Teen son has trouble staying awake!

Kristen M. asks from West Hartford, CT
13 answers

Hi, I posted about my son before and how he sleeps way too late. So I bought him an extremely loud alarm clock called sonic bomb..it is ridiculously loud! And it has a bed shaker too. So this does wake my son, however he will hit snooze and then turn it off. Obviously defeats the purpose. I have placed it as far as the cords will reach( bed shaker pad doesnt gave a long cord). So today he gets up with the alarm at 10 and texts me this. At 11:30 I checked and he was still awake. But since 1p i have been trying to reach him and nothing, which means he is asleep! He is bored, sits on comfy couch or bed so i underatand . It's extremely humid where we live right now and a heat advisory has been issued. So outdoor walks, etc are not good. No friends live around us and it seems arent available. I should've put him in some sort of activity ( but at 14 not many fun options) but hard with my work schedule. My mom takes him to the gym 3 days a week and i pick him up after work. He goes for an hr and a half. Today she is to pick him up in an hour and i cannot get ahold of him. My stepson is home and for the past 7,10 work days i have asked him to wake hus stepbro up. He does so. But is it fair to ask him now? It is 2:30,here now!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! 3 days a week my mom picks him up at 3:30 to drop him off at the gym for an hr and a half. So those days he has to be up no later than 2 or 2:30 to get up dressed and eat. Today was one of those days. So that is the thing, I do not know to tell my mom to cancel that day or not if i cannot get ahold of my son.

13 Answers


Eliza M.

answers from Louisville on

Have him volunteer that’s what we did with our 14 year old. Got her out of the house.

1 mom found this helpful

J B.

answers from Boston on

I have a 14 year old son as well. I have no idea what time he gets up, because I am busy focusing on my job when I'm at work and not calling home to see if my perfectly capable teenager has chosen to get out of bed yet. There are days here and there when my kid has something scheduled in the late morning or early afternoon, or is getting picked up by his grandparents for an outing, etc. He's always been awake and dressed for these events. If he weren't, he'd either miss out or be embarrassed by someone coming into his room and seeing him dead asleep in his boxer briefs. Let him worry about the consequences of oversleeping - I'm sure your mom can handle it!

I think you need to focus on what you can easily control, which is his schedule when you're home. Make sure he's getting to bed at a reasonable hour (teenage bedtime in the summer is 10-11 in my house because I have to go to bed and get up for work). Don't go to bed before him, and don't let him bring electronics into his room. His phone, tablet, laptop, etc. charge in your room, and no TV or video games in his room. Move his personal electronics to a shared space like the kitchen in the morning if you don't want him going into your room to get his stuff. If he's in bed at 10 or 11, even a sleepy teenager will get up before noon. Pop in a say hi in the morning when you leave for work. It won't get him out of bed, and shouldn't, but it will prompt his internal clock that the day has begun and lessen the chance that he'll sleep the day away.

My guess is that he spends way too much time on electronics in his room at all hours of the night and then isn't getting a solid night's sleep when his body actually wants to sleep. Stop that now - it's a terrible habit for anyone to get into. If he wants to check his phone, he'll have to get out of bed and go to wherever it has been charging to check it. Same with any other electronics. Also, he's bored to death. School starts in a few weeks so that ship has sailed, but work with him this winter to figure out something productive for him to do next summer. State the facts - that when left to his own devices, he develops unhealthy habits and can't yet be trusted to maintain a reasonable schedule, so he'll need something structured for next summer.

Another thing that you can do right now is give him chores that he has to do every day. Leave a list of things that might take a hour. They have to be done before you get home and if not, you take his phone, personal electronics, game controllers, and change the wi-fi password for the following day. Then he does those chores plus new ones. If they're done by the time you get home, he gets everything back. If not, another day of boredom.

This isn't really about what time he gets up - it's about helping him get himself on a better, healthier schedule. He's bored, he probably has nothing to do on many days except watch YouTube videos, play Fortnite and text people. I totally get that as my son has had several weeks like that this summer. Fourteen is a tough age - too old for a lot of camps, too young for jobs (and they have to be driven to work anyway), etc. So there is going to be some wasted time. It's not the end of the world - come up with a better plan for next summer, and don't stress about this anymore.

1 mom found this helpful

Suz t.

answers from Sharpsburg on

i dunno, mama, it seems to me as if you're micromanaging this a bit too much. alarms and bed shaking and texting and calling- maybe he's just sleepy.

it also sounds as if there's nothing really motivating him to get up. being bored and hot would encourage me to sleep a bit more too.

it's great that you've got him going to the gym! that's the direction to think. are there some online classes in something he loves that you can enroll him? not dull stuff, but something that really rings his chimes. or pay him to do stuff around the house. or get him a volunteer gig.

i'm sure there's advice below on 'training' him to wake up early for school. i don't agree with that. when people have to get up for work or school they do, it's not something that needs to be practiced. it's nice for little kids to have a routine, but teenagers really do need a lot of sleep.

i say find him more adventures, and do less nagging.


3 moms found this helpful

Doris Day ..

answers from Miami on

Is he up late at night playing video games? Does he have unfettered access to a computer.? (I sure hope not.)

I agree with the poster who said to take away his access to this. He needs to get back on school schedule really soon.

2 moms found this helpful

michelle s.

answers from Herndon on

I have a 15 yr old son but am NO expert ! But not knowing your son and going by your questions about him I see this differently from the others. He sounds lonely or maybe depressed or is he just an introvert? He didn't want to do the class trip and he doesn't seem to have close buddies to hang with in person? I get the whole gaming thing, but that might not be enough. Does he see any guys outside of school? Are they really not available or is he too insecure to call? Sleeping is great for teens! But not having a reason to get up, as some said, is sad. I have a kid that really needs his downtime but his one on one friend time makes him pretty happy too.

2 moms found this helpful

Jennifer ☯

answers from Sherman on

I just read your SWH. Tell him what you said in your SWH. Tell him that you need him to call you by 2:30 pm on the days that he is supposed go to the gym. Other than that, let the poor boy sleep.

3 moms found this helpful

Diane B.

answers from Westborough on

I don't see that he has trouble staying awake. He just doesn't see why he has to be up if no one is home or why he has to be on the schedule you want him on.

He's going to be in school soon enough, and in a few years he'll be working and on a schedule made by someone else. I think you have to stop trying to control his summer from afar with a bed-shaking alarm. Either give him activities and chores, or let him be. As long as he's not doing anything at night that is concerning to you (like sneaking out, smoking, drinking, doing drugs), then I'd let this go for now. It's August - what can you come up with now that would be better than ideas you had in June?

He goes to the gym, and that's great. You don't seem to have any other ideas of what he should be doing, except sitting upright. I think teens don't sleep enough and he's better off chilling out for now.

If he doesn't get up for school, then he'll pay the consequences. Let him. I'd give him more of his own work to do - laundry, some basic household chores, more along the lines of life skill development than "you're doing nothing so I'm giving you busy work." But there's no harm in helping out the family with cleaning a bathroom or mopping the kitchen floor.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

It’s summer, let the boy sleep 😴. Sleep is incredibly important, he might be going through a growth spurt and brain growth.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Wood Dale on

He sounds like such a good boy. Let him enjoy sleeping. There is a lifetime of wakeups to follow. He will be following that path someday. There are studies proving that this happens at this age. Are you worried he might be ill?

5 moms found this helpful

Annette D.

answers from Saint Paul on

I think at this point in the summer you may just opt to let that go, as he doesn't have anything to be up at a certain time for right now, and pretty soon school is going to take care of that problem. Unless you can get him a job or into some kind of activity, or camp with a morning start time and require him to attend. If you were in my community I'd suggest a seasonal job at the State Fair, but not sure what's available near you. No, I would not ask siblings to wake him up. That's not their responsibility. He's not staying awake because his brain knows there isn't anything he HAS to stay awake for to get to by a certain time. He's going to mess his sleep schedule up, but you can let that be his problem instead of yours. As long as you have a curfew and he's not out at night when he's up, I would let it go. You could turn off the Wi-Fi, etc after midnight if he's up late using screen entertainment if you want to go that route and maybe staying up really late will lose it's appeal

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

He doesn't have trouble staying awake. He simply doesn't see why he NEEDS to be up at those times.

Does he stay up late? And sleep in? I did that as often as I could when I was his age. It's completely normal.

If you are nervous about the start of the school year, you need to have a reason for him to get up at an earlier hour. If he doesn't have somewhere to be, he doesn't have incentive to get out of bed before he feels like it.

5 moms found this helpful

Margie G.

answers from Portland on

My guess is he's just not answering you. If it's 2:30 he's up he's just avoiding your texts. My teen boys would do same.

In a year or two he can get a summer job and this won't be an issue.

What I would do is see if he can't volunteer somewhere. Or - give him a list of chores you want done before you get home. Get him some sort of structure. Even if it's one thing. What about for your mom as well.

He could bike/take bus and do something.

I get it's humid (same). However, he could go see a matinee, do something indoor - even a library. There are things to do. Gym is a good idea (mine go). What about a pool?

**What time is he going to bed? Does he have devices in his room with him? Is he watching Netflix or Youtube or using his phone/TV or anything at night?

Depends on how much sleep he's getting at night. Mine will sleep late if up late or getting disturbed sleep. Some of my teens' friends are working this summer. When these kids get off work, they FaceTime my kids. So mine can be winding down for bed, and these friends off their late shift are just winding up.

Some sleeping late for teens is pretty normal. One of mine would sleep all day if he could. I think of him like a bear hibernating.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chesapeake on

Does he really have to be anywhere?
Why not just let him sleep?
It might be time to turn this over to him.
He'll sleep till he's hungry enough to wake up and then he can forage.
If he starts keeping vampire hours during the summer - who cares?
If he's not awake for activities - missing them is his natural consequence.

If he's having a health problem - narcolepsy, sleep apnea, anything that's keeping him from getting quality sleep or other sleep issues - you need to have him work with a doctor and do a sleep study to determine what the problem is and figure out what treatment is available.

3 moms found this helpful
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