One of my favorite rooms to redo, is one for a teen. I love finding out what they want, and what is really important to them.
Their initial response is often “I don’t know”, which is quickly followed by a flurry of ideas from the parent, and a lot of arm nudging and eye rolling from the teen. After a few moments, it all slows down, and the talking becomes easier. A few questions gets them interested, and they realize that this could almost be fun (and, let’s face it, they would rather talk to me than the person who is constantly telling them to brush their teeth and find their pet python).
Teens are all different, yet they are all the same; I won’t go on about what they need, and how misunderstood they feel, but I can tell you that their room usually means more to them than they realize. No, it should not become a health and safety hazard, and wearing underwear is always non-negotiable (how clean it is, is their issue) but, after that, it should be a room that is somewhat practical, and comfortable enough for them to want to spend time in.
So, when it no longer serves its purpose, and you are both at your wit’s end, here are a few thoughts that might help you navigate through the teenage bedroom….
- Have a conversation when you are both in a good mood (and you have enough time to talk).
- Be nice, and try not to roll your eyes.
- Ask them what they don’t want in their room, and offer to remove it (donate, sell or store somewhere else) as soon as possible. Decide on a day to do it, and write it on your calendar.
- Check out the basics that they already have, and talk about anything else that you both think they may need (or want). eg. a desk, a bigger bed, floor seating, space to hang things on the wall, a reading area, more or less storage, better lighting, a docking station etc.
- Encourage them to be creative, and shop your house before you hit the stores (eg. a table can double as a desk, and a newly painted dresser or filing cabinet, can easily store books, tech gadgets and homework).
- When buying new things, have a budget in mind before you begin. Let them go shopping with you, or, at the very least, go on-line and give them some options to choose from before you head out.
- Be as open and lenient as you can be, and follow through with what you promise.
- If you have to say no to something, try to offer a compromise (or, tell them the honest reason why you are saying no).
And, if it doesn’t go according to plan, take a deep breath, wade through the debris, ignore the python, quietly close the door …. and still love them.
Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
p.s. The VW Camper in the photograph is from the VW Camper Blog (of course!).