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Not letting a 14 year old stay up all night.

(38 Posts)
ancienthistrionics Thu 16-Aug-12 10:09:44

I have this problem with our 14 year old. In the holidays he loves to stay up all night, drinks loads of coffee etc. plays his computer game, watches films or whatever. In the past we have had problems with mild depression and bad behaviour so I have said he can't do this and banned anything with caffeine until he has his sleep patterns back to normal.

I do believe you should never wake a sleeping teenager, but is this common? He sleeps all day which means he gets no fresh air or social life. He has plenty of friends but seems to really like this time on his own.

FluffyJawsOfDoom Thu 16-Aug-12 10:11:45

I think it's very common - but that doesn't mean it's good!! YANBU to ban his caffeine - I'd also consider banning his computer after a certain hour but I'm mean

squeakytoy Thu 16-Aug-12 10:12:22

Why do you believe you should never wake a sleeping teenager... confused

Kick the bugger out of bed, he will be arsey, and he will need a coffee to wake him up, but he will probably be tired at a more normal time tonight.

You are enabling this if you let him sleep all day.

I dont think banning caffeine is going to make any difference here!

ancienthistrionics Thu 16-Aug-12 10:22:33

Squeaky, he's still up, hasn't been to bed. The sleeping teenager thing is a joke - something everyone I know with a teenager says!

Fluffy, I'm loathe to take the computer cable because that's what we had to do loads when he first came to us (we adopted him two years ago) as a punishment for bad behaviour <fellow meanie emoticon>

How can I stop him sleeping all day? I was going to try to persuade him to limit himself to a two-hour nap and a normal bed time.

There is also a discipline issue because I told him he wasn't allowed any coffee but he made it after we went to bed (it's our freshly ground rocket fuel too).

MrsTomHardy Thu 16-Aug-12 10:24:50

My teenagers play xbox until really late too but they don't drink's only really my 15 year old that will play it until 5-6am then he sleeps until 1ish.....I think it's common behaviour amongst all his mates

Pagwatch Thu 16-Aug-12 10:25:44

If taking it away is the punishment for bad behaviour then it is appropriate. Staying up all night and sleeping all day is bad is drinking coffee when yousaid no.

You seem to be trying so hard to see his behaviour as teenager stuff that you are ignoring the element where he is deliberately breaking your reasonable rules

changingallthetime Thu 16-Aug-12 10:27:49

Why don't you not buy the coffee??

I think if you adopted him at 12 there are likely to be different issues to any other teen and you prob need more appropriate advice.

JennerOSity Thu 16-Aug-12 10:28:57

Poor sleeping habits can get really ingrained and do affect emotions and moods - certainly you need to help him manage this to prevent him from doing stuff which is not in his interests.

Can you educate him on what happens to the body when he does things his way, that he needs sleep at night even if he doesn't want to, and negotiate letting him do it sometimes as a treat only?

Are there any older cousins he admires who could get him out and about doing cool activities?

nokidshere Thu 16-Aug-12 10:34:06

no way would I let my 14 year old stay up all night. Its bad enough that he is going to bed at 10-11pm in the holidays!

And I am happy if he wants to moan and stamp his feet (not that he does) because I am the parent and he does as I say. End of. He tries all the "all my friends do" etc and other such lines but it makes no difference to me.

Don't fall into the trap of letting him do what he wants in order to make up for the fact that he might have had a difficult life or is adopted. All children and teens need boundries however much they fight against them.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 16-Aug-12 10:35:10

Ds17 has been practically nocturnal during the holidays, he went back to school yesterday and though he came home tired yesterday, he's getting his sleep patterns back already.
Oh, and he got 4 As and a C in his Highers and is doing Advanced this year and is heading to Medical school next year.
I know all kids are different, but I've never thrown him out of bed when he sleeps all day, if you can't do it as a teen when can you do it?
I really do believe that working life/responsibility starts so soon and in this day and age will last for 50 years.
Give them a break.

gamerwidow Thu 16-Aug-12 10:37:49

It is common for older teenagers to want to stay up all night and sleep in that doesn't mean they should be allowed to.
Stop letting him have caffeine in the evening and take away the games console if he can't limit it's use. Poor sleep patterns are very closely linked to low mood and this behaviour is bad for his mental state. He is also going to find it impossible go concentrate at school if he keeps this up.

achillea Thu 16-Aug-12 10:38:05

Think about what is happening to his body. Don't worry about being a meanie, this is his health we are talking about.

If he is indoors all day he doesn't see enough daylight and loses vitamin D. This can lead to depression for a start, apart from other health problems associated with lack of absorbtion of calcium etc.

If he is watching a screen his brain is constantly stimulated and his brain literally can't switch off. The screen has to go off at least half an hour before he sleeps (differs for some).

Caffeine takes time to get through the system so you should limit the time he drinks caffeine up to, but I think the screen will keep him awake for longer.

Having a 2 hour nap will certainly keep him up all night, unless he has it at 6am in the morning.

I would make sure he gets up early by going in and opening the curtains halfway. The light in the room will help his brain to think it's daytime and wake up naturally.

Have you talked to his friends parents? They surely can't think this is a good idea.
Sorry to sound like judgypants, I've seen a lot of families fall into the trap of thinking this is normal behaviour when it's actually quite destructive.

NameChangeGalore Thu 16-Aug-12 10:38:48

Haha, you should never wake a sleeping baby because you'll make them cranky. Never heard that about teens though!

Tbh, I'd only worry if he did this day in day out. Maybe you should give him errands during the day to get him out of bed?

manticlimactic Thu 16-Aug-12 10:47:48

I let my DD (16) stay up as late as she wants. On the proviso that she is up before 11am the next day and she has set jobs to do (dishwasher, feed cats etc.). I explained I didn't want her bodyclock getting used to lazing about as it will be tough to get it back to normal when she starts college in September.

Clumsymum Thu 16-Aug-12 10:55:05

No really, at 14 he is still very much a child, and as a parent you still have to set the rules, and those rules are designed to help him grow up living in the real world with other people.
- I have just explained this (again) to my DS of very nearly 13, about him taking responsibility for his own welfare and participating in family life.

NO way at 14 should he be up all night. I would also be putting a stop on computer/console activity after 9 p.m. at the latest (currently 7:30 here). That gives his brain chance to calm down, and he may well go to bed purely out of boredom.
You need to set this as a rule. Explain, it isn't a punishment, it's just a 'normal' way to live - here I set a 2 hrs per day limit on computer gaming. Whenever I have to tell DS he can't have any more time, he always asks "what am I being punished for?" and I have to explain that 2 it isn't a punishment, it's a reasonable limit. this happens around 3 times a week. Tiresome but necessary I'm afraid.

I realise that you have to tread carefully, that being an adoptive parent changes the dynamic a bit, but I'm firmly with Professor Tanya Byron here, as a parent you shouldn't be afraid to say 'no'.

cornybootseeker Thu 16-Aug-12 11:01:32

my ds is 14 - he has sleep problems and has meds for this. I work really hard to get him to sleep which takes ages. If I left him he wouldn't sleep till ridiculous hours.
I have found that waking him in the morning is really important, even if he wants to sleep and is cross with me. The morning routine is just as important as the evening one.
I would wake him at 9 each morning in the holidays and make sure he actually gets out of bed (could take ages - does with my ds)
Then make sure he doesn't fall back to sleep in the day - this is also hard work!

ancienthistrionics Thu 16-Aug-12 11:03:27

Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify, he is allowed coffee occasionally in the mornings (he has to ask), but was careful to remind him he wasn't to make himself a pot so he could stay up all night (which he is never allowed to do) and I also said he couldn't help himself to the coke in the fridge (brought by a friend not us!) and he did, so was in trouble for that (plus it has been poured away). Jenner I absolutely agree, I'm usually strict on bedtimes - in his old life he did exactly as he pleased so it's a bit of a danger zone in my eyes.

pag not sure what you mean - surely breaking reasonable rules is very typical teenager stuff? Unless I've read you wrong.

Achilea, I think you're right (another way in which he's just like my toddler!) I've just had a talk with him and he has promised not to sleep during the day and go to bed at a normal time. I have friends coming over and he will have to come out with us to get some fresh air.

It's interesting this is common among teens - I would never have been allowed to do it in a million years.

cornybootseeker Thu 16-Aug-12 11:05:31

I read somewhere recently that in teens the sleep pattern naturally changes so that they don't get that sleepy feeling until much later, which also means that they then want to sleep in.

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 16-Aug-12 11:07:12

But why?
Just let them sleep.
OK Ds is 17, but even at 14 I still think it's time to relax the rules.
If they can get up for school why would you force them out of bed during the holidays?

Viviennemary Thu 16-Aug-12 11:11:32

I can certainly see your point. If you are faced with a grumpy miserable teenager. Maybe relax the rules for weekends only, even during the holidays. Then it would be a kind of compromise. I don't think banning coffee is a good idea. Of course if it gets ridiculous six or seven cups a day that's different. But one or two cups a day is fine. Or try decaff. And not allowed coke at 14. Why not.

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 11:11:51

My DD is 14 and I dont tell her what time she has to turn her light out, during the holidays, but I know she can't last past midnight. But she isn't allowed to play games past 9, and tv has to go off at 10.30 She just reads and gets up about 9ish in the mornings .

Clumsymum Thu 16-Aug-12 11:14:38

If you have no plans and there is no reason for them to be up in the morning, then certainly let them sleep-in - I seem to recall sleeping in till 11 or even 12 in summer hols at 15 or 16 . BUT that was getting EXTRA sleep, I wasn't staying up until 4 a.m. or whenever (I did sometimes read late, I recall, but not until early hours)

ancienthistrionics Thu 16-Aug-12 11:20:46

The thing is before we had him he was allowed to do whatever he wanted, and seeing as it has taken us two years to produce and happy, well-behaved and reasonably hard-working boy, I don't want to mess things up. I don't mind if he goes to bed late in the holidays, but to stay up all night?

DP and I drink very strong fresh ground coffee, and I don't really think he should have more than one milky cup max. I have offered to get him instant but he wants what we have. I don't buy coke, but he could always buy himself a can if he wanted. I only said he wasn't allowed to drink it all night to stay awake.

JennerOSity Thu 16-Aug-12 11:31:27

Sounds like you are doing a great job! You are braver than me to take on an older child as an adoptee - I have thought about it often but am scared of the emotional damage they may have and my ability to help them with it (and not make it worse) - the concern over that isn't helped when you hear about SS who don't tell the adoptive parents the full story of what they are taking on or support them properly afterwards - I am full of admiration and envy for you.

achillea Thu 16-Aug-12 11:34:52

Well done ancient, for adopting a child over ten, a round of applause for that, because not many people seem to want to, and even more rare, a boy. The adoption part of it seems to be what is worrying you here, that you are changing things too much, but you have to consider that he is just a teenager that needs rules like anyone others.

It may actually be worrying him that he is going back into old habits and be reminding him of his previous family life. I would be firm and this will reassure him that you really care and are prepared to commit yourself to making sure he is well.

Perhaps print out facts and figures about sleep patterns, vitamin D, screens etc so that he understands and this will give him something to tell to his mates if they question him.

If other families let their dcs do that it is their own affair. You can let up later, when he is 17, as Ladybeagle has done.

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