16 answers

14 Year Old Son Can't Wake Himself up in the Mornings

Ok.. for those of you who have teenagers, I have a question! I have raised 2 daughters already and they were fairly easy when it came to waking up in the morning. Still, I remember them being 15 or 16 before they could wake themselves up for school. My son is 14 yrs old and in the 9th grade. My husband and I disagree on whether he should be responsible enough to wake up at 6:15 on his own every morning. So last night my husband told him if he didn't get up on his own that he would be grounded from his computer (the 1 interest he really has). So of course, like a 14 yr old boy.. he overslept this morning and my husband woke him up and proceeded to ground him. So when my son left for school.. i had a talk with my husband and told him i think positive reinforcement is better.. rewarding him some way for waking up on his own rather than punish him for not. He felt kinda bad after my long discussion with him and he text messaged our son to tell him we'd figure another way to motivate him and for now he is not grounded. My question... if you have teenagers or if you remember being one, at what age did you or does your child wake themselves up or wake up to alarm clocks on thier own to go to school? I am wondering if I am being to easy on my son.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all your comments. For more information, my son has had 3 alarm clocks for at least the last year all placed around the room in different locations and none within arms reach. His room is down the hall from my 5 and 7 yr old daughters and they wake up to his alarm clocks. All three are different sounds.. screeching, sirens, beeping. I hear them from the master bedroom downstairs as well. But when you enter the room he is SOUND asleep as the alarm clocks blare. If you speak in a normal voice and say, Tyler.. get out of bed.. you overslept. He jumps out of bed confused! So I have decided to find an alarm clock that I can record my voice on so that it has "me" waking him up in the morning. Also we have talked to him and explained that we are trying to teach him responsibility for when he has a job etc. There is no reason we can not wake him up because we are both here when he leaves but defeats the purpose if the alarm never wakes him up! I'm just going to keep plugging.. but not ready to punish him for his inability to sleep. I'm an insomniac and I feel thankful that my son can sleep at all! I've already passed on the "lack of sleep" syndrome to my eldest daughter who is a workaholic and never sleeps. I think that sooner or later he'll start waking up. Especially when he has a job.. and you don't get paid unless you get there on time. Thanks again! W.

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Try setting a larger reward for getting himself up in the mornings. My nine yr old daughter has been getting up with an alarm clock for a yr and a half now. She misses the bus about once every two months, then we set bedtime back 30 minutes and tv off (she can have tv on all she wants as long as she gets up on time). Her motivation is that she will get a weekend this summer with her best friend if she keeps perfect attendance. All the responses now have me worried that 8 was too young to give her the alarm clock!

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I think this is a situation that calls for more natural consequences. He is probably old enough to wake on his own (unless there's some extraordinary circumstance). My parents always told me that if I acted like an adult, I'd be treated like one. I could go to bed whenever I wanted but if I didn't wake on time for school, then THEY got to choose my bedtime which was usually 9-9:30. For a teen, that stinks! Maybe try to tell him that even if he doesn't fall asleep, all lights and electronics are off at ____ time if he doesn't get himself up.

Good luck!

W., you have my sympathy. Getting teenage boys up is almost Imossiable. I remember trying everything to get them out of bed. Yelling, turning on the radio really loud, ice, water, pulling off the sheets. Itried everything short of a cattle prod. They do eventually get where they will get up on their own. All I can say is keep trying. Mine get up all on their own now! Not much choice they are both in the army now. Good luck I never did figure out how to get them up on their own. Maybe someone here has a husband that is a drill seargent who could give suggestions!

Try setting a larger reward for getting himself up in the mornings. My nine yr old daughter has been getting up with an alarm clock for a yr and a half now. She misses the bus about once every two months, then we set bedtime back 30 minutes and tv off (she can have tv on all she wants as long as she gets up on time). Her motivation is that she will get a weekend this summer with her best friend if she keeps perfect attendance. All the responses now have me worried that 8 was too young to give her the alarm clock!

Growing up it was our responsibility to wake ourselves up. Granted I have 3 other sisters and learned to sleep lightly. Sleepover pranks were a common thing at my house. The only thing I can suggest is like you said positive reinforcement for his waking up on his own and on time.
What type of things do you have in his room to wake him up? Does he have an alarm clock? Could you get one that is FAR away from his bed so if he wanted to hit snooze he'd have to get out of bed to do it? Maybe put more than one alarm clock in his room and have them all go off in 5 min intervals, place them around the room so that he has to get up and move around to turn them off.
I don't know if those suggestions would help, but that's all I have in my bag of tricks. LOL
Good luck!

Well I was waking up and getting my older sibling up when I was 11 yrs. old (maybe even before that). But I did wake up to an alarm clock. Maybe you should suggest to your son that he go to bed a little earlier, so it won't be so hard for him to wake up. But do it in a cool way like "let's do an experiment" for like a week or two just to see how things go. Of course he probably won't like the idea. But if he could think of it like homework for school and if you say for 1 week or 2 weeks he has a beginning and an end. Who knows, if you talked to his Science teacher, they may let him write a report with a chart or something for extra credit. Then he might have more incentive to do the project. Anyway, good luck!

Okay, this may seem odd, but it really worked for my son, who now at the age of 12 gets himself up. This was a kid who fussed every morning until just enough time to throw on some clothes, brush his teeth, and barely catch the bus. Try changing the direction his head points when he's sleeping to the West. I didn't understand after we moved why he started getting up so much easier, with his own alarm clock, then I read a book about Feng Shui. According to the book, "The Western Guide To Feng Shui Room by Room", directional sleeping can help with many different areas, South: enhances intuition and can stimulate dream and memory recall, North: your health and vitality are strengthened, East: tends to speed life up, lifting sluggishness and depression, and West: tends to slow life down and is helpful when the stess of life causes restlessness or insomnia. Hope this Helps!!!


When I was 12 or 13 my dad bought me an alarm clock and told me that I needed to start waking up on my own. I kind of blew him off. The first morning I wasn't awake with everyone else I got cold tap water on my head. I did ok for awhile. The next time I slipped it was a trickle of ice water with a warning that next time it would be the whole cup. I don't think it ever happened again under his roof. But good luck, teenage boys can be more difficult in the area of sleep priorities.

Personally, I think that 14 is too old...he should have been waking himself up. I woke myself up every since I learned to tell time, my mom would just make sure that I was in fact up. There were times where I would oversleep, but after having to go to bed an hour early every night for a month, I learned to get up! I do agree that positive reinforcement would be better, but then again it all depends on your son. For me, taking away my freedom was devastating! For others, it might e just the opposite!

My 13 year old daughter has to be woken up every day. And if I don't wake her up on time, she is really pissy. Sometimes she will set her alarm clock, but she can't be trusted to do that every night.

I do not think you're being too easy on your son. I think we should wake them up through high school!.

OH, my daughter's only interest seems to be makeup, clothes and the INTERNET. CRAZY!

I have to tell you that your husband's approach seems better. I remember being a teenager, I am the oldest of all my siblings and I remember being responsible for getting myself and my younger siblings up and ready for school well before I turned 14. We all had a set bedtime and we all knew what time we were expected to be up and ready for the day. My sister and I and eventually the older of my younger brothers all had specific chores to do in the morning (feed the pets, fix breakfast for ourself and younger kids, etc..) so that the morning would run smoothly. Our mom worked the graveyard shift at the Post Office and would get home just in time to take us to school. Dad had to feed the livestock in the mornings and then get ready for work. So as you can see we didnt have time for sleepheads. My parents solution to us waking ourselves up was simple. When we each turned like 8 years old we each received our own alarm clocks. When we got those clocks we were taught how to set them and how to turn them off in the morning. If we did not get ourself up in the morning then we were reprimanded at first. If we continued to oversleep we had priviledges taken away. Also if we overslept or went back to sleep after Dad had done his morning check to see if we were awake and moving and we had not say eaten breakfast yet for example we were not allowed to be late to school to do so. Personally I never did like getting up early for any reason and to this day if I can sleep in till noon I will but that early training has given me the ability to wake up early when I have to. So basically what I am saying is yes your son is past being old enough to wake himself up in the mornings. Dad only called us one time when his alarm went off and I guarantee you it made our day start a whole lot better if we were up and getting ready when he did. My suggestion from seeing my own brothers' struggle with early morning wakeups would be to set a bedtime for your son that will allow about 8 hours of sleep though the night. So if it takes him an hour to get up and ready for school in the morning and he has to leave the house by 7 am for school he should be up by 6 am and that means at the latest a 10 pm bedtime. So really he should start winding down for bed around 9 pm. By all means ground him from his computer, TV, books whatever activities that he really enjoys if he cant start getting himself up. At first you might try setting his alarm for the needed time in the morning and also setting yours so he can get used to waking up at that time to help him adjust, but the most I would do that for is like a week. And as cruel as it sounds in the beginning he needs to get up every day at the same time whether he has school or not. If school is out assign him early morning chores like mowing or something just to get the routine set for his body. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so keep at it till he has woke himself up with no prodding from you for 3 weeks and after that he should be fine with it. Also I know kids like to sleep in during the summer but if he changes his sleep schedule to much just because its summer it will just make it all the harder on him when school starts back. I hope you don't think I am being overly critical but this is just how I was raised and I know now I am the better for it. Also the reward for being a responsible person is its own reward, though your son might not appreciate that in the beginning.


You are probably gonna laugh. I just saw this today. I had this discussion with my 14 yr yesterday!!!

He asked about bedtimes. My rule and my dh enforces it. If you can get up and get ready with your own alarm clock, be cheerful, and be prepared for school/work then you can move your bedtime later. :-) That has been my rule since they were in school. No exceptions.

So my 14 yr gets sent to his room at 9 pm. He brushes his teeth and fiddles around so he is really in bed by 9:30-10:00.

He is not a morning person so he does not have to be mr happy, but if he cannot politely say 'good morning, may I have eggs today?' or 'I can not wear my red shirt because I laid out white one and that is okay' then he needs more sleep. ;-)

I walk down the hall - if there is no activity their bedroom lights come, I holler loudly good morning kiddo, will turn on the radio if I have to. :-) I have only once done my dad's old trick. Get a glass of ice cold water and pour one drop on their face...then another...then another. I hated that with a passion!!! LOL

Good luck,

My sister is 17 years old and still does not wake hersself up in the morning. But she is the baby and they have let her get away with everything. They have never expected her to grow up, I guess. My other sister and I started to wake up on our own when we were about 14-15 years old. We had our alarm and if we weren't awake by a certain time then my dad would come in and wake us up. But being girls, we usually got up on time so we could get all pretty for school. LOL

I would definately get a double alarm clock. They sell one at walmart that is relatively cheap, and it has various setting, like church bells and stuff that is VERY annoying to hear. You can set it for two different times. There is no way the kid will sleep through all that ruckus. In conjunction with that, you might pop your head in after you hear his alarm go off to make sure he is up.

I also agree with positive reinforcement. Privleges are given to those who show responsibility. He's not too young to start using that to your advantage. Make a deal with him that if he gets up on time every morning, you will reward him.

It'll help if you have a good reason too. What reason does he have to get up on his own? Do you start work early and need to be free of the distraction of waking him? Explain your need for him to step up and help you out by being responsible for waking up and getting ready on time.

You might want to look at his reasons for not getting up. Is he getting enough rest at night? Is he staying up late on the computer instead of going to bed at a decent time? If so, you might let him know that if he cannot get up in the morning, there will be a curfew on his computer so that he can get the proper rest he needs.

I do think you are being way to easy on your son and I would have to take the hubby's side in this matter. My 13 year old son has been setting an alarm and getting up on his own since he was 11. Of course mom is there to make sure he gets up if the alarm wasn't set correctly etc., etc. You sound like a great mom, but we have to keep in mind that we also want our children to grow up and be responsible adults. I feel that you need to set down the rules and hold him accountable for his actions. You and the hubby could sit down with him and clearly explain what is that you expect from him so there is no confusion. If he does what is expected, then by all means tell him how proud you are of him. But if not, take his computer privledges away! At 14 he really should be able to get out of bed on his own!

I have three daughters 23,21,17. the 17 year old is the only one left at home. the 17 year old just started this year waking herself up, and thats cause I leave for work at 5am, if I left later are was at home she would still count on me to wake her up. If this is your only beef with your son you need to pick your fights and this is not worth a fight especially since you wqork at home. thats just my thought you could have worse problems with him.

You know, teenagers need more sleep than pre-teens do. Try moving his bedtime up an hour earlier and see what happens. He'll probably hate it, but if it helps him wake up, he might like it. Also, you can get CD alarm clocks--just record your voice on the computer and burn the file to a CD. :)

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