At Sundance Canyon Academy, we have worked with countless families who have lost the relationship that they once had. Parents feel like their kids have drifted away, and they don’t know what to do about it. Today, we are writing on this topic to help parents learn new ways to spend quality time with their kids and revive their family connection.
When your kids were little, you probably spent a TON of time with them. Between feeding them, bathing them, changing their diapers, and ensuring they were safe all the time, being a parent probably took up most of your waking hours. Then when you did go to bed, they would need you in the middle of the night as well. Having a baby or a little kid is exhausting and demands so much of your time!
As your kid got older, they probably stopped needing you quite as much. Sure, they still needed you to drive them places, make their meals, help them with homework, and generally be there for them, but they didn’t need your constant supervision anymore.
You could leave them alone with their toys and games and let them play with their friends. You might still miss some of those times cuddling them as a baby, but you also got some of your life back.
Now that your kid is a teenager, it might seem like they don’t need you that much. They might still need you to drive them around and remind them to keep up with their chores and schoolwork, but they don’t need constant attention.
They want to spend more time with their friends and exert more independence, and you’re there to keep them on track and guide them into adulthood. Your teen is still a huge part of your life, but you can focus on things outside of the home as well.
Though your teen might not need as much of your attention as they did when they were little, it’s still crucial to your family’s relationship that you spend at least 20 minutes with your teen daily. You don’t have to carve out a specific 20 minutes and add it to your calendar. You can sprinkle time throughout the day and interact in different meaningful ways.
Spending one-on-one time with your teen
As a parent, you need to spend one-on-one time with your kid each day. This helps them form and maintain a secure bond with you and develop emotionally. Though it might feel like your world revolves around your teen, a lot of your time with them isn’t actually spent in quality one-on-one interactions.
To maintain a healthy relationship with your teen, you need to spend time doing things that matter to them.
Here are some ways that you can spend more quality time with your teen:
Have a “technology-free” time
Kids get a bad rap for spending so much time on their devices and essentially living in a virtual world. Adults are surprisingly bad about screen time as well. If you or your kid tend to spend your downtime playing on your phone, create some “technology-free” time during the day where you can interact with each other without digital distractions.
This could include meal times, car rides, or any time that you naturally spend together where you might be tempted to be on your phone.
Engage in their hobbies
Chances are, you’re not into the same things that your teen likes. Try to learn more about your kid’s hobbies and engage in them together. You probably won’t be great at it, but your teen will appreciate the effort. Teens love it when their parents show interest in the things that they value.
Have fun together
Your kid needs to know that they can have fun with you. Your role as a parent is often going to involve being a disciplinarian. You have to watch over them and make sure that they’re making good choices in life and staying safe. Sometimes, this role can interfere with bonding. Your teen needs to be able to have fun, laugh, and relax while you’re around.
Benefits of spending 20 minutes each day with your teen
Spending quality time with your kid can positively influence their emotional health. They learn how to bond with others and to rely on you for support.
Some benefits of spending quality time with your teen include:
Strengthening your family’s relationship.
Boosting your teen’s self-esteem.
Improving your teen’s mental wellbeing.
Increasing trust between you and your teen.
Improving your teen’s likelihood of making positive choices.
Reducing stress in the household.
Creating a positive home life.
Laying the groundwork for positive relationships in the future.
If your teen son struggles with connection and hates spending time with the family, there might be underlying mental health concerns. Some teens have a hard time connecting, even when their parents do everything they can to connect. If this sounds like your son, contact us for more information about our residential treatment center for teen boys.