Ask the Experts

Q: My Tween Fights Waking Up Every Single Morning

The alarm doesn’t work. So you go into your child’s room to wake him up for school. Again. And again. And again. Yelling and frustration ensue and your day begins with negativity. To solve this problem, try setting up an incentive program with strict parameters. Here, Ryan Wexelblatt explains how to set up and enforce a healthier morning routine.

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Q: “How can we wake our child up in the morning without a fight? He will tell us to get out of his room, go away, leave me alone, don’t come back in here and so on. He is 12 years old and this has been going on for five or more years. We make 6 to 8 trips up the stairs each morning trying to get him out of bed. Nothing works.”

A: “This behavior serves at least two purposes for your son: It’s his way of avoiding a non-preferred task, which is waking up for school, and it’s a way for him to feel some sense of control over you. If you have to go into his room 6 times, he feels he is in control of the situation and you are not. Here is what I would suggest…”

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR THE FULL ANSWER


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

Submit your questions about ADHD in boys here!


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Updated on September 9, 2020

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  1. I hate any approach that begins by assuming malintent on the part of the child. 🙁 Starting from a place of suspicion and accusation is not helpful for breeding peace and trust in a family.

    I remember having a terrible time waking up when I was a child. I STILL have a lot trouble in the mornings. I’m not CREATING my poor sleep or FAKING my morning blues in order to control or manipulate anyone. To suggest that I am makes me angry, and I am sure most people would feel the same way if others assumed negative things about them that weren’t true! I feel sorry for any child who has to endure these types of character judgments from their parents.

    The problem is, society is built for morning people, and some of us are night people. Science has proved that every body has an internal clock that is hardwired to function better when it’s awake between certain hours, i.e. morning people or night people. We have an abundance of evidence on this. Fighting one’s internal clock is $%^&-ing HARD. My son’s behavior is amazing during the summer, when he doesn’t have to wake up for school in the mornings and can sleep based on his body’s internal clock.

    Your child’s morning problems are very likely not behavioral in nature, but biological. It would be wise to start by trusting your child, instead of assuming they are out to control and manipulate you!

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