Why do teenagers have messy rooms?

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One of the major frustrations most have when having a teenager living in the house is the messiness in their room. We try to teach our children to clean up. To put away their used toys before moving on. When we take our children to a friend’s place, they had to help clean up before leaving. What happened to these learnings? We try to explain some reasons for this behavior

  • An overfull schedule
  • Overindulgence
  • The brain is not fully grown yet

An overfull schedule
Teens are often busy. They are overloaded with activities, school-related, sports, afterschool events etcetera. Parents often dislike to burden them with another thing on their activity list, like cleaning their room. Teens get used to the fact that the parents clean their room and do not experience the burden of having a messy room. Waiting for long enough results in an organized room.   

A large part of the mess comes from having too many possessions. Too much clothing, books, shoes, etcetera. This often is a result of the accumulation of stuff during the years. With so many things, teenagers often care less if items get damaged, broken, or lost. They often have a replacement in no time, found between de mess. It is hard to know the real value of things when you have many of them.

The brain is not fully grown yet
Some studies support the connection between having a not fully developed adult brain and the messy rooms teens create. In particular, the regions that are responsible for the pleasure and reward sensations. This lack of connectivity explains why the having fun part of the brain does not have full communication skills with the part that assesses risks, controls impulses and evaluates judgements. Resulting in not being able to see that a cleanroom has positive outcomes, like a clear mind.