How to Awaken a Teenager

There's no random today (Linda needs some time off), the band had a fundraiser last night, and I got this great e-mail this morning that I wanted to share:

"How to awaken a teenager.

When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny, cute, littlebaby 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. Okay 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 5 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."

Me?  I get YS up by sicking Pepper on him.  She jumps up on his bed and gives him kisses until he acknowledges her.  It works.


  1. Funny. I may need to pocket this one for later. ;)

  2. LOL, Mary!!! Loved your description of the room!!!

    Another ingenious trick is to hide several alarms clocks around the room. Set each to go off a minute apart. This sometimes will get a teenager out of bed in the hunt to find and disarm them. That's why you need at least five of them. By the time they have found the last one, they are usually too awake to go back to sleep.

    That's because they are now on the mission to hunt you down and inflict revenge.


    BTW, did you know that Linda had two questions for the Random Dozen?

  3. That was funny!! I don't look forward to those days.

  4. I wonder if there is a difference between boys and girls. I can get the girls up, but Stan? He can be an animal and I'm already worried about his teen years. He is only five now!

    I needed my mom to wake me. If I had set an alarm clock...I'd only hit snooze. I know she had more difficulty waking my brothers though. They slept in their "cave" (she called it that), down in the basement. I hated when she asked me to go down and wake them...yuck!

  5. Fortunately my son let's his cell phone wake him every morning because his room is a major obstacle course!

    Plus I avoid talking to him in the morning until he gets his sugar cereal fix. Prior to that, he basically growls as a form of speech.

  6. Ha-my youngest is a tough one to wake. I find the less said the better. I don't go in the room. I speak from the door and assume she will get up. I insist she acknowledge that she heard me which she generally does with a grumble. Then I scram. If I linger and try to 'talk' her into actually getting up we start the day off on the wrong foot. With her, the less said the better!

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Teenagers are animals!! Pure animals! Loved your, so true!!

  8. this was funny and so true!! I am so glad I am past the age of getting kids up and out the door for school. Always was so grateful to see them out the door rather they were driving themselves, a bus picked them up or I was driving them. always a hassle here, LOL.

    I can totally relate too to the kid at the table eating with eyes open but really sleeping. when son was a senior, he had an early morning class so it was always a hassle to get him out and going. One morning I handed him his book he had left downstairs as he was going out the door. He called me later and said "do you know where my economics book is?" I said "I handed it to you this morning" and he said "ohh......."

    It was by the grace of God that he got to school every morning, I'm sure angels were guiding him down the road safely :)


  9. yes I use the dog trick too...our Maggie loves to like our teenager. Very funny post.

    If you end up organizing a random dozen rotation count me in.


  10. In our house, the smell of cooking bacon always works. It's not that great for the arteries, but it's a sure thing every time!

  11. Oh how I remember those days of waking my teenagers, and I am glad they are over! My boys were habitually late for school because they wouldn't get up--I'm a stickler for being on wasn't a pretty scene.

  12. LOL.... my problem is that my teenager doesn't sleep! She has a very erratic sleep disorder, which in turn becomes mine! Loved the post, and looking forward to visiting again!
    (via the Over 40s Friday hop)
    cheers from Australia,

  13. Hi! Thanks for printing this and for letting people know you received it in an email. It's actually my work, as reprinted from my Yahoo blog. I appreciate all the comments and the sharing!
    Laurie Sontag
    Manic Motherhood


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