DEAR HARRIETTE: I completely disagree with your advice to the mom who had difficulty getting her 15-year-old daughter out of bed for school every morning. Your suggestions for staying in the room, sanctions, etc., are making the mom do all the work, when it's the daughter's responsibility to get to school on time -- not the mom's!
My suggestion to Mom is to back off! Tell your daughter that you will no longer be responsible for waking her up every morning. Don't ask her every night what time she needs to get up. Buy her the alarm clock of her choice, and offer to collaborate on strategies that she might use to get up (alarm clock across the room, snooze button, etc.). It becomes your daughter's responsibility to get herself to school on time. And when she does sleep in and is late to school, do not say a word. She will have the natural consequences of whatever the high school's policies are for lateness. Soon she will get the message, I promise.
Before you know it, your daughter will be away from home in college and will have to do this herself. The time to learn is NOW. -- Tough Love, Chicago
DEAR TOUGH LOVE: Your point is a good one that several other readers have echoed -- namely, that this teenager needs to become responsible for herself. A couple of other readers thought the teen might have a health condition that needs to be addressed. One reader shared that his long-sleeping son actually had mononucleosis, which contributed to his lethargy.
I did some additional research and learned that, according to a Stanford University study, teenagers need at least eight hours of sleep per night to be highly functioning. When they do not get enough sleep, they often do poorly in school and suffer behavioral challenges and ultimately health challenges. See this article for more details: www2.providence.org/wallawalla/providence-st-mary-medical-center/sleep-disorders/Pages/Teens-and-Sleep.aspx.
So, for any parent who has an overly sleepy teen, you may want to monitor how much sleep she or he is actually getting and take your teen for a physical to make sure all is well.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was cleaning my son's room (he's 10) when I came upon a note from his teacher that he should have given to me. It was a request for a meeting with the teacher that I missed because I didn't know about it.
I was outraged. I didn't say anything right away to him because I wanted to cool off. What is a constructive way to address this? -- Mad Mom, Denver
DEAR MAD MOM: Show the note to your son and ask him why he didn't give it to you. Explain that it is his responsibility to immediately give you anything the teacher sends home to you. Begin the practice of reviewing your son's homework and checking his bag with him to make sure everything is in order.
Contact the teacher and reschedule the meeting, and let the teacher know you just got the note. Suggest that the teacher also email you or call to ensure that you get any future messages.