The teenage years are an odd, transitional time for any parent who has difficulty accepting that their child has reached an age where establishing their own identity is critical to their development. As a parent, I am not there yet but it doesn’t stop me from thinking and fretting about the future parenting my kids through the said phase.
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A teen’s need for independence, coupled with the raging hormones wreaking havoc on their bodies, is enough to make any parent want to throw in the towel. Others face the sudden urge to book a one-way ticket to Bora Bora where they can gleefully sip on Mai Tais until their children have grown up and moved out into their own, postage stamp–sized apartment.As difficult as it is to hang on, parents also need to know when to let go. Teenagers need to exert their independence and find a creative outlet to express their individuality. This may mean a mohawk and purple hair dye that leaves them looking like they just came off an assembly line of a My Little Pony factory. If they decide to paint their room black and glue hubcaps to the ceiling—let them. You never know when you might need an extra hubcap for your car. Give your teens the space they need and save your battles for more important things that you will have to stand firm on, such as their health, safety, relationships and their education. Despite their belligerent and combative behaviour, (which can be triggered in a nanosecond if there’s no milk for their cereal or God forbid you to wash their jeans with your own clothes), stand your ground on the important issues and don’t get caught up in any power plays. They’ll complain about the food you cook (not a good time to serve tuna surprise casserole), the car you drive (“I’m not riding in an old, loser minivan that seizes up at every stop light!”) and will “borrow” your good shoes (which you will never see again), even though they derive immense pleasure in pointing out your wardrobe faux pas.
The teenager raising years of parenthood can be extremely challenging. You’re dealing with a mini adult who wants to do it all on their own, pushes you away and can be awfully moody. While the teenage years aren’t always negative, they are going through a lot of physical, internal and social changes during this stage. It’s difficult for parents to know what to do so that they can still enjoy the last few years of childhood with their teenager.
Today I’m going to share 4 ways to spend quality time with your teen so you can learn how to capture the best of the teenage years before they leave the nest.
Spend Quality Time with your Teen in 4 Easy Ways
Go on a Breakfast Date
This is the easiest way to get some quality time in with your teen because they usually love to eat. You may have a breakfast date in your home or take your teen to the local café. Going on a meal date with your teenager is an easy way to put less pressure on them to actually converse with you. As you’re enjoying your breakfast date, bring up fun memories from the past, engage your teenager and watch as they soon get comfortable to open up and have a nice discussion with you about life.
Enjoy an Activity
Figure out what your teenager enjoys doing for activities. Maybe they’re artsier or perhaps they love the great outdoors! Find an activity that your teenager enjoys and perhaps can teach you more about. Allowing your teenager to enjoy an activity that interests them while teaching you about this activity will encourage a deep bond between you two and give them a wonderful memory to hang onto. Even if you’re not interested in this activity, find the inner ability to show genuine interest.
Go for a Walk or Drive
Quality time with your teen doesn’t have to be overly complicated, in fact, the simpler you make this time the apter your teenager is to enjoy this time together. Consider going for a walk or drive together. This will alleviate the pressure on your teenager to talk much and allow you two some time to enjoy a fun moment together. A random local road trip together may just inspire you two to make some plans for a summer vacation together as a family. You never know what this can turn into.
Enjoy a Movie Together
While you may feel electronics is the last thing that would inspire quality time together with your teen, it’s, in fact, a great idea. When you sit with your teenager to enjoy a movie together, it will inspire future conversations. Whether you both loved or hated this film, it will spark random conversations for up to a few weeks later where you two can converse about a similar experience. Have your teenager choose a movie so that they feel good about this quality time together.
There you have it, 4 ways to spend quality time with your teen. Raising a teenager is very similar to the toddler years. I don’t mean this in a degrading way, by any means, but the reality is the teen brain often is confused, going through changes and still trying to be close to their parents. Teenagers often lose the confidence and ability to express how they feel and what’s going on for they desire to be independent. When you take a moment to spend quality time with your teen, using my examples, you’ll soon find that your relationship is bonded again and good times will continue.
Give your teens a wide berth while they struggle through their growing pains but hold them close to your heart. Tell them every day that they are loved and appreciated. One day the teen who stresses you to the point of gray hairs and baldness will turn into a responsible, young adult who will make you proud. You may not ever get those shoes they borrowed back again, but your heart will swell once you see them walking in them.