Aahh!!! My 13-year-old won't go to bed!!!

(36 Posts)
overthehill Tue 10-Jul-12 23:40:59

I've just had another battle with my 13-year-old ds: it got to 11pm and he was still nowhere near going to bed but started trying to mend his school bag, which is ripped to bits, but he insists on using instead of a brand-new rucksack as "nobody takes a rucksack to school". It happens every night and very often ends up in a shouting match while his father just goes to bed and leaves me to it. It's a real struggle to get him up in the mornings and he's permanently exhausted. Do I just give up and ignore the fact that he's still faffing about at 11pm (the shouting matches clearly don't help) or what?

Any advice gratefully received!!!

What sanctions/punishments are imposed? Any electrical things taken out of his room?

What happens if you just ignore him and let him get on with it?

overthehill Tue 10-Jul-12 23:52:38

I know this sounds feeble but it seems impossible to impose sanctions because my ds won't listen to me and that would only work with a united front, which we don't have as dh is completely oblivious to what happens due to being asleep, and he takes a laissez faire approach anyway.

I make him put his phone on to charge last thing at night, but he spends ages in the loo on his phone beofre that. He doesn't have any other electrical things in his room.

If I ignore him and let him get on with it he takes even longer to get to bed. I feel as though I have no control over him and he starts shouting back, accusing me of making a fuss about nothing, always being on at him etc. Sorry if this sounds so pathetic but I feel like a pretty useless parent.

vanillaskinnylatte Tue 10-Jul-12 23:54:39

Up until the age of sixteen, I was sent upstairs at 8pm every night to get ready for bed and read for half an hour. How teenagers have changed! ha!

Has a fixed bedtime ever been imposed? Looks like you will need to start taking a harder line by dishing out punishments. At the end of the day he needs good sleep to do well at school and for health reasons. So you'll have to start being cruel to be kind IMO. Threaten to confiscate something, no TV or something along those lines. And your DP needs to support you in this and back you up.

Must be really hard though. Although I was in bed by 9pm every night, I was still a complete terror for my parents!! grin

I'd take his phone away.

I always stayed up late reading at that age, BUT the condition was that I was in my room and in my bed.

TheCrackFox Tue 10-Jul-12 23:58:06

You coukd try going to bed and turning the electricity off at the mains.

<clutching at straws>

...and bollocks to the 'united front'. We don't have that in our house (DP is a softy) but I am a hard arse.

Grow a pair and tell your 13yo child WHAT is expected of him and what will happen. Sanction as needed.

overthehill Tue 10-Jul-12 23:59:56

About a year ago I talked to dh about imposing a bedtime and he told ds off his own bat (and without consulting me!!!) that this would be 10pm. I thought this was much too late at the time as ds always pushes boundaries anyway so was furious that dh had decided on it unilaterally. Needless to say, the bedtime just got later and later, and dh has ALWAYS gone to sleep himself long before ds is anywhere near. So it's a battle I have on my own and I've given up on trying sanctions as ds just ignores them, and dh undermines me whenever I try and do anything like that. What a dysfunctional family!!!

TheCrackFox My Mum used to do that with my Sister - she turned off the power to her room after 9pm.

God... I can still hear the screaming wink

overthehill Wed 11-Jul-12 00:02:46

I did once try taking his phone away but dh made me give it back to him! Honestly, it's unbelievable, he undermines any attempt I make to discipline ds, which obviously makes the whole thing worse. Maybe turning the electricity off at the mains is the only thing that might work....

overthehill Wed 11-Jul-12 00:05:03

I'm just no good at imposing discipline: I tried teaching once and the teenagers said "Oh miss, you're hilarious when you tell us off!" Needless to say, I decided that wasn't the career for me, and sometimes I think I made a big mistake having children (and thinking I could do better than my parents).

Cancel the phone contract...and kick your DH in the bollocks! FFS... he's fine to fuck off early to bed but undermines attempts to discipline? Twat.

vanillaskinnylatte Wed 11-Jul-12 00:12:57

Dont be so hard on yourself - its certainly not easy and its made even harder if your DP does not back you on these things.

You dont need to get angry when imposing discipline. Just talk to your son and tell him that he needs to start getting to bed 9/10pm (whatever time you feel is sensible/reasonable). Tell him that he needs to go to his room at that time to wind down etc and that if he ignores what you say you will be taking something away. Dont get confrontational and shouty but just tell him calmly what will happen if he doesnt take you seriously? Maybe thats best approach.

I guess a start would be getting him into his room at a decent time...so he would then be more likely to actually hit the sack, rather than be pottering around the house doing things!

NoComet Wed 11-Jul-12 00:14:26

What planet are you lot on!
I didn't stop reading unroll midnight from the age of 12, neither does my DD1.

You can impose upstairs and out the way, but you cannot insist on sleep.

It just doesn't happen.

Pigs may fly and hell may freeze over and my DH is here grumble ruling, but some of us are no good at going to bed.

And I'm crap at mornings regardless of when I go to bed.

TheCrackFox Wed 11-Jul-12 00:16:10

Start going to bed before your DH. Pretend to be asleep if needs be. Let him deal with it for a change. He might be more willing to present a united front.

NoComet Wed 11-Jul-12 00:17:13

Sorry typos due to DH trying to convince me to do something else, I shall have to tickle him severely wink

Cheddars Wed 11-Jul-12 00:20:59

I would give him an alarm clock and tell him he must get himself up and ready for school. He needs to start taking responsibility for himself.

Having a few detentions at school might make him realise he needs to sleep in order to get up.

vanillaskinnylatte Wed 11-Jul-12 00:23:50

Errr...you CAN insist on sleep! He's 13, not 30.

My parents insisted with me and all of my siblings. We did as we were told.

Im clearly rebelling now though....22 mins past midnight & counting! Just dont tell my mum wink

overthehill Wed 11-Jul-12 00:32:33

Don't mention the phone contract, JTGK, this was something else that ds arranged with dh without my input and I was annoyed about it as I thought it was a waste of money. Now he's got this fancy new phone he's even more motivated to spend loads of time on it.

Sorry SBB, I don't quite get all of what you're saying(?) but I do think you've hit the nail on the head as part of the problem is that he's never liked going to bed, and he's just trying to put off the evil moment. But he's clearly not getting enough sleep and recently has started downing Paracetamol all the time as he's got headaches from being over tired.

Thanks for being kind, VSL; I know I have a problem controlling my anger, which ds has too, so we don't make a good combination! I find it hard to keep calm when he gets so abusive but I recognise that's a common problem with teenagers and he's not a bad kid really. I also get extremely angry with the way dh doesn't deal with anything, but that doesn't help me to cope with the situation on my own. DH goes to bed earlier and earlier and I'd have to make a superhuman effort to beat him to it but maybe it's worth a try.

overthehill Wed 11-Jul-12 00:36:18

Cheddars, he does have an alarm clock and does eventually drag himself out of bed - but recently we had a letter home saying he'd been late for school too many times - but he just doesn't care. I did make a stand the other day and refused to make his pack up for him, pointing out that he'd have time to do it himself if he got up earlier.

overthehill Wed 11-Jul-12 00:51:19

Taling of sleep, I think it's time I went myself. Thanks everyone for your suggestions and keep them coming, but I think I need to tackle DH about it again and come up with a plan - although easier said than done. Night night!

MrsJohnMurphy Wed 11-Jul-12 01:12:48

I don't think you can insist on sleep, but certainly insist on being in his room at a certain time. I was a bit of night owl too from that age, but does he not self regulate at all, surely at some point he must get so tired he just crashes at 8pm or whatever.

I think my parents were pretty lax at that age really, I got into bad habits because I was off school and immobilised for a year, so my body clock was totally skew wiff. When I got back to normal, I would still have late nights, but now and again would crash super early, he must catch up on sleep somewhere, do you let him sleep in at the weekends?

Maryz Wed 11-Jul-12 01:17:49

I would stop concentrating on his bedtime, and instead concetrate on him getting up.

Work out some sort of sanction for not getting up on time. For example, here, if ds isn't up by 7.50 I remove his itouch and he doesn't get it back until the end of the day.

If he can get up on time, the bedtime doesn't matter.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Wed 11-Jul-12 01:23:44

dont give him a bed time or lights out, give him a, this is my time, you go upstairs do what you please, but DO NOT DISTURBE ME PAST 10 PM the rest is up to him,

If I rembember correctly in senior school my time management was my problem. If I was late to bed and late to school that ment what ever detentions I got, however one detention a week ment one night or evening of the weekend I did not see my friends or had to be in at 8pm when everyone else was out later.

those are the consequenses 11 year olds listen to.

flow4 Wed 11-Jul-12 05:14:52

I'm sorry to say it, but this doesn't sound like a teenager problem, it sounds like a husband problem. sad

The two of you don't have the same ideas about parenting; but instead of negotiating and presenting a united front, he's acting unilaterally, failing to back you up and even undermining you. Imo, a woman in this situation has no chance with a teenage boy - or very little. And it will probably get worse, because your husband is teaching your son to ignore you and disrespect you sad

I think my advice is to shift the focus of your efforts and attention. Forget about getting your son to bed for a while and concentrate on getting your husband to co-parent. Read 'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph (I think) and ask your DH to read it too. Talk to him about it. Find a parenting class for you both. Ask him actively for his support - for example ask him to take over responsibility for bedtime and/or mornings. Ask him to be involved in parenting decisions, along the lines of "We need to decide about DS and x, y and z. Can we agree what we're going to do?"

If he won't willingly take on more responsibility, I think you may then need to opt out. Create as many opportunities as possible where DH has to make the parenting decisions. Go to bed early, as suggested. Or go out, take up an evening class... Go away for a bit - take a holiday - during a normal working/school week grin - and leave them to it. That's a win-win situation for you, cos if DH does ok, you can say "You're obviously much better at bedtimes than I am... Can you take them over please?" And if he struggles, you then have a 'way in' to talk about how tough it is and what to do. smile You might even find he appreciates you more! grin

nooka Wed 11-Jul-12 05:43:40

I agree with flow, this is about how you and your dh parent and the fact that you don't have a united front. Is your dh not concerned about the letter from school? If your ds is late and tired he is going to do badly at school, surely that matters to your husband?

My ds is also 13. He goes to bed at 9pm, lights off at 9.30pm (even in the holidays unless we are doing something special). No debate. When he started to faff around we told him that if he got into bed late then we would send him to bed earlier in future. But it was an approach that dh and I agreed together and ds knew we meant it. He also knows that he needs his sleep and that it's not an arbitrary cut off.

theredhen Wed 11-Jul-12 11:32:46

Totally agree that your DH is actually making things very difficult for you. If you were a single parent, you would be the only one dishing out the rules and there would be consistency.

It's not that you're rubbish at dealing with kids, it's that you've got your DH undermining you!

He's the real problem here and I suspect it's not just this issue he undermines you with meaning your son is left with little respect for either of you, so fully intends to make up his own rules at 13 yrs old.

overthehill Sun 15-Jul-12 00:07:01

Sorry for not replying to the last few messages - have been too busy to go on Mumsnet for the last couple of days.

Well, DH did agree to have a talk with DS about this - I would have preferred it if we could have spoken to him together but there was no way DH would agree to that - and he did admit that he should go to bed earlier and relinquish his phone sooner, and things have been a little better since (bed at c.10.45 rather than 11.30pm).

He is now struggling with headaches and flu-type symptoms due to his lack of sleep, over-busyness and end-of-term-itis and even was in bed just after 10 tonight which is a miracle for him! Unfortunately he can hardly ever have a lie-in at weekends as he has activities on Sat and Sun mornings, so that doesn't help.

Flow4, we do actually have a copy of Raising Boys - DH bought it for me! - but he's also read another book about teenagers (can't remember what it's called) which basically says let them do what they want and they'll regulate themselves, which he thinks is great. He's always treated DS like he was a lot older than he is and I think if was aimed more at older teenagers anyway; ds was about 11 when he read it so I was hardly convinced that it applied to children of his age anyway.

overthehill Sun 15-Jul-12 00:44:03

Oh, I forgot to say that the main reason that dh agreed to talk to ds was because he was worried that my shouting late at night would disturb the neighbours! Whatever happens, dh always makes me out to be the one in the wrong and it riles me so muchangry.

The idea of going off for a few days and leaving dh to it does appeal, but he would NEVER admit that he was wrong about anything relating to childcare.

FannyFifer Sun 15-Jul-12 00:55:39

Your husband is an arse.

Goofus Sun 15-Jul-12 13:17:39

Agree, Fanny.

Your DH would no way agree for you to all have the talk together?

Does your DH have any respect for you? Any at all?

mumzy Sun 15-Jul-12 13:53:56

I don't quite getwhy your dh wouldn't speak to your ds together. Without both of you presenting a united front you might as well give up. I'd kick your dh into shape fiirst as he's the real problem. Your ds is 13 now and this is a relatively minor issue god help you when you need to discipline your ds over something more important when he's older

flow4 Sun 15-Jul-12 18:41:45

If you have a copy of Raising Boys already, ask your husband to re-read the bits on men supporting their partners with parenting, because he's clearly forgotten them. hmm He doesn't have to admit he's wrong - in fact it sounds like your best bet here is to say "OK. I'm struggling with bedtimes/whatever else. You know best, so you take over. I'll see you in the morning/next week/every other Wednesday/whenever"...
Sorry if this sounds harsh. But from here it looks like your son is being a bit of an arse because he's being shown exactly how. sad I think you need to work out how to be 'adult' in this situation; it must be hugely tempting to behave like an arse too...

PropositionJoe Mon 16-Jul-12 16:27:50

Hmm. I also have a 13yo DS. He is in his PJs in his room by 9 without fail. Granted now he is on summer hols he isn't turning his light out much before ten and spends the time reading and texting, but in term time it is lights out and phone downstairs at 9.30 or very close. But this is because he has always had a set bedtime and DH and I enforce the same rules.

As others have said, your problem isn't really the bedtime...

EvenBetter Tue 17-Jul-12 20:19:22

My mum was advised when I was a kid, to make me be responsible for getting myself up etc. I set my alarm, I got up when it went off. If I was late (never happened) I faced the consequences of missing the bus/teachers mouthing off about it. If I didn't bother to do my homework I faced the consequences from the teacher.

Tell your son he can stay up till 11:00 ONLY if he does housework the entire time.

DontEatTheVolesKids Wed 18-Jul-12 17:58:56

I was told on MN that homework means nothing in secondary, sanctions are puny & it counts nothing towards final marks. confused confused.

So who drove you to school when you missed the bus? hmm Coz parents get fined now if their DC miss school too much. They can't easily be uninvolved & let their kids take all the consequences.

I can do anything but turn off the mains electricity & DC will still stay up very late, on occasion (have resorted to removing lightbulbs, but it's a huge faff, I have to get out of bed early to put them back!). Not sure about turning off mains electricity to get them to go to sleep; I'd have to get a battery-operated alarm clock myself in that case.

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