Help! I have a teenager!

She got home from a week long trip on Saturday, July 16th.

Late last week, I told her to clean up her room and finally finish unpacking.
Several times.

On Sunday night I talked to her about the fact that she had not done it yet and that she would need to do it Monday (today). I woke her up around 10:00 this morning. She ate breakfast and watched tv. I reminded her that she needed to clan her room today. She said she knew.  She went to her room and cleaned it up. It looked good. I asked her if she did her dresser too. She said yes. I said really? I’m gonna check it after I get dressed. (I had just showered.)

Her dresser is constantly a mess. Even when I do the laundry & fold her clothes for her, she still just shoves them into whatever drawer they fit. She can never find her clothes when it’s time to get dressed. I often even find dirty, balled up shirts in her drawer, cuz she just scooped some clothes off the floor and jammed them in (probably the last time I asked her to clean up her clothes.) At the beginning of the summer we went through her drawers together and got rid of things that she didn’t like or didn’t fit. We got rid of more things than I felt comfortable with actually but it was great because it was easy for her to find things and keep it neat. I figured that would be a big help for her. Well, clothes multiply I guess :) Because the dresser is over-flowing again…..  Should I just leave her alone and let her have her messy dresser?  No. I already tried that approach actually. And there is drama every time we are trying to get ready to go somewhere and she can’t find her clothes.  We’re done with that.

So I got dressed and went back to look in her drawers. I have learned in the past that I need to check up on her when she does a chore or she just does it half-assed. Just enough to get it done. Anyway, I opened the top drawer. I could tell immediately that it was not done. The drawer was so stuffed it was hard to open. Her top drawer is her underwear/socks/pj drawer. Right on top was a pair of jean shorts. I closed the drawer and said you didn’t do this did you? She protested that at least she got everything to fit in the drawers. I said “You need to do it now.” I left the room. I came back about 5 minutes later and she was still playing a video game.  I said “Put that away and do your dresser.” She whined “wait!”. So I waited. She continued to play it. So I said “Give it to me. You can have it back after you finish.” She got mad and sassed me. I don’t remember what she said but she wasn’t happy. I told her I’d be back in a bit and left the room.

I went back way later. At least an hour later. She was sitting at her desk working on a puzzle. She said she finished her dresser. I went and opened a different drawer this time. It looked like all shirts. Yay. They weren’t neat but at least looked like she sorted the clothes into the right drawers. Then I tried to close the drawer and it was stuck. So I opened it again. There was a sock ball stuck. And then I saw a bra. And then I saw a balled up, inside out, dirty shirt… Grr. She didn’t do it after all. So I yelled at her that she still didn’t do it! She yelled at me that she wasn’t gonna do it either. Here we go…

I said then I will be taking away some privileges. I took her phone. I took her prized makeup case. She is not big on possessions. She doesn’t text a lot either, not compared to most of her friends. She is a hard one. I have always had a hard time trying to figure out what works best for her. She is a people person. I remember one time we were at the end of our rope, we had already taken away privileges, and various toys etc. She didn’t care. She really didn’t. So I grounded her. Well she doesn’t go a lot of places with friends either. We were planning to go to the in-laws for a super bowl party. I told her she couldn’t go. She and I stayed home and she cried and cried. That’s when I figured out what mattered to her – Hanging out with people she loves. Her Grammy in that case. But really? How can I use that as a punishment?

Back to today, she spent a lot of time today working on a puzzle instead of cleaning her room. So I said put the puzzle away, I am taking it until you do what I asked you to do. Right? Well she flipped out and started wildly messing it up and throwing it around. O my. I mean come on! I gave her so many chances to do what I asked. SO many. So my friends… tell me please…… What would you have done in that situation? What on earth can I do to get through to her?!? Seriously I felt like spanking her. But she is 13. This is only gonna get worse through these teen years I am sure. We have had many situations like this in the past. Many. I swear it has gotten worse with hormones though.  Help!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trish
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 19:30:48

    Aren’t teenagers fun! Lol! When each of my children were around12/13/14 yrs old I taught them how to do their own laundry. Then they were responsible for doing their laundry and putting their clothes away. If their clothes never made it from the basket back into the drawers it was their choice. If they needed/wanted new clothes they had to clean out the old stuff first. If this were my daughter I would try letting her be responsible for her own clothes – if she can’t find something to wear when you’re going places then leave without her if she’s not ready. It may be drastic the first time, but it probably won’t happen too many times. And if she doesn’t learn to take better care of her clothes then no new clothing till she does. And if you’re still doing her laundry then only wash the clothes she has in her hamper, don’t hunt for dirty stuff in her drawers or on the floor. She’ll learn soon enough when she wants an item to wear and it’s still dirty from weeks before. Good luck!!!


  2. Laura
    Jul 26, 2011 @ 14:08:28

    I think Trish’s response is good. Also here is another idea:

    Take all her clothes. Tell them that you will be deciding what whe wears from now on until she can prove that she is responsible enough to keep them organized and take care of them properly. Then put the clothes in your room and dole them out daily and take them back daily. This may seem like a lot of work at first, but I find that a lot of effort at the beginning pays out huge over time once the lesson is learned. Tell her she can earn her clothes back one at a time over time as she proves that she can be responsible with them.

    Just a thought. I did not raise a teenage girl, but I was one once ;-)

    Good luck!


  3. toughwords
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 10:14:55

    My plan is to have her start doing her own laundry when school starts up again. Like that idea! That will be Monday. We will be starting new routines all around and it seems like a good time for a change :) I’m not so sure how it will work since I seem to care more about her appearance than she does. It will be frustrating for me I am sure! Hopefully she won’t just end up wearing dirty stinky clothes to school all the time! Ugh. Wish us luck. lol


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This blog is my personal journal. I am trying hard to save my marriage. No, I am trying to build a great marriage. In case you haven't heard, marriage is HARD!
I am fighting back against anxiety & panic attacks. This is year 5 of this adventure. I am also codependent. I am an ACOA. Fun, Fun. I am trying hard to become a better me.
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