Q. My teenage daughter seems to have her own sleeping patterns. During her vacations or on the weekends, she'll go to sleep at outrageously late hours and will sleep in until mid-afternoon. Obviously, this conflicts with any schedule of family outings. But even during school nights, she'll often have a difficult time waking up in the morning, due to her late hours. She gets herself into a pattern of going to sleep late and waking up so tired and ill-equipped to function at her optimal level. Other than nagging which hasn't worked, is there any way I can knock some sense—or sleep—into her? Or should I just accept that teens have their own hours?

A. As you suggest, the teenage years are a combination of many things and require constant compromise. However key points based on family values and rules should never be compromised in any way.

The most important thing to remember is that as a teenager, her main developmental goal is one of responsibility. As it says in Proverbs, "Teach a child according to his way." With this in mind, you are correct in surmising that your daughter should keep her own hours, as long as she bears the responsibility for this choice! In other words, the choice is hers to stay up late or not, (so no more nagging), but she still must get to school on time and keep up her marks, she still must come on family outings even if she is tired and she must certainly get up on her own, in time for school. These are her responsibilities and we do not help our children by sheltering them from the consequences of their actions.

I say again: if she stayed up late, that was her choice, she still has to go on the family outing. She was aware of it in advance and should have taken this into account and planned her schedule accordingly.

This maturity takes time and practice. That's what you are about to give her, practice.

Sit down and have a talk with her and set the rules that you both can live by. She gets no more nagging, (or at least a lot less), and you get to trust her and plan that she will be with you on family outings, responsible for her own schedule and keeping up at school. If she needs help in getting up in the morning, get her a better alarm clock, but it is not the responsibility of a parent to wake her up! If she is late for school because she slept in, you can have all the sympathy for her in the world, but you will not disrupt your schedule to drive her to school.

Responsibility for her own decisions and actions = respect.

Let her show responsibility and earn the respect; let her grow.