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How to Get a Teenager to Clean Up

How to Get a Teenager to Clean Up
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    How do you get a teenager to clean their room?
    Excellent question and we're going to talk about that today.
    Hi there, I'm Angela Brown and this is Ask a House Cleaner.
    This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question,
    and I get to help you find an answer.
    Now, this show is brought to you by my
    In the resource section, we have a whole section on cleaning for kids and teenagers.
    All right, so on to today's question, which comes from somebody who watched a show that
    we did the other day, on how to get kids to clean.
    Now, in this show we did the other day, there was a really important piece of information
    that we shared with you.
    It was on my data versus your data.
    Now, no matter how old the kid is, no matter if it's a teenager or a college kid, or your
    spouse, when you ask a question to anyone, for any reason, what you're asking for is,
    give me your data.
    Because people will argue with your data, but they will never with their own.
    When you're trying to get a kid inspired, a teenager or young adult, to clean their
    space or to clean their room, what you need to do is, you need to ask them, what does
    a clean room look like to you?
    And have them give you their data.
    Once they give you their data, now you have some information to go from.
    Once you have the data on what they think a clean room is, you can either agree to that,
    or you can add on to that.
    Now, together, you can come up with what a clean room is.
    When I ask you to clean your room, here's what I'm asking,
    do you understand, do you agree?
    Okay, once you've had that conversation, now, as a young adult or as a teenager, there are
    things that are going to inspire a teenager that are not blue ribbons.
    Those things are going to be electronics, it's going to be the car keys, it's going
    to be gas of the car, it's going to be insurance for the car, it's going to be going out with
    friends and needing money.
    There are a bunch of other things that a young adult or a teenager needs, that maybe a young
    child does not need.
    Instead of cash, and I know some families give allowances for their kids for chores,
    or what have you, but instead of getting cash, it's easy to work a point system.
    A point system in their head is not the same as dollars.
    Each point is worth so many dollars so you might say 10 points equals $1.
    I'm using this in U.S. terms.
    It's going to be different from euros or peso's, or pounds, or whatever your currency is.
    Let's say one dollar equals 10 points, so then you place a value on everything.
    If you make your bed, that is worth five points.
    If you clean up the vanity around where you brush your teeth, that is worth five points.
    If you empty the trash and you take it out to the curb on trash day,
    that is worth five points.
    All the points get to be added up and tallied up, so that you are able to keep a running
    tally of the different points that your child has earned.
    Now, what happens is, if they misbehave.
    If they skip school, if they don't do their homework, if they come home late from school
    or whatever it is, then points are deducted.
    You can have earning points and you can points taken away.
    Now, when they go to buy something, you buy those with the points.
    Let's see how many points you have, which equals so many dollars.
    I'm so sorry, I guess you don't get to go out with your friends to the movies this weekend
    because you don't have enough points to go.
    Now, a lot of parents will just give their kids money, they give their kids new shoes,
    and they give their kids smart phones, and games, and electronics, and PlayStations,
    and all these things, but what happens is, the kids don't put any value on them because
    they didn't earn it.
    They don't take care of it.
    Because they don't take care of it, they drop the phones in the toilet, and they smash the
    PlayStations, and things get thrown at the computer screens that you have to replace
    the whole computer, or you have to replace the screen.
    Or, they lose the remote control on the TV, whatever.
    They don't take care of stuff because there's no value in it.
    Suddenly, if everything has a value, and there are points, what's going to happen is, they're
    going to start keeping track of the points.
    You will too, but suddenly, everything has a value.
    You'll notice that your kids not only keep a cleaner space, but they start taking care
    of the things that they have.
    If they had to buy a shirt for 250 points, it's unlikely it's going to sit there on the
    floor where it gets stepped on.
    That shirt has value and so they're going to hang it up when they're done with it, and
    they're probably going to make sure that it goes in the wash and it gets a stain on it,
    that they rub it out with a dish soap or whatever, so that it's not a stained shirt, because
    they paid 250 points for it.
    What you want to do is, you want to create a value with the things that you let your
    children earn.
    By doing that, what happens is, it creates a whole new environment of they're not just
    entitled to receive stuff for free.
    As a result, they have to earn what they have.
    When you come in and you say it's time to clean your room and I'm going to be in in
    15 minutes to check, you're coming in with a checklist
    and you're going to be adding points.
    Little things, like picking up all the toys, equals five points.
    That's five more points that they didn't have a minutes ago.
    If picking up all the clothes, or putting the clothes in the hamper, or cleaning off
    the vanity, or scrubbing out the toilet, if all of these things points attached, they
    could rack up 100 points very quickly.
    What you want to do is, you want to create value for them, so that it's easy to earn
    points, but also that those points are redeemable for something.
    Now, the truth of the matter is, there are things you're going to give your kid anyway
    because you love your kid and you provide for your kid.
    If you teach your kid from a very young age that everything has a price associated with
    it, then as the child gets older and they want to buy bigger things, because the day
    will come when they're like, "Hey, mom, dad,
    I'm old enough to drive a car, can you buy me a car?"
    "I don't know, let's see how many points you have."
    "Oh my goodness, how many points?
    You mean I got to earn the car, too?"
    If you start telling them that when they're eight or 10-years-old, they can start saving
    their points toward a vehicle.
    Now, I promise you this, if the kid has to buy their own car,
    they're going to take care of it.
    They're not going to let people eat in it,
    they're not going to get all kinds of junk in it.
    They're going to vacuum it out, they're going to take it down to the carwash.
    I mean, they're going to take care of the vehicle because they had to pay for it.
    The same goes with their college education.
    Instead of you just giving it to them and letting them blow away their college years
    being drunk at parties, suddenly they had to earn this.
    These are points that they earned and as you put those points towards something of value,
    it's a whole different ballgame, because they value that.
    They will take that value into their adulthood, where they appreciate the things that they
    earn, instead of just expecting the whole world is going to give them a living and they
    got to do nothing in exchange.
    All right.
    That my friend is how you teach a teenager or a grown adult, young, grown adult that
    lives with you, how to clean up after themselves.
    You create a rewards system that is based on points and they are redeemable for things
    that are of value to that person.
    There you go.
    All righty, that's my two cents for today.
    Until we meet again,
    leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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