Emsellem, Dr. Helene A., M.D., Whiteley, Carol. "Part IV Family and Community Support -- 12 Supporting Your Teen." Snooze... or Lose!: 10 "No-War" Ways to Improve Your Teen's Sleep Habits. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
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Snooze…Or Lose!: 10 “No-War” Ways to Improve Your Teen’s Sleep Habits
stopped playing her children’s game and started to receive their respect.
TAKING A POSITIVE APPROACH
It’s important not to be an enabler, but it’s also important not to take on sleep issues like a vendetta. The agreement you make with your teen does need to be enforced, but you don’t want it to be the cause of another war. If things don’t go well, it’s not necessary to rant and rave; the consequences that were established should simply go into effect. And if things do go well, some positive, reinforcing words will go far. You can even set up a reward system if you want.
Whenever you can, it’s also a good idea to give your teen the benefit of the doubt. For example, if your agreement says she’ll wear the light visor for 20 minutes every morning, let her try going without it in the summer when she feels she gets more outdoor light and has less trouble waking up.
For a lot of teens, especially those who have often had the way smoothed for them, it can be hard to take on sleep-related responsibilities. But teens really need to understand that they’re plenty old enough to take on the job of regulating their sleep-wake schedule and for being a responsible family member. As parents we should support them, but it’s not up to us to shoulder the entire load. We don’t need to try to wake them 20 times in the morning, we don’t need to stay up late putting together a school lunch the night before, we don’t need to wake up from our own sleep to make sure they didn’t fall asleep in front of the TV. If we do, we’re just enabling the continuation of their bad sleep habits and keeping our teens from growing up. A reality check of the dynamics in your household will help you see if some changes need to be made.
Work to Change School Start Times
One of the best ways you can support your teen is to join with other parents and local advocacy groups to have the schools in your area start later in the morning. The extra sleep teens would get would pro-