Is Time Management For Teens An Oxymoron?

My Step-Brother’s Dog

You know the saying,

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I was contemplating something this morning and thought about asking for feedback on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page.

Once I decided to do this, I began forming the question in my mind.

I resolved the question might be better suited if I asked it in a blog post.

Here’s the question:

Is it too late to teach my Senior in High School

better time management skills?

You see, bless my Daughter’s heart, she inherited my inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder.

I have been trying to help with her busy school schedule/homework, preparing for ACT, prepare for a church program {called Personal Progress,} keep up with Color Guard and prepare for college applications.  When I say help I mean it usually consists of me asking, “Are you doing your homework?”  “Are you studying for the ACT?” “Are you doing your Personal Progress?”  I feel like a nag and by the tone of her voice replies she thinks of it as nagging.

She will take her 2nd ACT test this Saturday.  She is taking it as many times as she can so she can get the best score.  We had a little ‘run in’ this weekend.  This consisted of withholding her from an extracurricular activity with friends at the lake so she could use that time to study for the ACT.  Needless to say, this didn’t go over well.

I have purchased a planner/calendar for her and a book on organizing your time specifically for teens.  There are a few other things I’ve done that I plan on sharing with you at a later date.  We are trying to manage the ADD without putting her on meds.  I do take medicine to manage my ADD.  It has been a blessing from God because it helps me tremendously.

This is hard to articulate.  When I see my Daughter’s habits, I see me when I was her age.  Now at 42, I’ve had years {& medicine, counseling etc.} to get where I am today in regards to managing my time.  I have definitely not perfected time management at all, but I am much better than I used to be.

Side note: My 17 year old gets up on her own every morning at 5:00am so she can be at Seminary {a church scripture study class} by 5:45am.  She then goes straight to school for Color Guard practice for Marching Band.  I think it begins at 7:00am.  Next is school from 8-3.  She may not be exactly punctual to Seminary, but I am very proud of her dedication.  This is a very full and demanding day.

HOW can I help her without being a nag?  Here’s the deal…when I go to her room to check on her…9 times out of 10 she is on her iPhone.  Her iPhone/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Internet/Texting/Facetime is a HUGE time suck for her.  Any other parents out there dealing with this?  If I take her phone away, her reaction is as though I have ripped her heart out.  She then proceeds to tell me {in so many words} how she can’t possibly study now that she’s angry with me about taking her phone away.  {By the way, DH gave her his old iPhone when I was at Blissdom Blog Conference.  I am avidly against her having the iPhone.}  Next thing I know, she is working on a report or project the night before it’s due.

I guess I haven’t been a good enough teacher in regards to time management with my kids.  Is it too late now?  Should I just leave her alone and hope for the best?

I am curious to what you think.  However, I will preface this with, please go easy on me, okay?  Wisdom and counsel is what I’m seeking, not massive amounts of criticism.  Besides, I have 2 other kids still.  If I don’t do it right with her I believe there’s still hope for the other two.

Mom on a Mission,


  1. Food for Thought
    First let me say, I only speak from my own experience with my three kids, but those time management skills will be imperative when your daughter goes to college. It sounds like you have given your daughter the tools to manage her time. I went through this with my son. (first- born) I found that once I stepped way back and let him take on the responsibility to get his work done, things went much smoother. Set up the results you want to see with chores, studies, church, and family time. Make a contract that you both agree on with the meeting of these goals (best to start short term.
    Come up with fair and reasonable consequences with reasonable time lengths for goals. The logical consequence for bad grades is the effect on ones GPA. If the goals are not met, (iPhone, driving, if she drives, going somewhere with friends) Then, and here’s the hard part. Step back and let her do it herself whether she succeeds or fails. If she fails, she suffers the agreed consequences. Try not to make any “mother faces or comments”. Then you begin again. Just ask if she would like a suggestion about what might work better this time. If she says “no” don’t give any suggestions.
    The phone, internet, Facebook, etc. will be there in college, so just removing them to begin with does not teach her to work around them.
    I know parents worry about their child’s grades, but bad grades now are not as costly to their future (financially and long-term) as they are in college. Plus, if she has a school in mind and knows what it takes to get into it, she will do it.
    By doing this, she can’t blame you for her slip-ups. (of course, teenagers will try) It will take time, and it is so hard to watch them mess up. However, you may be surprised at the innovative ways she tackles everything. Plus, you will no longer be the bad guy. She won’t have to know that you secretly want to run in there and give good advice. “Don’t let her see you sweat”.
    As I said, stepping back is the hard part for YOU, but I found it bettered my relationship with my son. Plus, the two younger children were watching and knew that this was how it was going to be for them. I am proud to say they all graduated from the university of their choice, met wonderful spouses, and have given me five grandchildren to totally spoil.

    Easy-no. Worth it-yes!

    • Funny how, the right words just often appear. This is EXACTLY where I am…and you’re right the hard part is for US. Love the ending and hope and pray it works out that well for us 😕

  2. Michele Hatmon says

    I am not a parent so take this for what it is worth. I don’t think it is ever to late to learn something or improve in an area. I think over my life and my time management techniques have changed depending on the demands in my life at different times and as technology has changed. I also think that while parents want the best for their children the child themselves have to want to change or learn also. Your children are great children and will do well in life as you have raised them well.

    The iPhone phone can be used as a time
    Management tool. I use the calendar and task list / notes app on the iPhone to keep myself orgainized and where I should be and doing what I should be doing. I always have my phone with me and got tired of having to pull out the planner to update it and carrying it. I know that you can also use google calendar online and sync it with you iPhone. I bet you daughter would love the technology. She can scheudle study time etc and see that if she sticks to it that she can have her fun time also. Your daughter just has to understand that study time cannot be spent texting or on face book, lol. This is probably more than you wanted from a person who is not a parent.

  3. I think of you every time I go through the “teenage” stuff with my 17 year old son. Why? Because I have always thought that having a teenage daughter instead of a son would be so much harder. Girls seem to carry so much “teenage drama” with them….I know I did at that age! But after reading this, let me tell you, boys are soooo much worse at time management and organization. If your daughter can keep up with that busy morning schedule then consider yourself blessed. That’s awesome…my son would never be able to be that organized in the mornings. I’m just happy he makes it to school on time every morning.

    As far as the iphone goes, that one is tough to accept. Things are so different now than they were when we were teenagers. At this age, kids are seeking their independence (whether parents like it or not) and will find some way to do that. Their social circles are VERY important to them. The iphone is your daughter’s (and my son’s) “lifeline” right now. Don’t fight it…just give her advice on time management. At some point, you have to sit back and hope that all of your years of “teaching” her life lessons will guide her through adulthood. This is the hard part…I’m going through it too. Stay strong and take comfort in your past parenting of your daughter. Now it’s up to HER to show YOU what she can do with what you’ve taught her. Will she make mistakes? YES! That’s part of the learning process. Just let her know that you will be there when she needs you. Then sit back and try not to worry (yep, that’s hard for me too!)

    Good luck…praying for you,

  4. I think it’s never too late. I learn something new everyday and at times it’s about how to manage my time more efficiently. I’m 32 and still waste tons and tons of time on blogs commenting etc… You can always have a positive attitude when it comes to learning new things. If ones mind is open to change and suggestions you will have no problems what so ever getting your kiddo to be more productive.
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