You go back and forth between cleaning up for your teen and nagging her to pick up after herself, and yet neither method seems to encourage her to clean up by herself. Though it can take quite a bit of time and effort to establish positive habits in your teens, it is well worth the endeavor; the organization skills that you teach your teen now can last a lifetime. The key is to not get frustrated and give up before cleaning up becomes habit for your teen.
Show your teen the way by being a good example. Make it a point to pick up after yourself each and every day, even when you are exhausted and think washing the dishes or putting the clean laundry away can wait until the morning. Your teen needs to see that you expect the same from yourself as you do from him.
Halt the nagging; at this point it is a waste of your energy because it is probably going in one ear and out the other. Instead, give specific reasons that she can relate to as to why it is important to stay organized and tidy -- for example, having an easier time finding her favorite sweater or her lost earrings.
Teach your teen that cleaning up after himself is not just about having an organized bedroom or tidy kitchen, but that it is about being responsible while also being respectful to others in the household.
Tone down your teen's schedule if the excuse is that she doesn’t have enough time to make her bed, put her clothes away or do the dishes. Cut back on outside activities so that activities in the home can be tended properly.
Offer positive reinforcement. At times teens feel as if all they hear is criticism. Praise your teen when he hangs up his jacket or throws his dirty towels in the hamper so he can feel good about his efforts.
Clean up with your teen and allow her to follow your lead the first few times, so she sees an organized, systematic way to approach a mess. She should participate with you, not just watch.
- Cleaning Plain & Simple; Donna Smallin; 2005
- The Art of Homemaking: Teenagers and Household Tasks-Motivating Teens to Help at Home; Daryl Hoole