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Bedtime for 13 year old?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

uggh!  I'm so confused right now... Lately I feel like I have no idea how to parent a teenager.  How am I supposed to make rules for this child when I don't have a clue? 


Does your teen have a bedtime?  My dd would stay up all night if I let her (and has many times--on the weekends).  She has ADD and has had sleep issues literally since the day she was born. 


She can sleep just fine once she goes to bed--that's not the issue.  The issue is that she never feels tired.  As an infant/child she never fell asleep in the car, or a stroller, or in front of the TV.  She is super alert..at a sleepover she is the last one to sleep and the first one up.


But she needs a normal amount of sleep and when she doesn't get it her ADD symptoms get a lot worse (forgetfulness, distractability, etc.)...and she does have a hard time getting up for school when she goes to bed late. 


So, on school nights, I usually tell her to go upstairs and take a shower at 9:00 --then she needs to be in her room after that --no TV or computer in her room...so I'm guessing that she's probably asleep by 11:00 but probably later some nights.  But the 9:00 thing is a constant battle that I'm getting tired of. 


I'm wondering if I should just let her go to bed whenever she wants--with the assumption that she'll soon be oversleeping/having a hard time getting up, and missing the bus and/or school.  The bus ride with her HS friends is the highlight of her day and she'd hate to miss it...and maybe eventually she would take some responsibility to get to bed at a reasonable time?  Is this an area where natural consequences will work? 


I'm thinking that, if I left it up to her, she might actually go to bed a little earlier, because she'd be taking some responsibility --instead of just trying to figure out how to stall and act like a rebellious child... 


This week I'm feeling completely unsure of every decision I make... 

post #2 of 25

My 12 y/o pretty much self regulates--but she's been this way since she was a baby.  I also ask her to be in her room at a certain point, but of course, I can't dictate when she sleeps.  I also find that no media in the bedroom is important, and that's really my only "rule".  My dd has to be up very early, and is very active afterschool.  My ds however, is a different story.  He could lie awake forever, and it is distressing to him, and definitely impacts school performance, and overall quality of life.  He uses melatonin to help regulate sleep.  You could post in special needs for more info on this.

post #3 of 25

It's been a real trial and error with us. Our DD is also 13 and has needed a LOT of sleep since infancy. Without enough sleep, she's prone to night terrors (when she was little), sleepwalking (still) and general emotional sensitivity and stress. She is a night owl by nature but through 8th grade, she had a 9pm bedtime and we were strict about it. That gave her 10 hours a night and she was always energetic and on top of things.


Then came highschool and she had to start waking at 5:30 to get up and to school on time as opposed to 7:30. At first, we stuck to the 9pm rule. In October, we decided to be more flexible and give her more control of it. We still wanted her to be in her room winding down at 10 but we didn't require her to sleep. She wasn't actually going to sleep until after 11 most nights. Well, THAT didn't work. Things got progressively worse. Her grades started to drop (which is unusual for her.) She couldn't get up in the morning. She started having really bad meltdowns and borderline anxiety attacks. She moped around all day looking depressed and distant. Everything I asked of her was unreasonable and while she's not one to fight verbally, certainly we saw the passive aggressive side of her. Last week was the final straw. We decided to go back to 9 pm head on pillow, electronics outside the door. We even put a cap on weekends as she was staying up until 2 or 3am and having to get up the next morning for activities and commitments. Now she has to be in bed by 11 on weekends unless something was planned in advance.


It's been over a week of 9 hour nights for her (as opposed to the 7 she'd been getting since October.) She really turned around. Our lovely, capable and energetic child is back. Her grades jumped back up. She's handling the stress better. She wakes easily in the morning. She's eating better and actually looks like she's having some fun again. She is not thrilled with the bedtime of course. If we hadn't re-instated the bedtime, I don't think she would have volunteered to go back. She still WANTS to be up all night but she has openly admitted that life is MUCH better when she's getting enough sleep.


It might be worth giving your DD a crack at self-regulating. Some kids like my DS are really, really good at it. Others crash and burn like my DD. Tell her upfront that this is an experiment and you reserve the right to draw the line back should it fail. She may be successful. If not, she will at least know why you are imposing the rules.

post #4 of 25

My 13 yo. needs a good, solid 10 hours of sleep to feel her best.  So, her bedtime is 8 or 9 pm. on school nights  (completely ready and LIGHTS OUT by then). 


ESPECIALLY since you know how lack of sleep affects your dd, you need to regulate it.


post #5 of 25


My kids are 12 & 14. On school nights they start getting ready for bed at 9. When they are both ready, we read together. Their lights are off by 10:15. If allowed to keep lights on, they stay up half the night and are horrid the next day. They are allowed to self regulate on non school nights.

My kids are not ready to self regulate this area all the time right now and agree they do best with a routine. They both get up at 7:00 on school days, usually on their own. I'm more concerned with the getting up on their own than going to bed on there own.
post #6 of 25
Originally Posted by JellyMomma View Post

So, on school nights, I usually tell her to go upstairs and take a shower at 9:00 --then she needs to be in her room after that --no TV or computer in her room...so I'm guessing that she's probably asleep by 11:00 but probably later some nights.  But the 9:00 thing is a constant battle that I'm getting tired of. 

I think that being sent away from the family for two hours before she actually needs to be asleep is a little extreme. I'm not understanding the point of those two hours. If she doesn't need to be asleep until 11, then may be you guys could sit down and discuss what needs to happen when to make that happen. May be changing up the routine would help.


It sounds like what you are doing is frustrating to both of you, so coming up with a new plan together could bring some peace.


On one hand, I think that natural consequences are a wonderful way to learn. At the same time, this is an area where my kids do best with some structure from me. We've got it down so that it's a reminder from me, and but that's the end of it. I just point out the time, and then my kids usually start getting ready for bed pretty quickly (though the finish up little things they are doing first).

post #7 of 25

I think they should be allowed to go to bed when they want unless they become grouchy/exhibit some other negative behaviour...in which they should be encouraged (not forced) to go to bed.  Perhaps some discussion on how much sleep people her age typically need, followed by a discussion on much sleep she needs to feel her best, and how to get it.




post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone...it's good to hear how other parents handle these things... I'm still not sure what I'm going to do.  I like the idea of telling her it's a trial to see how she does at setting her own bedtime. 

Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I think that being sent away from the family for two hours before she actually needs to be asleep is a little extreme. I'm not understanding the point of those two hours. If she doesn't need to be asleep until 11, then may be you guys could sit down and discuss what needs to happen when to make that happen. May be changing up the routine would help.


 I should have clarified; if she goes upstairs at 9:00 she might get in the shower by 9:15, out of the bathroom by 10:00, in pj's with hair combed, outfit picked out for next day, acne cream on and teeth brushed, eyebrows tweezed, etc.(I really don't know what the heck she does but it's quite the regimen) by 10:45... She is incredibly slow and she hates to rush her routine.  Plus, it's just the two of us and I'm usually in bed by 9:30 so she's not missing out on any family stuff...   And, really, I know she needs more sleep.  Ideally she should be asleep by 9:30 or 10:00 but that's just not going to happen unless she starts getting ready for bed at 7:30 or 8:00.  I don't even get home from work sometimes until 7:00...


I'm starting to think that, after a few nights of too little sleep, she'll figure out that she needs to pick up the pace and get to bed by 11:00.  As it is, her main focus is not on getting to bed, it's trying to outsmart me into letting her to stay on the computer after 9:00.  She'll say stuff like "none of my friends have to go to bed at 9:00!!!"  I keep telling her that she's completely exaggerating... I only ask her to get in the shower at 9:00.  I'm just tired of this rebellious toddler-type behavior. 

post #9 of 25

My twin sons are 16, and bedtime is no longer an issue for us. But for years they asked if they could stay up later. My response was this: if you consistently wake up in the morning before the alarm goes off, then you are getting enough sleep, and can stay up later. But if you are struggling to get up at the required time in the morning, then you need more sleep. Bedtime is based on getting enough sleep - not an arbitrary time that I set because I can.


It took a long time, but ultimately that sunk in with my sons. At 16, they are usually asleep by 10:30 (to get up at 7). We do our best to maintain the same schedule on weekends, to avoid sleeping until noon on Saturday and Sunday, and not being able to sleep Sunday night - making Monday morning a nightmare, and the rest of the week a struggle.


One of my sons needs more sleep than this, and naps for an hour at least 2 days a week. 

post #10 of 25


I have a 12yo and a 14yo. We try to have both kids in bed at about 9pm w/ lights out at 9:30. They have to get up between 6am and 6:30. Then, off to school at 7:15. On weekends, we let them stay up a bit later. But it's unusual for them to be up past 10. If they are, they have to put themselves to bed, because I like to go to bed before 11. 

post #11 of 25

It is hard for me because my daughter would like to stay up and watch TV and after wards, use the social networks on the computer until 11:00-12:00 am. Last year, she was ill with anxiety and depression and she had non- epileptic seizures. We tell her sleep is very important. She is 13 years old as well.

post #12 of 25

My 13yo dd has always needed a lot of sleep.  We've always sent our four kids (13 to 8) upstairs to bed at the same time because it was easier on us. My 13yo shares a room with her 8yo brother, who has never been a heavy sleeper.  Our solution there is usually that she's allowed to read a little later than he.  Everyone heads to bed around 8:45-9pm; the younger ones turn out their lights around 9:15, and the older ones at 9:30-10.  They're up at 7am on their own.  This seems to work.  On weekends, she'll sleep in late, but during the week, she's able to regulate her sleep fairly well.  Our problem is more with the 8yo, who will get up at the crack of dawn just to watch cartoons, regardless of when he went to bed!  I have to calculate 10 hours from his bedtime, and tell him he can't come downstairs before then, lol.  I guess I'd try letting her self-regulate, with an explanation of what will happen if it doesn't work.  In the end, the kid needs her sleep!

post #13 of 25

My mother gave me a bedtime until I was 16 years old, and I hated it.  Lying in the dark unable to sleep is no fun.  I wonder if you gave in a little, and maybe say 10pm is the new head upstairs time, if it would help.  It isn't THAT much later, but could make all the difference in how she feels about bedtime.


My kids fought me about staying up for a few years, and by the time they were 14 we let them self-regulate.  When they felt that they were in control, rather than being controlled, they often started going to bed even earlier than their previous bedtime.  It wasn't the time that was so important, it was who got to decide.  They had a few rough mornings, but I was not sympathetic and did not help them out of any problems they created.  They got things together quickly.


Is your daughter taking medication for her ADD?  Once the initial medication break in was done, my daughter slept much better when she was taking medication. 

post #14 of 25

I have 3 children, 10, 13, and 15. My oldest two go to bed at 9:00 and get up at 6:00. My 13 year old would stay up later, but as her parent it is my job to make sure she is well rested. I teach 10th grade and have kids who are always sleepy in my class. If I had a dollar for everytime I had to wake a student, I could retire. These kids get to go to bed when they want- and they are "plugged in" until midnight or 1 am. We still have bed time routines, even at their age. No TV during the week; once activities and homework are done, we have family time. About 30 minutes before bed, they shower, get ready for bed, read  until lights out. My 13 year old often asks for me to come in and rub her back, etc, until she drifts off. I see this no differently from rocking her when she was a baby, and enjoy that she still wants me to put her to bed.

post #15 of 25

My son is 12 (just turned in late Jan) and he is a lot like your daughter.  He has ADD also.  He sleeps like a brick once he's actually asleep, but getting him there is a chore.  He stopped napping during the day right around the time he turned 2 (his daycare providers HATED him) and like you said, doesn't sleep AT ALL unless he's in bed at night.  If allowed to, he'd stay up all night.  I can't really blame him too much, though, b/c I'm the exact same way.  It drives my husband nuts.  His bed time (in bed, lights off) for the past few years has been 9:30.  He currently gets up at 7:30/7:45, depending on if he has safety patrol or not.  We're about to move and he'll start a new school and have to catch the school bus which he has never had to do before, so I'll be curious to see how that goes.  lol


We thought that once he turned 12 we could up it to 10:00 b/c that is what time our niece goes to bed and she does great (but she on the other hand has self regulated her sleep since she was a toddler, and will put herself to bed early if she is tired without even saying anything lol).  It just doesn't work for him, though.  He was having a hard time getting up and getting ready, sleeping through his alarm every day, being a slug, etc.  We had to drop it back down to 9:30 for the time being.  That's what works for him. 


Since your current bedtime isn't working, I think the first thing to try would be to give her an earlier bedtime and see how it goes from there.  Maybe have her start getting ready for bed earlier?  Maybe start her shower at 7:30 or 8:00 instead of 9?  The way you describe your daughter, I just don't think that letting her go to bed whenever she wants to would be the best solution.  I know with my son it would end up being a disaster.  You know your daughter best, though.  Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

post #16 of 25

I think the 530 wake up is the issue!  I'd be cranky too if I had to wake up that early. Why so early?

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by coharmony View Post

I think the 530 wake up is the issue!  I'd be cranky too if I had to wake up that early. Why so early?

I just saw this post and wanted to update... Not sure if I said 5:30, that might have been someone else.  My daughter really should be up at 5:30, though.  She needs to be out the door by 6:45 to get the bus. She usually gets up by 6:00...


Thank you for all the responses...I had kind of forgotten about this post.  Interesting to see what time other kids go to bed. 


Here's the update (for other parents who might be dealing with this):  Shortly after my original post I told dd we would try something new--that she would set her own bedtime.  I'm usually asleep by 10:00 so I'm not sure how late she stayed up for the first few nights but after several days she looked really tired.  Several times she ended up falling asleep on the couch after school (very unusual for her) and waking up cranky and disoriented when I got home from work. 


A few times I actually heard her say "I'm going to bed super early tonight"--after she realized how awful she felt when she stayed up half the night.  Now, several months later she's started staying up later again.  She's probably asleep by 11:30 every night...but that's about the same as when we were fighting about it every night.  My evenings are much more peaceful, and I actually see her checking the clock at 9:00 and trying to budget her time.  Sometimes she even takes a shower by 8:00 if there's something she wants to watch on TV later. 


I know she's still not getting enough sleep but it's so much more peaceful without me trying to get her to bed...and her being rebellious and acting like a  3 year old. She sleeps late on the weekend...and, as I said, if she gets really sleep deprived she falls asleep after school...that's not ideal but it gives me an opportunity to remind her that she can try to go without sleep but her body is ultimately in charge, and she'll end up falling asleep in class, or on the bus, or on the couch if she doesn't get enough sleep. 


I refuse to wake her up in the morning, either.  I told her that if she's in charge of when she goes to bed, she's also in charge of waking herself up.  She missed the bus one time, which she hated because she loves to see her high school friends on the bus...I had to drive her...she hasn't missed it since.  I've actually been sleeping later because I'm not worried about getting her up.  Overall, it's been good for both of us to have her take on the responsibility of deciding on her bedtime.    I know it might not be right for some families but my dd is as rebellious as they come.  She'll do and say the opposite of whatever I say.  She's going to have to learn everything the hard way and I think I'm going to let her LOL.. Of course, this bedtime plan only works because she likes school and would hate to miss it...Otherwise she'd stay up late and conveniently oversleep every morning... 

post #18 of 25

My 13 year old does have a bed time on school nights.  It is at 10.  He is usually in bed by that time and knows its lights out at exactly 10.  He also likes to shower at night, this allows him to get more sleep so he can get up at 7 and be ready to leave for school by 7:30.  He did used to not feel tired and I did have a hard time to get him to go to sleep by his bed time, which used to be 9 but after a while he got used to it especially after I moved it to 10 last year.  He also did not like taking naps when he was little.  He has always been very energetic.  He still is.  But now he has more to do with all the homework and when he is done, I have him help me with some mild chores.  After he is finished with this and hanging with friends, he gets tired, showers, and goes to bed.  He just needed something to put all his energy into.

post #19 of 25


Originally Posted by JellyMomma View Post


This week I'm feeling completely unsure of every decision I make... 

I SO get that.  I always doubt myself--many decisions I make, my tone of voice, my overall approach...ug.  It is kind of a drag.  I know other parents who seem very assured of their parenting, but who's to say that they are right and I am not?  What is "right"?  Ug again.


My main rule with my 15.5 year old is that all technology has to be off 45 minutes (i-pod and cell are in my clutches and he doesn't have a t.v. in his room--or in the house, for that matter) before his bedtime (which is 10 on school nights and he is allowed to set his own bedtime on weekends, but with only books to read, he usually conks out around 12. 


Parenting a teen is so hard.  Good luck!


post #20 of 25
I think you do right things with your dd, just let her gradually go later like 30 min then in a couple of month another 30 min and she will be fine. watch out for more serious problems though you r lucky to not have them now!
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