The lame excuses that parents get from kids who always come late are enough to make you want to sign up for therapy. Say, when teenagers are supposed to be home by seven o’clock in the evening, and they fail to follow the curfew, the standard reply that you will get is “I’m sorry, I forgot.” If you ask why they have not called or texted their reason beforehand, you may hear them utter, “I did not think about it.”
Considering you no longer want to lose your temper over the forgetfulness of your teens, here are a couple of memory-enhancing tips you can recommend to them.
“Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain processes complex stimuli,” says Staci Lee Schnell, MS, CS, LMFT. If you think that two or three hours of sleep is enough for any person, think again. Even if someone who gets very little rest can be called as nocturnal already, you are still not a full-bloom night owl. Besides, owls sleep all morning since they do not have work or family or classes to attend to; that’s why they have all the right to be awake all night long. However, as a human being, you have other responsibilities that require your 1000% focus. Sleep is needed to be able to rejuvenate your body and mind from all the kinds of stress that you have gone through that day.
You see, our body follows the pattern of the rising and setting of the sun so we can only be awake for 16 hours, and it is normal for us to feel sleepy after that. Now, the problem that for most nocturnal people is that they fight their sleepiness. I know this because I have done it may more than a dozen time already when I need to finish some paperwork at school. Well, when it is urgent like that, it will be okay to sleep for less than eight hours. As for petty activities like gaming or chatting, though, they can both wait until the morning comes so that you can regain your energy in the night and have stronger memory.
Being organized is bliss—that is what your kids should know by now. The first time I lived in the dorms with my seven other roommates (yeah, that’s a lot), they were all going crazy over my messiness. My clothes were strewn underneath the bed, which was always rumpled or skewed. My gizmos were either on the table or top of the shoe rack; my towel that should be hung outside was still inside my closet.
In truth, I was going crazy as well since it was not infrequent that I got late for my first class because I could not find my book or my shoes from all of that mess. After six months, my roommates who were now my friends said that they had enough of my clutter, so they helped me haul everything out and started segregating my possessions. To be specific, they found the ones that could go at the foot of my bed, beside it, and inside my closet. On top of that, they gave me a cool basket where I could put all of my electronic cables so that they were not hanging everywhere.
I am long gone from the dorms now, but I still have that urge always to keep my things in order. I hope that you will not think that I am exaggerating when I say this, but I do have a “blueprint” of my room posted at the back of my door where I can see everything I own. This way, I won’t feel stressed about searching for any particular thing in there.
Sandi Lindgren PCC, LICSW once said, “Early adolescents (ages 12-14), middle adolescents (ages 15-17), and late adolescents (ages 18-20) all have different needs from their caregivers based on where they are at developmentally.” With that, you don’t necessarily have an obsessive-compulsive disorder when you start putting little labels on your cupboards to indicate which has the plates and which has the casseroles. Instead, it is a way of helping yourself not to strain over minor things like that in the future. Forgetful teenagers should learn about that early as well.
It is common for teenagers to make excuses for coming home late. You have been an adolescent once; you know how fun it can be to stay with friends after classes. “The secret formula lies in effective discipline. The concept may be easy to grasp, but the execution is what often trips up parents,” says Linda Esposito, LCSW. However, if your children genuinely seem to be more forgetful than average, be sure to suggest the two memory-enhancing tips to them.