My 3 boys and I

October 17, 2007

A Child’s Bedroom, Lying, Stealing & Willful Damage

Filed under: Home and Family — by my3boysandi @ 10:07 am

I feel like Im failing at this occupation of mine again.  This occupation of being a mummy.  I would like some feedback about what you do.  Please keep in mind I am dealing with a 12 year old. 

 A Child’s Bedroom

Should a childs room be messy???  Should a parent worry about it if it is??  What do expect your child to do with his room and how often???  What do you do about messy rooms if it does worry you???

 Lying, Stealing & Willful Damage

  • What do you do about a child lying???
  • stealing things from around the house???
  • breaking things??? destroying things??? that  belong to him but were were given to him by well meaning friends of our family. Some of these things were expensive.

Up until now we have been asking him why he destroyed them.  He seems to do things impulsively and cant or wont tell us why.  If he does anything he makes up stories we find hard to believe.



  1. Is he possibly doing it to get more parental attention, even if it’s negative attention?

    Comment by she — October 17, 2007 @ 10:34 am |Reply

  2. Praying about this situation my friend.

    Comment by Denise — October 17, 2007 @ 10:58 am |Reply

  3. I don’t think a child’s room should be perpetually messy, but this is one we really struggle with keeping on top of. With 3 girls in one room and too many toys and craft supplies…it’s something I go insane over every week…so I’m hoping your readers share tips as well!

    I was wondering on your second question, about your child’s friends? Does he have any new ones that are perhaps affecting him negatively? What about the music he listens to? As an early teen, I got into music that totally affected my character…behind my parent’s backs. I hated the double life I was living at school and at home and knew the rebellious music was at least part of the problem. The last thing is diet. I know it sounds like a cop out to blame these kind of behaviors on diet, but diet and enzyme deficiencies can really wreak havoc…

    Hope you find some answers!

    Comment by Mary — October 17, 2007 @ 11:17 am |Reply

  4. i talk to my kids about *trust* when they tell me a lie/steal (sneak special food etc)…..
    i say, gently but seriously, that they are my closest friends and part of that is that i want to trust them and that lying/stealing breaks down the trust between us. i also try to affirm them that we can share our hearts/frustrations/secrets/souls at any time, and i try to share mine (appropriately) with them often so that they feel safe to articulate their hopes and dreams, joys and fears.

    as far as the *tidy room* goes, my big 2 school kiddos each have rooms of their own and i ask them to have a Perfect Room once a week… you know, the Saturday Morning Overhaul. i also ask that they take their own dirty waching to the laundry (my fourteen year old daughter tends to get pile-ups lol). sometimes i pop in and straighten up their beds, but i do try to stay out of their space. my mum used to say that my room should look reasonably straight if someone walks past the door. sometimes i make our bed, sometimes it stays unmade all day (unless i bribe one of the lads to make it for me lol).

    our 3 homeschooled lads share a room, so we tidy that up around about twice a day cos it gets *so* messy………. i usually sit in the room and direct traffic or it just ends up in a huge squabble.
    rave, rave….
    peace to you, mommies everywhere have the same frustrations!!!!!!! X

    Comment by kate5kiwis — October 17, 2007 @ 12:17 pm |Reply

  5. Messy room, I think cleaning it properly once a week is good for kids. But it is their room and their space.

    Sounds to me like your boy is angry about something or has something bottled up and its the only way he can express himself. Do you have a school counsellor you can talk to about him?

    Your not failing Jen, its tough being a loving, caring and responsible Mama! Take Care – xo

    Comment by Rachael — October 17, 2007 @ 12:23 pm |Reply

  6. I always feel that when kids start reaching their teenage years, that’s when actual problems start. This is the period when they get rebellious, clam up on their feelings and feel that friends are more important than family. So, perhaps it’s just a phase that your boy is going through. But I guess of the situation persists or worsens, you might need to get him some kind of professional help?

    Comment by Tot's Mom — October 17, 2007 @ 2:55 pm |Reply

  7. Cleaning the rooma:
    No friends over if his room isn’t clean

    Breaking toys / stuff:
    No new toys (even Chirstmas and birthdays) until he can show he can take good care of it…even take things away if he keeps on breaking stuff

    Comment by Melany (Supermom) — October 17, 2007 @ 5:11 pm |Reply

  8. My brothers room was messy and at 24 still is. Either let it go and save yourself lots of sanity or set a rule, tidied once a week or he loses a privilege. Just make sure he has consequences for his actions.

    Comment by lovestitches — October 17, 2007 @ 6:04 pm |Reply

  9. I do not have children but I do have younger brothers and sisters who do not keep their rooms in tip top condition. By that I mean, messy. They do not exhibit destructive behaviour though, so we were not too worried about it.

    As for lying and destroying things, that is something to worry about. But in all things, bring it to God and let Him take the load… Is there a particular reason he is behaving that way? I think talking nicely to him and seeing things from his point of view helps. I wouldn’t give him nasty looks or loud scoldings, but I wouldn’t let him off easily too.

    Will always keep you in my prayers. Will be praying that God softens the big kiddo’s heart and that He strengthens you to deal with every challenges that come your way.

    The fact that you’re concerned shows that you’re a wonderful mom. Everything will come to pass, Jen. *Hugs*

    Comment by Alice Teh — October 18, 2007 @ 2:17 am |Reply

  10. maybe She
    Last night I read 5 chapters of a book to him

    Thanks Denise, Mary, lovestitches, Alice,

    That what Im thinking thats what we are going to start doing
    My sister and I use to have to do the Saturday over haul.

    We are getting him accessed for possible causes by a very good pychologist

    Its been like this for ages and yes we are TM

    Weve tried all that Melany

    Comment by my3boysandi — October 18, 2007 @ 5:30 pm |Reply

  11. quite honestly, i don’t know anything yet on how to deal with a 12 yr old. even my 4yr old does the same thing but i try to train her to keep her room clean. sometimes i let it be…if it gets too messy that’s the time i encourage her to clean her room by giving her award or some prizes and it does work! in behalf of lying, i try to talk to her and how i caught her lying and ask her forgiveness and she does pretty good but she keeps repeating to lie so i guess i have the duty to repeat my tactics over and over again so, i guess in ur part…it’s diff. since he is 12! i wish u all the best and i’m sure all the ladies here can help u out!

    Comment by jennyr — October 19, 2007 @ 12:50 am |Reply

  12. my 4 year old is the same way about things. To a certain extent, all kids lie and keep messy spaces–I just think that they are testing their boundaries. My 12 year old couldn’t be messier, I just make him clean his room every other day and take away privileges if he doesn’t. We are all in this together (this parenting thing) 🙂

    Comment by And Miles To Go.... — October 19, 2007 @ 4:05 am |Reply

  13. thanks Jenny and Miles

    Comment by my3boysandi — October 19, 2007 @ 5:53 am |Reply

  14. Coming from a man who was once a 12-year-old (only 16 years ago, so my memory is still fresh! ;)) I think puberty can attribute to a LOT of what is going on. My mother and I did not have the best of relationships at that time and I would do anything just to keep her from getting mad at me. That means I would also do EVERYTHING to get her mad at me. There are a plethora of changes going on in your little man’s body, mind, and soul so just being understanding of this is good. Also putting your foot down and making sure he knows that you’re the parent and what you say goes is good. I don’t know, maybe a sit down with him would be a positive step. Just make sure you make him understand that you are not yelling at him, but that you just want to listen to what he has to say. You will be surprised at what he might contribute to that conversation.

    Comment by terancedubya — October 19, 2007 @ 8:48 am |Reply

  15. thanks Terrance

    Comment by my3boysandi — October 19, 2007 @ 9:12 am |Reply

  16. You got some good suggestions here…

    Comment by Mary — October 20, 2007 @ 8:52 am |Reply

  17. I’m gonna ditto the diet suggestion. My son is only 7 but tends to have a lot of Asberger symtoms and burst of anger is one of them. He destroys stuff all the time with no remorse. We found that changing his diet to a no white sugar/white flour diet really helps. Oh yea and no artificial anything.

    Comment by Felicia — October 21, 2007 @ 12:59 am |Reply

  18. thanks Felicia
    he has no sugar as he tends to eat it uncontrollably
    we also limit the fizzy drinks he has a treat

    Comment by my3boysandi — October 21, 2007 @ 7:00 am |Reply

  19. Hi Jen,

    I saw this post a few days ago, but I have been pondering it and wanted to wait til I could give it some careful thought.

    Don’t feel like a failure — I think we all do at times. 🙂 It was an eye-opener to me that after a certain age I couldn’t make my child do right — it had to come from within them when they got older. That’s scary and drove me all the more to prayer.

    Messy rooms — yes, I believe it is important that kids keep their room to some degree of cleanliness. I know some parents who, in the spirit of “choosing their battles,” just close the door to their kids’ room so they don’t have to see it. But I feel they are being trained for the spouse they will some day be, and that kind of uncleanliness can cause great stress in a marriage. Plus I didn’t learn til I was 30 that having things picked up saved me a great deal of stress in trying to find things, and just having a neat,orderly place did a lot for how I felt mentally.

    On the other hand, though, it sounds like you are dealing with some deeper issues, so the messy room may need to take a back burner.

    I try to teach my children right and wrong based on Scripture — not in a preachy way or in anger, but in a conversational tone I have gone over what the Bible has to say about lying (Proverbs 6:16-19, Eph. 4:25, Deuteronomy 32:4, Rev. 21:27) both to bring in a higher authority, so they know it is not just Mom’s thinking, but also because it is the Word of God that convicts the heart.

    It also helps to turn it around and ask them, “How would you feel if someone lied to you? Stole from you? Broke a gift you had given them?” Sometimes looking at it from that perspective helps them to see the actions in a new light.

    Do you have a pastor whom you could ask to talk to him?

    I don’t feel I’ve been a lot of help, but I will pray for you all.

    Comment by Barbara H. — October 23, 2007 @ 3:14 am |Reply

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