Messy bedrooms

plasticgardenOctober 26, 2007

I have tried everything and nothing works. I've grounded her,taken stuff away,raised my voice,it doesnt do any good.

So,I've started throwing stuff away.Here's how I do it,I will tell her all week long for about two weeks (and her dad will too) to clean up her room. She is given every chance to clean it. My rule is,if I have to clean it,stuff goes in the trash.Mainly,anything that is on the floor.

Just to be clear,she is almost ten and has no other chores or responsiblities. All we ask is that homework gets done and room stays clean.

Tonight she cried because I threw away some doll because it was on the floor.Then I felt bad about it.It is the only way she takes me seriously about it though.

So,first,do you guys think I'm wrong for throwing away her stuff? What do you do to get your kids to keep their rooms clean? Are all kids rooms this messy? Do they grow out of it? Or are some people just generally messy and I should except it?

Also,I'm not pulling a mommy dearest here. I'm not nagging about a few toys on the floor.I'm talking papers everywhere,food wrappers,empty drink bottles,clothes o the floor,toys on the floor,hurting yourself when you walk into the room because it is so messy.

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Well, I have been down the messy bedroom road. I think I even posted here !

The conclusion that I came to, is you must show her how to maintain a tidy bedroom.

I mean, be really specific.

Something like, "tidy as you go along". "Get something out, put it away when you have finished with it".

I know its really tricky to get the message across. But for your own sanity I would not turn it into a war ground.

Ask yourself, does it really matter ?

With my son (15). I am happy, if he puts all his clothes on the chair instead of the floor, which he does. If he picks up the bathmat off the bathroom floor and drapes it over the bath, then that is fantastic. If he puts his dirty clothes in laundry basket, then that is fantastic. If he is polite and respectful, I am happy. If he helps when asked, then that is wonderful.

I guess what I am getting at...take small steps with your daughter. If she manages to pick all her clothes off the bedroom floor and put them on the chair, then praise her. Do you think she is capable of doing what you ask of her, keeping her WHOLE bedroom tidy ALL the time ? (I say this in the nicest way !)

I think you should refrain from throwing her stuff away. Really, I am teary thinking of her doll being thrown away. Little girls love their dolls, your remember, don't you ?

I used to be like you, battles with my daughter about tidy bedroom, but looking back on it now, I think I was a dill. What is the point of it all. As long as there is a minimum standard of cleanliness, then just shut the bedroom door, when visitors come around, and learn to live with her disaray.

My messy daughter, has now moved out, and her college room is spick and span. I always giggle when I go there, remembering the battles we had about tidying up her bedroom, and now she is so tidy, at college !

Relax Plastic, give your DD a hug and a kiss, tell her she is lovely, and get in there and tidy the room together. Then I would say, "for this week, if you keep everything up off the floor, then we can go and buy an icecream."

I think I could write a book about this topic !

Take care

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 3:43AM
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I cannot believe Popi wrote that...Said with a huge grin. Because Popi had a HUGE issue with clean rooms not long ago. Of course she was talking about a much older child. But still a HUGE issue.

There was a statement made one time by (probably Maxine)...Cleaneliness is next to..impossible at my house!!

Okay here was my house when kids were growing up. DD#1: Room passible. DS: couldn't walk into his room, but rule was, no goodnight kiss unless I can get to you without hurting myself. SO, he'd have a path to his bed for me. Well not what I meant, but it was what I said. DD#3: NEAT FREAK. 3 kids, 3 extremes. Now as young adults, they're all have clean houses. Okay DS's is because of his wife but she's continuing his training.

So what rules did we insist on. NO GARBAGE allowed on the floor. They were good about that. Yes that was it. Why? Garbage attracted mice and bugs. YUCK.

Then for DS only (as the girls were good about their rooms), about once every 3 months his room would get out of control even for him, so we'd have to go in and start tossing stuff...and I don't mean toys. You see, he was a saver. EVERYTHING was so important to him that he couldn't throw it away and that is why his room was in chaos. What was not important and could be thrown, he couldn't tell. BUT if we threw these papers away when he wasn't home (kept some in a drawer for him), he was happy, and felt still in control of his life. Did that make sense. We didn't throw out EVERYTHING as we wanted him to still feel his choice to keep things was important. Plus papers that are neatly put together take less space than those scattered.

Another help: clother hamper for his dirty clothes (which he washed himself) it's amazing how he would put away clean clothing when he had to wash his own clothes, re-washing clean clothes gets old, and WORK, only washing dirty clothes was WAY easier. AND yes my kids washed their own clothing when they were 10.

So how do you live with a messy room...shut the door and don't look at it. Give her her space to be her.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 7:23AM
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Wow plasticgarden, we are battling the same wars. Last week my DD was diagnosed with ADD. Her room and the toy room is usually soooooo messy you can bearly walk in them. We had to declutter the rooms to help declutter her brain. So this past weekend we got rid of half their toys. Believe me, they had too many. It really helped to tell them that if their is no room to put Christmas toys then santa wont bring anything new. We have now made a place for everything. At the end of the day everything must be in its place. I am trying to give my kids the skill of being organized. I think that is very important in life. Maybe you should start new. Reorganize her room and get rid of anything she really doesnt use anymore. Make a place for everything. Tell her that if by the end of each day you expect the room to be clean. And most importantly make sure she is getting it done. I am a clutter bug by nature. I realize that my kids are messy because of me. But i want to change that.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 9:02AM
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Plasticgarden; I know it's awful, but I think it comes with the territory of most kids and teens. They only want to do what's fun at this age, whereas most adults also want fun but realize there needs to be a balance of not so fun maintenance work for healthy living.
I too 'cull' some of my kids' junk from their rooms - candy wrappers, McD's fry boxes(good memories?), broken pine cones etc - but I don't do it all, I leave some for them because I want them to know the feeling to throw/give something away that's not needed or isn't useful. I think if I don't teach them to clean and discard, they may never learn on their own. I am also trying to teach them that they don't need everything that's advertised on tv or sold in the stores.

I know a few moms that berated their daughters to clean up their rooms, one had 2 girls sharing a constantly messy (no room to walk on the floor) room, then once they each got their own room, older daughter kept it 'showroom' clean, younger continued to not care. With the other, her husband pulled her aside and asked her whether this is how she wanted her daughter to remember her relationship with her mom-and that once she's on her own she would probably start to be more organized and tidy, and if not-it wouldn't be their problem. So she let up. Stopped having it be her responsibility. As long as you can enforce some kind of regular maintenance like once a week tidying and vacuum, maybe you can overlook what happens during the week?

The Organizing Forum on this page should have some good ideas and tips to help guide you and your children along. I like to spend time there just for inspiration and incentive, and just to see I am not alone in hating all the mess and clutter and feeling like I am the only one responsible to do something about it! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 10:36AM
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We've figured out it's my 4 yo dd that is making things messy. My 5 and 7 yo boys have gotten better. Here are some improvements to their room we've made that makes them want to keep their room cleaner.

1.) We've removed things from the room that don't belong there. We have a play room and the toys belong there. We are only allowed to eat in the kitchen and dining room so no food and wrappers in bedrooms.
2.) The kids needed to have a place to put stuff. I had to make sure that there was a place to put things. Special school papers and awards are put into pocket protectors in a three ring binder. Each child has his own drawer/shelf or whatever to put those special little things they want to keep. I'm not real thrilled about storing generic rocks, bottlecaps, or anything else one picks up. Kids do need to have some control and as long as they are keeping the special items in the drawer where they belong, I will not throw them away.
3.) I finally decorated the kid's bedrooms with stuff of interest to them. I let them help pick out the items they wanted. For my 7 yo ds, that meant posters of rocks,volcanoes, maps, and space. For my 5 yo, it meant Harry Potter, Darth Vader and Transformers. My 4 yo dd has her princess and Carebear theme she wanted. It's their room, they own it, and they want it to look nice.
4.) I discourage bringing non-essential items into the house that are going to quickly become junk. We don't make regular trips to McDonalds for Happy Meal toys. I try to make my kids aware of money that goes out of the house. That cheap stuff you can buy at the $ store or Wal-Mart every time you go because it is only a few bucks really isn't all that fulfilling. I'm trying to teach my kids that you can buy that piece of cheap plastic or save up for that really cool toy. It cuts down on clutter and teaches the kids about saving.

Also, I've become outspoken with the relatives on what my kids do/not need for Christmas. I ask for time spent with the kids, but if that's not what the relatives are willing to give, then I ask that they give usable things like clothes or a how-to book.

We have problems with toys left on the floor too. I have plenty of room. Toys here get picked up and put in time-out or hidden. I don't have a time period for giving them back. If they don't ask for them, they may get donated after a long waiting period.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 11:42AM
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Yep...I think you are wrong to throw away the posessions of another person.
Your worth as a parent is not measured by how neat your child's room is but rather how happy and contented she is, and by how she treats others.
Ever walked down the hall in a fraternity or sorority house dueing the day when the doors are open? Every chaos...well almost every room, there will be a neat freak of 2...but mostly not. I said fraternity or sorority because that's where the doors will be open unlike a dorm room.
Close the door....but I agree, no food in her bedroom....ever!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 12:10PM
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Yep...I think you are wrong to throw away the posessions of another person.
Your worth as a parent is not measured by how neat your child's room is but rather how happy and contented she is, and by how she treats others.

I absolutely agree with that statement from lindac

I would, however, condone taking the stuff away until improvements are made. When my 11 y/o's room gets out of control (he shares with our 5 y/o DS, but I know whose mess is whose) I will take away his favorite toys. My thinking is that I send him to clean his room, but I come to check on him and find him with a lego or magnetix creation that must have taken an hour. So I take away what is distracting him, and what he wants to get back to. He cleans his room b/c he's motivated to get his stuff back, but he finds out that he has even more fun with it when he has a clean room to play in.

I do not do laundry that doesn't make it to the laundry room. So sometimes the kids realize their rooms need tidied b/c they don't have any clean clothes in the drawer. They've been putting dirty clothes on the floor, under the bed or in the closet instead of the laundry room.

DD wants a hamster. She has to keep her room clean for 3 months, not one off day, to prove to me she can be responsible. I mean, if she can't keep her room clean, she won't clean a stinky hamster cage, either. She's up to about 3 weeks right now, she even posted her own calendar on her wall! LOL!

I sypmathize with my kids b/c I am not a neat person. I describe myself as having a "high tolerance for chaos." It's a good thing I do, or I'd been insane by now!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Close the door until she goes away to college.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 1:40PM
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Is the rest of the house spotless?
Are you expecting more from her than everyone else?
IF your things are laying around, does she have the option of throwing your things out?
Has she been taught SPECIFICALLY what to do and how to do it? "Clean your room" does not mean much to a kid...

Add my name to everything lindac said....

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Oh, boy, does this sound familiar.

Our daughter -- and she is a HS senior -- makes MOUNTAINS of clothes on her floor. It drives me CRAZY. It's not even so much how messy the room is -- it's the horrible way she treats even her really nice clothes -- they get stepped on, abused, etc. When I finally get her to give me laundry to do, she won't put it away.

We punished. We bribed. We reasoned. We helped. NOTHING worked -- until SHE was ready.

The strange part is, she is almost as mystified by it as we are. She is INCREDIBLY organized and responsible with her schoolwork, teaching job, youth group (she's president), etc. Our son nearly finished me off dragging his feet on college applications; she is doing hers without even a reminder. We never, ever have had to remind her, let alone nag her, to do homework or study for tests. She says she can't figure out why she is exactly the opposite with her clothes. Also strange is that at camp and similar situations, she is THE NEATEST with her clothes -- like a Marine did it. Go figure!

The best advice I got was to let it go. Because nagging, punishing, bribing, etc.
1) makes everyone miserable
2) DOESN'T EVEN WORK! Ask anyone. There are very few documented incidents of parents getting teenagers to stop having messy rooms.

So do as barnmom advises: "close the door until she leaves home." Someone told me something like the story in kioni's post: don't let your years with her at home be about nagging and screaming about clothes on the floor. She will or won't learn to be neat when she has her own place -- and then it will be her decision and her problem. Close the bedroom door and forget it now. It's a little tough to follow that advice when what is really bothering me isn't the mess, it's the spoiled-ness of abusing her clothes, but it's the same idea.

Just a few short months left of her living at home -- I don't want to waste any of it on this. She is a great kid in almost every way, and this really isn't all that important.

Teach little kidz how to clean up, but don't make an issue of it with teenagers, so many of whom for some reason need to have a messy space -- maybe because it repels adult intrusion? Or makes their space different from family space?

I still slip and say something once in a while, but I am very glad I took the advice to stop making an issue of this. Not only wasn't it worth all the angst -- it didn't work anyway!

There is light at the end of the tunnel, by the way -- her room looks pretty good lately. Our son, now 21, always had your average messy and gross college boy dorm room ... until his girlfriend came along and got him organized. So if you are patient, you can hand off the problem to someone else! :-)

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 5:46PM
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oh yeah -- please don't throw her things away.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 5:49PM
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Well, Ms Vickey, you helped me tremendously, to see the messy bedroom light....of course this has helped with other things in my life !

If my lounge room and kitchen are tidy, of course kept tidy by ME...then I am happy. Does it really matter if the rest of the house is not so tidy ??

Focus on the positives.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 6:09PM
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Ok just to clairify,the doll I threw away was a life sized doll that my daughter claimed "scared her" and she made me put it in the closet every night.
It was naked,had ratty hair and my daughter had colored on her with marker. I dont think she cried because she liked the doll,but just the simple fact that I threw it away.

I dont like keeping toys that are ratty and messed up.As NINOS pointed out,Christmas is coming and It is good to get rid of some of the crap that has accumulated after a while.
I have never thrown away anything that is nice or well cared for.Or anything expensive like her video games or movies.Just the built up Mcdonald's toys,ones that are broken or ratty looking,ones that she never even plays with.
I'm not a complete neat freak.I dont mind if one or two toys is on the floor.I just cant stand it when there is trash everywhere and I cant even walk into the room.Also,when I cant find her clothes to wash them because they are everywhere but the hamper.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 6:45PM
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To answer western luann pa~ Yes,the rest of the house is spotless. No I dont leave my stuff laying around. And Yes,I'am very SPECIFIC when I tell her to clean her room.I will say I want ALL trash to be put in the trashcan.Then I find instead of going to the trashcan,it has been hidden under a blanket.
I found three empty drink boxes,10 fruit roll up wrappers,and an empty spilled pickle jar that she didnt bother cleaning up either.So her room now reeks of pickles.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 7:04PM
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I agree with NO FOOD! As for helping her to keep things better organized have you tried different baskets on the floor? One for toys, one for sweaters/sweatshirts, whatever. Quicker for her to toss into a basket and she might do it without arguments. I also knew a parent that had a fitted sheet on the bed then a sleeping bag & pillow. Took the boys a few seconds to straighten the sleeping bag "bed made". Same parent had the baskets, anything to make it easier for the kids to keep rooms neater.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 7:07PM
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I don't understand the "grounding doesn't work". It works, it has to. They simply don't go anywhere until the room is clean. If it's not clean when they go to school, they come straight home and clean it or they never go out again.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 8:29PM
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eandhl,yes she has a toy box and several large bins.She also has three closets each so full of toys they are over flowing.The only problem is trash ends up in those bins.She also likes to cut paper,so there will tons of little pieces of paper everywhere.
Jonesy,I understand what you're saying.But her idea of cleaning is to stuff everything where I cant see it and then I find it later when I'm cleaning.

At least I know I'm not the only one with this problem.NINOS,I think my daughter my be ADD too.Her backpack and everything she owns is very unorganized.
I noticed a smell coming from her backpack and cleaned it out and found an old lunch bag that had a rotten sandwich in it!
It is also important to know that she doesnt have any other chores.I do her laundry,I do everything else.I dont ask anything from her except to try to do good in school.

When I was little my mom had me doing the dishes,vaccuming,cleaning the litter box,dusting,and keeping my room clean.I thought that was alot of pressure while also maintaining straight A's in school and I dont want to put that kind of pressure on my daughter.
All I want is a somehwhat tidy bedroom.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 3:00AM
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New rules for your daughter.

No food eaten in the bedroom.

Before watching TV, all dirty clothes must be put into the laundry basket.

New rules for MUM.

Check school bag when she gets home for left over food.

Give her some responsibility, no matter how minor.
Both work together cleaning out the room, and get her input as to how she would like to organise it.

I've run out of ideas, now !

It will work out.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 3:31AM
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I'd really suggest not throwing away stuff if YOU think it's ratty or uncared for, unless you know your daughter really won't mind. When we emigrated to Oz, my mother discarded my precious teddy bear because when I was really small I had chewed a hole in him and drawn on him with a ball point pen (it was permanent). Teddy didn't meet my mother's standards of "stuff good enough to take". Being only 8, I was devastated and moving countries was traumatic enough without the loss of my beloved Teddy on top of that. Nearly 40 years later, I can still remember staring out the back window of the car sobbing, "Bye, Teddy............" and slowly waving (and I'm tearing up now thinking of it) as we drove away from our house for the last time. I never really forgave Mom for that.
So, to you something might be ratty and dirty but to your daughter it might be precious.
My daughter always had a terribly messy room as a child/teen (as did I). However, after living in her own home for a year or so, she suddenly clicked on the tidiness thing and now her home is always tidy. When her room seemed unhealthily untidy I would announce "If you don't clean your room by Monday I'm doing it" and then on the Monday I would go through the room like a dose of salts and throw away anything that was definitely rubbish and organise the other things into piles for DD to deal with.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 5:54AM
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Having a clean room is a fair and simple(you would think) rule to follow. Your not asking her to srub the toilets with a toothbrush. Your asking her to keep a fairly neat room. I laughed at the part when you wrote that you find scraps of paper on the floor. My DD does the same thing. I was making the kids clean before they went to bed last night and the paper was sticking to my feet. Too funny! When it comes to food i really limit what they can bring upstairs. Yet i still find the wrappers or even the kernels of popcorn on the floor. My DD is also a pickle lover. She eats them every night. I have to buy the big jars to keep up so i understand your pickle problem too. As far as being ADD. For my DD this has been a long road we have traveled. Since she was 3 i knew their was something somewhat different about her. She has been in different programs to help her through school. But this year has really been hard. It has always been a stuggle to get or keep her attention. Homework take up to 2 hours everynight and she is only in the 3rd grade. So i wouldnt jump the gun on ADD for your daughter. Unless your heart has been telling you something for sometime now. I like Popi's rules. I think the harder part is getting us as parents to follow through with them. But we must try!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 11:11AM
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I find that a carrot works better than a stick to get my kids to do that which they are not inclined to do like clean rooms. I tell my daughter she can do or have something special if she gets the dirty dishes to the kitchen and all the clothes off the floor. Examples: have a friend spend the night or go to the mall. She is almost ready for a learner's permit so sometimes I bribe her with letting her drive the car around the very quiet side streets in the 'hood (with me along).

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 1:08PM
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Oh, ninos, you are certainly correct that these are fair rules and reasonable standards. And, plasticgarden, I sure hear you when you say you "just cant stand it when there is trash everywhere and I cant even walk into the room.Also,when I cant find her clothes to wash them because they are everywhere but the hamper." I know EXACTLY what you mean.

But listen to what we parents of older kidz are telling you. It doesn't MATTER how reasonable and fair it is, or how RIGHT we are. We tried for YEARS. If nothing works -- as you report -- then it's time to ask yourself how long you want to continue fighting about it with her.

Do you want to make this the biggest issue -- as if a messy room were worse than, say, cruelty, selfishness, or dishonesty?

Is it really THAT important that you would ground her indefinitely?

We tried that a few times -- actually I think it was turning off the computer, no phone, etc., but same idea -- and it eventually got the room cleaned up. But only for a day. It did NOT solve the problem -- it just happened all over again.

You can't fight every battle, so pick the ones that (a) you can win and, more important, (b) are worth fighting about. Is this about good habits and cared-for clothes, or about establishing who is the boss?

I am so glad I listened to the advice of my mother and friends and let this one go. It was really hard for me -- sometimes still is -- but I can see I made the right choice. I still sometimes ask and/or remind her about her room and clothes, but I no longer fight, punish, or try to change her in this regard. It's her decision now. I don't know whether it was stopping the power struggle or just her growing up a bit, but it does seem to be working.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2007 at 6:43PM
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I'm with gellchom - also, if the clothes aren't in the hamper so YOU can't wash them...I'd bet that when they run out of clean clothes to wear they'll start washing them, as they should. I only do the wash if it's in the hamper, otherwise they get to wash it or wear stanky clothes. It's a great way to teach natural consequences. They may wear stinky, wrinkly clothes for a while but eventually someone at school will tease them and then they'll figure it out - tough lessons, but much more effective than my nagging.

It often helps that we have a family night once a week to discuss how rules are going, who likes what and who doesn't like what - then i don't have to yell, and I can state what I want - ie. "I will wash clothes that are in the hamper. I will teach you how to run the washer so that when all your clothes are on the floor you'll know how to get them clean."

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 12:54PM
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I appreciate all the great responses. Popi,I definitely like the new rules. I think I can be consistant about them.
I also like barnmom's idea about giving her incentive to do it.
I really dont think my DD likes having a messy bedroom though. (which is why I kinda think she may be ADD)
Today she actually told me,
"Thanks so much for cleaning my room mom.I had the best night's sleep!"
Another thing I noticed.When her room was really mesy,she never wanted to be in there. She'd try to sleep on the couch or ask if she could play her video games in the living room. Now that it's clean,she has been in there all day happy as can be and hasnt fought me during bedtime.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 4:24PM
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I am glad things are working out for you Pgarden.

For those with ADD problems, I recently saw a science show, where they talked about a child, who had ADD, they gave him doses of fish oil, omega 3, and his concentration improved, remarkably. He had the doses in pill from.

Perhaps you could google that and see what you come up with.

All the best to everyone.


Collenoz, that is a sad story about your bear. I am sure your mum did the right thing, in her mind.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 5:21PM
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Thank you Popi! I'am definitely going to look into the fish oil :)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 6:18PM
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One other thought --

I think sometimes kidz keep their rooms messy, even if they themselves don't like the mess, in order to mark it more clearly as THEIR space.

If it keeps other people out because it's gross or non-navigable, so much the better.

That's why it is all the more to be expected in a home like yours, plasticgarden, where "the rest of the house is spotless." A child going through the separation/individuation stage is going to choose something to make a big contrast.

It could be worse -- she could have chosen to reject not your standards of cleanliness and neatness, but your ideas on values, morals, religion, politics, education ...! When my daughter's room makes me want to scream, I try to comfort myself by telling myself that she must really share our values too much to use them for her rebellion instead.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 2:39PM
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Plasticgarden, choose a weekend and help her clean her room. Make sure there is a place for everything. Wet towels go on rack or shower curtain bar. Dry dirty clothes go in the hamper, etc.. Let her help you to buy some neat things to lay on the bed after it is made. Keep it light between the two of you if you can. Later or the next day take her out to lunch at a place she likes. Make the day special. Tell her if the room is messy when she goes to school she will have to stay in until it is straightened up.

My husband used a chair in the bedroom in a corner where it wasn't visible to anyone walking down the hall. He would put his "garage" clothes on the back of a kitchen chair and his job work pants on the seat for the next day.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:18PM
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Yes, I agree with you Gellchom. I think when this was last posted, this subject, somebody said that having all their things around them in a messy bedroom, gave them comfort. I think this was from a teen.

I can understand that. I guess I am the same, I like my things around me, its just that I like them to be tidy !

Also, I think our children seem to have a lot more possessions. When I was a child, I certainly did not have all the things my children have. So maybe this generation is somewhat overwhelmed with "stuff".

In the shops, there are so many little knick knacks, jewelery, clothes, that are very cheap (usually from China), so its easy to accumulate a lot of those things. Then there are the endless plastic toys from fast food outlets.

My DD has got draws full of cheap $2 jewelery.

These sorts of things where not around "in my day".

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:25PM
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"Also, I think our children seem to have a lot more possessions. When I was a child, I certainly did not have all the things my children have. So maybe this generation is somewhat overwhelmed with "stuff". "

This is so very true. When I was a child I got stuff two times a year~my birthday and Christmas.It seems with my child she always gets SOMETHING when we go out.I admit I spoil her because she's my only child too.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 7:10PM
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My mother once said to me that my kids were getting to many things for Christmas. I told her, "we are just sharing what we have, like you did with us when we were small. You just did not have much money so we didn't get as much". I believe a small child should be spoiled at Christmas and I don't mean a lot of money. The excitement at Christmas is about the surprise and how many packages, but not necessarily about a lot of money. My Sis bought her kids 3 gifts at Christmas time. They must have felt awful when their friends started talking about how many things they got. She spent one Christmas with us and when I saw how little her boys got I went shopping and got them more than their mother did. I remember being happy getting a ring out of the cracker jack box.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 9:37PM
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My daughter was horrendously messy. Even though we limited the number of toys, she constantly brought home bugs, rocks, leaves, etc., she kept every single drawing. She did not enjoy playing in her room because it was so very messy it wasn't a fun place for her.

Here are the things I did that helped. Once she started kindergarten and I had a little more time, I got the room clean. Then I didn't let it get into such unmanageable shape again. Every day she had to have it reasonably picked up. Sometimes it was just overwhelming for her, so I would pick certain small areas, set the timer, and when the timer buzzed I would check to make sure those areas were clean. We made it a race against the buzzer, and she got a skittle or earned some special playtime if she beat the buzzer.

I loved her creativity, keeping the rocks, catepillars, etc., and wanted to nurture it. But we did set limits on how much she could keep. I had a time-out basket - everything I had to pick up went in the time out basket. She could get things out of the timeout basket by doing small chores around the house and "earning" their release. After a certain period of time in the basket, if she didn't earn their release they got thrown away or went to Goodwill. It turns out most of it went to Goodwill, because she wasn't willing to do extra chores.

I also forced her to periodically cull her toys and clothes. For example, part of the pre-Christmas ritual was to clean out her old unused toys, to make room for the new ones. She got to choose what to keep and what to cull, but she had to fill up a box. Our big cleanout times were just before Christmas and just after school let out for the summer.

When my daughter was, oh, about 4th grade, I told her that if she would keep her room neat and clean without my asking for an entire month, we would redecorate her room. She badly wanted to move away from the little girly bedroom look, so she kept her room spotless for a month. We decorated the room the way she wanted it. She helped paint it, she got to choose the colors, everything. After that she kept her room spic and span because first of all, she'd learned good habits, second of all, she loved the way it looked, and third, she enjoyed being able to find everything and being in a more restful place. I did have to make her pick up sometimes, but she never minded (much) because it just took her a couple of minutes.

She is now 15 years old, and her bedroom is the neatest room in the house. At least once a month I find a stack of her things by the garage door - she put them there for the next Goodwill run. She is selective about how many clothes she buys - she keeps few enough clothes so that her drawers don't get too full and her closet doesn't get too messy. As soon as she outgrows something or decides she won't wear it, she puts it in the Goodwill stack. She does that on her own, without my asking.

My daughter has told me fairly recently how much happier she is with her room clean. She said when she was little it was just overwhelming for her. I do still sometimes have to make her pick up her room, but she doesn't mind because it just takes a couple of minutes.

One thing that helps - every few years I let her redecorate. Nothing expensive, just change the paint colors, bedding and curtains. I give her an inexpensive budget, and she is great about staying below her budget. She is also a terrific painter.

For those who moms who just close the door, I think that is a great approach for many families and have often seen it work out well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 4:19PM
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Good for you daisyinga, you gave her the motivation she needed. I think everyone wants an orderly life, but they just don't know how to get it or they are to lazy to do it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:09PM
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I'm not to lazy to do it.However,I admit during the school days sometimes there just simply isnt time.After dinner and homework and a bath,it's bedtime already!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 1:15PM
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You pretty much summed it all up in you post. What a terrific story, what a sensible mother you are.

I think you have done a lot more than keeping your daughter's bedroom tidy, you have created very happy life-long memories with your daughter, and yourself. You have shown her respect, and guidance that will stay with her.

Its a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

It is worthy for publication in one of those reader's digest magazines !


    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 5:31PM
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I'm still going through this with teens, though not as often. I have given a deadline to get something done with a specific consequence (tell them if they don't, I will) and not one minute after the deadline, I follow through. I've only had to do it twice but EVERYTHING goes. If it means so much to them, they should take care of it. after all, it's not like you just walk in and take it, you give them a reasonable time frame and let them know what's GOING to happen.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 5:27PM
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I have a 17 yr old DD. She is extremely intelligent, does exceptionally well in school, NHS, participates in various clubs and community service projects. That said, her room can be a total mess at times. With very little time in the morning before school and afterschool activities and homework, there is little time left for cleaning the room everyday. What works for her is to take a day on the weekend to regroup. I just close the door and go about my life. I am not picking this battle. She went through all the stages of many of the above-mentioned children, but I stopped going in and cleaning her room about 7 or 8 yrs ago. I would end up frustrated beyond belief when my efforts to clean her room ended in a mess within a day!

We have a clean, organized and always "picked up" home. I could answer my door any day without notice by a visitor and never be embarrassed at the state of my home. There's nothing left lying around - absolutely clutter free. I am a purger, and I think my brain is wired differently that my DD's. I do think I am setting a good example for DD of how a home should run - very organized so that you can find anything you need at a moment's notice.

DD bedroom is on the 2nd floor so it is easy for me just to shut her door - the rest of the house is immaculately kept. I think parents get into a control issue on the bedroom being clean with their children. I am leaving the control to DD and if she choses to leave the room messy so be it. You can bet if she is hosting a sleepover, the room is sparkling before any guest crosses the threshold!

Hang in there!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 1:55PM
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Thank you ima and labmomma for your insight.

We started a new system with DD that has so far seemed like it helps.
DH made up a chart that says make bed,pick clothes up off the floor in bedroom,and do homework.Everyday if DD comes home from school and does these things she gets a star.
If she doesnt do them,she gets an X.At the end of the week if she is consistant and does it,she gets
Twenty dollars.
Otherwise,no spending money for that week.
To DD that is big because she (like most kids) always wants something.And this way,at least she earning her money.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 1:00AM
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That's some good pay. I could not affort to do that, it would cost me $80/week. My kids will have to work cheaper. Much, much cheaper. Say, for room and board. ;o)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 12:23AM
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So PG, is it working like clockwork ?

Yes, generous payment for your daughter, I would come around and do it for that money !

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 1:24AM
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Haha...yeah,I guess it is good money.

DD comes home from school and the first things she does is check the list and do what's on it.I have never seen her so commited,LOL.
Way to go DH for the great idea.Now when I tuck her in I'm not hurting myself,LOL.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 5:41PM
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My 15 year old is beginning to turn the corner. She realizes that it's nice to have a clean room to entertain friends. She has been keeping her room and bathroom tidier. Note I wrote "tidier" not "tidy." There is great room for improvement but it's SO much better.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 12:18PM
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I got to tell you, some people are just generally messy. My mom was constantly on me to clean my room, which you couldn't walk through by the way, and I never really would. She did a couple complete throw outs, which I didn't really mind because I didn't know what was in there anyway. At one point I told her, "When you see me cleaning my room, it means I'm moving out!" I was such a brat. Anyway, I didn't clean that room until I did move out, and even then I surely didn't take it all!!

Today I'm all grown up, but still quite cluttered. I have a messy husband, two messy 9yos, and one neat-freak 4yo (she must get it from my mother). I keep the 9yos' bedroom door shut, as well as my own, as it's sometimes difficult to walk through either room. The rest of the house I do manage to keep under control.

And yes, my messiness stills drives my mother mad!!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 11:36PM
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hi i was having the same issues with my 8yo dd, so i went through her room with a garbage bag, i got rid of excess clothes, toys and "craft crap". now i give this stuff to the salvation army and my daughter understands that their are lots of kids who dont have as much stuff as our kids do she is accually pretty good about all the stuff being gone, as she didnt play with half of it anyways, not to mention how many shirts does a kid need? its pretty simple now for her to tidy, and she is noticing that im not nagging as much now, she is not allowed food or drinks in her room anymore. she takes me pretty seriously and knows that i will give it one more crack with the garbage bag and after that she is bunking with her 2 baby sisters! and i will finally have an office. good luck

    Bookmark   January 7, 2008 at 11:30AM
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i know this is probably a long forgotten issue, but i had to chime in. My now 15y/o SD was the biggest PIG. She had food, dishes, clothes absolutely everthing on the floor of her room as well. And like almost everyone here, i did everything short of going nuts! Well, I finally decided that the natural consequence was best. We closed the door and she left her room like that. AH, but when her friends started coming over, and tripping on her clothes and trash, and at one point, her dirty bra and panties were on the floor in plain view...her friend mentioned it to her, and made fun of her. The natural consequence was she was humiliated and mortified from her own friend. Well, it was still pretty messy, but when people would come over, it would be at the bvery least, picked up! :-) now that shes a bit older, she has naturally started taking responsibility for her things and actually taking care of things a little bit better...that shows me that what we installed in her did some good, but her own peers had the most impact. So, it may just have to have a natural consequence like that. :-)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 12:39PM
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The best advice I ever got about a messy room was to
" Pick your battles wisely" If the only problem you have is a messy rooom, then consider yourself lucky.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 6:48PM
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I've cried, I've begged, I've done it myself, I've taught, I've paid and now I just close the door.

One day I was walking by her room and said to myself---I'll be glad when her room is clean...and a little voice answered...what if it is never clean, how will you feel when you walk by the clean room beacuse she doesn't live here anymore.....I felt sad thinking about our clean house without I giggled and closed the door happy that she is still at home, a wonderful daughter in every other way, and I hope that her room will be messy for many many years:)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 3:43PM
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oh so true newgarden. that's how i feel. DD's room is clean now because she only comes home during college breaks. her room was probably world record of how messy rooms can be, but i wouldn't mind it now. house is clean and quiet but i would not mind some mess and noise now. :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Well my DD bedroom is tidy and clean, because she has moved out into her own place, now. Little by little I have moved my things into it. In fact this computer is in her room, nicely set up on her old desk...boy what a lovely view out of the window.

On the wall are all her pictures of movie stars, pop stars, her little drawings, her sticker stars on the ceiling.

In the wardrobe are a few clothes, still hanging there, the ones she didn't want to take.

Hang on....I need to get a tissue....

Hold onto those precious times, even if the bedroom is a pigstye.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 2:05AM
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same here popi, computer is in DDs room now. and her walls are also covered but with some awfully looking pictures of some obscure rock stars. hahaha Yes, she left some clothes, winter jackets that she doesn't need much at her new place...
yeap, some tissue would help here...:)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:37AM
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newgardenelf, popi and finedreams, you three are making me want to go hang out in DD's messy room while she's at school... in 2nd grade... just to hold on to the moment! LOL Thanks for putting it in perspective. ;o) Yeah, the rooms are messy, my kids LIVE there!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:09AM
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After reading those last 3 posts, I have tears rolling down my cheeks. I feel really sad, where have all those years gone, and to think I wasted time having arguments about her messy room.

Its only in hindsight do we realize the error of our ways.

Lets see on the walls, she has Heath Ledger, eminem, harry potter, lord of the rings, a sketch of a ballet dancer, ellijah wood, toby macguire, oh and theres jingle bear on the shelf.

The question I ask myself is...when does this room go from being her room to my office, or will I always sit here with her stuff around me ?

I just counted, she has 25 stickers on the wardrobe door, and even yesterday, when I opened to wardrobe, I noticed the whole inside of the door, covered with pictures, I never knew where there.

Gee, I could write a book about my DD bedroom.

Why is letting go of our grown up kids, so heartbreaking, at times !

Back to work, sigh...


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 5:39PM
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First of all, it is your responsibility to TEACH your daughter how to be organized and neat.
This assumes that you are neat and organized as well.
Unless she is taught this life skill, she will be a slob all her life and impose that on her husband and future family.

Perhaps start by setting a standard for her, and help her to set her room back to order.

Then give her a chart, showing what she needs to do each morning and each evening. Provide a marker for her so she can check off each job when she does it.

Offer her a reward ( movie date with just Mom?) if she can keep to her cleaning chart for one month.

Screaming and threatening are useless.

Provide her the guidance she needs at 10 years and I'll bet, if you stay with it, she will develop a habit of order and neatness that will serve her all of her life.

DO NOT take the easy way out the first time she resists, and give up.'s YOUR JOB to teach her well.
No one said it was easy.
It is worth it, however.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 3:57PM
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Gosh reading this tread again, has brought back some memories for me. My DD is now 22 and has a home of her own. It is tidy, BUT... she is a hoarder, she has so much STUFF. She keeps buying more and more.

I wonder if children who have messy bedrooms grow up to become hoarders !

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 6:26PM
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