How to Handle Changes in Your Child’s Behavior
Refusing to Pick Up Her BedroomThe problem: A formerly neat 14-year-old whose bedroom slowly morphed into a landfill look-alike. “At its worst, you couldn’t see the floor,” says Michelle LeMasurier of Duluth, Minnesota.
The fix: Top Secret Operation Heave-Ho. LeMasurier bagged all her daughter’s out-of-place belongings (clothes, books, papers, toiletries) and moved them to the garage while she was out one afternoon. “Wow, did that get her attention,” LeMasurier says. To get the items back, her daughter had to reorganize. “We reworked her closet area―she helped design it―and she arranged things the way she wanted to keep them in the future,” says LeMasurier. Now her daughter is proud of her room and keeps it spick-and-span to show it off.
The expert take: “Shock value definitely works,” says Leman. “Older kids don’t like their stuff touched.” The key to success is to remain unemotional (no giving in when she starts crying over her gymnastics trophy). “Just say, ‘I got tired of looking at it, and you’ll find your stuff out in the garage,’ ” he says. Don’t want to deal with the (literal) heavy lifting? Try skipping ahead to the second step. Get your child involved in the organization (shopping for new bookcases or cool baskets helps), and teach her about tidiness in the process.
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