"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Do I Nag Him O'er and O'er? Quoth the Mother: Nevermore!!

Question

We are having major problems getting our 15 soon to be 16 year old out of bed in the mornings for school. We have changed his bed time to an earlier time and he still will not get up. We have to go into his room 3 and 4 times each morning. We expect him up by 7 or 7:10. He will not get up until 7:20 or after which then causes him to almost be late each morning. It’s a constant battle. Making him go to bed earlier is not helping. He just doesn’t care. Any suggestions? Thank you

Answer

No more rapping, tapping at your son's chamber door! (Nothing better than "The Raven" at Halloween.)

As you have recently discovered, putting a teen to bed earlier definitely does not guarantee he will arise at an earlier time. To get a more exact, productive answer to your question, I probably need some more information. Regardless, here are some thoughts, based on the information given:

1. Do not go into his room anymore to wake him up . At this age, he is MORE than capable of getting ready on time.
2. He needs to bear the burden and responsibility--not you.
3. At his age, everything is Privileges vs Responsibility. If he is not responsible, than various privileges should be revoked.
4. It really doesn't matter what time he gets up, as long as he does what he needs to do in the morning and is ready to leave on time.
5. Lack of sleep in today's teens, many times directly relates to their having electronics in the bedroom at night. Does he?

Here's what you do: Sit down and tell him that you no longer will nag him about getting up in the morning. Tell him that he is old enough to be responsible without your prodding. Also, share with him that his ride (you? or the bus?) will leave promptly at 7:45 (or whatever) every morning. If he is not ready to go at that time, then he will miss his ride. It will then be his responsibility to find his way to school. Also be perfectly clear, that if he misses his ride, then a privilege (iPhone, use of car, Friday night with friends, etc.,) will be revoked and/or a consequence given. This consequence must be fairly extreme in nature, such as no iPhone for two weeks or doing the dishes for a month, or early bedtime for three weeks, etc..

You need to stop making this YOUR problem to solve---it is HIS. Now, go forth and enjoy your mornings. Contact me further for additional information.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"
smartmike59@gmail.com

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