I don’t know if other parents feel the same way but as our children get older and become teens, it tends to become more difficult to spend quality time with them. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with them. It’s just that life keeps us busy and my children are in this stage where their friends are their main priority.
So as a parent I have tried really hard to make sure that we spend quality time together. I think as the parent of a teen you have to be willing to enter their world. When they were younger I could pick all of the activities we did together. Now I have to let them pick or if I do pick, I have to make sure it is something they are going to enjoy.
One of my recent favorite experiences was taking my daughter shopping for school clothes. It was special for us because it was just her and I and we were doing what she loves to do, shopping. I also made sure I took her to the mall, which is her favorite place to be. We had so much fun looking at the latest fashions, laughing at some and admiring others.
After our shopping trip we stopped at a custard stand for some ice cream. The entire day spent together was just very nice. It gave us lots of opportunity to talk.
I have to admit that finding things to do with my teen daughter is much easier than it is with my boys, especially my 16-year-old. He really loves to watch war movies, so once-in-a-while I will sit down with him and watch one. While we don’t talk about deep issues, he does share interesting facts with me. This is his world and when I enter it, I get to enjoy a part of him.
This past Labor Day my daughter went away with her friend and their family to spend time at a camper. Having the boys to myself, I wanted to enjoy a special evening. Since my husband had to work late Friday and my daughter was gone, it seemed the perfect opportunity.
I made plans to cook their favorite meal, jambalaya. Then we watched a guy movie, not one I would typically enjoy but I picked it out for them. I asked what kind of dessert they wanted and they said root beer floats, so I made those.
It may not seem like a big deal, watching a movie together. But my boys recognize that I have taken the effort to do something they would enjoy and I am making time for them.
Sometimes we have to be creative but we should never give up on spending time with our teens. They will appreciate it more than they may let on.