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9 yr dd and her room

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sigh...I feel silly posting this, as it doesn't seem like much of a problem, but she is a terrible slob. I'll start right out by saying I am the complete opposite--I organize and clean for relaxation. I know that I'm pickier than the average person so I did things in her room that I thought would make it easier for her to be neater. I labeled all her dresser drawers, bought these awesome bins for her and her sister's toys. She shares a room w/ her almost 4 year old sister who is ver neat! Anyway, I will ask her to clean her room and she'll just stuff things everywhere. Her dresser and closet is a nightmare--she'll put dirty clothes in the dresser and stuff clean clothes in the back of the closet and I just don't know what to do. I told her that if she kept leaving her clothes out that I would donate them (I hated to do that as I'm thrifty also!), but I did take some of them and donate them and she didn't bat an eye. Now, her toys are everywhere--if I can get her to pick them up, she just shoves things everywhere. So now I've told her that if she doesn't pick them up, they are gone--maybe if she doesn't have any toys, next thime she'll pick them up. To make matters worse, she has become weepy--goodness sakes, I or her dad barely say anything and she starts crying. "I dont' like being in trouble, I didn't meant to", etc. Am I being to hard on her? Now, I'm worried about how weepy she is--I'm thinking, oh no, is this hormones already and I haven't talked to her yet about menstruation and oh, can you tell I'm a worrywart--guess that goes along with the trying to keep things neat situation?!
Thanks so much ahead of time!
Jaci
post #2 of 26
My crew try to shove their stuff anywhere and everywhere when they clean their room. When they are done cleaning their room, they come get me and I check it out. Whatever is out of place goes into the middle of the room and they get to clean that up. I come to check out when they say they are done and I pull out what is stuffed, they get to clean that up. You see the pattern.

I am not a super neat person....very disorganized actually, but my kids are expected to put things in their proper place when asked. I tend to also help them out when they clean b/c things get really messy. It is a bit overwhelming.
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houdini View Post
My crew try to shove their stuff anywhere and everywhere when they clean their room. When they are done cleaning their room, they come get me and I check it out. Whatever is out of place goes into the middle of the room and they get to clean that up. I come to check out when they say they are done and I pull out what is stuffed, they get to clean that up. You see the pattern.

I am not a super neat person....very disorganized actually, but my kids are expected to put things in their proper place when asked. I tend to also help them out when they clean b/c things get really messy. It is a bit overwhelming.
I read this and thought 'that sounds like houdini'

then I read the username....

post #4 of 26
I am solidly in the "stuffs the stuff anywhere" category (oh my, that sounds dirty, no pun intended). Oddly, my 10-yr-old DD and her older brother both have fairly organized rooms. Your DD's weepies in response to the mess issue (or are there other things that set her off too?) are intriguing - it could be hormones, it could be anxiety over knowing she's displeased her mom, it could be melodrama. Since taking away her possessions doesn't appear to phase her, have you tried a reward system for doing some of the cleaning? In my experience, it helps to keep the tasks that get rewards very clear. Bringing her dirty clothes to the washing machine gets a small reward, putting her toys in the right places another. You can do points towards a big reward, too. I think of it as good, clean bribery .
post #5 of 26
It sounds like she might have too much stuff to keep up with (I say staring at DH's giant tower of DVDs). Maybe more donating (with her involved to decide what to donate) would help.
post #6 of 26
What about keeping toys in the LR or play area, and then you can monitor more easily that she only plays with one thing at a time.

Hamper in the BR, so it is just as easy to shove dirty clothes there as in closet (my dd shoves her clean clothes in the hamper, because it is easier than folding them and putting them away, even though she does all her own laundry, so what's the point?)

Fewer clothes. If she has enough to donate, she has too much. My kids have about 5 outfits per season, plus dress outfits. I do laundry often, and they don't care about variety. I only keep "favorites" and give away anything that they don't love (usually hand-me-downs, so I am not wasting $)

Instead of having her clean her room, every Fri aft or Sunday p.m. or whatever, say "let's clean up in here, and then you can give me a hand in my room". Blast the music. My dd5.5 quotes from Free to Be You and Me "Housework is fun if its done together".

My dd13's room is a mess. She is required to clean before Shabbat Friday night (when we welcome the "Sabbath angels" and rest for 24 hours) and before friends come over (religious commandment to show hospitality). Other than that, I try not to nudge her.

And I'd say it's never to early for the birds&bees talk. We like "What's the big secret" by Marc Brown when they're little and "It's a girl thing" when they're older.:


Good luck!
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshua View Post
I read this and thought 'that sounds like houdini'

then I read the username....



OT -- Long time, no talk Yoshua! Hope all is well in BETA land.
post #8 of 26
Sounds like your dd might just want a little more control over her stuff...so she keeps it as she likes. It is her room, I'd give her a little more say over how it looks.

I'm an organizing freak as well...I was happy to see that someone else labled the drawers!!! Another thing to try is to take pictures of how the room looks when clean. It's hard to say "clean your room" when obviously you two have a different idea of what that means. If you have a picture of the bed made, the toys in their containers, it's easier for your dd to remember what you mean by "clean".

Another thing may be to remove the extras (toys, CD's, extra books), especially if it's a smaller room. Store those somewhere else so the room doesn't become so overwhelming to her. Then instead of saying 'clean your room' make suggestions like "put the books on the shelf" then "where do the dirty clothes go?" to help her along.

Lastly...relax. Give her some space and let go enough for her to make her room her own. It sounds like she's getting stressed not knowing if what she's doing is good enough.

You're not doing anything wrong...so don't worry...but she's not really doing anything wrong either...you two are just different...which makes life interesting!
post #9 of 26
I think that removing extra stuff is a great idea. Looking around my own (unbelievably messy) room, I can say that having too much in my room is the root of the problem--like, say, my bookshelf is so crammed full of things, whenever I pull out a book to read I usually just toss it on the floor when I'm done because it's a lot of hassle to try and maneuver the books that shifted in to fill the book's place when I pulled it out.
You might have to breathe a little and relax a bit, in the end... this is just IMO, but based solely on your post, your dd is just not naturally inclined to keeping things spotlessly clean. Trying to force her into becoming so may cause adverse effects.
Maybe part of the problem is that she has let her room go so far, to even think about starting to clean it up is too overwhelming for her. I know that when I start feeling overwhelmed like that, I get set off crying at the drop of a hat, too. Perhaps, if you haven't already, you could try setting a goal for her--like, say, today you put away all your stuffed animals, tomorrow you put away your books, the next day you fold your sweaters, etc. It's a slow way of getting things done, but MUCH more manageable (especially with very small, specific goals like that).

With that said... I'm going to go clean my room. You've inspired me.
post #10 of 26
your dd sounds a lot like mine who is also 9. Does your dd pull out a lot of toys and play very imaginatively? That is what leads to the tornado effect in my dd's room. The things we've done which seem to be working are:

a. having a simple, visually related rule --at the end of each day, we need to be able to walk around the room without stepping on anything. Things may not be put away the way I would, but the room is functional.
b. we get all nonseasonal clothes out of the closet and the dresser drawers (put them in the attic or basement or a spare storage room), which reduces everything by half and makes it much easier to see what's what and keep it relatively organized--one drawer for underwear and socks, one for short sleeve tops, one for long sleeve tops, one for pants and one for all her doll clothes!

It's working!
post #11 of 26
Someone once responded to a post I made here about a problem I was having with getting my children to help me keep the house cleaned up (first trimester bed-rest), and their response really struck a chord with me.

It was something along the lines of the fact that my kids may simply not have the same definition of what was messy as I did. That when I walked into the living room and saw a cluttered disaster area, they simply saw some shoes on the floor and didn't think much about it.

That thought process led me to a few other thoughts...mainly, I was a messy kid, hated cleaning my room and was pretty much like your DD, it sounds. My husband was a disaster area well into his 20's...late 20's...when he lived with roommates, his room was so filthy that it smelled bad and the roommates insisted on keeping the door shut.

My point is...it is likely that (1)your daughter doesn't quite see the mess the way you do, and (2)she will likely outgrow her messiness at some point. She might not ever be the fastidious housekeeper that you are, but I'd be willing to bet that by the time she's out of college, she'll be better at taking care of her things.

Good luck with coming to terms that you both can live with. I'm still working on it--especially with my 14 yr old. ::sigh::
post #12 of 26
My nine year old and I have a similar conflict. She loves and is attached to her stuff, I am a chronic down-sizer. I try not to go into her room too much

Having said that, there are a few ground rules.

1. Clothes - she has to sort her laundry on Wednesday before school and put it away before Monday.

2. The floor of her room has to be picked up so we can walk around.

3. She makes her bed everyday.

4. She dusts and vaccuums every other weekend (she's with her dad every other weekend).

5. All of this is part of a chart where she loses allowance money for tasks not done and earns extra money for doing extra chores. Not right for every kid, but works great for her.

I agree with the advice about getting rid of extras. We are moving soon to a house where I won't need to store stuff in her closet and we'll have a family room (playroom) where she can store her games/toys/art supplies. It will be interesting to see if that makes her room more manageable (in my eyes) or if she will just fill the void with more crap.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by WishIwasinMN View Post
Am I being to hard on her?
Yeah, probably. Threating to give her things away is pretty harsh.

It kinda sounds like *you* decide how her room should be organized and went ahead and did it, rather than asking her what would make it easier for her to keep her room neat.

It also seems like you all have different priorities. Neatness is very important to you, not so much to her.

It also sounds like she might have too much "stuff" in her room if she is having that much trouble keeping it organized. I, too, am guilty of "stuffing" stuff because it's overwhelming for me to find a place for everything (I am working on decluttering).

If it were me I would start by working with her to develop a list of the minimum standards of tidiness and order that you can live with. Then I would ask her to think of ways that would make it easiest to meet that standard. Then I would talk with her about paring down the things the keeps in her room to a manageable number. Toys and clothes can be stored for a while and then rotated. Then I would work with her for a few weeks to get into the new routine of keeping things orderly. Having a set time and way to tidy up often makes it easier.

After that, I would relax, both myself and my standards.

Best wishes!

Namaste!
post #14 of 26
Teenagers are pigs aren't they??? LOL I thought it was normal.

My daughter's room is a mess. It is truly gross some days.

This weekend, she went to her Dad's and I gutted the whole room, because she has been getting sick a LOT this year, and having headaches. I was worruied about the incredible amount of dust. I thought that could be what was causing her illnesses.

She came home and went through everything, threw out three big bags of stuff, and filled three more with stuff I could take to goodwill.

She likes having an uncluttered room, I think she is getting to the point where she wants it to look nice incase a friend comes over.

But, other than that, I say let her room be her room, and require her to completely gut it once or twice a year. Just to purge it of stuff she really doesn't want.
post #15 of 26
Come up with a solution you both can live with, but don't be on her about it all the time. My relationship with my mother is probably permantly damaged because of the way she constantly lectured and threatened me over my messy room, and I hate the thought of any other family having the same outcome.
post #16 of 26
I was like your daughter, from early childhood (as far back as I can remember) until late college. I'm still somewhat messy. I'm only now (at 25) getting to the point where a messy room actually bothers me. At 9, I couldn't even tell the room was messy - I'm not a person who's strongly affected by my surroundings. My mom tried really hard, but it never took.

My mom's rule was I had to keep the door closed when company came over. Rule #2 was NO FOOD IN THE BEDROOM. So there was never really anything to decompose in there. I did have to clean up when grandma came to visit because she used my room. Usually mom had to help with this, because I would becme totally overwhelmed by the mess. I still do.

If your daughter is like me, it would probably help if you did it together, or at least made a list of smaller tasks. "Clean your room" was too much for me and I'd just stuff everything under the bed or in the closet to make it all go away so mom would stop freaking out. I needed someone patient to give me very specific tasks, like "put all the books on the shelf" or "put all the yarn in the bin". Now I'm learning to break it down like that myself, but when I was young, I just couldn't figure out HOW to clean the room, and I couldn't really tell what was making it messy. I'm a big-picture person, I sometimes need help with the details.
post #17 of 26
I'm going to third, fourth (fifth? ) the suggestion to get rid of some things to make it easier for her to keep her room neater. You don't have to get rid of them entirely, but you could try putting a box of stuff in the garage/closet/whatever and then rotating it through so she doesn't feel like she's losing anything, but also has less stuff on hand to worry about.
Also, I have to agree with the comment that it sounds like she just might want more control over her space. My kids go through phases where sometimes they are big on neatness and other times they don't care. My only rules are that food/dishes have to come out of the room when they are done and that towels have to end up in the laundry. Other than that, I don't intervene unless it becomes a safety issue (there must be clear paths to the beds) since it is the only space they have that is really theirs. I realize that a lot of parents aren't comfortable with it, but I think there is some room in there to reacj a compromise about what is acceptable and what isn't if you're open to it.
Lastly and not so much comnnected to the room thing, the weepiness could absolutely be hormone related--my 9 y.o. dd is experiencing a lot of moodiness these days and my 12 y.o. started menstruating when she was 10 (as did I), so I would really urge you to discuss menstruation, hormones and things with her. Good luck mama!
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by WishIwasinMN View Post
Sigh...I feel silly posting this, as it doesn't seem like much of a problem, but she is a terrible slob. I'll start right out by saying I am the complete opposite--I organize and clean for relaxation. I know that I'm pickier than the average person so I did things in her room that I thought would make it easier for her to be neater. I labeled all her dresser drawers, bought these awesome bins for her and her sister's toys. She shares a room w/ her almost 4 year old sister who is ver neat! Anyway, I will ask her to clean her room and she'll just stuff things everywhere. Her dresser and closet is a nightmare--she'll put dirty clothes in the dresser and stuff clean clothes in the back of the closet and I just don't know what to do. I told her that if she kept leaving her clothes out that I would donate them (I hated to do that as I'm thrifty also!), but I did take some of them and donate them and she didn't bat an eye. Now, her toys are everywhere--if I can get her to pick them up, she just shoves things everywhere. So now I've told her that if she doesn't pick them up, they are gone--maybe if she doesn't have any toys, next thime she'll pick them up. To make matters worse, she has become weepy--goodness sakes, I or her dad barely say anything and she starts crying. "I dont' like being in trouble, I didn't meant to", etc. Am I being to hard on her? Now, I'm worried about how weepy she is--I'm thinking, oh no, is this hormones already and I haven't talked to her yet about menstruation and oh, can you tell I'm a worrywart--guess that goes along with the trying to keep things neat situation?!
Thanks so much ahead of time!
Jaci
I havent read the replies but I know for my oldest son he simply didnt know how to break down the tasks. he would get overwhelmed being asked to clean his room. maybe giving her steps to do. one at a time and helping her. Also it helped us ALOT to just get rid of alot of it. Good Luck
post #19 of 26
It sounds to me like you dd is feeling really overwhelmed by your idea of tidyness, and she just doesn't know how to keep her room neat. I am a very neat person now (most of the time!) but was an absolute slob as a kid, my room at some points was so bad I was worried I would get rats! My parents just made me keep the door shut on it, which was OK, but I would have liked it to be clean, I just didn't know how to keep it clean. If you can teach her to keep her room clean without stressing her I think it would be a valuable lesson on organisation in all areas of her life.
I would try splitting the tidying into areas, eg.
-make your bed,
-put books back on bookshelf,
-put dirty laundry into hamper (in her room),
-put toys back into storage containers.
Get her to help you make a list which you can have laminated at and let her check these things off with a dry erase marker when they're done. Then there can be other rules that help, like with my dd (who is 3, so take what I say with a grain of salt, lol), we only take one toy (or set of toys) out at a time and don't take another until the first has been put away. This helps with the tornado effect. Takes a bit of getting used to especially with an older child, but worthwhile.
Also I would do the birds and bees talk ASAP! My sister had just turned 10 when she got her period, and it would be really frightening if you weren't prepared. Also you want her to get information from you, not incorrect stuff from her peers.
Flylady has some really good tips, check out http://www.flylady.net/pages/FlyBaby_Children.asp
HTH
Lily
post #20 of 26
Here's what we do (and it may seem harsh but I have a home daycare and HAVE to keep the house tidy or I could loose my daycare license)....

Rooms are cleaned EVERY night while I make dinner. I put dinner on the table and they can come eat it when their room is done. They've only eaten cold meals a few times. Usually they get their rooms done in under 15 min because they clean them every day. It's a matter of making sure they have the tools needed, not too much stuff to handle, and do it daily to keep on top of things.
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