The Norman Transcript

April 19, 2013

How to deal with a teen who is far from a morning person


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: I was recently taking my freshman daughter to school and was giving her a list of chores that needed to be done when she got home from school. She became enraged, to the point where I was so angry that I stopped the car and made her walk the rest of the way.

We have terrible mornings from the moment I wake her up until she finally gets out of the car, and it ruins both of our days. Her behavior is very troubling to her younger brother and sister, and she will hardly speak to her father.

Do you have an opinion as to what might make our days start a little more smoothly?

— Claudia and Stan, Moore

Dear Claudia and Stan,

Of course we have an opinion. Who is the boss in this situation? Our first suggestion would be to buy an alarm clock and let her set it to an appropriate time that would allow her to get up, get ready and get to school on time.

Kids who are not morning people definitely do not have a great kickoff to the day. Dealing with teenagers who despise getting out of bed is not pleasant for anyone.

Rules should be set. She should know what time the bus leaves the bus stop and where the bus stop is. She should also know what time you are leaving the house, and that she is welcomed to ride with you if she is in the car when it leaves the driveway.

The chores you spoke of should be an ongoing occurrence and should not have to be talked about in an already stressful time. If this requires putting a list on the refrigerator so that all family members know what is expected of them, then do it.

By the ninth grade, responsibility should have already been a part of your daughter’s routine. If they aren’t, by all means, start now.

Due to personal experience, something else we would highly recommend is to refuse to play into her bad mood. As we have stated in previous articles, we highly recommend “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Jim Faye and Foster Cline. The website is www.loveandlogic.com. A great response is to say, “I love you too much to argue.” They have no ammunition at that point.

Maybe adjusting bedtime would be good if your daughter can’t get out of bed. She will receive consequences for being tardy or absent from school, and you shouldn’t rescue her from this situation.

When all is said and done, getting up to fulfill adult responsibilities is something we all deal with for most of our lives. Learning to handle this appropriately should start now. Best of luck — and remember … when you are smiling, it confuses them.

A little addition from Sally … cold-water-soaked Q-tips placed in kids’ ears makes them never want you to awaken them again.

Please send questions to questions.classact@gmail.com. Jeannie and Sally are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily represent the views of any certain school district.

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