Family

Teen nap clubs at school? You’ve got to be kidding me

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There must be some relationship between aging and the “You’ve got to be kidding me!” response, if I am any indication, that is. What was once occasional has become almost daily.

My latest “You’ve got to be kidding me!” was in response to a Wall Street Journal article (“New Instructions at High Schools: Take a Nap,” Feb. 9) on high school nap clubs. Yes, high schools are now providing safe spaces where sleep-deprived teens, whose milquetoast parents will not insist that they turn off their connections, turn out their lights, and turn in to bed at a decent hour, can take a 20- to 30-minute nap during school hours.

The nap club, proponents say, helps teens deal with the pressures of getting into college. Allow me to put this into perspective. First, the “right” college, whatever that is, does not guarantee success, however that is measured. Not for the student, that is. Parents and high school administrators want students to get into the “right” colleges so that they can brag. A kid who gets into a “right” college is a trophy for both groups.

I was admitted to both Yale and Western Illinois University. I decided to attend the latter because many of my friends were going to Western, and none were going to Yale. My parents had not helped me fill out college admission forms and only shook their heads in dismay when I informed them of my decision. Western was not the “right” college then, nor is it now (U.S. News and World Report ranks it 49th among regional universities in the Midwest). Nonetheless, it was good enough, and I managed to parlay my education into a reasonably good standard of living.

My daughter attended a “right” college. She later reported that to make good grades in her major subject, all she had to do was participate in professor-led class exercises in bashing politically incorrect things that her parents stood for. The quality of her work counted less than the correctness of her positions on a diversity of social issues. So much for the “right” college. I received a far better education.

Success is a matter of character, not grades, scholarships, IQ or the “right” college. It is a matter of perseverance, a proper work ethic, personal responsibility and respect for others, all of which are in short supply among today’s youth. It’s not their fault, by the way. It’s the fault of parents who abdicate their authority because they are afraid that if they draw lines their kids don’t like, the kids won’t like them (can’t have that). And it’s the fault of school administrators, who think the solution to teen sleep deprivation is a nap club featuring $13,000 napping pods bought with money contributed by hard-working taxpayers.

Not all teens are sleep-deprived, by the way. I occasionally run into parents who report that their teens don’t have smartphones, tablets, video games or computers in their rooms. These parents tell of respectful, responsible teens who voluntarily turn their lights out and go to sleep by 10 p.m. Or, if need be, these parents tell their kids to turn out their lights and go to sleep no later than 10 p.m., and their kids obey. These parents love their children but don’t give a hoot whether their children like them.

Some of these kids will get into “right” colleges; others won’t. Some mighty not even go to college (Have you heard? It’s not an essential prerequisite to success, either). In any case, they will have learned, as children, the value of a good night’s sleep.

Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website, Rosemond.com.

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