"This is my opinion and does not constitute an endorsement, opinion or official position of the U.S. Army".
When parenting teens, quality family time can be difficult. Our kids don't necessarily want to spend time with us. Let's face it: we are not cool (at least to our kids). As our children transitioned from elementary school toward high school, I recognized the importance of focusing on their interests in order to engage their attention.
So, how can we make sure that we are available to our kids? What are some things that we can do with them to maintain a bond? Here are some of my ideas and I would love to hear yours as well!
- Eat dinner together. This is so important! Many studies have touted the value of eating as a family. It is a great time for discussion, questions and family time. I am always amused listening to the things that my children feel are discussion worthy. And, be sure to take some pressure off of yourself. What you serve as the meal is less important than the fact that you are all sitting down together to eat and talk.
- Schedule time together. You may think this sounds strange, but trust me when I say family time competes with your teenager's social calendar and is not alway held in the same regard by them as it is by you! We treat our family time as sacred; "Family Night" goes on the calendar just like anything else. Making time together a priority sends a strong message to your kids that you value them and want to spend time with them.
- Take advantage of a captive audience. I cherished the time I used to spend being the Taxi Driver, because I at least had my children once in awhile as a captive audience. Ever since my son got his driver's license, I no longer have that time. Now I have to insist on driving him places, or I take advantage of our road trips by using this time to engage them in conversation. Teenagers, especially boys, can tend toward monosyllabic answers so I end up asking a lot of open ended questions to solicit some feedback. Play a game in the car or crank up the music and sing together. Enjoy your kids.
- Celebrate their interests. I have a son and a daughter. Both are completely different. My son loves sports and my daughter loves to shop! Finding common ground when we are all together sometimes proves more challenging. To bond with each, my husband and I will do things separately with each of them and encourage their individual growth.
- Volunteer together. Serving others together is a great way to bond and spend time with your kids. And, it is something that will hopefully inspire your kids to develop a servant's heart for others and take that passion into adulthood.
What are some of the ways that you spend quality time with your teen/tween? I would love to hear them.
"The views expressed on ViewPoints are those of the individual bloggers. These views and posted comments do not necessarily reflect those of Army OneSource or the U.S. Army."