Time Management for Teens

Why can't your teenager do anything on time? Well, let's talk about that today on Tips on Teens.
My name is Kent Tussant. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I specialize in helping
kids, teens and families to live happier lives. I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center
and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland
Hills, California. And every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting
questions. Let's answer today's. My 16 year old daughter has no time management skills whatsoever.
In the mornings, I find myself having to remind her how much time she has left to get out of the
house for school. She's constantly waiting until the last minute to finish assignments, staying
up all night to finish. Now that she's driving, it makes me extra worried because she gets stressed
out when she's late and I'm worried she'll get in an accident. Do you have any suggestions for
us? Yes, thank you for your question.

I think a lot of parents can relate to this one. We all have had kids who have struggled with time
management. We all know adults who struggle with time management, so it's not an uncommon thing.
Teenagers have an extra obstacle because they have a teenage brain. It is not fully developed,
and their ability to see cause and effect and impulse control all that is impaired while they
are teenagers. The good news is it does get better as they mature. Now that she's 16, she's probably
at the peak of this development, and as she gets to 70, 8019, hopefully that will start getting
a little better. If she already has some attention issues, whether it's she's been diagnosed
with ADHD or something like that, that may put some extra obstacles in her way. It's not insurmountable.
I'm sure you've already tried having her write down her schedule, having write down a calendar
plan out ahead, how much time things will be, and it's still not working and you're frustrated.
I get it. There is no one perfect

solution to this, but it is a journey. And what I'd recommend is let the pain of being late be her
pain and not your pain. For example, sleep is really important. It is so important for teenagers.
Their brain is developing so much. They need that sleep to really develop a healthy brain. So
at a certain time, all electronics are off. She's got to be in bed regardless if she's finished
or not. Let her deal with have to come to terms with the natural consequences of not getting the
assignment in on time or not studying. Let the bad grades be hers and not yours. Now. Right now.
I know you're panicking. Wait a minute. It's her junior year. She's got to get to college. I get
it. But if she's not ready to have the discipline to stay on track, she may not be ready for college
in two years or at least not a four year university. Maybe community college, which is fine because
no one cares where you do English 101 at. It doesn't matter. No one's going to go, oh, wow, you
graduated from this university,

but you took your English 101 class at community college. I'm sorry. You're not our material.
It's not really how it happens. So allow her to face the natural consequences of her actions.
Getting the poor grades, not getting assignment in being late for rehearsal three times, and
losing her role in the school performance, whatever that is. It's going to feel horrible. She's
going to be in pain. She's not going to like it. But that's how we learn. We learn from setbacks.
We will learn from failures. We don't learn anything from success. Success just comes, and
we just assume it's supposed to be there. We learn from adversity and overcoming adversity,
that is part of the human condition, that's part of the human experience. And we as parents want
to shelter our children so much from adversity. Sometimes we get in the way. We put too many nets
around our children, and therefore they never really learn how to pick themselves back up.
And so what I would encourage you to do is set boundaries.

Bedtimes screen use again, what kind of screen use? Limitations and boundaries. There should
be that's a whole hour and a half workshop. It's hard to distill that down into a few sentences
by having those boundaries and letting her bump into them while she may complain and argue,
but it's important that she learns how to adapt to those boundaries as we have as adults. Now,
if you afraid that she is driving recklessly and you prayed that because she's running late,
she's going to drive in a dangerous way, pull her keys. Better late than dead, right? If that
means she doesn't get there on time, she doesn't get there on time. If that means you have to take
her, you guys have to have these conversations. And again, setting these boundaries should
not be at the expense of your relationship. Now, I already know as a teenager, she's pushing
away from you. That's normal. It's totally normal for her to do that. If she didn't do that, she
would never leave the house, and she's going to leave the

house at some point. But you want to make sure that you still have a relationship based on love,
compassion, acceptance, empathy, while setting these boundaries. I'm not saying that's
an easy thing to do, because it's not an easy thing to do. It's really hard to do that. But only
one of you is the adult in the room. She's not qualified to be the adult. That's up to us. As parents.
If you need help with this and support with this, there are a lot of therapists out there, especially
in Los Angeles, who work with kids and teens who want to support families. We've gone through
this. We've helped families through these things before. We can do it again. There's no perfect
solution. There's a good enough solution, and it's finding that good enough solution that
gets everyone to the next step in her development. Thank you for sending us your question. It's
a tough case. We all have kids, especially if you have kids, you're probably going to have one
of them who just doesn't manage the time well.

It's normal, and setting the boundaries for your children from a place of compassion and empathy
helps them bump against those boundaries and learn how to adapt. Again. My name is Kent Tussant.
If you have a question like me to answer here on Tips on teens, email us at tips on teens@teentherapycenter.com
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Thanks again. I'll
see you next Wednesday at noon. Bye. Bye, guys.


Almost all parents can relate when it comes to time management for teens. It’s no surprise that teens struggle with it. We as adults struggle with managing time, and the human brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25. So it’s kind of understandable that effectively managing and organizing time is very challenging for teenagers.


Getting past the headaches of time management for teens requires a shift in perspective for parents. The pain of being late should be your teen’s pain, and not yours. What this means is that you have to learn how to let your kid deal with the consequences of poor time management. We learn from setbacks and failures more than we do from success.  It’s natural to want to protect your kid from adversity, but sometimes we get in the way and they never learn to pick themselves up. Does this sound hard? Don’t worry, there’s a way to do it, and we’re on the clock in this Tips on Teens: “My 16 year old daughter has no time management skills whatsoever. In the mornings I find myself having to remind her how much time she has left to get out of the house for school. She’s constantly waiting until the last minute to finish assignments, staying up all night to finish. Now that she’s driving, it makes me extra worried because she gets stressed out when she’s late and I’m worried she’ll get in an accident. Do you have any suggestions for us?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.