Should I let my child decorate her own room?

      Kids’ bedrooms are the closest they have to “personal space.” It makes sense that they want to individualize their rooms as much as possible. Yet, many parents are reluctant to let their child do much, if any, customizing: “Your walls have to be white to match the rest of the upstairs.” “Those posters are ugly—you can’t hang them.” “You can’t have a beanbag chair. They collect dust.”

      Kids with creative ideas become frustrated if they can’t try them out. One boy wanted to hang his baseball hats on the wall. Another asked to string Christmas tree lights around her window. A ten-year-old wanted to put her mattress in a tent made of sheets.

      If a child sees something appealing in a friend’s room, she may want to copy it: “Shannon has a neat lamp in her room. Can I get one?” “Alex’s wall is covered with posters and it looks great.”

      A child who feels she has little control over many aspects of her life may fight to make decisions about her room: “Why can’t I pick the color? Why do I have to have the pictures you like? It’s my bedroom.”

      Although you may have firm opinions about how your house should look, at least consider some of her ideas. Whenever possible, allow some flexibility. You may not want her to draw murals on her walls, as some kids are allowed to do, but you can let her pick out pictures or make nonpermanent changes. If she wants to rearrange the furniture or put the mattress on the floor, let her try for a while and then switch back if you like.

      If your children share a bedroom, have them compromise on temporary decorating changes, divide the space so each has room to individualize, or take turns making changes.

      If your child seems overly focused on redoing her room, think about her motivation. She may see decorating as an escape from other problems. If she’s troubled, a new room arrangement won’t help her feel better. However, if her social life, family life, and schoolwork are going reasonably well, you can assume her desire to redecorate is motivated by curiosity, creative ideas, and a desire to express herself.

     There are some real benefits to letting her try her ideas. She may pick up some artistic or practical skills. She’ll feel more independent. And she may become more cooperative as she sees that you’re willing to give her choices and some control.

     Don’t make her promise to keep her newly arranged room neat. If she’s already an orderly child, she’ll automatically straighten up, whatever the arrangement. And if she isn’t orderly, your insistence on being neat will only dampen her excitement. Instead of enjoying the new look; the two of you will end up arguing about her broken promise and your unrealistic expectations. It’s better to treat cleaning up as a separate issue, not tied to her desire to personalize her own space.

Picture Credit : Google