Spending time with your teenager

We all know that as children get older it can become increasingly difficult to know what is going on in their lives and harder to stay close to them. Spending some quality time with teens might mean you have to make an appointment in their very busy social diaries, but there are ways around this.

So what can you do as a parent to try and make sure that you stay close to your teen as they venture out in the big wide world? It might mean that you have to be a little bit creative, or perhaps even push your own boundaries.

In an ideal world it would be nice for families to sit down together on a regular basis and talk and find out what everyone’s been up to.  A family meal is a wonderful opportunity to do this but we know that this isn’t always possible for every family , especially when you have teens who have busy social lives.  Check out our top tips for finding time with your teen and see if you can integrate any of these into your family life.

Things you can do with your teen

  • Arrange a “movie ” night where you can all sit down as a family.  If you can do this once a week you can give each member of the family the chance to pick a film and make a pact that you will all be respectful of each other’s choices.
  • If you have girls, how about arranging a “pamper” night where you paint each other ’s toes, or apply a face pack.  A great way of bonding and therapeutic too.
  • Researching the internet together – if you have something you need researching get your teens involved to help you.  This will also give you an opportunity to talk about internet safety if you feel it is appropriate.
  • Take it in turns to cook a meal. Give your teens a change to show you what they can do in the kitchen and take a back seat and chill out.  Don’t worry about the mess, you can all tidy up together afterwards.
  • If you have a “gamer” in the house, how about renting a game that you can all play together.  Teens often find it hilarious to see how shockingly bad their parents are at gaming!
  • Try an outside activity – go for a bike ride or walk the dog together.  Football is another great activity to try!
  • If your teen wants to get creative help them decorate their bedroom.  It doesn’t need to be expensive – just a lick of paint can work wonders but give them the reins to choose what they want to do and remember that you are only there to help!

It’s easy for parents to feel “redundant” when parenting teens, but it’s important to remember that they still need you – just in a different way.  Teens still need boundaries and you are entitled to have house rules and compromise can work wonders when trying to negotiate with them.  Reflect back on your own teenage years from time to time to remind them that you were also a teenager once and may have been through similar experiences.  Ensure they know your door is always open if anything is troubling them.

If you are concerned about mobile phone safety or would like advice on issues around this.  Please see our article on giving your child a mobile phone. 

spending time with your teen

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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