What I Envisioned
He would get up by 10AM because that’s the rule we all agreed upon. #sillyme
What really happened
He would “forget” to set an alarm or set it on the iPAD and then leave it somewhere around the house where it would annoy all of us at 10AM but not wake him up. If I wasn’t home, he would roll out when he naturally woke up which was after 1PM on more days that I’d rather admit. Let’s not mention that time I came home from a field trip with Ty after 3PM and found myself locked out. My ringing of the doorbell woke him up. After 3PM!
Traditional Parent Tendency
Before tapping into connected parenting, I would’ve reiterated the rule with a consequence that went something like, “If you’re not up by 10am, you lose your video game privilege for the day.” The problem with this is that it doesn’t provide any additional tools to my child and creates lots of turmoil and tension. If I’m completely honest with myself, not waking up on time and an entire day of lost privilege is probably overdramatic. What if I could find a more effective, simpler solution that didn’t evoke more teenage angst than we’re already due?
My inner dialogue went something like this:
“If sleeping in is the worse part of his teenage years, count your blessings.”
“How can anyone possibly sleep until 3PM?!?!”
“He’s obviously showing you that he doesn’t have the ability to get up at 10AM without some help.”
“This isn’t hard! I had to get up on my own starting in 6th grade. I even remember when my mom bought me my first alarm clock that school year.”
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! Alarm clock. When I was in 6th grade, my alarm clock was permanently set and plugged into the wall near my bed, and it’s only job was to get me up each morning. There was no, “I set my alarm but left it on the kitchen table.”
I set off to find an “old-fashioned” alarm clock. By “old-fashioned,” I mean a digital radio alarm clock. Set it for 10am and plugged it in next to his ear. Problem mostly solved.
Send in the irresistibly cute nephew to bounce the sleepy teenager awake. The sleepy teenager is way more receptive to the irresistibly cute nephew bouncing him awake as opposed to the sing-songy voice of the chipper mom announcing, "Wakey, wakey! Eggs and bakey!" and throwing back the covers--especially when there's really no "eggs and bakey."
The Rest of the Story
In a decision left completely up to him, PJ has decided to try out public school in the fall. While I know he's looking forward to the social aspects, I think he also knows he needs some additional accountability in his life--and self-imposed accountability is so much better. Stay tuned. I imagine there will be some forthcoming tales on our learning curve of how to get this particular teenager acclimated to a new "normal."