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Help With Teenage Bedtime/Curfew


I have a 15-year-old son who thinks he should be able to stay up until midnight during the weekday during school and have NO bedtime (curfew) on weekends! I totally disagree. His hours now are 10pm on weekdays and 12:00am on weekends. I make him shut down any video games 1 hour before bed, which we seem to argue about almost every night. He has been telling me for years all his friends don't have "bedtimes." I say he doesn't live over there! Then on the weekend he wants to sleep until 2:00pm, and it makes my husband upset. Ideas?


His friends are in their mid teens and haven't had a bedtime "for years"?!! Your boy has a flair for hyperbole, maybe?!--ha! If so, he is a typical teen who isn't capable yet of discussing the situation with reason. That's why he needs a parent. Because of a teen's limited reasoning ability, NO LONGER engage him in an argument concerning curfew--which appears to be a nightly stress for you. Tell him, "We can talk about extending your curfew in six months, based on your ability to obey and respect your current bedtimes. So, Johnny Come-to-bed Lately, I look forward to our next curfew discussion in 6 months. Deal? Deal!"......

Your curfew times seem very fair for a 15-year old. To your teen, late bedtime/late curfew is also a step toward adulthood--sort of a rite-of-passage, if you will. This is a great opportunity for him to prove his "adultness", by being responsible, trustworthy and self-disciplined in this area. If he can prove himself, then eventually I would consider allowing him to set his own curfew by age 17 or so. However "memory-etching" consequences may need to be meted out if he fails to comply--such as starting the six-month time clock over.

As far as sleeping in until 2:00pm on weekends, I believe some leniency is acceptable for the typical sleep-deprived teen. But 2:00pm does seem a bit much. I'm wondering if there may be some excessive screen time (TV, XBox, iPhone, etc.,) occurring until the wee hours of the morning that may be contributing to this Rip Van Winkle syndrome. Also--are there some Saturday chores that need to be done by noon? If not, maybe there should be? On the other hand, understand as well, that a teenage boy sleeping a bit extra in the morning on a non-school night gives a little peace to the parenting soul. Enjoy the quiet!

Mike Smart
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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