As your children age and start entering their teenage years, many changes can happen within them. They will start to develop physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. Teenagers will also start to gain interest in other things they weren’t interested in before. Teenagers also like going out and having fun with their friends. They like to hang out with people of the same age group and this can be why parents may feel like they barely see their own children during these times. Of course, in the time of a global pandemic, it can even be more worrying for parents.
Any parent would love to spend more time with their children, however, that wouldn’t always be the case especially if your child also loves to go out. And while parents shouldn’t also stop them from hanging out and spending time with their friends, there are also times and situations when they could stay home just a little bit more. And so, what can parents do to make them want to stay home?
Teenagers are at the age when they want to explore on their own. They are having their first taste of freedom and long to spend more time with their new friends and experience things together with their peers. While any parent would also want their children to grow and develop socially, given the current situation, there may be some doubt and anxiety with their children going out too much.
For worrying parents, we have a few tips to help make it easier for your teens to love staying at home.
Teenagers are always looking for new ways to be occupied and entertained. They are at the age where they are looking for fun or something they can focus on, this is why spending time with their friends going out is appealing to them.
You can also recreate the experience with them by purchasing streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime that can give you access to unlimited TV shows and movies. Watching films or shows together with them is a great way to bond as you are taking the highs and lows of the movie’s storyline with each other. It also gives you a chance to communicate with your teen and discuss the movie or show along the way. After the movie, you can even talk to your child about your favorite characters, a scene that struck you the most, or plotholes and questions you have noticed. It’s a great way to start a conversation with your teen that will engage them to share their thoughts openly as well.
If your child isn’t so keen on movies or TV shows, you can try games with them such as with gaming consoles that can allow you to play games as a family. There are also other games that will require you to get moving, which is also a healthy way to stay active with your child. If this is too expensive, try the cheaper alternative in the form of board games. There are many board games to choose from such as Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders. You can also try card games like Uno.
Aside from the above, you can also ask your teen what they are currently interested in. Maybe if they have some interest in music, you can spend time with them learning a new instrument at home. If you know what your child is more interested in, it will also give you more ideas as to what activity will keep them entertained at home.
No one is going to look forward to staying at home in a messy and dirty environment. Being in a clean and neat environment will help your child feel more relaxed so keep the house as organized as possible by also putting in a collaborative effort to always keep things in their own place. Saving space through organizers and drawers is a great way to start decluttering your house and making the area more spacey and cleaner.
As such, you don’t have to clean the house all on your own. You can delegate house chores to every family member or set a cleaning day when everyone will clean the house together. Aside from finishing the chores together, you will also get to spend more time with your family and your teen. Having a neat and clean house is more welcoming and provides a very approachable atmosphere that each family can enjoy and experience a clear headspace when they are at home.
Never underestimate the power of a regular and good family mealtime. With everyone’s busy schedules, it’s also important to prioritize family time through maintaining close family ties. By making it a point to have a family meal together every day, it can be used as a time to also catch up with each other and discuss how the day of each member went.
It’s also important to set aside distractions during these meals so set aside your technological devices and talk about how your teen’s day went or even how they are feeling about their day. Take a conscious effort to really listen to your child and validate their thoughts and feelings, all without sounding patronizing. Another tip to help with these conversations is to ask your teen if they want “solutions or validations.” Sometimes when they share their thoughts, they just want to be listened to versus sharing when they really need advice, so knowing what they want would help you instead of just imposing your thoughts and ideas on them.
It’s not easy being in the “know” with your teen, especially when they are at the age when they are starting to want to do things on their own. However, it’s still important for you to know what your child is going through and care about them appropriately. This means that you can help them in ways they want to be helped in.
For example, if they are having a heavy workload with their academics or stressed about their exams, give them more space to study instead of insisting on bonding or spending time with them. If they are feeling bad or they are just out of the weather, invite them to spend some time with you in the kitchen “testing” new recipes or just watch a movie together. They may not want to talk about their feelings yet but by spending quiet time with them you are also saying you are available to listen whenever they need an ear.
The key to a healthy relationship with your teen is being an understanding and available parent that they know they can let their guard down with when they come home. At the end of the day, even if your child is growing into young adulthood, they are still your child. Knowing what’s going on with them will help you understand them more as well.
As they are growing into their own person, teenagers will not be as keen as they were before in sharing personal issues or things they think their parents will not understand. They will want to try to keep things to themselves as much as possible. Because of this, you may notice them frequently glued to their phones (if they have any), taking long calls, or wanting private conversations with their close friends.
Do not take this personally as it’s normal for teens to relate more to people in their group age. You don’t have to freak out as a parent. Demanding or expecting your teens to come to you instead of their friends will be counter-effective and honestly very unlikely to happen. Give them the space that they need to figure things out on their own and experience life stages as a teenager while also making sure you will be available when they need you.
Another way to help prevent your teen from unnecessarily going out too much is sticking to a fixed amount of reasonable money as their allowance. Not only will it stop them from going out too much but it will also help them in budgeting and teaching them to spend within their means. As an example, it will teach them to save for this month if they have a plan ahead that requires a bigger sum. This way they will learn to budget their allowance while also lessening their going-out as they have a bigger plan ahead.
Of course, parents should also be reasonable in the amount they want to give to their child that would also allow them to go out every now and then. It is still important for teens to have a great social life to form connections and learn from their experiences.
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