How to Awaken a Teenager

Posted on October 30th, 2010

This is the post that pretty much has been in everyone’s email and was on Yahoo! I thought I should post it here because…well, I wrote it. Have a great weekend!

When you first become a parent, nobody tells you that the tiny, cute, little baby 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.

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14 Responses to “How to Awaken a Teenager”

  1. Mary Says:

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and identifying yourself as the author of that wonderful post! There’s no way that I could have or would have taken credit for it! Now that I know who to give credit to, I will definitely do that!
    Thanks again!

  2. Laurie Says:

    Hey Mary, Thank you for reposting it! I appreciate it!

  3. Kim Nemecek Says:

    Really nice article, I have been looking to read something of this nature and your writing has fit the bill perfectly, thanks very much indeed.

  4. Marisol Says:

    First off congratulations on getting your blog post published on Yahoo that’s quite the accomplishment. Second i just wanted to tell you how much i love your blog now. I find it to be very refreshing and witty. The moment i read your “How to awaken a teenager” post on Yahoo i knew this was a blog i wanted to follow.

  5. Laurie Says:

    Thank you, Marisol and Kim. The Yahoo thing was a total fluke, but really, really cool I have to admit :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  6. Pamela Cordova Says:

    I have learned teenagers are a different species all their own………LOL

  7. Laurie Says:

    LOL. Yes they are a different species. Hopefully I’ll be able to understand them someday :)

  8. Scholarshipsmoney Says:

    Hello, you site is very funny he told me to cheer up .. Merry Christmas.

  9. airport london hotels Says:

    Fabulous article. Thank you so much!

  10. Kjoler Online Says:

    Very well written article, been reading it twice now and I had to show my friend too, hehe. Thanks again. Marie Strouberg , Sweden

  11. Alexandra Says:



    Except for me, it’s the 9 year old that’s a bear.

  12. Laurie Says:

    Yikes! Hopefully he’s not a big bear by the time he makes it to a teen :)

  13. Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness Says:

    Hysterical and absolutely positively undeniably true! My teen is the KING of the snooze button. I just wonder how he’s going to wake up when he goes to college? Any tips for that phase?

  14. Laurie Says:

    Lol@rubberchicken madness! I figure when junior gets to college he’ll learn the hard way never to sign up for an early class :) also? I’ve trained one of the dogs to wake him up. Cuz I’m mean that way :)

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