Today I am going to discuss how you get your adolescent or teenager to participate with the family and be part of the family. This is a big problem.
The first thing you must understand is the stage your child is going through. At some point when your child hits adolescence he starts moving away from the family. He is growing up. It is normal for your child to try to become more independent of you and become much more attached to his friends. Growing away from the family is normal. In fact, if your teen is not doing this, it could be a sign of a problem.
More than that, many teens at this age find being with the family and particularly being with you, the parent, to be an embarrassment. They don’t want to be around you. They are embarrassed to be around you in public. Again, this is normal. It is a stage. It is not a reflection of how your child really feels about you.
Teens want to be cool. They want to seem big and being with mommy or daddy just doesn’t work with that image. So if you have a teen at home and he is shying away from being with the family, there is a very good reason for this. Your child really does not want to be with you. He is embarrassed to be with you in public.
However, you are still his parents and he is still part of the family. How do you get him to behave that way?
First of all, we are living in kind of a crazy world right now where there is a breakdown of the family life in general. Family members go in and out of the house at different times. All the kids have different schedules. No one seems to get together at all. This is a big problem and it erodes the closeness of the family. It is a society-wide problem.
What we recommend is to make a fixed family time on a consistent basis. It can be once a week, once a month or some time in between that. It is a time for all family members to spend together and everyone is expected to be there. You can have a family dinner once a week. You can schedule a family night to do something. Make it a requirement that everybody in your family to be there.
That means you have to be there and all the children have to be there. This will give you children the idea that they are part of a family, not just a bunch of individuals who live in the same house.
As you and your children get older these family times will become very pleasant memories. Your children will remember that they are part of a family. This will help your children to remain close as they grow older.
You should not expect these times to run smoothly always. However, like any other time, your children are expected to behave themselves. If your teen acts out because he doesn’t want to be there you give appropriate discipline. Your child may not like it, but he is expected to behave himself and to participate. You should expect some grumbling from time to time. Try to overlook as much as you can. You are building memories.
Our world is moving very, very fast. The family unit is being lost. It is important to have a regular family time. This will help your family stay a family.