Blake’s Advice Column
My 16-year-old daughter leaves her nice clothes, wet towels and debris strewn around her room. She stays with me half the time, and her mother the other half. I remind her to pick her things up off the floor, but she rarely does it. I keep going back and forth on the correct way to handle this. Should I just leave them and allow her to live in a mess until she gets sick of it, or straighten up ahead of time so when she comes over her room is tidy, and maybe she’ll realize it’s how the place should always look? She’s a sweet, loving and considerate kid, but, frankly, she gets very dramatic — especially when she’s hormonal — which makes it hard for a rational conversation. Thank you for any help you can offer.
From Portland, Oregon
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Teenagers often keep their rooms very disorganized, and it’s a very common trait for that age group. But that doesn’t mean parents should tolerate this behavior from those loathsome creatures. Ok, here are some of my ideas. If she wants to leave her nice clothes on the floor, the next time she does it, let her see you using her designer jeans to take the wax off of your car. Or you can use a graphic, like cutting her strewn clothes up into fine strips, and spell out the words “you’re disgusting and you make me sick!” Most girls her age, often think about boys. So how about this idea? Tell her first boyfriend that if he wants to marry her, he better make enough money to hire a maid, unless he doesn’t mind constantly stepping over wet moldy clothes tossed on the floor by a filthy scatterbrain. You also said she sometimes gets dramatic, so here is my final suggestion to deal with that. The next time she gets dramatic when she’s “hormonal”, after she finishes her rant, pretend that you’re hosting the Academy Awards, and while pointing at her you should say, “And the Oscar goes to… this pathetic grungy slob”. And if your daughter hangs around someone who is just as nasty as she is, give that friend an Oscar for a supporting role. I hope this helps.