Waking Teens Up in the Middle of the Night to Do Their Chores Is Crazy Talk

sleeping teenEveryone knows that tweens and teens need their sleep. It's during that age span where the most growth, and resting from growth, happens while getting some shut eye, and it's been a problem school officials have been dealing with for decades. Should classes start later? Should there be less homework so teens can get some sleep?

The simple act of dozing in bed is actually one of the most important things a growing child will do all day, so when I heard that some parents were waking their teens up in the middle of the night to complete chores they'd promise to get done, but didn't, I had mixed feelings.

On the one hand, there's probably no greater frustration as a parent than being ignored. You tell them to clean the bathroom 10 times, yet nothing? Oof. Serenity now. After you've burned your way from kind requests to heated threats, waking those little jerks up in the middle of the night to teach them a lesson and get the chore taken care of seems reasonable (if it's on a weekend night, or during vacation).

On the other, depriving them of sleep is almost like depriving them of food. It's something they desperately need to stay healthy and grow into young men and women -- can't a chore wait until they're awake? Plus, stirring them is akin to waking a hibernating bear -- the results are often shrouded in the anticipation of a full-on attack that's a matter of when, not if. Why create a tired, groggy, angry monster when the monster you were dealing with already was more than enough?

I'm all for creative ways to get through to kids, but I don't know if forcing them to get up at 1 a.m. to clean their rooms is the best solution ... even if an air-horn to the ear of someone who hasn't been listening to me does sound more than a little fun. HONNK!

Would you wake your teen up in the middle of the night to do their chores?


Photo via rileyroxx/Flickr

issues, discipline


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dreab... dreabug23

My mother did this when I was a child but it wasn't because I had failed to do chores. It was because she had undiagnosed bi-polar disorder.

It was scary as hell. Don't do this to your children.

nonmember avatar Ashley

I don't imagine parents routinely waking their kids up but once and a while to enforce responsibility. No biggie, I think it'd take only a few times for your kids to learn their lesson. A kid wot miss out on productive sleep if their woken up a few times.

Andi Dodd

pffft... i'm not going to wake my ass up in the middle of the night just to teach my kid a lesson.  I'll teach them that lesson when the sun is up the next day by taking away privlages.  If my daughter trys shutting herself in her bedroom like I did as a teenager, I'll take the hinges off her door, and lock her door in my bedroom.  I'll remove TVs and radios (and doors) before I wake her/me up in the middle of the night.  Also, my daughter is 5 right now, and she doesnt make it to bedtime w/out me realizing she hasn't picked up her toys yet. 

Rosas... RosasMummy

I would never do this to my child because it is firstly abusive ( sleep deprivation, think about it) and secondly Shows a total lack of respect for your child as a person, the same goes for taking away a teenagers bedroom door. quick fixes that create massive long term problems.

nonmember avatar KristyElizabeth

My ex-husband use to wake me up to yell at me about whatever I hadn't finished up during the day, laundry, etc., and he treated my youngest daughter the same way when she tried living with him as a teenager. It was a pretty upsetting thing. I thought it was mean and disturbing behavior.

Jaime Swift Sundin

You bet your ass I would do this, it only takes twice for a child (which is what a teen is) to figure out that their responsblities come first and then they can do as they choose.

Mariah Bianchini Engel

Absolutely not. Do you get woken up in the middle of the night when you fail to do the dishes?

Dani Lotz Miller

I have and I do. If I fail to make dinner, you bet your butt they are going to be nagging me about it.  If I don't drive them to something they want to do, I won't hear the end of it.  If I say, "clean your room." You had better believe they will be woken up to clean it.  It's common sense however, if your kid has too much homework, don't expect the chores to be done well, help them out that week.  If they don't do it because they were on the phone with Cindy all evening, then sure thing, Up they are cleaning at 1am and not stopping till it's done.  Of course, I am also right there with them so I have to suffer too. 

Dani Lotz Miller

Who is the parent, who is the child. Take the doors off, wake them up at night, send them to bed without dinner, don't let them watch TV, take away the cell phone... Good grief, if we can't do any of that anymore than parents are really screwed!!! No wonder kids are so messed up!

Rachel Wellersdick

In high school my mother woke me up to clean the kitchen. However, it was my nightly job to clean it and I had chosen to not do it while my parents were out. So when my mom came home ans saw the kitchen hadn't been cleaned, she woke me up to clean it. At the time I thought it sucked, but now as an adult with kids I think it was a pretty awesome move on her part. My mother, however, has no memory of doing this and is horrified that she did it. Go figure.

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