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Bedtime Struggles with Tweens and Teens

by Michele | January 29th, 2009 | Teens, Tweens

With a soon-to-be 13 year old in the house, there have started to be some discussions about bedtimes.  On school nights, bedtime doesn’t tend to be an issue.  He is in bed at 8:30 but can read until 9:00, or later if he can’t sleep.  The 8-1/2 to 9 hours of sleep he receives seems to be enough, as he is ready to go in the morning, and he doesn’t mind this time.

However, the discussions have been based on weekend bedtimes.  With younger siblings, bedtimes are extended, and all are sent to bed at a later than school night bedtime.  And that is where the problem lies.  The typical argument is, “But I am the oldest!”

While this is true, the next two youngest are only 1 and 2 years younger than he.  However, both of them need more sleep than he does.  So, my husband and I have been pondering how to handle this situation.

With weekends being short, bedtime on those nights will be decided by us.  Just one very late night on a weekend can affect tiredness during the week.  However, to give him both responsibility and freedom, we are going to try something different in the summer.

Our plan simply is that he can choose his bedtime. . .with a catch or two.  He needs to choose a time that allows him to be productive the next day, and he can’t be so stubborn about staying up “late” that he falls asleep on the couch.  This will give him the freedom of deciding his own bedtime, but he will be responsible for the consequences.  If he doesn’t pay attention to the needs of his body and falls asleep on the couch, for the next week, we get to choose his bedtime.  Additionally, if we need to do something early the next morning and he has difficulty being ready, again we get to choose his bedtime for a week.

I am hopeful that this will be a win-win for both sides of the equation.  Our son will get to be in control of his bedtime, but we will have a supervisory role when needed.  It seems that it should be a winning solution, but only time will tell.

  1. Thanks for being a top dropper on my blog for January!! You can pick up a Top Dropper award there.

  2. Weekend bedtimes are tough. We try not to let ours stay up too late past their normal bed times because getting them out of their routine is bad for all involved! *LOL* But, they are only 6 and 3. Of course the baby has her own schedule no matter what the day is. But, when they’re older, extending their bedtimes a bit seems fair.

    I just wanted to say THANKS for being in my TOP 25 EC drops for January. I’ve shared some link love in exchange. 🙂

  3. iceah says:

    yeah teens now a days are different from our time and stll we have to give them enough discipline hope this will work both ways c:

  4. Tim says:

    I have been reading up on this topic since I am a relatively new stepfather to a now 4 yr old girl, a14yr boy and 17yr girl. For the teens, the posts say that setting a bedtime is defined as possibly contributing to teen depression and the lack of sleep associated with no mandated bedtimes is recently linked to depression formally and just obnoxious teen behavior in general. We had to be upstairs in our rooms by 10pm and asleep by 11pm in my parents’ house after I was 15 and is probably true today. When my wife and I go to their house today it is pretty clear the show is shutting down at 10pm and that is ok.
    What I do not hear is the reasonableness of parents saying that 10pm is the bedtime and that there are other ways for teens to learn self-management and self-discipline. What about the parents’ need for sleep and the need to monitor the activities of tennagers in this media age? I do not go to sleep until the older kids are upstairs, and in their rooms there are no tv’s, cell phones or computers. As of now what happens is 11pm on school nights and 1 on weekends and it is too late for me and my needs. I am working on the situation but as a single mother for many years these trends were already started when we met 3 years ago.
    All I say is that it is not an easy issue but having kids go off to college believing a vampire lifestyle will work is responsible as a parent. I also see that about 50% of our kids peers have no bedtime and it makes it harder to get compliance willingly. When our 17 yr old wouldn’t take a job unless it started after noon on the weekends because she wants to stay up late I knew it was time for action.

  5. nellyp says:

    I have 4 children ages 16, 14, 12 and 10 year olds. My 16 and 14 year olds go to bed at 8 on week-nights. On week-ends they stay up until 9. My 12 and 10 year olds go to bed at 7 on week-nights. On week-ends they stay up until 8.

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