When your child was younger, it was probably easy to find time to spend time with him or her. Between bathing and bedtime routines, homework and mealtimes, spending time with younger children is often built into the family routine. But once your child enters adolescence, it can be more difficult find that time. Your teen may be driving, working a part-time job, spending time with friends or engaging in sports or other extracurricular activities.
Why prioritize spending time with your teen?
The teenage years mark the period of time when your once highly-dependent child begins to seek out, and find, adult-levels of independence. It is often difficult to track down your teen at times, let alone find the time to hang out and talk. However, considerable research shows that spending time together has immense benefits. First, it just allows you to get to know the person your teen is becoming. Your child now likely has thoughts, feelings and perspectives on the world that they are more than happy to share if given the opportunity. In addition, spending time with your teen can help you identify areas of concern or struggle and intervene before the situation gets out of hand.
How to find the time to spend with your teen.
There are several ways to find even a few minutes at a time to spend with your teen. First, follow your child’s cues. Teenagers often reach out at the most unexpected, and often the most inconvenient, times. If at all possible, when your teen reaches out for that connection, stop and respond to your child. While this sounds easy, it is often difficult to step away from the mounting to-do list, but even a few minutes can mean the world to your teen.
Another idea is to let your child teach you his or her hobby. Everyone loves feeling like they have something to offer. One of the best ways to interact with your teen is to engage yourself in activities that he or she is interested in. Ask to be shown how to do the activity and most likely, your child will be a very willing teacher.
Finally, have your child make a list of activities he or she would like to try with the family. It can be as simple as baking a new recipe or as complex as a vacation. Go through the list with him or her and schedule a time to complete as many of the activities as possible. Your years with your teen living in the same house are probably winding down, and now is a great time to complete a “family bucket list.”
Are you having difficulty parenting your struggling teen despite your best efforts to attempt to connect with him or her? If so, please give us a call today for a free consultation. We would love to work with you to find the best treatment plan for your teen. We believe all teens can thrive if they are given the right help, and so we offer our services at no cost to you. Call us today to get your teen back on the right track.