Getting kids to clean up

We’re struggling to get our children to be organized and keep their rooms clean. Do you have any tips that would help?

Question: We’re struggling to get our children to be organized and keep their rooms clean.

Do you have any tips that would help?

Jim: As the father of two boys, I know how you feel! Every parent has his or her own method of handling such challenges.

It’s fair to say that “discipline” isn’t usually the best way to deal with a situation like this. As a matter of fact, a hard-nosed approach could prove counterproductive. You could end up transforming thoughtless irresponsibility into premeditated rebellion.

We recommend you take full advantage of “natural consequences.”

Use masking tape to mark off a boundary at the doors of your kids’ rooms, between their personal “messyzone” and the rest of the house. Then say, “Inside the messyzone, you can do as you please.

But if you want anything that’s been left on the floor outside the messyzone, make sure you pick it up before bedtime. After that, it will be confiscated and placed in quarantine until you have enough money to buy it back. The going price is $1.”

If nothing else, this is a good way to reduce clutter in the house.

It can also provide you with a handy fund for a family pizza night.

The mess inside their rooms will likely disappear when they get tired of it and when they realize you’re not going to hound them into doing the job.

If these strategies don’t work, consider whether there might be something more serious going on.

Our counseling team notes that there can be physical or emotional causes, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for a child’s inability to follow through on simple tasks. In that case, you should see a family counselor who is trained to diagnose and deal with such conditions.

More than likely, your kids are just being kids. Best wishes as you help them take responsibility for keeping their rooms presentable!

Question: How can I find age-appropriate movies for my teens? So many movies are not family-friendly, and the current movie ratings can be misleading.

Bob Waliszsewski, director of Plugged In: I’m glad you asked! And I feel your pain.

Here at Focus on the Family, we often hear from parents who feel “sucker punched” when they take their kids to a PG or PG-13 film, only to encounter content that is entirely inappropriate.

That’s why nearly 15 years ago we began offering content-oriented reviews online. We believed (and still do) that parents needed more than MPAA ratings.

They needed to know for themselves what’s actually in a film, so they could make wise choices for their children.

As such, our Plugged In website (www.pluggedin.com) can be your one-stop destination for anything playing at your local theater. Each review contains information about a film’s overall themes and messages, as well as details about sexuality, crude language, violence, drugs and alcohol.

There’s also an archive of past reviews of movies that are now on DVD or streaming online. We offer similar evaluations of music, TV shows and video games.

From our website you can also access our blog, Facebook page, podcasts (available via iTunes) and other great tools. My favorite is the Plugged In app for iPhone or Android, which offers the same analysis in the palm of your hand.

I know it sounds like we’re tooting our own horn here, but we’re convinced this is an essential service for families. Your time and money are limited.

Why waste them by attending a movie that ends up assaulting your senses with inappropriate content? We won’t tell you whether to go or not (thankfully!), but Plugged In will equip you with the information you need to avoid those pitfalls.

Just Posted

Backlog of irregular asylum claims has ballooned to over 28,000

OTTAWA — The backlog of asylum claims from irregular migrants awaiting a… Continue reading

Canada Post asks for halt to international shipments as parcel backlog grows

OTTAWA — Canada Post has asked its international partners to halt mail… Continue reading

Killer wildfire, bar shooting draw Trump to California

WASHINGTON — The killer wildfire in Northern California and the recent country-music… Continue reading

Georgia derailment leads to town’s evacuation

BYROMVILLE, Ga. — A small Georgia town has been evacuated after a… Continue reading

Trump visits as California struggles to locate 1,000 people

PARADISE, Calif. — President Donald Trump heads to Northern California on Saturday… Continue reading

UK leader fights back against critics amid Brexit upheaval

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May fought back against critics of… Continue reading

Workers at Quebec-run liquor stores begin 3-day strike, shutting down most outlets

MONTREAL — A labour dispute that began with stickers on store windows… Continue reading

Trump’s heated rhetoric not in line with U.S. actions: American senators

HALIFAX — Two outspoken U.S. senators — one Republican and one Democrat… Continue reading

B.C. government to bring lower transgender surgery to the province

VANCOUVER — Gwen Haworth says she always knew her gender identity, even… Continue reading

Action needed to reverse Canada’s wildlife decline, conservationists say

MONTREAL — Canada may be known for its wide-open spaces and wildlife,… Continue reading

Vancouver lawyer who prosecuted Khmer Rouge leaders welcomes genocide verdict

OTTAWA — A Vancouver lawyer who helped prosecute two of the Khmer… Continue reading

Trade war between U.S., China shows no sign of abating amid tough talk at APEC

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — Leaders from the world’s two biggest… Continue reading

Most Read