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How not to be in conflict with your teenager so that he tidies up his room?

How not to be in conflict with your teenager so that he tidies up his room?


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Has your teenager's bedroom transformed into a shambles over the months and he refuses to tidy it up today? And, failing to understand the reasons for his opposition, you experience it as a personal attack. To better understand what this disorder means and find solutions to correct bad habits, we interviewed the team from the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Center working at the Teen Center of the Dunkirk Hospital Center. . Composed of two nurses, a child psychiatrist and two psychologists, it provides us today with some ideas and practical tips for managing the situation. Get your pens!

Representation of his interiority in full chaos, the room of a teenager is an intimate space where he likes to take refuge to dream, listen to music, isolate himself and receive his friends. How to make parents understand all the issues attached to this space?

You should know that adolescence is a period of profound changes and mutations. We are leaving our identity as a child, and this can sometimes be painful for the adolescent who must mourn his old status and understand the world in a new way, different from the childish world he had built. In the bedroom, this requires a new appropriation of its living space. He will invest the room by hanging posters of his favorite stars, seek an arrangement of space that meets his new identity and above all avoid, as much as possible, any intrusion by closing the door of his room. However, there is no reason to be alarmed! On the contrary, parents must understand that during this period, the door is very important as a means of isolating oneself and having space in the house. If parents have the feeling of being excluded or even prohibited from this space and more generally from their child's life, it might be interesting for them to remember the way they lived and managed the situation when they were them. same teenagers. Often the adolescence of children awakens parents' memories of their own adolescence. What parents must also understand is that this space is useful, even necessary, after 11 years, it is better to have their own room or space and we must avoid that teens share their room with younger.

Many parents have the impression that the external disorder corresponds to an internal disorder of their child. Do you really think they should be worried?

There is absolutely nothing to worry about! Other than that, maybe for the condition of his room! The external disorder is in fact an obligatory passage of adolescence and this problem generally settles itself by the time when the parents abdicate or when the young person leaves the house. In addition, parents must understand that at this age, between twelve and eighteen years of age, their child is in a period of profound change (emotional, sexual, in love, etc.) and that he has much more priorities important than tidying up your room. In reality, this mess is often just a way of taking over a room in the house and doing what it pleases. On the other hand, what is more worrying is when the adolescent no longer leaves his room, cuts himself off from his relationships, is too tidy or cannot bear that things are not in their place. It is indeed often the sign of internal tensions. There is cause for concern!

What are the reasons that many teenagers have a complicated relationship with storage?

During this period, the adolescent tends to question family rules and organization. Thus, not tidying up his room and having a bit of a mess is for him a good way to delimit his territory and assert his identity. For example, it can be interesting to dwell on the laundry and its management. The linen is a kind of second skin. It is also the last bulwark of autonomy. You are effectively independent when you take the initiative to buy your own washing machine and you no longer go back and forth to your parents to bring back your laundry and collect small dishes prepared for the week. When the child is still at home, the following questions arise: How many dirty clothes are parents ready to hold before picking them up themselves? Who picks up dirty laundry and arranges clean ones? Is there a defined day for laundry? When she arrives with her dirty t-shirt that she wants to "absolutely wear this weekend", that is to say in two days, well then, it may be an opportunity to simply explain to him how the washing machine and iron work.

Is it imperative to require his adolescent to tidy up his room?

Should we let him manage independently the arrangement of this personal space where to intervene and impose limits and rules of hygiene? Here is all the question ! If it is accepted that it is up to the adolescent to tidy up this space, then why do parents feel compelled to insist? Why this request, which is altogether banal, is the source of multiple tensions in the family. Sometimes hard, it should be known that the conflicts are also very reassuring for the adolescent who feels that he is not entirely let go and that he is supported when necessary.
In general, it is important that parents set limits, that they are clear about the penalties incurred and that they notify their child when the room is too messy. They can for example put a garbage bag and the vacuum cleaner in front of the room when it is time for him or her to intervene. In short, our advice: wait and keep in touch with your adolescent! As for tidying up yourself, better to refrain from it and accompany it in this storage. The error would be that the parents put away even before it is in disorder and that the adolescent does nothing more and that he considers that since this disorder annoys his parents and that they like to tidy up, as much as they do it them -Same. Likewise, the error is also true when the parents, when they get tired, start to take care of themselves without the child's authorization. At that time, the teenager saw it as an interference in his space since anyway "he was going to do it soon". However, threatening to put things away for them is a good lever to encourage them to act, but a threat to use only as a last resort and sparingly. In all cases, the "tidying up" parents should be aware that, in doing so, they are entering the intimate space of their adolescent anyway, symbolized by the four walls of his room.

Any advice to encourage a teenager to tidy up his room without having to fight?

First of all, know that you should not try to avoid the conflict, but rather make it constructive. That is to say, it integrates and validates the difference of point of view of the adult and the adolescent. It is also important to impose limits and to remind them in the event of an overflow. Limits are certainly sources of opposition, but they are also and above all reassuring when they are just and appropriate. Another idea: try to make them independent in storage by showing them, for example, the operation of the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine and / or by establishing a form of contract in the management of storage. Be careful though, if you choose this solution, let them manage it at their own pace and in their own way! Finally, if this has not yet been done, it may be time to review the decoration and layout of his room so that he can invest it further. By recognizing this room as its space, by giving it the possibility of reinventing it, it is a safe bet that it will bring more care and attention to his room.