They’re so messy!

When my stepchildren come to stay they way they leave stuff all over the house infuriates me. I think it’s so bad mannered but I can’t say anything because we do get on quiet well and I don’t want to upset anything. My husband and I argue about it all the time though because I want him to make them tidy up and he won’t. What can I do?

“You see it as untidiness and bad manners. They may see it as feeling at home and, without realising it, be a way of saying “This place is mine!” If it really upsets you the best tactic is to say so, calmly, directly and clearly but without any criticism. So, you don’t say “This is such a mess!” or “You’re so untidy!” What you say is “Could you please pick up your socks and put them in your room? Socks belong in bedrooms! Thanks!”

The other point to consider is picking your battles. In the end, what is more important – that the house is a little untidy when they come to stay, or that they come to stay with a will and you have a good time? There are important issues you may want to put your foot down another time; save the fight for them.

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