A messy 14 year old!

Lora - posted on 01/11/2009 ( 45 moms have responded )

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I am a mother of 2 teens. An 18 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. I have a big issue with her not wanting to pick up after herself. Her room is always a disaster. Once in a while she will clean but very rarely. We butt heads all the time over this issue and I am getting tired of it! I just want to correct this problem before she heads out on her own. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

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Catherine - posted on 04/20/2009

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I agree, it is a phase that teen girls go through. I have two: 16 and 14. I have learned to pick my battles.. If I am yelling about the room all the time then they get used to it and don't listen when something WAY more important comes along. (like sex or driving irresponsibly). I tried to be the winner in everything and learned quickly that they loosen up and do more things my way if they get to win every once in awhile..

Jennifer - posted on 03/05/2009

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My 13 year old daughter's room was a mess. I went up there and cleaned most of it while she was at school one day, leaving her personal items and her desk/dresser drawers for her to go through, which she did, with supervision. Then I told her that it was unacceptable for her room to get as messy as it was so I made a deal with her.  If she can keep her room clean (my version of clean, not hers) until school gets out in June then we will redo the room: paint, new curtains, etc. If the room gets messy again we are going to take everything out of it except her bed and dresser and she'll have to earn her other possessions back. It's been almost a month and so far the room is still clean. She's even started picking out paint samples and curtain fabric! 

[deleted account]

With my daughter we picked a day and a time once a week where she tidies her room, for her it's Saturday, so that once she has done she can go out wither her friends. She figured out quickly that the less mess there was to clear up, the quicker she would get the job done, and the sooner she would be with her friends. This meant that gradually she began tidying up after herself naturally because then there would be less to do on saturday. Going out with her friends was reward enough, but if she did a really smashing job I'd give her a few quid or make a hot chocolate or let her stay up a bit later than usual.

[deleted account]

Hi Lora,



I too have a 14 year old daughter who was let's say, "beyond messy"! It was the most frustrating thing to walk into her room to find more clothes on her floor than there were in her drawers or clothest. Just like yourself, I was butting heads with her every morning and night until I finally thought, "she doesn't seem to care about what I say and anything about her clothes, so why don't I throw them in the garbage"! Well, needless to say, my daughter wasn't a happy camper when I warned her that, if she does not pick up her clothes and place the clean ones in her drawers and closet and puts the dirty ones in the hamper, I will be donating her clothes to charity and there's nothing she can do about it!



She thought I was bluffing so a few days later when I saw that her room was still a mess, I walked into her room, grabbed everything off of the floor (which also had her friends clothes) and I put them into garbage bags and put a label for the charity organization. Not only was she crying and yelling because I was such a mean and unfair mom but she was crying because she knew she was going to be in a lot of trouble with her friend for losing her clothes. I just explained to my daughter that I warned her and it was her responsibility to not only get her friends clothes off the ground, but she was supposed to keep her own clothes off the floor.



Well, after a lot of pleading from my daughter, I agreed that I would hold onto all of her clothes for two weeks and if I don't see a speck of clothes on her floor then she can have everything back. Let's put it this way, my daughters room has never looked to clean. And, yes she did get her clothes back after two weeks...she hated wearing the same four pairs of pants which weren't her favourites for two weeks so I don't think she'll be throwing any clothes on the floor again.



Hope this helps you. :-)

[deleted account]

As the mother of 2 boys (22 & 25) and a daughter (16) I say pick your battles.  How important is this really?  My experience is that teenagers need to rebel a little and if that's the worst thing they do, is it really worth fighting over?  I had many times where i'd tell my son to clean his room but in the end I realized that there are more important issues to stand firm about.  Now that he lives on his own, he has to take responsibiity for cleaning and although it may not be to my standards, he does okay. The mom who said they're more likely to clean if friends are going to see the room, is very right.  Keep this in perspective and maintain a good releationship with your daughter so that when the important things come up you have good communication with her.  It's not easy raising teenagers but they do grow up eventually!  Good luck!

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Rose - posted on 08/31/2011

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I have five boys and one girl, my girl being the youngest of them all, she will be 14 next month. Her room is a disaster and dirtier than any of her brother's rooms ever were. It does bother me at times but I know the importance of having her own space. I have a rule that every Sunday before I go to bed that her room is cleaned up or I take her phone and computer privileges away until the next day and only if her room is clean. It works really well, sometimes she will ask for an extra day and I give it to her, she keeps her end of the bargain and so do I, works well. During the week I just ignore the sight of her room, at least in the back of my mind I know it is cleaned once per week. I think the best thing for parents to do is not stress over it and just come up with a plan that will work for the both of you, they need to know you mean business or they won't stick to their part. Good luck to all!

♥TIA♥ - posted on 03/25/2011

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My teenager is getting better at it. It did take a lot of persistence and patience. I was a messy 14 year old myself, till I got older and then after all mom said actually got through my thick head. Now I have a very well mannered home that I can't let it get messy. Or it does irritate me just as much as my mess at 14 years old irritated my mother! ; ) So hang in there. Results may not show now, I am sure it will later.

Karen - posted on 01/17/2011

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Since she is in your home and you tried to get her to straight up.. I got a few quick easy ways to solve your problem.. 1- REMOVE HER BEDROOM DOOR. it's that easy.. And no matter how much she screams and throw a fit..Leave it off. Tell her until she can respect your home by keeping her bedroom clean.. The door will remain off.. 2 or let your house go for about a week..Maybe if you let your house go. She might think .. Hey this is not right. I can not bring home my friends this house is a reck.. In other words give her a taste of her own meds. It sounds like your daughter need to learn to respect her parents home.. I live with my grandchilren age girl 10 boy 8. I tell them this is their mother's home. I tell them that the bedroom they sleep in is not their but their mother's since she pays the rent.. My daughter and I stress how important it is to respect things that belong to others.. By my grandchildren being taught that every thing in this house is their mother's They respect the home.. How does this work..We ask them this " If this was your home and you worked hard to keep it clean and nice..Would you like me to come to your home and tear it up.. " They quickly responed with no .. I said Good get the point. Mother don't worry about how she'll keep her home, once she moves out.. Note that will be her home.. not your home.. Demand the respect in your home.. don't request it DEMAND IT.. How she keeps her own home.. should be not your worry.. ( Not trying to be rude) .. Well that my thoughts
Good day.

Tracy - posted on 01/09/2011

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I seem to have the same issue, and after reading the comments, I think I will try a few ideas!
I do beleive it is their own space, and do with it what you like. however the things in your space were bought with my hard earned $s so apprecaite it!
I also find that my older 2 14 and 12, take over the basement which starts to look like their rooms....so im going to try some of the suggested ideas, thanks ladies!

Suszanne - posted on 10/07/2010

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Our youngest daughter is nearly 15 and we have the same battle. Whenever her friends come over, she gets the room clean - she doesn't like to hear "wow, your room's a mess!" from them. One thing that worked recently, however, was how I denied her "borrowing" priveleges. She asked if she could wear my bracelet bangles, and I told her no, because of the way she takes care of her own things. Messy room = very little care. Her room has looked a bit better the last few days. We'll see how long that lasts. But in all things, pick your battles! If it's not morally threatening or life threatening, it isn't worth a fight. Good Luck and God Bless you and your family. =o)

Jessica - posted on 04/26/2010

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i have a daughter who recently turn 16 and well she never ever wants to clean up anywhere in there house but when shes out with friends she picks up after them but never here at home. im trying to teach my second daughter to be a little more tidier but its not working. ive giving up on the teen to a degree because every time we ask her to do any cleaning, we all end up in a HUGE argument, but the little one (almost a year and a half) is starting to get better at cleaning up after herself. the 16 yr old and the little one share a room currently but still the little one can't even go play in her room because it such a huge mess. im scared to go in there sometimes for fear im gonna break something. :O

Angeline - posted on 04/21/2010

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I have had the same problem with my 12yearold. So I stop telling her to claen her room. When she would ask me if she could go out with her friends or use the computer, I just tell her I am sorry when you start respecting your room you can go out with your friends or use the computer. At first it was hard but after awhile she wanted to be out with her friends and on the computer. She started cleaning her room. You need to be firm so she doesn't take it as a game.

Heather - posted on 04/06/2010

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my daughters who are 14 and 11( yes i know not a teen yet, but she copies everything the 14 year old does!) are rather messy as well i have given up on trying to clean it up or getting them to clean their rooms....but i have a rule or several: and these have worked to improve the habbits: 1. if it isn't in the laundry basket come laundry day it doesn't get washed, 2. no dishes in the rooms, if there are dishes in the rooms ten they do dishes for a week alone, 3. if you don't pick up after yourself when it comes to cothes towels etc then the rest of us are not responsible to what happens to them....when it come the rooms if it gets too messy and we have to ask more than once for you to clean it then we go in there when you are at school and clean it! we will put everything in large bags and lock it up in the storage room! most of the time it doesn't come to this because after the first warning it gets done! most of the time if i am having company over and the rooms are a mess i will just close the door! but even we have our limits to messy!

Genevieve - posted on 04/05/2010

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Natural neatness is a personality trait. My lovely 14 year old duaghter is also untidy. What I decided is that if she is not neat and I have not been able to teach her this by now that she may have to have oth3er life events that teach her to be neat. Like having her first apartment, roomate, or boyfriend. Sometimes as moms we feel like we have to be the end all be all and that is not reality. I make my daughter clean her room once a week at the point that I can see her floor and she can vacuum. Beyond that, I just shut the door. However I have been watching that show Hoarders with her and passively giving my message of everything should have a great place and if not it should be thrown away. I know she'll get it some day...why kill myslef over it!

Miriam - posted on 03/16/2010

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join the club i dont bother anymore let her live in her own mess she will soon get tired of it, i have a 13 year old daughter the same. She eventually cleans

LETICIA - posted on 03/06/2010

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I AM GLAD I CAN READ THE POST AND KNOW IM NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE SAME PROBLEM. MY TEEN JUST DOESNT CLEAN HER ROOM SHE COMES HOME AND LEAVES HER THINGS IN THE LIVING ROOM I HAVE TO REMIND HER. AND GET THE ILL PICK IT UP I AM GETTING A SNACK FIRST. I GET THE BLAME AND SOMETIMES IT CAN GET TO BE A HEADACHE. I BELIEVE TO HAVE THIS STRUGGLE WITH HER THAN TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH A TEEN WHO RUNS A WAY OR A PREGNANGT TEEN. THOUGH I DONT REALLY LIKE HAVEING OTHER KIDS OVER ILL TRY THAT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. IF THERE R OTHER SUGGESTIONS LET ME KNOW I HAVE 3 OTHER GIRLS BESIDE HER.ALSO WHEN SHE VISITS HER DAD THEY GET AWAY WITH EVERYTHING.

Fiona - posted on 02/04/2010

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FIRST OF ALL -ITS YOUR HOUSE-SHE SHOULD RESPECT THAT - SIT DOWN CALMLY (IF POSSIBLE AND TALK TO HER)

Secondly it is her room- her space if she wants to live in a tip let her its her junk , , just make sure that she has no dirty plates cups, take away cartons , give her a talk about mice ect and the give her a pile of bin bags and offer to help her tidy the mess. IF SHE DONT WANT ANY HELP DONTPUSH THE ISSUE JUST MAKE SURE THERE IS NO FOOD LAYING AROUND AND HER DOOR IS SHUT AND LET HER GET ON WITH IT.

Robbie - posted on 01/28/2010

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I have the same problem with my 13 yr. old, but was surprised when one of her close friends stopped by the other day and asked her if her room was always this messy! I'm not too pushy with her about her messy room. Also, I refuse to search her room for dirty clothes when I'm doing laundry. If she has nothing clean to wear to school, then so be it! She will soon figure out that it doesn't take but a few minutes each day to get chores done, then she can enjoy free time..It's hard to do but I try to be very persistent! Hope things get better for you:)

[deleted account]

Some of us are natural neat-freaks and some of us are natural messies. Some parents say that there are bigger battles to fight than messy rooms, but I think it is our job to teach organization/cleanliness skills. My 15 -yr-old's room becomes unsanitary if it is messy too long b/c it can't even be cleaned. If she wants to get together with friends or go ride her horse, we say her room needs to be cleaned first....I'm not saying PERFECTLY clean, but I mean generally picked up. And about once a week it does have to be totally picked up and dusted/vacuumed. I think it is teaching self-respect too by teaching our kids to pick up after themselves (and respect for others if it is another part of the house).

Ginny - posted on 01/10/2010

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I to have that problem, my daugther will be 14 in Feb. she does clean her room sometimes but I get alot of her saying to me it is my room I could have it anyway I want, we butt heads alot about it, and I can not have her friends came over and say your room is messy because their rooms are messy to, so even if that is great advise it will not work for my daugther, so can anyone help me in that way, and also for her to take care of washing herself everyday or even every other day like her hair etc.

Christine - posted on 01/02/2010

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my daughter is 17yr old and she was like that too when she was 14yrs old your best bet is to just leave her and she will do it on her own. just shout her bedroom door and if she gets mad just tell her that you don't want to walk by a mess room. or you go in the room when she is at school and clean it yourself. (but I would not do that because she will be really mad at you) she will get out of it my daughter is 17 now and her room is clean. she is now a neat freak lol

Kelly - posted on 12/25/2009

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It is nice to know I'm not the only one with this problem!!! My oldest daughter is 14 and youngest is 12. I have more problems with my 12 yr. old. Her room is always a mess. She has not had friends over nor she hasn't been to a friends house because I won't let her until she can keep her room clean. Even just through the house she leaves messes, I am constantly on her about it and am getting very frustrated. Nothing I do seems to work.

Penny - posted on 10/01/2009

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LOL I had/have this issue too. My oldest grew out of it and my middle child is still living among the high piles in the room. She is an artist and many times they are scatter brains. Not a bad thing...they have a different set of rules. So about once every month or two we go through her room together, knowing it will stay clean for a day or two, and throw things out. If she doesn't participate I get to throw everything out. While we clean together I point out the cool things we could do to the room with a few item gone or how cute the room could look "if". Sometimes I'll bring magazines with me to show her cute projects we could/can do together. She still has piles, however, there are fewer of them and she is coming around on her own. Best to ya!

Missy - posted on 09/24/2009

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I'm so glad I'm not alone here! I've tried every single one of these things before and nothing seems to "stick". My daughter has been like this her whole life! I've tried patiently teaching how to clean and keep it clean, a reward system, removing privelages, putting stuff up for a while, etc. My mother-in-law had a mom that harped on her all the time to keep her room clean because she was messy and told her she'd never be able to keep a clean house when she grew up and she now has a house that's so clean it doesn't feel like anyone lives in it to prove her wrong-she gets sooo stressed out when it's not perfect. Her boys had a hard time dealing with everything having to be perfect too. I try to remember that when it upsets me. We finally came to a truce-it just wasn't worth fighting over all the time. She's not allowed to eat in her room because if she does she'll leave the dishes until stuff starts growing. Our new rule is it has to be cleaned well and vaccumed one day a week and the rest of the time I just shut her door. If it's not cleaned she doesn't get to spend time with her friends or go to the games so that's pretty good motivation. (Her best friend is just as messy and she really doesn't care what other people think about it.) Also, try to remember-they'll be grown up and gone before we know it-not that many years left so pick your battles wisely!

Hilary - posted on 08/08/2009

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My sister in law took drastic action with my niece and told herthat if she didn't tidy her room before a certain time ( upto you whether by lunchtime or by supper time) then she would bin everything in a black bag and throw in the dustbin.She gave her 1 warning! Well my niece didn't think she was serious but Tina carried out her threat and literally binned everything on her carpet.This did work however for quite some time but I have also learnt that another time she chucked everything out the window and when a neighbour went by made some joke about kids and their mess.

A bit drastic but Emma is really tidy at home now!

Eva - posted on 08/04/2009

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I thought I was alone!! I too have this problem. I have twins girls who share a bedroom, but this week will be separating them into their own room. The reponses to this issue is encouraging and helpful. I guess I'll see who is the culprit behind the mess..or if they both are just as bad. Hopefully it will get better with taking some of the advice in these replies.

Paula - posted on 07/17/2009

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i too have 14 year old and am having the same tornado stricken room issues as many have stated they have i have offered to help and even started to clean it my self and have had the friends in too she doesnt seem to mind and on occasion the friends will encourage her to clean and help her to clean it too i have warned her before she left for camp that i was gonna clean it if she didnt she made a path and now when she getsa home from camp is gonna have a surprise as it will not be the same room ya shell be a little pissed but it will be easier for her to maintain i have also taken to putting the clean laundry for her that has to be hung up on hangers so all she has to do is hang them in the closet this helped with the putting away issues and she surely knows if the dirty isnt by the washer to be washed it doenst get washed so she is learning i have found that she really doesnt have alot of control over many issues in thier lives and having thier rooms a mess like another has said really isnt the worst thing in the world it just doesnt look very nice

Susan - posted on 07/12/2009

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i have the same problem with my 16 year old daughter... she is prewarned for example, ill say tomorrow room will be done b4 u leave tomorrow get started on it now. or if its reall bad, i might say room better be done by wenesday or ur in and i stick to it! that gives her the motivation because she knows im gonna check too!

Vicki - posted on 03/25/2009

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I have a 17 year old who was once like this,  she still isn't the cleanest person but is getting better there is hope.  I finally quite asking her to clean her room.  I told her she has a week to clean it and if it is not clean by a certain day, I will clean it,  when I clean I throw away stuff, alot of stuff.  She know that so, now I give her a week and it is usually clean by that date, she doesn't like when I clean it, she can't find anything.

Tammy - posted on 03/05/2009

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I have a Thirteen year old girl and a younger girl. I have found that taking away the "important" things seems to help. Phone time, t.v. time and only allowing them to clean up the mess no matter how long it takes. Not able to spend time with friends and able to do what they want seems to motivate them. It once took a week but when she wanted to go with her friends I did not let her go and she got her room done the very next day! She thought I would give in but NOPE, I stuck to the punishment and she learned the hard way. Sometimes it kills us but we just have got to stick to our guns.

Kathy - posted on 03/03/2009

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I handle this same situation with both my fourteen year old girls (one mine, one my husbands - six months apart) by telling them only once that if they want to go anywhere on the weekend their rooms must be cleaned or they don't go. It really works cause we are not constantly fighting over it, I just check to see the status of the rooms and if not clean - no movies or whatever on Friday or Saturday!!!

Linda - posted on 02/15/2009

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I agree that this must be a phase that teenagers go through. I have struggled with my 13 year old daughter over this issue for quite some time. I am trying to do better about picking my battles. She can be very nasty when things don't go her way. She has her father wrapped around every finger. I think I will try the friend thing. I agree that peers have more influence these days. Thanks everyone!

Tami - posted on 02/14/2009

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My 13 and 15 yr olds are the same way, i'm forever bitching to them to clean their room which they share.

[deleted account]

Hi Lora, don't worry so much about when she heads out on her own, she will figure that out herself and live how she wants to live. I think the issue is more with us mom's wanting our children to do everything right (according to us). I have 5 kids, only 2 left at home. My 18 year old daughter is in school and works part time, her room is disastrous. My 14 year old daughters room you could eat off the floor at any time. They have the spare room set up as an office/music room. They are not allowed to bring food or drinks outside of the kitchen, that means in their rooms or office. And yes I have "used" their friends by inviting them over, let them make comments about the room, my 18 yr old is now cleaning her room more often, because I keep inviting her friends over. Good luck Lora

Leanne - posted on 02/11/2009

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I think someone already suggested this, but I tell my two teenage daughters no friends over, no going out, and no computer over the weekend unless their room is clean. It works great when I actually follow through. Sometimes I forget and let them go out, then I walk by their room, and ugh! how I so wish I had followed through. Anyway, it's pretty much a losing battle. But good luck!

Cindy - posted on 02/05/2009

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AHA!!! where there's a will there's a way and you just need to find the correct target! New rule at our house. If the room from hell doesn't pass my inspection, she's off the computer for 2 days straight (homework excepted, we use laptops and she sits at the table). When she asks for computer time again, I/Cameron, will check her room; if it's messy, it'll be for 4 days and will continue to double until she gets it..... I....... WILL.... WIN..... (damn it).... muhahhahahahahahahaha!!!

Laurie - posted on 02/05/2009

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I agree with all of that.  I took away friends over, computer, music, phone texting, etc.....she is content to just sit in the mess and read a book.  Now if I say no book she is grumpy, rude and cops an attitute.  She is bored!!!  AHHHH!!  -Laurie

Tina - posted on 02/03/2009

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When you find out how to handle this let me know cause my thirteen year old daughter is the same way.  My son was not as bad. 

Cindy - posted on 01/31/2009

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Well, my daughter is 13 and no cleaner... I long for the days when she was 3 and would say "i wanna help clean mama" Not so much now... Whoever said little girls are dainty lied. So, here's the rule... She requires a certain amount of rule/control over at least one thing in her life (aside from what are hopefully good choices when not around parents) while she still tries to figure out her role on this planet. She knows, the room is hers but a certain amount of respect for her things has to be given. She is learning that there is a place for her things and if there is crap everywhere, it goes in the garbage or she has to give up something to make room for the new thing. Clothes are supposed to be off the floor or hung up. The desk is to be clear or it'll be removed from her room. I have taken the garbage bags in and she doesn't like it at all. The truce is what's in her drawers is hers and if she runs out of space, then I go back in and help her organize (it usually ends up with her purging her own things and I leave the room to let her make those decisions. So, there is no begging her, threatening her (although this has been done in the past) we mostly let her have the space she has as hers and keep the door mostly closed. Yes, its a battle but I have an oust mister in her room, make sure her laundry hits the laundry hamper and pray..... a lot... Good luck! This is what works in our house!

Karla - posted on 01/30/2009

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I have the same problem so i decided not to get myself worked up over it. If  they dont bring the cloths out they dont get washed. But also the computer is in the family room No computer if room is not picked up. Also not going out on the weekend if it is not clean.  this leaves the choice up to them they know the rules and I get lessed stressed. It is amazing how fast it gets picked up.

Lora - posted on 01/17/2009

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Samantha and Lisa!



Thanks for the advice! I think I am going to try that! Anything is worth a try!! I will let you know how it goes!

Lisa - posted on 01/17/2009

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I did the same as Samantha!  At first I told her No friends over until your room is clean, then she would just go to ther house instead.  Then I just started letting her have friends over in the pigstye!  They took care of it by telling her how messy her room is ect.....  She does a little better now, and she does really good when she wants a friend over! LOL

Samantha - posted on 01/15/2009

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hi Lora!
I too have this battle! I try to tell myself that this is just a teenage trait and it seems the more I let her know that it is important to me( a clean room) the more she is prepared to butt heads with me!! Soooo.. my only solution... instead of telling her No friends until your room is clean I encourage her to invite her friends over regardless of the state of her room. The first couple of times she left the room a pigsty then I heard her friends make comments about how messy she was and she should clean it up and although she just shrugged her shoulders, next time the same girl was suprised to see my darlings room clean!! Now, her room is not clean all the time but I believe she is developing more personal pride in her personal space. Just remember most teens want to impress their peers more than they do us, so use it to your advantage!!
Best o luck
Samantha

Jennifer - posted on 01/12/2009

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I'm having the same problem with my 14 teen year old daughter. I would love to know how to fix this problem myself. Anyone??

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