Too Much Stuff Creates Emotional Choas

In some of my previous posts, I have commented on the issue of getting your kids to clean their room and how we should apply our energy to controlling what goes in that room, rather than demanding that they keep it cleaned.  But if it is too hard for you to ignore the messy room, there are some other things you can do as the parent to encourage your children to clean their rooms.   

Let’s say your child or teen wants to have friends over to play or hang out (depending on the development phase of the child), because having friends over is a privilege and not a right, you can now say, “I am willing to cooperate with you and allow you to have your friends over when your room is picked up (or organized).  You are willing to cooperate with them if they are willing to cooperate with you.  

Let’s examine another issue that should be your concern… too much stuff!  If they have too many things in their room, it is time to simplify and thin things out. You can control what goes into the room, especially if their room is full of toys.  You want the bedroom to be designed to have as few visual and auditory distractions that keep them from becoming a peaceful child.  It should be a refuge for them to go to, to just be by themselves.  My wife and I have had so much pleasure watching our teen go to her room, spending time drawing, writing, coloring, playing her guitar or viola, or just being a girl, not wasting time on the Internet, watching television, or worrying about what everyone else thinks, absorbed by Facebook.

A parent asked, “What if I don’t have the space for a child to have their own room? I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old and they have to share a room? The younger child sets up blocks or small toys and wants to leave them that way, and the problem is that they are in the way of the other child. My husband says she has too many.” I replied to this parent with a question, “Is there any way that you can rethink and set up your small apartment so that there is a zone or area for the younger child to play that is not in the shared space?”  Play areas are often better set up outside of the bedroom, using whatever you can find to partition off a section for each child to have for their toys.  It’s not ideal because it robs us of having that other space for us, but when you’re in a situation with small quarters, you still have to raise children.  The day will come when you’ll have the space you’ve always dreamed of having.

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This is an excerpt from Bill Corbett’s new eBook, “10 Little-Known Facts About Kids That Will Change How You Parent Forever!”  Download the book today for just $4.99 by going to 

Bill Corbett is the author of the award-winning parenting book series, LOVE, LIMITS, & LESSONS: A PARENT'S GUIDE TO RAISING COOPERATIVE KIDS (in English and in Spanish) and the executive producer and host of the public access television show CREATING COOPERATIVE KIDS. As a member of the American Psychological Association and the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology, Bill provides parent coaching and keynote presentations to parent and professional audiences across the country ( He sits on the board of the Network Against Domestic Abuse, the Resource Advisory Committee for Attachment Parenting International, and the management team of the Springfield Parent Academy.


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