It’s a delicate balance between work and home. Every working professional struggles with it. It’s easy to spend extra hours at the office to get ahead, or when you’re vying for a big promotion, or you’re up against a big deadline. Even when you leave the office right at 5 pm it is sometimes a challenge to really leave work at work – you might come home stressed about work or preoccupied with your “work world.” The consequences for your family can be negative, and the impact can be even further amplified when you have teens at home. Why?
Because teens are in a pivotal stage of life. They need support and consistency, and they’re also more observant and quick to feel blows to their self-worth. If you’re not home on a day when they really need to talk to you, it can be damaging to your relationship. If you’re consistently choosing work over family time they will take it personally even if there’s nothing personal about it. And never test a teen’s ability to point out hypocrisy when you tell them to put away their phones and communicate or spend time with the family. The typical teen issue with authority can take a dangerous turn when you can’t find a good balance between work and home. So what can you do?
3 Ways to Balance Work and Family When You Have Teens
- Talk to them about your work. No matter how boring it may be. Your job directly affects them, so talking to them about it is only logical. Tell them what you do and why you do it. Talk to them about big projects, deadlines, promotions, or other factors that might lead to longer hours or more stress. When they understand and feel involved they will have more sympathy and feel less victimized or angry if you need to work more.
- Protect a block of family time. Choose a time during the week where your entire family can be together, uninterrupted. Keep this time sacred. Do not let work or other obligations interfere. By doing this you show your family, and your teenager in particular, that family time matters to you.
- Choose your teen. From time to time, make it a point to choose time with your teen over other options. Take him or her to dinner or go see a new movie. Better yet – give them an undivided chunk of your time and let them choose the activity. When your teen feels like they deserve your time and attention they are more likely to communicate and rely on you as a parent.
At the end of the day, finding balance between work and family will make a huge difference for you, your family, and your teen. It’s an important first step to take if you believe your teen is struggling or could benefit from more serious help.