“Jaw With John” – Kids Want To Live In Filth, Let ‘Em!

My husband and I disagree and I am hoping you can be the tie breaker.

We have two teenagers, ages 15 and 17. I have always felt that they should tidy their rooms and make their beds. My husband disagrees and thinks they should do what they want in their own rooms, so I only ask that they pick things up off the floor once every two weeks so I can vacuum.

After 10 years of this, their rooms are filled with trash and food wrappers, old school papers, clothes that no longer fit, old books and various gadgets, toys, art supplies, the occasional dirty dish, etc.

I ask them to clean out closets. They make a half-hearted attempt and then ignore me. My husband says just let it be, and so I do.

The new school year is upon us and they want more things. More clothes, more school supplies, etc. They have difficulty locating the things they already own!

Would it be unfair of me to give them a deadline to clean out their rooms, and if they do not clean out by then, I will go in and do it for them?

I know they are busy kids, so I don’t mind doing it. But my husband says that they should live in the trash if they want to and if I clean out their rooms, I am invading their privacy.

Do you agree? — Frustrated and Tidy

Dear Tidy:

No no no no no no no! Do not let them get off that easy. If they fail to clean their rooms you are not responsible for them not getting new things for school. By cleaning their rooms you are setting a precedent that says “Hey, if we wait long enough Mom will end up doing this for us!” You can’t have that.

Here’s the thing: both you and your husband are right. You’re right in wanting them to live in a clean environment and he’s right for wanting them to live in their filth and deal with it themselves. You need to find a balance of your two ideals. The only thing that I think needs to be taken care of immediately is the food wrappers. That’s disgusting.

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