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Would you wake up an older teen for school? - Page 2

post #21 of 55
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

You have quite the memory!  Yes, that is him.


I would no longer say he has written output issues (I think he was just a very late bloomer).  He writes really well (it has turned out to be one of his strengths) although he is a little slower at writing than others, and his handwriting is atrocious.  <=  This is just a OT update smile.gif


I don't disagree with your post - or anyone elses, for that matter - it is just hard for me to wrap my head around the fact a 16 year old needs help getting to the bus on time.  This is a person who can learn to drive, vote in 2 years, go to college, live alone, etc.  I guess that just adds fuel to the fire of helping him master this skill.


Jpiper - I do not know if it is a guy thing, but DD (13) has no issues with getting herself on the bus.  

That's great about his writing!  


Re the bolded - most other 16 year olds have had years of getting up and getting out of the house.  We've homeschooled and regular schooled, and they each require different things.  And if he has executive function issues (ADHD), he's going to be slower to develop strategies to keep himself on task and on time, and will likely require more explicit coaching than a kid with typical executive function abilities.

post #22 of 55
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
also what would really help is to have 2 or 3 alarms going off every 5 mins. even today i am not a get up as soon as the alarm goes off. at the first alarm i change sides. at the second alarm i open my eyes. at the third alarm i get out of bed. and i am up.



I had my alarm set for three different times, at intervals of 10 minutes. And it too that long to get her up. She says that she now sets her alarm the same way, so she can get herself up in time for classes.

post #23 of 55

Coming back to say that I would approach this by establishing incremental goals.  For instance, between now and winter break, establish a schedule and support him in achieving and maintaining it.  So, get up in the morning and pay attention to how long things take him.   Together figure out how long he needs from getting out of bed to getting out of the house, then work back from there to a goal bedtime and wake up time.  Then for the next few weeks get up with him and just be around.  If he's late, you can both figure out where it went amiss.  If you help him reflect (metacognition) and plan to correct for next time, you're building skills he needs for things like holding down a job and voting :).


I'm doing just this with my teenager who's gone back to school after 1.5 years of homeschooling.  It's been very interesting, and she's come up with strategies that work for her but wouldn't for me.  It's been trial and error, but she hasn't been late since the second week of school.


If he figures out, with your support, what he needs to be successful and how much time it requires, he should hopefully be able to be independent in the new year.

post #24 of 55

This is a kid who may have ADHD issues, and this is his first year of formal schooling?



I understand the unschooling/independence thing, I really do--it may even overlap somewhat with Montessori methods.


But it sounds to me like the exact opposite of what your son may need in real life.


I think you have many interesting and creative ideas about parenting, but why would you expect him to suddenly act like a working adult if he has been unschooled for most of his life, and may have ADHD issues?


He is not an adult.  He is a 16-year-old child, with many recent emotional and physical changes.  More importantly, he is a child with a parent in the house, who is ignoring him at wake-up time? 


What time does he go to sleep?  Are you hands-off about that, too, or does he just go to bed when he's tired?


If you've decided to go with formal schooling rather than unschooling, then perhaps you need to let go of the unschooling house M.O. in favor of an M.O. that is more conducive to formal schooling? 

I'm sorry if it sounds like I am being harsh.  But it just sounds to me like the ideas of unschooling, independence, etc., are taking center stage over what is actually best for him, both in the short term (being able to manage the new school/schedule) and the long term (being TAUGHT how to manage the new school/schedule, as well as being TAUGHT how it affects him to stay up late and then be unable to get up in the morning).


I also wonder, if he may have ADHD issues, what you are doing to deal with those?  My understanding is that people with those issues need extra training to learn how to plan, well, just about everything. They may have different sleep/exercise needs than most, and they seem to have a high occurrence of food allergies/chemical sensitivities, like gluten, dairy, artificial colors, preservatives, etc.


I understand the unschooling/independence thing, I really do--it may even overlap somewhat with Montessori methods.


But it sounds to me like the exact opposite of what your son may need in real life.

post #25 of 55

I don't know if it's because I have ADHD issues, but I have trouble getting up in the morning too.


Does his alarm clock have a snooze button? It sounds like that's all you're really doing, acting like a snooze button.

post #26 of 55
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

The bus is at 7:45.  I do not think he minds going to school (there is some stuff he likes and some he does not, but overall the pros outweigh the cons).  I do not think he is trying to avoid school.  


He simply has real issues with going to bed on time and waking up in time to make the bus.


Yesterday he missed school  entirely because he missed the bus and I was not home to drive him in (no public transit where we live - although walking (2.5 miles) might be an option.


I typically wake up around 8:30, quite a bit after he is supposed to be up and off to school.


He has an alarm clock - he sets it, and hides under the covers when it goes off.  We are getting him another alarm clock today and placing it on the other side of the room.


I also called the school this morning and asked them to read him a gentle riot act over the issue.  Hopefully that will help.


So here is my question:


Should I get up early and make him get on the bus?


1.  Yes - it could affect his grades, he needs help to learn to be punctual, etc.


2.  No - he is 16.5 - he is old enough to get himself on the bus and if he does not he should reap any consequences.  


Any thoughts?


My immediate though was 7.45 is an early wake up time for a teenager.



It doesn't sound like he is getting enough sleep or there could be an underlying health problem (maybe iron or thyroid).

He is 16 so needs around 8 1/2 to 9 1/4 hours of sleep a day. That means to get up at 7.30 am he needs to go to sleep at 10.00pm (with 15 min thrown in to fall asleep).

Maybe melatonin supplementation could help him?


Also it is probably still a good idea to keep him away from overstimulating activities a couple of hours before bed.


Personally I would wake him up every morning until he got the hang out of it himself.

post #27 of 55

Yes, I'd help him get his day started.  I have two who really benefited from the scaffolding to help start their days, both until they finished high school (they were public schooled all the way down the line -- not even a transition as an understandable circumstance).  And I still help long-distance (couple thousand miles) with that sort of thing, although rarely and only for things like confirming they've gotten up for an early flight, or double-check that they're visible online the day of a GRE.  I mean, I ask DH for help getting me up in the mornings.  bag.gif

post #28 of 55
I would get up and make sure he got to school. He's an older kid, but he is still a kid.
post #29 of 55

1- I think it's just fine, until kids grow up and leave home, to wake up a few minutes before they do, knock on their door and say "Good morning" when they need to get up, and eat breakfast with them.  Or, if you think he needs to learn to get himself up, make sure he has an alarm clock and don't knock on his door until 15 minutes after he was supposed to get up.  So, if he doesn't get up on his own, he has less time to get ready, but he's still not alone on an island, in the mornings.


2- If your kid is bothered by whatever consequence the school gives for repeated tardies, let him learn naturally how to stop earning them.  My 13-year-old is that way.  He's capable of being a total sloth in the mornings:  hour-long showers, sitting on his bed daydreaming in his towel for half an hour when he should be getting dressed, eating breakfast at a snail's pace and having absolutely no sense how close he is to the start-time of school (or whether he's PAST it).  He would prefer that his Dad or I take total responsibility for managing his time and reminding him every 10 minutes or so, what he's supposed to be doing.  While that might make some mothers feel needed, it doesn't help prepare him to be an independent adult someday.  So we started leaving him alone, after saying "Good morning" and simply not driving him to school until he's ready to go, on his own.  We might offer a breakfast he can eat in the car, but being "ready to go" cannot exclude eating something and packing a lunch.  We had a conversation with his principal, so he doesn't think we just don't care about school, and the principal agrees with our approach.  Our kid doesn't like getting tardies, doesn't want a detention, and after being late to school, straightens up and takes more responsibility for himself...at least for a while.  Sometimes the lesson bears repeating.


3- If your kid doesn't care about whatever the school does to him if he's tardy, then you have to worry about yourself.  Eventually, someone official will blame you - the parents - for not getting him to school on time, and you can't let that happen.  Muscle him to the bus stop or into the car, at the appropriate time, even if he's still in his lounge pants.  If that doesn't motivate him to take more personal responsibility for getting ready, keep looking for something that motivates him.  There has to be something.


Good luck!

post #30 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Taximom5 View Post

This is a kid who may have ADHD issues, and this is his first year of formal schooling?


No - he went to a brick and mortar school last year (grade 10) and did cyber school for grade 9.



I understand the unschooling/independence thing, I really do--it may even overlap somewhat with Montessori methods.


But it sounds to me like the exact opposite of what your son may need in real life.


Very hard call.  I think there are lots of good things about unschooling and fostering independence - but I also know many kids who are ADHDish flourish with structure - which has not been our way.  That being said, and despite my griping here, DS is doing better (both academically and in making good choices) than almost all the kids I do know with an ADHD diagnosis.  I could babble on and babble about why what we has done worked, for the most part - but I won't.  Suffice to say I do think US/fostering independance can work with some ADHD kids - there are caveat and pitfalls to watch out for, but that is the same to any learning system.


I will also say one of the reasons he may have done as well as he has is because I have a tendency to micro-mange/helicopter parent. bag.gif  I suspect that is common in people who have ADHDish kids - but it is not a good idea in the long run and I am trying to back off.  I do occasionally have trouble figuring out if an action (i.e waking a 16 year old up) is micro-managing or age appropriate.  I like the idea of scaffolding that others have spoken of - and then backing off when they have consistently succeed at the task.  




Edited by kathymuggle - 10/17/12 at 6:23am
post #31 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by k x s View Post


My immediate though was 7.45 is an early wake up time for a teenager.




He has to be on the bus by 7:45 - his wake up time is 7:15 - although he usually rolls out of bed at 7:35.


I doubt he gets enough sleep.  I tell him to go to bed, and he is always "5 more minutes, mom".  I suppose I could insist, unplug computer, etc…but it comes down to not wanting to micro-manage when a 16 year old goes to bed.  We have had numerous conversations about it.    He is by nature a night owl.  I bet he gets about 7.5 hours sleep a night.  I know he needs more.  


One thing we might (have to get our butt in gear) do is exercise more.  He has said he would like to take up running.  I could encourage him - maybe run with him on occasion, make sure he has the right shoes, etc.  Running may tire him out and exercise helps with ADHDish tendencies.



In any event, it is clear many of you would wake up a teen in these circumstances…thanks for the feedback, everyone!  

post #32 of 55

If he misses enough school, or is late enough times, the question about what happens in your home in the morning is going to be posed to you by the school.  If you know that he isn't getting up, is starting to become chronically late, or has absences due to this issue, the ultimate responsibility is going to fall on the parents, who are responsible for the children in their home.  It doesn't seem like the situation is really there, but just pointing out that saying that you sleep later than your son so you don't wake him is probably not going to be ok.  He needs help right now-he might not in 3 or 6 months, but he does now.  I'd wake him and be clear that timely attendance is part of going to school.  Sorry-might not be the answer you were looking for!

post #33 of 55
Thread Starter 

Every time he has been late, I have called in or signed him into the office.


The same day I wrote the OP, I called the office, explained we were having issues making the bus, and asked if someone could gently talk to him about it.  His guidance counsellor will.  They were actually very quick to reassure me on the phone that they appreciated that I was pro-active about the whole thing, and was keeping them in the loop.  They told me they have numerous kids who regualry show up late, disappear from school, etc...and they never hear from the parents. Suffice to say the school is not unhappy with me or the even the situation.  We do not have the "unexcused abscense" rules that exist in the States. 


My gut says the school does not overly care.  He doesn't do drugs, sell drugs on property, skip classes regularly, fight, swear at teachers,destroy property etc, etc.  I suspect they have bigger fish to fry.  wink1.gif  I am concerned because I don't think regularly being late sets up good habits.


In any event, I have decided to take a more proactive role in the whole thing, and ease off when he demonstrates independance in getting up on time in the morning. 

post #34 of 55
If he doesn't get up, he should be woken up. He's old enough to learn to be responsible for getting himself up and off to school.

There is no reason, barring illness that he shouldn't be able to get up on time for school.

7:45 is not early for catching a bus to school. If he's too tired in the morning may e a parent should step in and get him to bed earlier.

Part of raising our children to be responsible adults who can function in the real world is teaching them that if they need more sleep, the solution isn't staying up late and blowing off morning responsibilities, the solution is going to bed earlier so they can get up on time in the morning.

My older kids have always caught the bus between 6:15 am and 6:30 am. Somehow they all managed to get up and go on time. My littles catch the bus at 7:34 am. I get up before them and then wake them up at 7:00 to get ready.
post #35 of 55
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

Is this your son who was unschooled until recently, has written output issues and may have ADHD?


The vast majority of strategies recommended for kids with processing and executive functioning issues is to scaffold them - give them the support they need to get to their zone of proximal development.  So, get him to his "just right" level of challenge, where he can be successful consistently, then withdraw the scaffolding incrementally.  


So I think you do need to get up and get him going. He needs help to figure out a rhythm that works for him - getting to bed reasonably (I get it, he's a teenager), and getting up around the same time.  I have a teen with major sleep issues and we get her up within an hour of school day wake-up time to try to keep her rhythm consistent.  If she sleeps in Saturday, she stays up late, etc etc.


This is the term I was thinking of -- executive function. Impulse control and personal discipline are executive functions.    Getting up for school is a lot more than just "Oh, that's the alarm, I should get up."   There has to be level on top that says "I *need* to get up, because I have the following steps to accomplish before I leave the house."


Executive function skills come with both age and practice.  You can't expect a kid who is too young to exhibit adult levels of executive function -- but you also can't necessarily expect a kid who hasn't been doing a certain thing to immediately pick it up just because others his age *can* do it.   Research evidence shows that other executive functions need to be practiced to improve performance-- I don't think that getting yourself up is any different than those.

post #36 of 55

I'd look at this another way:


Not "should I have to wake him up" but "he's lacking some skills that help him get out the door and to school on time". He's also lacking self regulation skills. What can you do to help him learn the skills? 

1) Make him turn off the screen earlier. It's not micromanaging if he doesn't yet have the skills. If he has the skills and  you're still managing it for him, that's micromanaging. For him, I'd say if he has to get up at 7, screens are off at 10. He can then get himself ready for bed. Phones should be stored in the main area of the house, computers off. (I'd be so mean as to unplug it and take the power cord if it's in his room and he's not turning it off.)

2) Help him walk backward through his morning routine -- you need to leave the house at 7:40. How much time do you need for your shower? breakfast? packing up? whatever else?

3) Help him get into the habit of getting up in time. While he's 16, because he's been homeschooled, he hasn't needed to learn this skill. Now he does, and it's clear he's not picking it up naturally. Some people just aren't morning people, but that doesn't mean they can't learn to get up in the morning.

4) Enforce meaningful consequences when he misses the bus. Is there any other route he can take? A back route that's safer? At 16, he should be able to walk along a country highway safely. Really. He needs to walk facing the traffic and keep his wits about him. But if my 11 year old can walk to school along a road that has no sidewalks (admittedly a relatively quiet road), your 16 year old should be up to the task.

post #37 of 55

Great thread!  Kathy, over and over I read that kids with adhd tendencies consistently need a year or two more to grow up than is typical.  When they're 18 years old, developmentally they demonstrate milestones of slightly younger kids.  Were you OK with helping him get up when he was 14 or 15 y.o.?



She'd sleep through her alarms or turn them off without being truly conscience. She'd be so angry at herself and no consequences natural or otherwise could change the issue. We took her laptop and phone away at night for most of a school year thinking this would help her sleep... no, she just tossed and turned. She really couldn't settle in before 10:30 or 11 (and that only gave her 7 hours at most.)


This is my dd's experience, and mine.  Age 44 and I still have a dreadful time waking up. The thing that helped was (besides medication) having obligations to other people: having school-aged kids.  Feeling horrible because I made my kid late to school is a great motivator. 


Do kids who have to get up before dawn and feed animals and shovel out stalls have these same problems? Not only do you have an obligation to someone else (the animals) but feeding them is more concrete than following a lesson at the white board. 

post #38 of 55
I imagine kids on farms have developed the habit of getting up on time to do their chores. And this is an issue of habit too. He can get into a habit of setting an alarm clock, and getting himself up and together and out the door, but he isn't in it yet. While they're in school, it's our responsibility to make sure they get to school so we have to either get them into the habit, or get them up and deal with it.
post #39 of 55

I'd get him off to school in the morning. My mother slept in every day and never got us off to school, and in my freshman year of college I flunked my two morning classes. Not because I didnt want to go, but because I simply could.not.get.up.and.get.out.the.door in enough time to get to class. No matter what time I went to bed- I just couldnt do it. Ill bet I missed about half of every class, appointment, or meeting I had before 9:30 am until I was 25 years old.


There's a lot to be said for fostering someone's ability to be a "morning person". IMO, you arent born with the attitude that the early bird catches the worm, but it can either be taught to you or you have to learn it yourself- perhaps the hard way. 

post #40 of 55

I think its a bit unkind to wake him up in the mornings but not put him to bed at a good time at night. I know he may not like it but skipping school, being late and not sleeping enough are not good habits for him to be developing and if you are waking him up or driving him to school you are already micromanaging. Waking him up is a band-aid solution anyway. Not much point in waking him up if he's tired so he can go to school and not function/learn


The way I see it its a bit of a catch 22.

He either goes to bed at an appropriate time so he is able to wake up and catch the bus on time


He consistently shows up late/misses the bus and is tired throughout the day.


I guess if showing up late isn't an issue then its not a big deal.


If you do plan on restricting his bedtime. I would give him time to prove he can wake himself up and go to school. i.e If you can prove you can get up everyday for school then I wont restrict your night time activities but if are late to school from now on we are going to take away you phone, laptop at night etc.

It still doesn't solve the problem of him being tired in the morning if he does get up of his own accord but I think it will push him into regulating himself. If he can't then you need to start doing it for him and slowly let him take responsibility for it himself.

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