Why I Give My Teen Freedom to Escape to His Bedroom

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Why I Give My Teen Freedom to Escape to His Bedroom

Written By: Morgan Hill

My son is deep in the throes of his teen years. What that means is that he’s now spending an awful lot of time alone in his bedroom.

When I walk into his room, I find all the missing forks and spoons I’ve been looking for on his desk, a pile of empty water bottles on his nightstand, and clothes strewn all over his floor. When he walks into his room he finds something totally different… he finds safety, solace, and his own space – something, I’ve found, he desperately needs right now. 

Like a lot of parents, at first, I didn’t understand it. I fought it tooth and nail and I took it all too personally.

I figured I must have messed up horribly somewhere along the way and now he just doesn’t love me like he used to. But I eventually learned that his behavior is all so normal. In fact, most teens go through a pulling away, “just leave me alone” stage. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped knocking on his door, checking up on him, asking him to hang out, and making sure he’s not dealing with any hidden mental health issues. And, it doesn’t mean I’m giving him the okay to become reclusive – he needs balance in his life.

What it means is that I’ve stepped back to give him his privacy. I’m letting him have the time he needs. And I’m respecting the fact that he’s growing up and needs space. Here’s why I give my teen freedom to escape to his bedroom… and here’s why I think ALL teens need the freedom to escape to their bedrooms. 

Why I Give My Teen Freedom to Escape to His Bedroom


He Needs Time to Process & Decompress

Though the day may seem short to me, it’s an eternity for my son. School, sports, his part-time job, not to mention social and family pressure – he needs time to process his day, take a deep breath, decompress, and regroup. In fact, one study found that boys, in particular, need seven hours to process information. (Which explains why they suddenly get chatty at 10 o’clock at night.) And, honestly, being a teenager is enough of a reason to warrant time alone in their bedroom.

His Need for Space & Privacy is Normal

Everyone needs “me time,” but I know my son needs it even more. Most (if not all) teens go through a stage where they crave alone time. It’s normal, healthy, AND necessary for their development. So when my son comes home from school, grabs a cold drink and a snack, and escapes to his room where he knows he won’t be bothered and he can finally get some peace and quiet after a long, loud, busy day, I know that time is soothing his soul. 

I Have to Trust That This is What He Needs

A study conducted by the University of California Santa Cruz and Wilmington College found that “Teenagers who feel they need alone time may actually know what’s best for them at that moment.”

The study also found that when teens have the freedom to choose solitude (as opposed to being forced to go to their room as punishment, for instance), it can actually contribute to their personal growth and improve their self-acceptance.

This is His Time for Self-Exploration

Everyone has a different view (and expectations) of teenagers – parents, teachers, tutors, coaches, and friends. Sometimes retreating to their room gives them time to figure out how they view themselves and sort it out. It’s in these moments that they can self-explore. According to a quote in the Atlantic by psychology professor, Virginia Thomas, “This is a time when teens start to figure out who they are apart from their friends and family and start focusing more on the big questions like, ‘Who am I? What do I believe? Where am I going with my life and what does it mean?'”

It’s Good for His Mental Health

I know as parents we have a tendency to worry if our kids are suffering, struggling, or lonely when they choose to hole up in their bedrooms at times. But research has shown that teens who spend a moderate amount of time by themselves tend to get better grades and have lower rates of depression than those who don’t. And, that “self-connection” they obtain from being alone can also help them withstand peer pressure because they become more in tune with their values and morals. 

He’s Learning How to Be Alone

For the better part of my son’s life, he’s always been surrounded by people – at home, at school, at his sports, and in clubs. Up until now, he hasn’t been given the freedom to call the shots when it comes to his personal time.

Giving him time behind closed doors to dive into a book, do a little gaming, play his guitar, or scroll through his phone allows him some sovereignty over how he spends his time for a while before diving back into life’s must-do list.

Plus, according to experts, learning to be alone is a skill that can be refreshing and restorative for teens.

It’s a BIG Stress Reliever

From social slights to stressful academics, those seven hours at school are filled with pressure and conflict. Challenging classes (or boring ones), homework, extracurriculars, and high expectations put on himself and by others can make my son want to take to his bedroom to relax and recuperate. I see my son’s stress – it’s tangible – which is why I encourage him to relax and unwind in his room.

It’s an Escape from All the Drama

Both teen girls and boys have plenty of drama in their day. Friends turning cold for no reason, gossip, friend “politics,” romantic issues, – it’s all so exhausting. There’s no better place to think it all through than the quiet of your own bedroom. Whether my son spends a couple of hours gaming, doing absolutely nothing, or scrolling through Instagram, he needs to escape the drama of his life so he can put things into perspective.

He Can Catch Up on Sleep

According to the Child Mind Institute, 60-70% of American teens are sleep deprived and my son is no different. Sometimes, he loses sleep because of all the academic pressure he’s under with late nights studying. Other nights it’s completely self-induced because he lost track of time scrolling or talking with friends too late.

Either way, my son (and most teens) are always tired. A little time to catch up on their Zzzzs in their comfy bed is just what they need to recalibrate their brain, leading to better coping skills and an overall feeling of wellness.

He Can Focus

Whether he’s doing homework, working on a project, or fiddling around with some new gadget he bought, he can use that time to focus and get away from all the distractions of me, his siblings, our barking dog, or anything else. 

“Although it’s tempting to think they’re just goofing off when they’re alone, they’re actually spending a large part of their time thinking about things, trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become.”

~Dr. Peter Marshall, author of Now I Know Why Tigers Eat Their Young


About Morgan Hill:

Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter

If you enjoyed reading, “Why I Give My Teen Freedom to Escape to His Bedroom,” you might also enjoy reading:

The Power of Solitude: Why Alone Time Could Be the Key to Your Teen’s Well-Being

Who Knew My Teen Pulling Away Would Hurt My Heart This Much

55 Ways to Get Your Teenager Out of Their Room

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment