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Son threatens to be truant...

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I need help with the following issue:

My son requests to be awakened early for school, and every morning my wife and I will go to wake him, he becomes upset. When he finally gets up he wants to argue on why we did not get him up on time and threatens us with not wanting to go to school. It happened this morning and we just were yelling and arguing (i now know was wrong). It ended with me just saying get ready for school and I walked away. Shortly I went to check on him and he was getting ready and he became very angry and defensive that I went to check on him. Any advice on how I could have handled differently. This is a daily morning ritual with him.



Getting children up and ready for the day...whether it is for school, daycare, or even a sport or enrichment activity is a sure-fire stress builder and typical cause of morning madness. What can moms and dads do to start each day in a positive fashion? Here are seven ideas.

Clothing, down to clean socks, underwear and shoes, and even matching hair accessories should be laid out each night before bed. Children can play a role in choosing the outfit, but no changes are allowed once their head hits the pillow. And, then stick with it! The only exceptions should be an unknown tear or stain, or surprise change in the weather. This avoids missing socks, unmatched shirt and shoes, and keeps getting dressed a simple step in beginning the day vs. a looming battle.

Designate an area for all essentials that can eliminate the crazed morning syndrome when you're trying to leave. Shoes, backpacks, car keys, cell phones, purses, etc., should be placed in this area every day, always, so they are always in place and ready for action. Keep a cell phone charger in this area so your phone is charged for the day. Not having to hunt down keys or other last-minute essentials is a time and blood pressure saver, for sure!

If you've got more than one kid in the house, and especially if you have a large family, consider staggering wake up times for greater efficiency. Start with children who need assistance first, or the ones who are real sleepyheads who move at a snail's pace come mornings.

It's just not enough to get dressed and eat. How many times have children missed the bus because they couldn't find their homework sheet or didn't have their backpack put together? If you drive your children, then put their organized backpacks in the car the night before. Lunches should also be prepared just before bed and easily grabbed from the fridge ready-to-go. Jackets should be in a central location. The "snatch and go" theory really does work in the mornings.

One mom swears by weekly breakfast menus; other adheres to cereal and fruit. Yet another has her children eat the $1 breakfast at school each morning. Some day care centers offer breakfast for children; others allow moms and dads to bring in a morning meal. Breakfast is important--some experts argue that it is the most important meal of the day, so your children need a nutritious start each a.m. However, that start shouldn't put moms and dads in a work bind or make children late for school.

One way to make it easier for children to get up in the mornings is to create occasional "children get up...NOT" day on occasion as a reward. If it's a school holiday, lazy weekend opportunity, or just about any reason at all, moms and dads can make a special celebration out of the exception. The "not" day also serves to reinforce the lesson that normal mornings have a schedule and expectation; and that occasionally everyone gets a break from the routine.

Moms and dads really can help to determine whether their children become morning risers or morning whiners. If moms and dads moan and groan, are always frantic, grumpy and running late themselves, then how can they really expect anything more of their own children? Good advice is to get up earlier yourself, start that coffee or do 10 minutes of exercise, and then show that Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and really mean it when you greet your children with "Good Morning!"

Moms and dads unwittingly cause morning madness by not instilling that the routine is a family requirement and not an option. A non-negotiable routine must be established, and consequence discussed and determined (i.e. “If you don't get up on first call, your bedtime is 15 minutes earlier tonight”). It's the "wiggle room" that causes melt-downs and tantrums on the very morning moms and dads have a "must make" meeting.

Some moms and dads unwittingly set their children to fail with their morning routines by tackling on unexpected chores and duties, which causes whines and a mad rush to end up on time. Consider creating a checklist of what absolutely must be done each morning, and then forget the rest. If you want your child to make his bed every morning, then make that a requirement. However, cleaning the cat box can surely wait until a child gets home.

Why does a parent have to wake children up anyway? Except for very young kids, children can learn to awaken by an alarm clock and get themselves up without mom or dad hovering and yelling, "Are you up yet?" Let them decide what is the best time for the alarm to go off and get ready on time. If this means Erica doesn't get her hair braided or Sam doesn't get second helpings on cereal, encourage them to set their alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Cause and's a good lesson to learn!

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