They are surly, hormonal, mopey, and sometimes just not pleasant to be around. Yet, they are curious, insightful, and turning into young adults. At times it may feel like a chore to be around your teenagers, but what if it wasn’t? What if you could find a way to spend quality time with your teenager that you both actually enjoyed?
A normal night has both of my teenagers tucked away in their bedrooms for hours at a time. I don’t always understand what they are up to. Teenagers are complicated and unpredictable. Their emotions can go from tired and lazy to hyper and crazy in a moment’s notice. A text from a friend can send them into happy oblivion or a request from mom to help with the dishes can send them storming around the house, saying, “Why do I always have to help?!?!”.
So as parents, we may not want to spend much time around this unpredictable roller coaster of emotions from a teenager. But, experts say you should spend quality time together. Enjoy this stage. Well, how does one do this?
Spending Quality Time With A Teenager
I don’t’ think anyone has all the answers. In fact, I have taken it on as a secret game for myself to experiment and determine, what is the best way for me to spend quality time with my kids. And throughout these experiments, I have run into frustrations, such as when I was excited to go to a play with my daughter that I thought she would enjoy and her reaction was…”I don’t really want to go.” I was crushed.
But I have also run into a lot of joys, such as really getting to know my children, and their interests. Did you know that they are becoming little adults? They are starting to form their own opinions on life and show their personalities. I can see what they might be like as a grown adult and picture their future. They can express hopes and dreams, that one day may be their reality. And I am so proud of them and hopeful for what is to come.
Find the joy in spending time with your teenager. Allow yourself to relax and hopefully your teenager will come to enjoy and cherish these moments with you. Following are 6 steps that any parent who wants to spend quality time with their teenager can take to make this time more enjoyable for all.
6 Simple Steps to Quality Time with Teenagers
- Don’t make it a chore. Keep it simple. – If teenagers have to give up their entire night to spend it with you doing what you want, they will be less likely to do that. At this point in their lives, free time is so important. They want to make sure they have their own personal “me time”. So keep the activities you want to do together simple. Instead of going for a 2 mile hike, start with a simple walk around the block. Instead of helping you make the entire dinner, have them set the table with you. Maybe they won’t commit to an entire movie with you, but can commit to an episode of a favorite TV show. And sometimes, these simple times, can lead into a much longer time together.
- Don’t focus on the tasks of life. – Did you remember to…? I can’t tell you how many times my conversations start like this with my kids. And often it is finished with the many tasks of life such as…finish your homework, take a shower, feed the dog, etc, etc. There is always so much to talk to our children about, yet we get caught up in the tasks or every day life. Instead, we should be focusing on conversations. A back and forth dialogue to learn more about each other. Trust me, teens aren’t always the best at asking about us, but you can always share information or stories to add to the conversation.
- Know their priorities. – If it hasn’t already been made painfully obvious. Your priorities, are not your child’s priorities. Teenagers are more concerned with their music, sleep, friends, and when and what their next meal will be. So when you talk about the next family vacation, holiday, etc they may not care a whole lot. You may have to transport yourself back to when you were a teenager and understand their perspective.
- Show sincere interest.– No, I do not understand video games, sports, and all the funny memes my kids think are hilarious. In fact, I sometimes find it all confusing. But I do show an sincere interest in what my kids are doing. So I may ask questions like, What have you been working on? What types of video games do you like to play, and why? Why do you love playing this sport? These questions lead into more about their likes and dislikes, instead of hearing about what level they are on in their game, or even if they won their sport’s match. If you know their priorities are their friends, ask them questions about them and what they gain from being in a friendship with them. You are trying to understand your child’s personality and their own passions. This will help you appreciate them. Make sure to also check out this article on Appreciating your Child’s Strengths.
- Meet them where they are at – If you haven’t spent much time with your child in the past, they will not be ready, or may be thrown off by your desire to suddenly want to learn more about them and what they are doing. Therefore, it is important to meet them where they are at and understand their threshold. Take it one step at a time. Start with focussing on them, slowing turning that focus into your time together.
- Hear what is left unsaid – Children are not always able to express exactly what they want. At the teenager stage, they feel very vulnerable, and do not want to always say exactly what they want because they are afraid of being turned away. 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. Teenagers may have trouble expressing their emotions, so make sure to use your parent intuition and don’t be afraid to ask your children pointed questions to get to the root of their emotions.
How will you Spend Quality Time with Your Teenager?
If you follow these 6 steps, it will help you develop a positive, quality relationship with your teenager. So what are ways that you want will spend time with your teenager? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Also, if you are looking for ideas on spending one on one time with your child, make sure to check out this FREE RESOURCE. You will get emails every day for 21 days (it takes 21 days to make a habit!). Every day you will get two ideas of how you can spend some one on one time with your child.