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To Sam


hey same so this is a complex situation but to cut a long story short my sister has been going through some really tough times recently and her attiitude regarding school etc has turned lazy unorganised and of hatred. A lot has changed this summer for her but there is still a long way to go and she has agreed to go back to school for a fresh start but the problem is her room. It is very messy unorganised etc and she tells me she can't help it but have it this way. Now it may only be her bedroom but it affects a lot of her life including her organisation and everything at school so iwas wondering if you could give me a few tips on how to tell her to tidy it and keep it organised. Any suggestions would be appreciated thanks x
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

It sounds like things have been really difficult at home for a while. It seems that your sister has been going through tough times, and this has affected everyone else at home too. However I can also hear how much you care about your sister and want to help her where you can - your sister is lucky to have you.

You’ve said how much you want to help your sister and I understand it can be very frustrating not to be able to help when you feel it’s really needed. It sounds like you and your sister are very different and that you can see that having a tidy room would help her enormously. It can be hard to understand someone being okay with something that you would never be okay with. Strangely, when people are so different, trying to push someone to do something your way can make them do it their way even more.

It is really great that you want to help your sister and it’s really nice to offer that help. However, once you’ve made the offer it’s then up to your sister if she wants to accept your help and it’s also important to respect her decision about her own room.

Another approach to helping might be to ask your sister what help she needs, as she may have her own ideas and you could help her with those. Perhaps your sister would like a tidy and organised room but it just doesn’t feel achievable. Maybe you’d be able to help her organise it and think of ways to keep it tidy like making a list of things to do, tidying one area at a time or listening to music while tidying. Remember that she might still decide not to do this and perhaps she’d like your help with something else.

As I said at the start of this letter, it sounds like you’ve all had a tough time supporting your sister. It can be really hard watching someone you care about go through difficult times which can impact on you as well.

Getting help and support yourself is important so that you can continue to help your sister and cope with everything. We have a page on Family relationships which you might find useful and you can talk to one of the counsellors at ChildLine any time you need to. They’re available 24 hours a day - you can call them for free on 0800 1111, you can log on for a 1-2-1 chat or you can send an email through your account – these take a little longer to reply to (up to 24 hours).

In the meantime please take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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