Wednesday 23 January 2019

What I'm Really Thinking: My messy room

In this new series, psychologist David Coleman articulates how children process life's challenges.

So you know that moment when your Mam or Dad walks into your room and they're like, "Look at the state of this place, it's a disgrace. You live in a pigsty!" I always hold my breath, because it can go one of two ways.

Either they continue on and just go off on one about the mess, and the disrespect, and the lack of hygiene, and the ruination of clothes and all that kind of stuff. It quickly becomes "Blah, blah, blah" in my head. After a while it'll escalate to threats and dire warnings about never being allowed out anywhere, or never having my phone again. Then they storm off.

Or, they make their opening comments about the messy room stuff and then remember why they actually came in to me…and the focus shifts. That's OK unless the other issue is an even bigger hassle!

It's a total lottery. But I do wonder why we have to have the same arguments every time? I've tried explaining to them that it's my room and so why should they care. If I can live in it, what difference does it make to them? They always counter with the usual stuff about it's their house, their rules and if I don't want to live by the rules then I can live somewhere else. Like that's really going to happen?

I have a lot going on in my life. Do they think it's easy to go into first year in secondary school? Because it's not. It's a total headwreck. Everything is different and there's loads going on. Its not like cleaning my room is a priority.

To be honest, my head is kind of fried anyway. I even read up on it. One of the websites talked about messy rooms being emblematic of the adolescent age. I had to look up emblematic. It means that my messy room is just a sign of my messy self!

I think that makes real sense. Not that I'm dirty, I'm not, but everything is up in the air. Nothing quite feels the same as it did when I was younger. You know? It's like everything is up for grabs. Why should I accept all the stuff they told me when I was young? Things are different now. I have lots more to think about and worry about.

That's the bit that parents don't really get. They haven't a clue about what's going on in my head. If they knew half of it then they'd stop worrying about a messy room. It's the least of my troubles!

I think I need to make a bit of a stand. God knows they boss me around enough anyway. I'm always being told to "do this", "stop doing that", "go here", "don't dare go there". I don't have much that's mine. My phone, that's the biggest thing. But my bed, my room, my clothes? It should be up to me what I do with them. I have to have something that I'm in charge of, that I can control.

Oh, and by the way, I hate when they then say, "well if you were buying your own clothes then you can do what you like with them". I mean, if I didn't have to go to school then maybe I could get a job, but they insist on school, so it's not my fault that I can't earn to pay for my own stuff.

I just don't think my parents understand me. They just go on about standards all the time. I don't care about standards. I care about my phone and my friends. Full. Stop.

Actually that isn't fully true. I do care about other stuff, but I just don't want to admit to my parents that I do. God, they'd be unbearable if they thought that they were winning!

Best to keep the fight up. There are worse things to be rowing about than the state of my room.

* As imagined by David Coleman

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