Struggles between parents and teens about getting organized are common but altogether unnecessary. If you begin with the premise that every teen wants to do well and succeed, there is no need for conflict. Organizing and time management are vehicles for self-expression and self-discovery. And that's what being a teen is all about.
Rather than lecture or teach, your role is to coach and guide. Mastering the skills of organization can actually offer a means for the two of you to build a relationship or strengthen an existing one. Organizing together is a rare opportunity to find out how your teen thinks, to share their goals and dreams, and to discover what is truly important to them. When working with your teen on any organizing project, use the following strategies to ensure a positive and pleasant experience for you both.
Don't insult your teen. Eliminate the phrases "You're so disorganized!" "You are such a slob!" "This room is a pigsty!" and "You are such a procrastinator!" Build your teen's confidence by recognizing the areas where they are organized.
Avoid pre-judgments. You can't tell by just looking at their space or notebook whether or not your teen is organized. Ask what works for them and what doesn't. You may be surprised what you learn.
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 their system works for them, support it.
Make the project easier on them physically. Gather containers, tie up filled trash bags, help with labeling, dispose of giveaways. Pacing them and keeping them company as they sort through their piles and lists can be the greatest help of all.