Cleaning Your Room – Parent vs Child

The biggest battle of parenthood I see as a “choose your battles wisely” topic is cleaning your child’s bedroom.  So many parents complain about how messy their child’s room is, or complain about how they can’t get their child to clean their room. I see two types of parental mindsets with the topic of children’s bedroom cleaning;

  1. The parents who simply want their child’s room to be clutter free, organized and presentable.
  2. The parents who want their child’s bedroom cleaned and organized their way vs the child’s way.

Both parents are perfectly right, who’s to say it’s going to ruin a child by making them clean their bedroom a certain way. I am sure the child will survive the life of having to keep a clean and tidy room whether by their own standards or their parents standards. I simply choose to take another route. Spending many years in therapy with my middle child has really helped open my eyes to what battles are worth fighting for or not.

Cleaning Your Room - Parent vs Child

“Image courtesy of varandah / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

How I think A Parent Can Handle Cleaning of their Child’s Room with Less Stress

First off, one thing that bothered me from my childhood was the constant need for me to fold clothes the way the parent did it, clean room the way the parent wants it, and even wash dishes the same exact way my parent wanted me to. I see a flaw in this; I believe parents are suppose to guide children to be individuals. No two people will do the same task in the exact same method but they can end up with the same positive result; meaning my bedroom can be clean by my standards but it may not be up to par with your view of what clean is. The dishes may end up clean, but the process I took to get there is not the same process you took. This is all perfectly okay.

Again, one thing most parents start to realize is that we parent based on our own experiences. I parent based on my own to shed a positive light upon things I felt agonized about as a child.

The key to alleviating stress when it comes to cleaning your child’s bedroom is as simple as allowing your child to clean their room in their own unique way. For example, my daughter has a clutter fest of a bedroom, she is a person who hangs onto everything. It drives me bonkers! I had a discussion with  my daughter, I listened to her side of what a clean room should be and came to my own conclusion of an acceptable approach to her bedroom cleanliness.

My mission is simple: I want the bedroom to be sanitary without food or trash anywhere. I want to be able to walk through my daughter’s room without stepping on anything, including trash. I want to be able to know which clothes are clean and which clothes are dirty in her bedroom and I want her room to be fire safe.

Pretty simple, right?

That’s how I handle the topic of cleaning a child’s bedroom. I allow that to be their space, organized just how they want but it must be a presentable place where I can walk into and hang out with my child or read a book with them without stepping or sitting on things. I want no trash nor food in the room so that the house is sanitary as a whole. This works for us and has actually increased the times my daughter cleans her room close to what I would clean it to more often than not.

There is no arguing over her personal space and there is no stress involved when I say “go clean your room up a bit please”. It’s a win/win and the way I look at it is this; if there comes a day when she can’t find something because of the way she “organizes” her bedroom, then maybe she will change her method up a bit. For now? We live in peace with sanitary bedrooms. I am good with that.

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2 comments

  1. Rosey (966 comments) says:

    That’s how I handle the kiddos keeping their room clean too. My teen daughter is going through a phase where she doesn’t mind messy and to prevent it from making me crazy, I keep her door closed a lot. ;) I believe she’ll get better soon…both of her older brothers went through the messy phase too, and they’re neat as can be now. :) Until then, I keep the Excederin close by and try to realize her idea of clean is not the same as mine, and that’s (usually) okay. :)

  2. Cascia @ The Healthy Moms Mag (10 comments) says:

    You made some great points here. I agree with you that each child should be treated like an individual. I have five very different and unique children. Having a clean and tidy home is important to me but even more important is teaching my children responsibility. If I follow through and make sure my kids clean their bedrooms it teaches them to take responsibility for their actions. If they have a messy room they know that mom is going to make them clean it up before they can play games on the computer. I also make them help out with other chores around the house. I am teaching them about teamwork, hard work, and responsibility. True, I don’t expect them to clean in the same way that I do, however as a family unit we are all required to put in our fair share and help each other out.

    Great post, Brandy! Have a terrific weekend.

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