What is a good bedtime for teens?

Stephanie - posted on 09/05/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I have been allowing my 13 year old daughter to choose her own bedtime for about four months. She has not had a problem getting up for school at 6am. It does not seem to be a problem, but my job entails me to talk to other parents in the evening and I see how they are doing a lot of things differently than I am,especially bedtime and mealtime. Other parents send their kids to bed anywhere from 6:45 to 8:30, and it must be a great struggle for them to get the kids in bed. I have peaceful evenings with out that argument. Also, because I work two evenings a week, and the girls (my other daughter is 11) have schedules, too, We do not have a set dinnertime, or a pre-planned menu. I often allow my girls to make whatever they want for dinner (usually a pasta dish.) Other parents have dinner exactly at 6pm, and refuse to talk on the phone at that time. DInner at my house is so informal that I think nothing of talking on the phone or studying (I am a grad student) or anything else I might need to get done. My daughters enjoy their space and freedom, and I enjoy a more peaceful relationship with them than what other parents have with their kids, but am I doing the right thing? Am I giving my kids the wrong idea about rules and authority by not setting and inforcing rules for the sake of the rules themselves?

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Sandy - posted on 10/02/2011

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Stephanie my son goes to bed a 11:00 pm.He is 13 and his bedtime has went up each time he gets a year older.My rule on this is if he gets bad grades in school the time will go down,but 11 is the limit,but so far his grades remain A's and B's and I am satisfied with that.All we do is come home in the evenings around four and my husband around five.It is to crazy here to even have a family dinner time.To many things to do when we are home.Our family time together is random and usually outside at night stargazing and watching airplanes.It seems to keep us happy and I see nothing wrong with later bedtimes as long as your child seems to function good.The weekend he has the whole night to himself.

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Rebecca - posted on 10/02/2011

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I agree with Jennifer Morse. Each child is different and each family is different. My boys (ages 11 & 13) do have a bedtime of 9 because if they chose their own it would be 12.
Schedules do not work in our home. Every day is different withmy husband and I's work, football practice, school functions and homework. If it works in your home then you are doing it right. You will see signs that it is not working in your childen's behavior.

Tina - posted on 09/22/2011

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oh ya one more thing ... we do eat together everyday but now she will often start dinner or cook it if it is something easy... I hear about her day from the time I walk in the door from work or she walks in the door... so as long as the communication is there it helps when it stops even if only for a week is when having a sit down chat catch up is needed cause so many things can change in their lives in a week it is unreal

Amber - posted on 09/22/2011

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We have rules and it works great . Bed time is 9pm and dinner is normally around 5pm We dont talk on phones or text while having dinner , One thing we do at dinner time is chat we all take turn telling something bad about our day followed with something good about our day . Some nights we do just eat in the front room but still all at the same time. Our oldest son is almost 16 and some nights he is playing basket ball with his friends . These nights i make him a plate and set it aside.But its not a all the time thing.. Allow your self time with your girls. Atleast 2 times a week as a start eat dinner with them ! Have the good bad chat it breaks the ice and fills you in on their day quickly cause it gives you a open door to talk about it with them

Tina - posted on 09/22/2011

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Hi Stephanie, Well when my daughter was 13 she was in bed at 9pm and when she was 14 it was 9:30 and this year it is 10pm.... weekends are different because she does not have to be up for school... but sending her to bed at 10 she throws on her mp3 and listens to tunes till she falls asleep ... As far as the rest of your post.... I also have a pretty laxed routine... not too often it is rushed or anything... but up until last yr my daughter was a completely different kid but when she hit 14 something in her changed (raging teenage hormones) Everyone I have talked with says their brain returns at 18 to 25 lol... Dont get me wrong we still have a great relationship and she is the only one of her friends who tells their parent or parents everything...The rest lie where as I have fought tooth and nail to get her to understand that I am not those parents and telling me the truth is easier to deal with as opposed to me being blind sided by someone else..... I have to say if we are both still here when yours turn 14 and 15 I would love to hear back from you.. I have never really had a list of rules it was a respect thing ya know treat me as I treat you... But she has had to be grounded and her cell and notebook taken and the sad thing is she is at the stage where until I sit down and explain to her in detail why she just thinks I am doing it to be mean... It is like they all of a sudden stop having faith in the relationship you have and stop giving you the benefit of the doubt and think they know how you will react just because of what happens to their friends or they do worst case scenario all of a sudden. Anyway not saying we dont have wars but all in all as long as I pick our wars and continue to instill in her how hard we both work on our relationship she seems to come around and clues in to oh ya right I forgot and I am back now.
Tina

Victoria - posted on 09/21/2011

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I have an 11 year old boy and 13 year old girl. They go to bed at 9:30 and 10. But those times are based on them. He needs time to toss and turn, she lays down and falls right to sleep. That gives them 8 hours to sleep. My children brought it to my attention that they LIKE eating as a family. We eat according to my work schedule and my daughter has learned to cook so that helps us to kind of stay on track.

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I agree with Jennifer Morse. Your kids behavior will let you know if they are getting enough sleep. You just have to watch them because they do not always make the best decisions and while it's a good lesson to them if they miss sleep a few nights, doing it over and over again means it's time to step in. As for dinner, every family feels differently about this. I'd say maybe make one night a week family week where you make dinner for them. Good luck with school!

Ramona - posted on 09/12/2011

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IMy 17 year old, can go to bed when everr she wants, next year she is off t college, and this mommy ain't going!! Ds is 13 and he has to be in bed at 10 pm, he gets up usually about 6:00 am, but he does not have to be up until 7:15 am.

Sherri - posted on 09/12/2011

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I have a 14, 13 & 5yr old. We have dinner between 5 &6pm every night as a family around the table. I cook all their meals from scratch nightly.



My kids aren't phone freaks they never even want to talk on the phone so we don't have any rules about it because I don't even think in the last month they have ever even used it.



My 5yr old's bedtime is 8pm

My 14 & 13yr old's bedtime is 9pm FIRM. No fights they just know it is what it is and we also have a very peaceful relationship just one with stricter rules.



My kids thrive on structure and what to expect. Especially since they are very structured at school, I find it very beneficial to do that at home as well, if not we are really in chaos.

Jennifer - posted on 09/11/2011

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The rules that need to be in place are the logical ones. If a rule doesn't make sense except that everyone else is doing it, then don't do it. My daughter set her own bedtime all her life and my only requirement is that she be able to get HERSELF up and get ready for school and make the bus. If she misses the bus, she has to walk... with me driving two miles an hour beside her so I can make sure she is safe. (Believe me, she doesn't miss the buss often! LOL)

By letting them set their own bedtimes as long as they are able to get themselves up and dressed in the morning... you are teaching them self responsibility. They learn cause and effect relationships by doing this and they pay the price we all have to pay if we don't go to bed at a reasonable time. They are tired or wake up late and miss out on something.

My daughter is now 17 and very mature. I actually like being around her. :) I let her learn most of her life lessons by natural consequences. I always thought about what I would have to do if I misbehaved and modeled her punishment after the natural consequence. Obviously keeping in mind that safety comes first. I also would explain to her that the consequence was no different that I, as an adult, would have to pay if I had done what she did.

Dot - posted on 09/08/2011

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I find that a schedule is essential - especially by age 11! From that time on, they are being taught to be held responsible for their actions and do alot more on their own. Without bedtimes and the knowledge of knowing what is next, anxiety can build as they have so much on their shoulders that they need us to decide on some things - even if just to show them that we care that they succeed. Of course, they wont ever say that they want rules or a schedule, but there is comfort in that (without them even realizing). My daughter takes an anti-anxiety medication - w/o a schedule, she is nervous and angry. I say, have a bedtime and dinner time routine and maybe loosen up on some other rule that is not as significant. Dinner is family time and enough sleep is essential.

Tamara - posted on 09/06/2011

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we have a fairly set dinner time and bed time. Dinner time is important to be no electronics at the table, it gives us a change to stay in contact with each of the kids, see how they are doing, whats new and be a part of their lives. To me 30 minutes or so a day, with out any other distractions isn't a huge sacrifice. Bed time for the older two is 10 even though they are older they need a good full night sleep in order to do well in school and when they are rested my life is easier with less bickering.

I have found that we have a much happier life with rules, chores, and high expectations (varies with each child they are based on what i know the child can do)

To me family is the most important thing, and keeping it together as much as possible builds self esteem and a greater sense of unity with each other.

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