TIME FOR TEENS
the ËCleaversÓ of the 60Ás (Leave It To Beaver) and the ËCunninghamsÓ
of the 70Ás (Happy Days) with Mom at home and Dad the bread winner;
their family unity was easier to maintain and togetherness was a nightly
focus in the same living room. But in the 21st century,
the Ëreal world,Ó we find both parents working and a schedule where
family togetherness needs to be penciled in. Even the kids are overscheduled
with extra-curricular activities.
our ever-increasing busy schedules, itÁs so easy to lose focus on
spending quality time with our adolescents. It is important to remember
that even though our children are nearing adulthood, they still need
parental involvement. Communication breakdown has been cited as a
major cause of parent/teen conflict over the years.
was a ËmustÓ in the past, where as today one in four parents reports
eating four or less meals a week together as a family. Some never
eat at all with the family. Mealtime can be a time of re-connection
for families, especially for adolescents. It can be a great time to
ask questions about your childÁs day without interruption. If given
the opportunity to spend a meal together, keep these points in mind.
off the phone ringer during mealtime to ensure quiet, uninterrupted
time. Let the answering
- Let children have equal time to talk about
- Ask specific questions of your teen. This
tells them you are interested.
- Tell them about your day. This tells them you
respect their opinions.
- Make mealtime fun no arguing!
the demands of work obligations and extra-curricular activities for
both adolescents and parents, it is becoming more difficult to spend
mealtimes together. If this is a problem in your home, there are other
ways to interact and keep connected. Your child will appreciate knowing
that he/she is important enough for you to make time together a priority.
Here are some ways to spend quality time:
- Take your child with you for a drive a great time to open
up a conversation.
- Go to a movie your teen wants to
- Go shopping at their favorite mall.
- Go to a concert or sporting event together.
- Go for a nature walk or hike, pack a lunch,
and make it an adventure.
- Rent movies and stay up late together.
- Pitch a tent in the backyard and escape the rest
of the family for a night.
- Plan a monthly Ëfamily nightÓ where you play board
games, cards, or just hang out watch TV together.
with our children are not built overnight; we must start early. Although
teens may not know how to express their appreciation, they wonÁt forget
the special times, especially the one-on-one times you spent together.
time with your teen your top priority may take some changes, but in
the long run, the decision to alter your daily routine will become
more natural. Small changes in how you use your time can have a big
impact on family unity. Other creative ways to spend family time are:
- Make use of rituals. Maintain practices
such as special birthday dinners, a holiday at the grandparentÁs
house, or playing car games on long trips (like when they were young).
Rituals help provide the Ëfoundation makingÓ of family unity and
also create positive emotional memories.
- Keep in contact with extended family. Visiting with relatives
rekindles a sense of heritage and helps kids feel a sense of belonging.
- Take vacation time together. ItÁs not the length
of the vacation or even whether you leave your home; itÁs the fact
that you spend relaxed time together.
quantity of time there cannot be quality time. There has to be Ëgive
and takeÓ in order to find time to spend together. Ultimately teens
wonÁt show their appreciation, as much now as we would like, but the
memories of time spent together will remain with them for years to