October 15, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Arguments, Battles, Bedtime, Counting, Evening, Scorecard


Categories: adhd

Bedtime Battles Scorecard: Counting Our Night Arguments

It’s after 11 p.m. and I find Isaac playing video games on a school night. “Don’t you have soccer practice tomorrow at 6:00 AM?” I ask.


“So why are you still awake?”

“Uh,” he says, as if that were a trick question.

“Go to bed, son!”

He mumbles something to himself.

“What’s this?” I ask.


Most nights I don’t have this counter-talk. But for some reason I’m starting to do math in my head tonight. Sixteen years equals 5,840 nights. I was this boy’s father. And so many nights he left the bedtime business to me.

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His 14-year-old sister is hot on his heels in 5,110 nighttime grudges. “My show is almost over,” she says. “Can I finish it?”

“For how much longer?”

She interrupts her show. “47 minutes.”

“Go to bed, girl.”

At 13, son number two comes into play in 4,745 bedtime battles. Twenty minutes after telling him to turn it off, I find him with papers in his backpack. “What are you doing?”

“Check something.”

“Son, is that homework you forgot?”

“Uh,” he says, as if that were a trick question.

[Like the Teen You Love: ADHD-Friendly Communication Tips]

And cleaning up is my little girl who is 10 years old and even wants to spend 3,650 evenings full of junk and delay. She always interpreted bedtime as a sociable hour in which she comes into our bedroom, bumps against the bed every five seconds and incites the dogs. “Please stop shaking the bed,” I say.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she says. Then she pushes it again. Then a third time. Then a fourth. And on and on until I get angry and bark at her to go to bed. She snorts at me and storms out. Then I’ll do my thing again and know she’ll be back in a few minutes to start the whole process again.

These are, of course, conservative numbers. I’m not including the attitude they make when I tell them to brush their teeth, when I tell them to go to bed for the second time, when I tell them to shower or the third time I tell them to go to bed. Still, 20,000 attitude problems should make me a master.

But I am not.

So I say to Isaac exactly what I say most nights. “Lose the setting or lose the PlayStation.”



“Yes sir.”

Then I go away and think: How many times have I told him to say, “Yes, sir?” Let me do the math.

Bedtime Fights: Next Steps

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