The years between ages 11 and 14 are the physically awkward and difficult ‘tween years. No longer a child, but not yet a teenager, most ‘tweens don’t want to be seen as a child. One simple way parents can acknowledge the changes taking place is agreeing to a bedroom makeover. A serious room makeover goes beyond paint and new curtains, extending into recognizing the tween as an individual with opinions.
Before you pick up a hammer or take out a wall, spend time just talking about what changes should be made:
Does the color scheme reflect maturity? Baby blue and princess pink might have lost their charm with a ‘tween struggle to shed the image of being a child. If your ‘tween proposes a radical change (“Paint the walls black!”) be ready to find a compromise (“How about dark blue instead?”). Suggest a trip to look at paint samples, collect a variety of colors and take them home for further examination.
Are the mattress and box springs the correct size? Because growing bodies need as much rest as possible, now is the time to invest in a quality mattress. The American Psychological Association has stated teens require more sleep to perform optimally and that adequate sleep can help decrease depression and attention deficits. The first step to a good night’s sleep is having a comfortable bed of the correct size for the sleeper.
Is there an area for studying? Setting aside space for focused study will encourage good study habits. At minimum, there should be a desk, comfortable chair with back support, and a lamp to provide adequate light for reading. Another benefit of this modification is providing a quiet, private place for retreat which is especially important if a room is shared with a younger sibling
Are current interests/hobbies represented in the décor? Think about incorporating personality into the room without making permanent changes. Be selective and make choices which can later be modified, such as installing adjustable shelving and proving storage bins.
Rule of Thumb Thinking:
- Listen twice as much as you talk. Any changes your ‘tween wants to make to the room are most likely motivated by a desire to be seen as mature in the eyes of others, especially peers, rather than as a insult to your taste.
- A little extreme fantasizing (“I want to knock down a wall and put up a turret with a moat!”) creates a constructive atmosphere where friendly conversation can take place. Keep in mind, that just because you are talking about something does not mean it will happen.
- Write all suggestions on notecards/sticky notes. Once you have all the ideas down, sort through them and toss out those likely to break the bank or be impractical (“Sorry kid, no moat this year!”). Decide what changes are possible and make a final list you both agree on.