8 Ways to Help Your Teen Get Organized Without a Battle

Struggles between parents and teens over getting organized are common -- but altogether unnecessary. Organizing together is a rare opportunity to learn how your teen thinks, to share goals and dreams, to discover what's truly important to him or her. Try the following organization strategies:

1. Don't insult your teen. Eliminate the phrases "You're so disorganized!" "You are such a slob!" "This room is a pigsty!" "You are such a procrastinator!" Build your teen's confidence by recognizing the areas where he or she is organized.

2. Avoid prejudgments. You can't tell if your teen is organized or not just by looking at his or her space or notebook. Ask what works and what doesn't. You may be surprised by what you learn.

3. Respect your teen's own way of thinking, goals and attachments. Maybe you'd group shirts by short and long sleeve -- but your teen prefers to group by color or style. You might be a morning person, while your teen is a night owl. As long as a system works, support it.

4. Make the project easier physically. Gather containers, tie up filled trash bags, help with labeling, transport giveaways, return objects that belong in other rooms to their original homes.

5. Keep your teen focused from the "inside out." If your son or daughter asks "should" questions ("Where should I put this?" "How should I categorize this?" "Should I throw this out?") turn the question around, asking, "What do you think?" or "What are your instincts telling you?" If you do share your opinion, preface your remarks by saying, "Well, what would work for me is ... but you may find a better way for you."

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