Why is my child always in their room? It is not uncommon for teenagers to want to spend a lot of time in their room, but if you are concerned that your teenager is spending an excessive amount of time in their room and not engaging in other activities look at some of the reasons why they do not leave their room. This might help you to understand your teenager better.
They have a strong need for privacy.
The need for privacy is part of the teenager’s need of independence. Teenagers don’t want their parents to know their business. This need for privacy does not mean they are up to no good (3). Teenagers want to explore and discover who they are and want to do it without feeling judged (2).
They want to feel in control.
When the teenager closes the door of their room, they are in their own domain, their safe space. This can be one of the reasons they get upset when their parents insist, they clean their room. It is their domain, and they feel that they control it (3). Unfortunately, parents sometimes need to intervene when hygiene is getting out of control.
Lack of awareness.
When a teenager is not spending a lot of time with their family, it can also mean that they are not aware of the importance of connecting with their family. The teenage years are known as a time of “self”, self-discovery, and self-awareness. This is not a time of awareness of others (3).
The developing teenage brain is very egocentric. It is possible that the teenager thinks the world revolves around them and that they are always in the spotlight and being evaluated. For a break of all these feelings of being in the spotlight they retreat to their safe space, their bedroom (2).
They are struggling.
Although there are various reasons, as mentioned above, why your teenager does not leave their room, it can also mean that they are struggling with their mental health and need help. Parents be aware of their sleeping and eating habits, emotions, and mood (3).
How to get your teenager out of their room?
Stop criticising. Don’t let criticism be the first thing you say when the teenager gets out of their room (2). As parents we can sometimes be more task focused than people focussed.
It can happen that the teenager’s interests change. Parents need to figure out what these interests are and add this to their suggestions for things to do as a family (2).
Organise a day trip or event for the family. Involve your teenager in the planning and organising of the trip or event.
Teenagers have very big appetites; food can be used to get them out of their room, take them to their favourite take-away shop or restaurant (1).
Avoid nagging and asking too many questions (2). Be careful not to become the nagging parent.
Watch something on tv with your teenager. This will help them feel the focus is off them. Some families watch a weekly tv show together (1).
How can a counsellor help?
- Help the parent understand what their teenager is experiencing.
- Helping parents to work on strategies to help their teenager.
- Providing a safe space for the parents and the teenager to talk.
- Creating an awareness for parents of how they talk to their teenager, and to be more understanding.
- Providing a safe space for the teenager to discuss their emotions, feelings, and fears.
- Advocate on behalf of the teenager with the parents about issues the teenager is struggling with.
- Helping the teenager with coping strategies for fear and anxiety.
- Assisting the teenager with possible mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
- Helping the teenager to create awareness of the people around them.
- Teaching coping strategies for spotlight fatigue and the need to feel in control.
- The counsellor can assist in helping the teenager understand themselves and assist in building their self-esteem and self-worth.
- Very important the counsellor becomes a sound board for the teenager. After discussing some issues with the counsellor, the teenager might take this issue to their parents for further discussion and possible implementation of the decided strategy.
Teenage years can be a confusing time for the young person. As a parent it is important to create a positive environment where the teenager feels safe and supported. During their teenage years your teenager needs patience, support and understanding. If you or your teenager is struggling, remember there is help available.
Corey Human has nearly 20 years’ experience working with teenagers and young people at risk, or struggling with self esteem, depression, video game addiction and other problems. He provides counselling to adolescents, adults, couples, parents and families in both English and Afrikaans.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3067 9129
1. Anita Clear, https://anitacleare.co.uk/how-to-get-a-teenager-out-of-their-bedroom/
2. Imom, https://www.imom.com/how-to-get-your-teenagers-out-of-their-rooms/
3. Mumlyfe, https://mumlyfe.com.au/teen-never-comes-out-of-room