6 Immediate Steps To Spending Quality Time With Your Teenager

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Family

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They can be moody, hormonal, and sometimes not the most pleasant people to be around. But, they’re also curious, insightful, and on their way to becoming young adults.

It may feel like a chore to spend time with your teenager, but what if it wasn’t? What if you could find a way to genuinely enjoy quality time together?

On a typical night, my teenagers spend time in their rooms for hours on end. I often find myself clueless about what they’re up to. Teenagers are complex and unpredictable creatures. Their emotions can shift from tired and lazy to hyper and crazy in an instant.

A text from a friend can send them into a state of bliss, while a simple request from mom to help with the dishes can trigger a storm of protestations: ‘Why do I always have to help?!?!’As parents, it’s understandable that we might not want to spend too much time around this roller coaster of teenage emotions. However, experts advise that quality time together is crucial. So, how can we achieve it?

Mom and Teenage Daughter Spending Time Together

Spending Quality Time With A Teenager

I believe that no one has all the answers when it comes to parenting. In fact, I have turned it into a personal challenge to experiment and discover the best ways to spend quality time with my kids.

Throughout this journey, I’ve had moments of frustration, like when I eagerly planned to take my daughter to a play she would enjoy, only to hear her say, ‘I don’t really want to go.’ It was disheartening. But amidst the challenges, I have also found joy in getting to truly know my children, witnessing their emerging personalities, and realizing that they are growing into young adults with their own unique perspectives on life.

It’s as if I catch a glimpse of their future and feel proud of the individuals they’re becoming. They share their hopes and dreams with me, and I can’t help but feel hopeful for what lies ahead. Discovering the joy in spending time with your teenager is possible. Allow yourself to relax, and you may find that your teenager comes to cherish these moments with you. Let me share with you 6 steps that any parent who wishes to create meaningful and enjoyable moments with their teenager can take.

1. Make it Enjoyable – Keep it Simple

Teenagers are more likely to engage with you if spending time together feels effortless and enjoyable. At this stage of their lives, free time holds immense value, as they crave personal ‘me time’. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep the activities you plan together simple and approachable.

Instead of planning a strenuous 2-mile hike, start with a leisurely walk around the block. Rather than requesting their help in preparing an entire meal, invite them to set the table with you. Perhaps they may not commit to watching an entire movie, but they can certainly enjoy an episode of their favorite TV show. These seemingly ordinary moments often develop into cherished longer experiences spent together.

2. Meaningful Conversations, Not Just Tasks

“How was your day?” Often, this question leads to reminders about tasks—homework, feeding the dog, and showers. Amidst the chaos of daily responsibilities, it’s easy to forget the essence of communication. Instead of focusing solely on the to-do list, investing in conversations fosters a deeper connection. Engage in ways that allow both parties to learn more about each other. While teens might not always ask questions about us, sharing stories or insights can open doors for meaningful conversations.

3. Know their priorities

Your priorities may vastly differ from your child’s. Teens are often preoccupied with music, friends, sleep, and immediate concerns like their next meal. Discussions about family plans or events might not pique their interest immediately. Empathy is key; revisiting your own teenage years can help understand their viewpoint and priorities better.

4. Show sincere interest

Understanding every facet of your teen’s world might seem bewildering—video games, sports, and the latest memes might feel like a different universe. However, showing sincere interest in their activities matters. Asking open-ended questions like, “What have you been passionate about lately?” or “What draws you to this game/sport?” goes beyond mere performance updates. If their friends top their priority list, inquiring about those friendships can reveal more about their personality and passions, nurturing a deeper appreciation for who they are.  Also, check out this article on Appreciating your Child’s Strengths.

5. Meet them where they are at

Building a connection with a teen, especially if there’s been a distance, requires patience. Rushing into sudden interest might overwhelm them. Start by focusing on them, gradually transitioning into spending more quality time together. Respect their pace and comfort zone as you navigate this bonding journey.

6. Understanding the Unspoken

Teens often struggle to express their needs. Vulnerability sometimes leads them to keep desires unspoken, fearing rejection. Recognizing cues beyond their words becomes crucial. For instance, a quiet child might crave one-on-one time without explicitly saying so. Parental intuition plays a pivotal role—asking specific questions can help unravel the emotions buried beneath the surface.

My daughter is very much a quiet kid who doesn’t often ask to spend time with me, but she does want it. And often she wants at least some of that time to be one on one time.  I have learned through time that even when she doesn’t ask for this it is important to her.  Therefore, I make sure to plan this time with her, and I am often the one asking her to spend time with me.  

6 Immediate Steps To Spending Quality Time With Your Teenager

Lisa Edwards M.Ed, Parent Coach


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