Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making Time for Teens

by Linda Shaw
There's a popular song by lyricist and songwriter Harry Chapin that points out how easily time slips past us. The last verse and chorus of this poem/song (see below) drives home a poignant family relation lesson; no matter how good our intentions our actions ply the greatest influence...

Cat's in the Cradle

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then.

Why is it difficult to talk to your teens?

Teenagers, with their growing minds and curious natures are busy exploring their new social, intellectual, and emotional world. In their need to explore, they might begin to "push back" when parents attempt to connect with them. Parents often take this brush off as a mistaken cue to "let them be."

Parents who take them time to "ask" what the presumed brush off means often discover that they are not wanting to push parents away as much as they are wanting to define their own identity. Teenagers want parents in their lives. They may not announce it, but they do want parents to ask about their interests, their activities, and their goals. They want time to feel their parents love and see it in a personal way.

Creative Ways to tune into your teen.
  • Leave messages on mirrors with dry erase board markers 
  • Text them encouraging words at random times during the day
  • Make efforts to arrange your schedule to be home when they arrive home 
  • Include them in family discussions and let them feel apart of the solution. 
  • Schedule activities together that interest your teen.
  • Create family traditions of Monthly Movies, Weekly Wednesday, Terrific Tuesday dates, etc. 
  • Post photos of you and your teen around your home 
  • Leave notes of encouragement within their text books or game gear
  • Attend their games, recitals, concerts, matches etc. 
  • Play a game together. 
  • Run a race together. 
  • Plan a trip together. 
  • Work on a common project (repairing a car, sewing a quilt) 
  • Post a funny comic strip on the refrigerator that relates to their interests.
  • Visit them at work (movie theatre, restaurant, store) etc. 
  • Have a yearly school shopping trip tradition (away from your home town)

What other ways can you think of to connect with your teen?



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