If you’re like most parents, you probably realize that your teen is going to bed later and later. So late that you know they’re sacrificing their sleep since they have to get up early in the morning for school. But it’s not like they’re staying up to do homework or study for a big test; instead, they’re staying up to play video games or mindlessly scroll through their phone watching TikTok dances and their friend’s Snapchat stories.
Why though? Why is your child staying up until 12, 1, or even 2 in the morning even though they know they’re going to be tired the next day and struggle to get out of bed and to school on time (not that they’ll ever admit that)?
Well, I have the answer for you. Chances are your child is experiencing what has become known as Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. Below, I’ll answer some common questions about Revenge Bedtime Procrastination and how you can help!
What is Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
Revenge Bedtime Procrastination is the decision to sacrifice sleep to engage in more preferred and entertaining activities due to a lack of free time during the day.
Why is my child engaging in Revenge Bedtime Procrastination?
Chances are your child feels like they don’t have enough time in their day to do the things they actually enjoy. Nowadays, middle school and high school students’ schedules are jam-packed from the minute they wake up until 10 pm. Being involved in extracurriculars such as clubs or sports or having a part-time job doesn’t make it easier.
When I talk with teens (and young adults), they usually all say, “Staying up late is the only time I have to myself. It’s the only time I can talk with my friends where we’re all free.”
What are examples of things my child might be doing during this time?
If your kid is engaging in Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, they’re probably doing things that they enjoy and don’t have time for earlier in the day. Some common examples include:
- Video Games
- Scrolling through social media (Tiktok, Instagram, and Snapchat)
- Talking to friends via texting or videocalls
- Watching Youtube
- Listening to music
How can I help? What are things I should be aware of?
The first thing I recommend to parents is to take a step back and focus on empathy. Think about how your child feels if they’re willing to sacrifice sleep. Do you think that’s their preference, or do they think it’s necessary? Chances are, they would prefer to get more sleep and have time for their preferred activities.
After you read our guide and talk with them coming from a place of empathy, help them figure out if there is a better way to schedule their day so that they have time for their own fun without staying up late.
Lastly, recognize that even if they optimize their schedule, many of their friends aren’t going to optimize theirs. That means your child will still want to stay up late to talk with their friends because that’s the only time their friends are free. Work with them to come to a compromise. Maybe they don’t stay up nights they have a big test the next day. Or they can only stay up X number of school nights per week.
Want more help?
Give us a call or reach out today! We’re happy to set you up with your own therapist to help you navigate the difficulties of parenting a teen or young adult. We can also set your child up with their own therapist if you feel their issues run a little bit deeper. Contact Ally Psych Today.