web directory link about Family TLC link contact us link

How to Talk to Teens

Mastering the Art of Better Listening

A Tribe Apart: a Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence

On Becoming Teenwise: Building a Relationship that Lasts a Lifetime

by Tania K. Cowling

Remember 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.

With 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.

Mealtime 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.

  • Turn off the phone ringer during mealtime to ensure quiet, uninterrupted time. Let the answering
  • Let children have equal time to talk about themselves.
  • 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!

With 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 see.
  • 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.

Relationships 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.

Making 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.

Without 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 come.

web directory link about Family TLC link contact us link

all about kids articles - l babies l toddlers l preschoolers l 5 - 9 year olds l preteens l teens l parent/child dialogue l
l web directory l about us l contact us l conditions of use l privacy notice l

© 2002, FirstTeacherTLC.com All rights Reserved.