Are You Giving Enough Time & Care for Your Teenager ? Keep Calm & Think
Created by Tanuja Sodhi Updated on Oct 11, 2012
You think you are the busiest parent in the entire cosmos; more organized than the archetypal ant at work; a paragon of efficiency when it comes to being both- a provider and a caretaker at the same time; and yet, utterly clueless about how to deal with a brash and a difficult teenager back home? Time to hit the ‘pause’ button of your life really hard! Put on your thinking cap and rack your brains. If still baffled, ask yourself, “Do I spend enough time with my teen?” Crack goes the puzzle as you get your answer- “Probably not !”.
What Are the Cons If not Investing Time with Your Children
In this day and age, working parents are slaving away at the office at the expense of spending quality time with their children. The increasingly busy lifestyles of both parents and teens can be a challenge for spending quality time together. We as parents need to develop skills that are significantly different and arguably more complex than they were 3 decades ago. The reality is that teenagers today are torn between asserting themselves as adults and being children who still need reassurance, as they are very vulnerable (although they may pretend otherwise).
Will Pull Away from You - If you are not sensible enough to reach out to them, nurture and reassure them, it is likely that they will pull away from you and try to meet their needs elsewhere, which could make them more vulnerable to pressure from peers. This often leads to bad associations and complicated situations that could dramatically affect the entire family. Thus, the reasons for bonding with your teenager are greater than just finding an enjoyable way to spend time together. Modern day parents must make extra efforts to stay connected with their teenagers. By breaking out of the child-parent communication mold sometimes, you would be modeling healthy interactions for your teen's future relationships with colleagues, friends and family.
Communication breakdown has been cited as a major cause of parent-teen conflict over the years. So, let the child talk freely with you with no fear of judgment. If they don't want to talk, that's fine too. When they really want to share their thoughts, they will come to you.
As soon as the umbilical cord between the mother and her baby is cut at birth, the physical attachment to the mother may cease but the psychological and emotional attachment begins. And this provides a foundation for our young ones to thrive. A firm bond between mother and child affects reactions later in life. It reflects how well children do in school, how they build relationships with friends and how well they react to stressful situations. Studies have found that children who have formed a strong bond with their parents are sociable and gregarious. Those children lacking a secure bond are more likely to be antisocial, withdrawn, hostile and aggressive. Spending quality time with the teen helps parents and teens stay connected and can drastically improve teen behavioral issues.
Why scour far and wide for a worthy example to substantiate the case in point? Let me dissert my own case. While in a full- time employment when my son was a toddler, our inability to devote quality time to him made him an archetypal asocial child. He hated anyone and everyone who dared to come close enough to strike a conversation with his parents. He would go to the extent of displaying physical aggression to keep people off limits from his ‘nonpareil’ mom and dad. He understandably was a highly insecure child who craved our time and attention which was scarce and sporadic at best. It was only after I quit my full-time vocation and became a hands-on mother that he gradually transformed from a recluse to a more affable child. While I worked from home there on to undo what could have been the most costly mistake of my life, deluging him with all my time and attention, he grew into a gregarious and convivial teen as I see him today. He is the undisputed ‘jokesmith’ of his class by his own admission, and I certainly am not complaining !
Innovative Ways of Spending Quality Time with Your Teenager
It is an accepted fact that bonding develops through interaction not in isolation. If scouting for ideas, you could choose from the following list or devise it of your own.
# 1. Reading with your child
#2. Playing a board game
#3. Watching movies together
#4. Listening to his favourite music together
#5. Laughing at silly things on YouTube together
#6. Visiting a coffee shop together
#7. Taking post dinner walks
#8. Going for a drive together
#9. Go shopping at their favourite mall
#10. Having them help you at home with cleaning, re-arranging the house, etc.
#11. Cooking with your teenager or teaching her to cook her favourite dish
#12. Renting movies and staying up late on weekends
#13. Volunteering for a noble cause with your teenager or just randomly going on a food distribution spree
#14. Listening intently to what your child has to say about the life issues she/he may be facing. Inquiring about their hopes, wishes, interests, passions and aspirations
#15. Connecting over family dinner every night, which can be a great time to ask questions about your child's day without interruption.
There are myriad possibilities for doing fun things together. Although teens may not know how to express their appreciation, they won't forget the special times, especially the one-on-one times that you spend with them.
In my own case, my 15 year old son and I strongly bond over fitness sessions. It could be the long weekend runs or a one-on-one body-weight exercise session. Like a quintessential young adult, he laps up all the inputs about how to own a great body in a short time. Besides the fitness based bonding sessions, an occasional casual outing provides an opportunity for us to relax and rejuvenate together. On our wish-list is a family hiking and trekking trip in the mountains which we await with restless anxiety and excitement as my husband grapples with making all the arrangements.
Teenagers, by nature, are driven to separate themselves from their parents and become individual, autonomous beings. They are no longer children yet not accepted as adults, their hormones are exploding, they're trying desperately to figure out who they are, what they believe and what their capabilities are. Though they are seeking independence, most teens are not emotionally ready to cut themselves off from a family that they love. At such a juncture, spending one-on-one time with teens-in-turmoil will not only have a profoundly positive effect on their behavior but also help you develop an unbreakable and deep-rooted bond with them.
A Crucial Afterthought
No matter how busy you may be or how wound up with chores, always remember to hug your children every day, preferably just as they are leaving for school and at the end of the day to let them know that you love them deeply.
Image source - My Sahana
| Jul 08, 2016
It's so well written.. thanks a lot for little shake up:)
| Sep 01, 2015
Very interesting... thanks for sharing.
| Jul 18, 2015
I have always wanted to read this blog, got around to finally doing it today. A lovely post by Ms. Sodhi and definitely helpful for me. I have been through phases of hovering over my preteen to almost feeling detached. A roller coaster ride for sure. Now again back to evaluating what I can do better. Thanks. Very well written post.
| Nov 11, 2014
Hi Ramani, thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.
| Nov 11, 2014
Right from the heart! Very nice article
| Sep 03, 2013
Very nice blog. Handy tips indeed for these challenging times with teenagers. Developing a healthy channel of communication is the key. Thank you.
| Jun 08, 2013
Totally agree with this article..... Also feel that its the best opportunity for us parents to see and realise that we were no different as teenagers. As I try my best to do things the way I'd have expected my parents to do without being influenced by the extended family.
| Apr 02, 2013
well written article addressing a serious issue. needs to kept in mind while dealing with our teens
| Nov 26, 2012
5. Laughing at silly things on YouTube together 6. Visiting a coffee shop together 7. Taking post dinner walks... love these ideas and completely agree with your thoughts! thanks for sharing!
| Oct 26, 2012
Preteens has so far been the most exciting time for me as a parent. Every day is a new day and presents a new challenge, never faced before. Fitness sessions seems like a great idea to catch up with my 11 year old. great post, thanks!
| Oct 20, 2012
totally agree with u and thanks
| Oct 20, 2012
totally agree with u and thanks