There comes a point in every parent’s life when the cold hand of doom clutches at the heart as the prospect of teenagerhood looms. No matter whether you sailed through your teens with scarcely a care in the world or were the moodiest kid on the block; until it happens there is no telling just where the hormones will take your little cherub.
Try as you might to think of teenage times being but a brief interlude in the overall life span, they can be very trying for the whole family. And yet, being a teenager is an immensely important part of growing up. Not only is it the time when the body changes, it is also the time when the individual emerges from the chrysalis of childhood. This not only involves a great deal of reflection for the child but the parents as well need to break the mould, stop dictating and start facilitating.
One of the ways to help this change is to create a space which is designed by and belongs to the teenager. Usually this is the bedroom. For some teenagers a bedroom redesign will mean a complete scrapping of the old style in favour of a far more adult design; for others it will mean a change of emphasis from childhood pink frills to ladylike swishes or from eclectic football mess to team colour boldness. Whatever the change, it is important that it is lead by the teenager. The only guarantee in teenage design is that however well meaning the parent is, they will invariably get it wrong.
Having said that, there are certain elements that all teenagers will welcome in their bedroom. The first is a more grown up bed. If space is at a premium, a platform bed is a great idea. With storage, writing desk or shelves underneath, platform beds can really improve the amount of space available in a room. Alongside the new bed, replacing the duvet cover and sheets will help to make the statement of an acknowledged transition from child to adult.
Once the bed is sorted, the next essential is a chill out space. Your teenager will want to entertain their friends in their bedroom and seating is a must. Cheap options include a couple of bean bags or large floor cushions. For those with small rooms, adding scatter cushions and a throw to the bed can transform it into a couch for daytime use. If you do buy a settee or chair, consider futons which double as beds for sleepovers.
Finally, make space for your teenager’s gadgets and computer. With more and more schoolwork requiring a computer, having a good computer desk in the quiet of the bedroom allows your teenager to concentrate on homework in peace. Whilst family time should never be compromised, older teenagers might welcome a TV or music station in their rooms so when designing the room extra power points should be included.
Most importantly, be prepared for the change to full teenage living to be gradual. Redesigning the bedroom won’t automatically mean the throwing out of all childhood things. The early teens are a time of switching. Expect teddy to be on the bed for days then thrown in a corner then back on again. Make sure your teenager knows that the change is in their hands and nothing will be disposed of until they are ready. This acknowledgement will help your teenager to understand that you are a partner in their development and take the sting out of this exciting and challenging time.