Waking up a teen-ager is dangerous work

Allergy season – and tissue-eating dogs – in full swing

When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny,
cute, little baby in your arms will someday grow up to be a
teenager. Oh sure, we all expect it to happen, but seriously, are
any of us fully prepared for the teen years?
When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny, cute, little baby in your arms will someday grow up to be a teenager. Oh sure, we all expect it to happen, but seriously, are any of us fully prepared for the teen years?

No, we aren’t. Or at least, I’m not. And that’s why I’m reaching out, helping others to survive the turbulent years we call the teens. OK fine. I’m complaining and venting, but really … is there a difference?

One of the first things you notice as your child morphs into a teenager is sleep. They do it all the time. I swear some days my teen sits at the breakfast table, eyes fully open, shoveling food in his mouth and all the while he’s totally asleep. Turns out teens need lots and lots of sleep. Which isn’t the problem.

But waking them up? That’s the problem. Seriously. I’d rather wake up a bear two days before hibernation ends than wake up a teenager in the morning.

Waking a teen is dangerous. It requires you to go into the teen’s native habitat (his room) and tell him to stop sleeping. Really. Once you’ve tried this, I swear to you, the bear thing looks better and better. Anyway, through extensive personal research and at great risk to life and limb, I have come up with a way to awaken a typical teenager without having my head ripped off.

First, understand that the teenager’s bedroom must be approached with extreme caution. The teenage species has laid many traps to deter waking. These traps include piles of clothing, shoes and textbooks on the floor.

Once you have approached the teenager and gotten through the hidden traps, you should stop and assess the situation before proceeding further. If there are animals in the room (other than the teen), use treats and/or your best happy voice to lure the animals from the bed.

Congratulations! Now the teenager is defenseless, except for his smart mouth.

At this point, you will need to locate the teen. Like many of his species, the teen will be wrapped in a cocoon of blankets with pillows stacked on his head. Due to the mess associated with their habitat, finding the teen in all the piles can be difficult. However, if you simply locate the cords to his ear buds and carefully follow them, you will discover the teen’s head. Note: If you locate his iPod, you are on the wrong end. Just follow the cords the opposite direction.

Now that you have located the elusive teen, you can wake his butt up. My favorite way to do so is the “let the sunshine in” method. By simply opening all the shutters and turning on the lights, the room is flooded with intense light that even the most buried teen cannot bear. If they yell or scream, “it’s too bright” you can be certain the method worked and that they are awake.

Once the teen is awake, his primitive response system will send him into “fight or flight mode” which means he will curl up into a tiny ball, pull all the blankets over his head, stack some pillows on top and ignore you (some teens will also whimper and cry; don’t fall for this, it’s just a ploy to let them sleep for five more minutes). At this point in the teen wake up process, it is critical that you do not leave the room. To do so will enable the teen to sleep even longer, ensuring the teen misses his 0 period class.

Your only choice now is to scream “get your butt out of bed now” and then steal his iPod. Really. That whole bear thing is looking better, isn’t it?

Now there are other methods, such as allowing the teen to set his alarm clock. In my personal experience, this method doesn’t work well. Once the teen hits the snooze button, he will immediately fall back into a deep sleep. I also know of parents who have tried increasingly desperate methods such as allowing siblings to jump on the bed, playing a bugle or pouring water on the teen, but I don’t support those methods. Frankly, the siblings could lose an eye, I don’t play the bugle and the water just gets the mattress all wet and makes the teen even more smart-mouthed than usual.

Of course, once you wake up the bear, you could send him into the teen’s room. That could work.

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