For Mrs Jola, it was especially tricky — 14-year-old Dolapo (now 16) for her to be on time. Dolapo was a good kid most of the time but she was always late. Always.
“I spent a lot of time fuming in the car, waiting for her to come sauntering out of the house at her usual leisurely pace,” She says.
She wanted to help, but her suggestions were rarely received positively. “It seemed like help quickly turned into conflict,” says Mrs Jola. “If I said, ‘You’d better get your stuff together. You have to leave for school in a few minutes,’ she would get irritated with me and go even slower and leave even later. If her dad hassled her about it later, instead of thinking, ‘Dad has a point. I should try to be on time,’ she’d get angry and focus on ‘Dad is so mean. He’s annoying’ So that wasn’t working at all.”
These parents aren’t alone. All teenagers are like that. Why? Teens who tend to be late for school, family events, even get-togethers with their friends. There are three main causes for it.
Differing priorities Friends, peers and social activities take precedence. Kids this age are more internally focused. They are going through, or have just finished, the hormonal turmoil of puberty and are beginning to be primarily concerned about relationships and connections with peers. The things that are important to the adults in their lives — being home in time, being ready on time etc. — may not be showing up on the radar.
Overscheduling Class schedules and after-school activities can be too much to track. Many kids this age have busy schedules and new responsibilities. Depending on their age and the local school system, they may be moving to a new school, and they have to worry about lockers and class schedules and a bigger range of after-school activities. For some kids, trying to manage all this can be overwhelming, and they end up losing track of time and showing up late.
Poor time management Kids may not have the skills to organize their time. Parents may have handled all the organizing and scheduling for their children up until now, so that their teens haven’t had the chance to learn responsibility for managing their time.
The solution? Take a deep breath, Mum and Dad, because this might be harder than it seems. Step back and let the child make mistakes. One of the most wonderful ways for kids to learn is through natural consequences. If she’s late for school, she’ll be punished either by getting beaten, picking dirt in the school surroundings etc. That’s not life-threatening, and she’ll learn something from the experience.
Parents should also expect their teens to respect their schedules and time, and be very firm about this with your own family. If you had wanted to leave at 8:15 a.m., wait until 8:16, but if your child wasn’t ready then, leave. ,” she says. “I only had to do that once or twice and they caught on.
While this chronic lateness can be a stage that’s outgrown as the child learns more time-management skills and responsibility. Perrsonality is also a factor. Some people are perfectionists and hate ever being late for anything. Others are more laid-back and don’t mind being the last to arrive or missing the first five minutes of the movie. You won’t change your child’s temperament from one type to the other, but you can help her understand when being on time is important.
Finally, It’s not about you! Most parents feel as if it reflected badly on them as parents for not getting to places on time. Don’t think that way, let them evolve by themselves.