been a huge fight constantly. What she did was to put the vacuum cleaner outside my door once a week. That was the day I cleaned. She didn't nag, she didn't bug me about my room the rest of the week. I just knew when the vacuum showed up, work was to be done.

She picked her battles carefully and the state of my room (which was really bad) just wasn't one she wanted to fight too much.

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Old 03-19-2004, 09:34 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

Dont give up hope, a sanitary young lady may one day appear. I was the same way! My mom kept my door closed and let it pile up there until one day I came home with a new friend who was like OMG your room stinks. I was so imbarassed! That made me try harder for awhile but it slipped again. I wouldnt always recomend this... but one day my mom went in there while I was gone and went nuts in it ! she warned me ahead of time this was coming...
she threw out sooo much of my stuff and the rest she actually cleaned up. Seeig my room like this made me see.. ah, wow, this is kind of pleasent!
So ya, try cleaning it up REAL good with her and get rid of excess JUNK that leads to clutter everywhere!
Now 20 and own my own house I am a clean FREAK. everyday with the vaccuming (i have pets) I wash my floors I keep everything spotles! I think the changing day was when I started developling a lot of respect for myself it made me realize... if I want other people to respect me... well i need to appear "respectable!" and a filth bucket of a home is no way to do that!
so there is still hope!
good luck
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:06 AM   #9
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Re: Need advice on 13 year old daughter

Love all the advice and stories. Well, when she got home yesterday I reminded her that it was the day to fix her room, that it had just gotten too far gone. I wanted to help, but she wanted to tackle it herself. So, I gave her 3 baskets, one for dirty laundry, one for things she wanted out of her room and one for things she wants in her room but can't figure out how to stow. She spent 4 hours on this project and would not accept any help, she did a pretty respectable job!!! I think she may have felt down deep that it had gotten out of hand and she needed rescue.

I'm going to shampoo the carpet and she's given me permission to sort through the stuff in the bottom of her closet and take care of it. She also has one cabinet that's particularly bad and she wants help with. So, I think we are putting together a room she can be proud of. I spoke with her about the new keep clean rule and suggested that once a week she needs to do a clean sweep and that until that clean sweep is done then there's no going out anywhere or doing anything else. She wants to do a mini-sweep every day, and when I told her that would probably take a bit of nagging on my part each day and I'm not nuts about being on her case, she said she wants me to do that and before long she won't need the nagging.

Well, what a turnaround. I think it was like someone mentioned here, she was overwhelmed and out of control and needed help. Stay tuned to see how this really works out.

 
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