Time With Your Teen
It's sometimes difficult to find ways to
be involved with your teen without totally
intruding in his/her life. You want to talk
to them; they don't want to talk to you (most
of the time anyway). I've found the best way
to connect with my teenage daughter is to
enter her world and do the things she likes
to do. There's a saying that if you want to
understand your child's world you have to
play with them, no matter how old they are.
don't always have to be even directly interacting with your
teen in order to be involved in their world. Just being
around the same influences they are, and taking an interest
in their activities, lets them know that you care and that
you understand what they deal with from day to day. Then
later, at home, you can talk about the things you have experienced
together. It's a great way to connect. Here are some ways
my teenage daughter and I have spent time together:
daughter was involved in a music group that did a lot
of fundraising that required a lot of involvement by the
parents. At first I was really resistant to the time involved,
but I soon realized how much fun it was to hang out with
my daughter and the other teens and their parents.
activities are another great way to be involved in your
child's life, at any age. When they're younger there's
field trips, class parties, etc., you can be involved
with, but when they get older there are activities like
school plays that parents are a very important part of.
I've helped sell tickets, worked at the bake sale
I didn't even spend time with my daughter at all, but
it meant a lot to her that I was there supporting her.
sporting events is also important to your child. When
they get older it seems like they don't really care if
you're there or not, but it is important to them even
if they don't say so. It makes them feel like you care
about what they do.
my daughter with school projects has been a great way
for us to spend time together. She gets to do the hard
part of doing all the research and writing, and then I
do the fun part of helping her put it all together in
the end. Even with older teens, most don't particularly
enjoy doing all this work by themselves, even if they're
completely capable of it. I don't do the work for her
- just help her by giving her feedback on her ideas and
giving her a hand. Often beforehand I will go to the library
with her and help her sort through reference materials.
I know it means a lot to her, especially when she's doing
a huge project and is completely overwhelmed.
Another way I've been involved with my daughter is to
be a youth leader in her church youth group. Again,
I am not actually spending time with her there most
of the time, but I am experiencing the same things she's
experiencing and it's giving us something in common
that we can both relate to and discuss. Those times
together have been very meaningful.
can see, not all of these activities involve me actually
talking to and hanging out with my daughter. You know as
well as I do that our teens don't always want us hanging
around them. I'm happy for the time I do get to spend with
my daughter, for the little time I have left with her. When
we have things in common my daughter is much more likely
to talk to me and share her feelings with me. When I don't
know what she experiences, it is very hard for me to relate
to what she is going through. These shared experiences have
opened up many more opportunities for us to share and connect
that we wouldn't otherwise have.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author
of the Creative Homemaking Recipe of the Week Club Cookbook,
a cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas.
For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating,
crafts, and frugal family fun, visit Creative Homemaking