into the room and actually give her a little shake? Does your teen want you to back off completely and let her handle her sleep and wake-up times on her own? If your teen knows she can’t get up on her own, will she commit to not yelling at you if you agree to wake her up? (This may be very difficult for your teen, because teens roused from deep slow wave or REM sleep may be barely conscious and not remember later what they said; taping them when they wake up may give you credibility in the negotiations.) If late-night TV watching is a problem, will you both agree that your teen will lose her driving privileges for a week if she stays up until midnight watching? Both of you need to talk about your areas of contention and then clearly define what you’re both willing to commit to, what you won’t take (you don’t need to take any verbal abuse from your teen), and what will happen if things go awry. Then you’ve got to stick to your plan—which may take some biting of the tongue on your part. For example, if your teen stays up late watching television, you have to keep yourself from getting out of bed and going downstairs to admonish her to go to sleep. Instead, you have to calmly ask for her car key the next morning if no driving privileges was the agreed-upon consequence. If you think you’ll be tempted to make a nasty comment at some point, you might want to write down ahead of time the straightforward, unantagonistic words you’ll say. If things go well, you might also want to have a list at the ready of positive things you can say or have a reward system in place.
One last point here: Sometimes it turns out that one parent is better able to deal with all the sleep issues than the other, so that person should be the one to take them on. For example, if you’re a very meticulous, very structured, very organized kind of person, a teen who straggles out in the morning at the last possible second looking a little
Another Parent Says …
“Talking over all the sore points and writing up an agreement ended all the pulling and pushing we were going through. I found I had to distance myself sometimes, which was hard, but I learned that that was much better than interfering too much because that just made Matt angry and rebellious.”