Alarm Clocks & Drivers Ed

So, I decided that 2017 would really be about fostering improved executive function. Hope told me she wants to be more independent; I told her that she had to take on some basic responsibilities to that end.

One of the things I resolved is that I would stop waking her up for school in the morning. I like to go to work out in the morning and having to wake her up in the am kind of cramps my workout routine since I have to be back to wake her up. I figured if she could get herself up, then I could do my full workout. We would both be #winning.

Now I know that most parents seem to have to wake their teenagers up for school. I get that apparently is a thing. I hear that it’s “normal.” But, I also realize that this is one way that Hope can practice self-care when a backup is around. If she’s not up by a certain time, I’ll wake her up, but this is one way for her to plan and execute in a safe space.

So anyway, I bought a really cool alarm clock for Hope for Christmas. She was jazzed. I was jazzed.

LET’S DO THIS!!!!

Week 1: My girl was on IT! We both marveled and how ‘easy’ it was. It was so easy. She felt so great about herself. I gave lots of positive reinforcement, high fives and extra goodies in her lunch.

Week 2: Like most new year’s resolutions by week 2, we hit some snags. In the evenings I prompted my daughter to check her alarm clock to create the habit of making sure that it was ready to do its job in the morning. I mean, the clock has ONE dang job! Let’s make sure we set the clock up for success, especially since Hope’s success was tied to the clock’s success, right?

Yeah, the suggestion did not go over well with my wanna-be independent daughter.

I backed off.

Oh, did I mention that if Hope missed the bus this year, she has to take the public bus to school?

Please note that temps here earlier this week were in the teens with wind chills dipping into the single digits.

Oh, and that being late to school is an unexcused tardy, and you don’t get to make up any missed work?

Yeah, that.

So, Monday she had to take the public bus to school—she managed to get to school 3 hours late—I don’t even know and I didn’t even ask.

It is my circus, but that wasn’t my part of the show.

Yesterday we overcorrected such that we got the rare opportunity to have breakfast together. It was actually delightful.

Today, I finally woke her up a half hour before the bus came and reminded her that the alternative to missing the bus is the public bus.

I discovered my daughter has superhero powers that allow her to get ready in 30 minutes.

She made it.

I marveled. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her move that fast.

The public bus is great unless you are used to riding in a nice car with heated seats.

We’ll get there.

This is all about building up for eventually driving said car with butt warmers.

Ok, so the idea of Hope driving creates all kinds of mixed emotions for me. To be honest, it’s exciting to see her preparing to take drivers education, and I know that it will be a huge accomplishment for her. It will be an age appropriate hoop to jump through, and it’s so exciting.

But then, I think about our challenges…Oy. I don’t think I trust her behind the wheel of my car. I fret about her level of maturity, her decision-making skills. I think about some of the basic executive function skills that we’re trying to develop and how that ties to driving. There’s a lot going on here.

Hope and I recently attended the mandatory parent/student safe driving program. Hope and I had a good chat afterward. I asked her how she felt about driving, what did she look forward to, what scared or worried her about driving. I shared my concerns about maturity and responsibility. We talked timelines and negotiated a timeline for earning her license that worked for us.

This is such an important time in her life. These teen years can be brutal and in a number of ways Hope is just a little girl in a teenager’s body. It’s like she’s always trying to catch up, much less keep up. I wish I could make it easier for her, but we’ll just have to muddle through.

I’d like to think that six months from now the alarm clock shenanigans will be a thing of the past and I’ll be taking Hope to the biggest empty vacant abandoned parking lot I can find in the local area to practice driving.

We’ll see.

I’m hopeful. I’ve seen so much growth in her when I really sit down to think about it. It will be fine.

I’m still worried about my car.

I mean like seriously worried about my car.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2016. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

4 responses to “Alarm Clocks & Drivers Ed

  • Trauma Mama S

    “It is my circus, but that wasn’t my part of the show.”
    ——> I admire this! I try to have that attitude, but really struggle. Maybe because my kids are still young.

    Little just stared at his alarm all night when we got one for him. Or changed the time. Or made his alarm go off in the middle of the night.

    I recently changed my schedule to stay up all night to tend to the kids when they wake…… And now that they have PERMISSION to leave their beds they just lay there pretending to sleep. DANG IT CHILDREN I CAN TELL YOU’RE AWAKE!!!!! Sneezing and sighing and banging up against the wall gives you away!

    Just. come. get. me. For the love of all that is holy!

  • Caitlin

    I love that you let her take the public bus if she misses hers. Good for you! I hate it when parents never let their child “fail” and do the equivalent of driving them on the heated seats. I’m sure you’re nervous – I bet EVERY parent of a child learning to drive is anxious. I hope the timeline goes smoothly and Hope continues to hold herself accountable!!

  • vibrantwriter

    Not to brag, but the only time my teen has a hard time getting out of bed is when we’re doing something on the weekend. Weekdays he is fine. I used to wake him up when he was younger, but I guess it was last year or maybe the end of the prior year we agreed he was old enough to get himself up. My parents had me getting myself up in third grade (once I could really tell time), although that’s not a helpful comparison. Best of luck to Hope! I think sticking with the natural consequence of riding the public bus is a great idea. I don’t know how you didn’t lose it when she got to school three hours late! Oh my!

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Internally, I went NUTS, but it was beyond my control and when she realized yesterday that she couldn’t make up the work, the second shoe of natural consequences dropped. She hasn’t been late since Monday! 🙂

      By 4th or 5th grade I was getting myself up, but as you said, unfair comparison.

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