Apr 12, 2014

How Do I Get My Teenager Out of Bed

Category: Teens
Posted By: Bino

Question: My 11 year old daughter almost never gets up in the morning for school and we have to force her to get dressed and even put clothes on her. After coming home from school she does not take a bath and does not have much for lunch.

She is mainly interested in eating chips and junk food. Never studies and unless relentlessly chased, she would never pass in any subject. We got her admitted to an art class and also a chess class after school, but she says that she does not like the teachers and dropped out. She also never goes out and plays with children in the neighborhood saying that others are hurtful to her.

What should we do as parents?! When we sit with her and help her with studies, she does perform as an average student. However, she never takes responsibility for anything and if we do not push her, she will continue sitting at home and never do anything, let alone going to school. She is addicted to internet, though we have restricted it to only two hours a day. Any advice will be appreciated.

Answer: I have to say that your description of your daughter sounds like she is really very unhappy.  It could even be that she is depressed.  She seems to have very little interest in life, or her appearance,to be self-soothing via comfort eating and to loose herself in the internet as a way of coping.  This sounds like a little more than a straightforward difficulty in getting out of bed and more of a possible depression issue.

It is very common for hormones to cause all sorts of difficulties in adolescence, including changing of sleep patters and low moods.  It could be that it is just an extreme version of this, however, I suspect that it might be a bit more entrenched and need a little more help than that.

I would start by seeing if you can engage your daughter in any kind of conversation about herself and her feelings at the moment.  It is hard not to be angry and judgmental in conversations when you are so frustrated and worried, but I think that the only way she will respond is to quiet, genuine concern and a very calm way of talking to her.

I think it is interesting that your daughter does respond to one-to-one attention and help with her studies and this is a hopeful sign.   Clearly there is a part of her still wanting contact and help from adults and it may be that she will respond well to one-to-one time with a parent to think about other areas of her life too.

However, if you aren’t able to reach her yourself then I would engage the help of an adolescent trained therapist to do it instead.  Unfortunately at this age it is often hardest for the parents to manage this kind of communication and easier for someone outside the family to help.

Overall though I would try and hold in mind that your daughter is probably acting out of an underlying unhappiness and/or depression rather than just stubborn heard-headedness and to have some interest in and compassion for her situation.

I hope this is helpful and wish you much luck with managing the situation.

Best wishes,

Ryan



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