Ds 12. Just that [sad](17 Posts)
He won't go to bed when I tell him so it's a 20 minute argument. Then when he's tucked up he'll put his light on and read more- then cannot get up in the morning, I wake him 4 times. Last week he nearly slept in and got a fright (we catch a school bus here, there are no public service buses so if he misses it we're snookered) but I still had to wake him plenty today and yesterday.
Last night he came and got himself a cup of tea at 9. I said OK bed for 9.30. So from 9.30 on it was "go to bed" "I haven't finished my tea" "well hurry up then" .......stalling for time......ignores me and watched tv. This went on for 25 mins (Grandma was here) until I paused the tv and had to raise my voice. I'm so tired of it. Tonight he was asked to do one of his chores, he went to do it, go way-layed and went to do something else (productive) but left my chore which I needed doing. 20 mins later, he's got the quad stuck in a bog while I'm trying to get his younger siblings to finish their homework and get to bed....so I have to hurry them and go and rescue ds. Then he comes in at 8.45 and rushes upstairs "I've only got 15 minutes of internet left!" I said OK, well when it's finished, get your pjs on (so that would be at 9, early, because he was so tired this morning, this was covered in an earlier convo) and i'll make you a cup of tea and then you'll get to bed earlier. I went back up at 9.05- still laying on bed, in clothes, on ipod. I'm just listening to one song he said. I said I made it very clear that you are to come down, at 9pm, in pjs, because you are exhausted. There is no time for a cup of tea now, give me your ipod. He threw it on the bed, "oh you're funny" he said, being sarcastic, I said in fact, don't come downstairs, it is too late and you are too tired. Get your pjs on and get to bed now. Slight disagreement, to which I re-iterated not to come downstairs. FF 20 mins, I had emptied washer, put a load on, few other bits, made my tea, came through and he's sitting in his pjs in the chair. I just repeat myself...over....and over....and over.... so I chatted with him very calmly, repeating how clear I had made it that he was to go to bed, he is so tired, cannot get up in the morning, etc, and I must have told him 5 times if not more, to go to bed, but he either ignores me or he stares away.
Dh works away 5 days and he is away just now. Ds is definitely leaning very much to dh just now, but had very much been a mummy's boy for a lot of his childhood. He treats me like he really does not like me.
Do I need to step up discipline? Am I lacking in consequences? He has had no kindle or ipad for about 2 weeks now, probably for being cheeky, and I still have them. He had no ipod today until 5pm. I have it now. He has chores- dishwasher, coal bucket, log basket he feeds his own animals, and does other things he is asked to do. But everything is not without a bit of a battle and I'm worn out.
Stop him drinking tea before bedtime. Or make sure it’s decaf. Could be keeping him awake or make him need toilet.
Plus depending on when he has to be up 9:30 is quite early.
He doesn’t sound like he’s being that bad. Do you praise him for all good stuff he does?
Initially when the tea drinking started, last Oct (?) it was a lovely time he and I would have together, after the younger ones were in bed. Just a half hour. I am so aware of the time each of them loses out on 1-1 as it's just me through the week and it's so hard- on us all, so the time with him on an evening and a catch up was lovely. Decaf is a good idea but he's always been a night owl I doubt it's causing the problem, he fights the sleep but it's becoming more difficult now as he's growing and needs a good sleep.
He has to get up at 7. Going to bed for 9.30 never happens but I try to aim him for that as he faffs so much it's more like 10.15 before he's even picked up his book.
I do praise him, he's a great kid, very mature, reliable, trustworthy, sensible, he's not one to let me down at all. He's almost too big for his boots because he is a little old for his years.....which is why I think he's trying to puff out his chest and assert himself in a way which is actually causing more harm than good.
OP, I was just coming on here to put on another thread along similar lines. My DS is also 12 (13 in March) and a night owl, and getting him to go to bed is a nightmare; getting him up in the morning is painful; getting him to do simple chores takes asking/ telling/ commanding/ threatening again and again, and like you OP I am worn out. I do the "revoke electronics" consequence too and it makes no difference in his behaviour. He is also constantly winding up our DD10, as well as DH and me, with stupid little "pranks" like sneaking up and shouting "BOO!" He takes absolutely nothing seriously - everything right now is all about his amusement.
A few months ago I had started watching West Wing with DD before bed, when DS was watching 24 with DH. 24 ended and DS wanted to join us. DD protested but I didn't feel I could exclude DS. She was right to protest because his presence is very disruptive. There is constant jostling for position on the bed and chatting, and as soon as it's over, and it's time for bed, he uses her getting up as an excuse to rugby tackle her to the ground. Cue shrieking and pandemonium and I can't take it anymore! I cancel the next night's episode, and the night after that we watch together and things are calmer, but the cycle soon starts again.
Like your DS, OP, mine is generally a decent boy. Bar some silliness from time to time he's never in trouble at school and he seems generally to keep his head down. He is on the receiving end right now of some low-level, but constant, piss-take from some boys at school but he doesn't want me to intervene. He's become kind of a loner, having in the past had a good-sized stable of friends, although when he comes home from school he spends some time playing games online with some of these boys, and he doesn't see how strange one might find that.
It's clear he wants attention, and could do with some allies, but I don't know how to give that to him in a way that will help rather than alienate him. I do try to praise him when he does something well (like sit through an episode of TV without causing any disruption!), but to be honest there hasn't been much to praise him about at home lately, and whatever praise there is doesn't seem to have much of an effect.
It sounds OP like we both need to amend our nighttime routines but I don't know to do that in a way that doesn't "punish" other DCs. I do know that teenagers' body clocks do shift forward into the night, and then into the next morning, and unfortunately school days still haven't caught up to that fundamental change. Is there any way at all your DS's wakeup time could be pushed out just a little bit? I will say it has helped a little bit with mine - I used to get him up at around 6:45 because that is when DD needed to get up and I only had time to make breakfast once, but I've re-jigged the morning a little bit and how he's not up till 7:15, which is plenty of time for him to get to school and has helped a little bit in getting him up. I turn the light on in his room as soon as I get up so his body has time to adjust to waking. You might also try changing to decaf tea in the evening and see if that makes any difference.
I'd be keen to see if anyone else has suggestions. Good luck!
twitterqueen, if he can't get up he clearly can't choose his own bedtime.
bramble, I'd make his bedtime conditional on how easily he gets up. If he's up, cheerful and on time in the morning, bedtime can be 9.30. If he's being an arse in the morning, 8.30 bedtime
The point is that you are not allowing him any personal responsibility at all - over his bedtime or his getting up. The more he's 'babied' and told what to do, the more he will fight. So you can send him to bed at 9 or 9.30 and he'll spend hours deliberately doing something else because he doesn't want to do what he's told.
At 12 he needs to be encouraged to start making decisions and taking responsibility for himself.
Interesting comments, twitterqueen - one issue I have about my DS is that he always needs to be "spoon-fed" his next step.
Having said that, I'm not sure how to break the chain. He has no real sense of moderation - he'd stay on video games the whole day long if we left it up to him. Suggesting he shower in the evening is akin to inviting him into a torture chamber. DH told him 3 times over the weekend that his shoes needed to be cleaned and DS promised on Sunday morning he'd have it done before school on Monday - but they weren't.
Is the answer just "ok, then let him stink and go to school with scuffed shoes and face the consequences"? Do people/ teachers really judge a child of 12 for such lapses or do they judge the parents?
And while it would be great to give our DSs some agency over the time they get up in the morning, if they need us to get them to school (and mine do - sounds like OP may live rurally and hers may need her as well) then they really need to live by our timetable. A child of 12 is still in our care, and we as parents still have a duty to make sure they get enough sleep for their growing bodies. While I am all for giving them as much independence as possible, that's a duty I'm not sure we can give up just yet.
Tough love is needed. "I've not finished my tea" at bedtime = tea goes down the drain. He needs to know his stalling tactics aren't going to work. Also as PP said, I hope this is this decaf tea? Your DS shouldn't be having caffeine after about 5pm if you want any hope of him sleeping.
You need one rule only - the time when he must be in bed, head on pillow ready to sleep. Preferably it will be the same time every school night How he organises the rest of his time is up to him, just so long as he does what he needs to and has his head on the pillow by sleep time.
He'll rebel about too many rules and mishear you if you keep changing the rules - tea tonight, not tomorrow, this time tonight, that time tomorrow etc - but there's no getting away from a 9:30pm (say) sleep time. Set an alarm in his room at 9:15 if he's inclined to "forget".
I agree with Mojito. You need to be firm. If he can’t get up in the morning he’s clearly not getting enough sleep. 9.30 is quite late for a 12 year old. I’d be tempted to move it to 9pm until he’s proved he can go to bed without any fuss.
Try to make sure that he’s off electronics by 8.30 at the latest and you have sone time with him before he goes to bed.
I like my 12yo settled in bed for about 8.30pm and then to wind down for a bit by reading or listening to music. She’s usually asleep by 9-9.30pm on a school night. She has to be up and out by 7.45am though.
I’m surprised that some people consider 9.30pm early for a 12yo though.
wait till the light nights when all his pals are still out playing at 9.30 <runs>
Love this post! It's not just me struggling with a 12 year old bedtime and the struggle to get up in a morning 😊.
Mine doesn't go to bed til 1030/11. But he then goes straight to sleep. He has improved since we had a conversation about how important sleep is for growing etc at his age.
The only thing I need to tackle now is getting him up faster - he is always up and ready in time to go, but it's a struggle to get to that point. I have to keep going in 😔.
Ds 12. Just that.
Welcome to the world of when they get a mind of their own and want to assert that. [sad ]
It's a natural and normal development that they go from being a compliant little child who is used to doing as they are told, to an independent thinking teen. I'd be more worried if they didn't feel comfortable asserting themself. Now you just have to begin the journey of negotiating boundaries and rules. Some you let go and the important ones you insist upon.
I have similar bed time problems with my almost 11 year old. He is exhausted. On Tuesday he was in bed by 8:30 reading. 9:00 i went to put lights out. He wanted to finish his chapter. I forgot to go and check until 9:40. He still had his light on. So lights went out. 10:10 i caught him reading under the covers with a torch. I Took it away. At 10:20 he got out of bed again because he said he couldn't sleep....
If you can’t get the tech stuff away from him take out the batteries, light bulbs and fuses or if you can turn of the electricity until he gets the rest he needs.
Buy those awful two bell alarm clocks - one next to his bed and the other the other side of his room so he has to get out of bed to turn it off.
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