If you thought getting toddlers to go to bed was tricky, you want to try a teenager for size. Let me tell you a story about the teenager and the battle at bedtime.
Bedtime battles are a daily occurrence in the house and I am now so tired, I am starting to wonder if the sleep deprivation you have when your children are babies is somehow a test for what is to come years later.
The teen is nearly 14. It is interesting that he no longer refers to himself as 13, evidently being nearly 14 gives him more weight in his many arguments with his parents.
We are so unfair. This has been said over and over. We are the only parents who make their child go to bed at a reasonable time (or at least we think it is reasonable). We are the only parents who don’t let our child take their phone to bed. It is so unfair (if you repeat the last phrase in the manner of a whingeing teenager, you get the general idea.)
Bedtime for the teen on a weeknight is between 10 and 10:30. Personally, I think that is fine for a 13 year old. Actually, if I’m honest, I think it is too late but that is the current bedtime. We do let him stay up a bit later on weekends and during the holidays.
Bedtime means saying goodbye to the the little people in his phone and off he goes to bed.
We have endless moaning, sighing, claims of unfair treatment. When we finally extract the phone quite literally from his sweaty hands, he starts to behave like a two year old with stomping, snarling and general unpleasantness. It isn’t pretty.
It seems to be getting worse.
Last night, I heard myself saying one of those awful ‘parenting’ phrases that I am quite certain that my mum said to me; “if you want to be treated like an adult, start acting like one.”
Argh! As soon as it came out of my mouth, I wished I could push it back in and take it back.
Still, I suppose that the age-old phrase is right.
Teenage years are tough. I do vaguely remember and I know that he is going through so many physical and emotional changes which must be exhausting.
Also, he is a person who, like his mother, needs lots and lots of sleep. Without it, he is cranky. But of course, even if he quite literally yawning ever two minutes, he is NOT TIRED.
So I am standing my ground in the battle of the bedtime for now. I think he needs the sleep, he has a longer school day, he walks to school and back every day and with all of the other changes, I genuinely think he does need more sleep than ever, even if he doesn’t agree.
As for the phone, I would quite happily take his phone and stamp up and down on it until it is in thousands of tiny pieces. Harsh maybe, but SnapChat has become my arch nemesis. There are always ‘streaks’ to be finished and a hundred more selfies to be taken. Oh and then, of course, you have to say goodnight to everyone. Bring back The Waltons, life was far simpler then.
Am I being unreasonable not letting him take it to bed? I would be genuinely interested to know what other parents do. My worry is that it will continue to beep and whir until the early hours as it does seem that many of his friends do keep chatting way beyond 11 pm.
But for now the battle lines are firmly drawn and I am not wavering, but I am really tired as quite frankly, I would rather be asleep at 11 pm each evening than arguing with my teenage son.
What do you think?