Another Parent Says …

Once we made the agreement, spelling everything out, I didn’t need to interfere. Alicia got herself up in the mornings, wore her light visor, and remembered to take her melatonin in the late afternoon. She’s managing her sleep problems and is pretty proud of herself. I’m thrilled to find out that she’s mature enough to handle everything on her own. I’m especially glad because she’ll be a good role model for my younger child Jake, who’s already starting to have a lot of trouble waking up in time for middle school.

less than pulled together may drive you batty, even if she’s actually fulfilling her part of the bargain. But if your spouse doesn’t get as upset, it may be best if he or she is the one to work with your teen. Sit down with your spouse and discuss if one or both of you will oversee the agreement. (If neither of you can deal with waking your teen up in the morning, you can arrange to use a wake-up service like Awake123 [], MyCalls [], or Wakeupland [] or ask someone who’s not as likely to get screamed at, like a grandparent, to do the honors. Or buy an incredibly loud alarm clock.)

Don’t Be an Enabler

Sticking to your agreement can take more than biting your tongue. It may also require that you change some of your habits. That’s because, without even realizing it, many of us are enabling our adolescents’ bad sleep habits and taking on ourselves the responsibility that should be theirs.

My good friend Joan is a case in point. Every morning for months, Joan had driven her 14-year-old son Ira and her 16-year-old daughter Sarah to school because they couldn’t get themselves out of bed in time to make the school bus. Joan would call them and call them to get up, but they never would. Then, at the last minute, they’d drag themselves out but the bus would already have come. So, in her bathrobe, Joan ended up driving them to school every day. The whole thing was infuriating and making her a wreck.

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