Family Life with a Teen
When teens are giving you a hard time, it's sometimes tempting to give up on family life altogether, and leave them to fester in their rooms with their computers, mobiles, DVDs and take-away or microwave food.
But this is a dangerous precedent, which will soon spell the end of family conviviality. Your teenager - despite provocative behaviour - will inevitably feel ousted by the family, and you will all be locked in a vicious circle of rejection.
Maintain your family life and your sanity
- Eat one family meal together every day. The conversation may not flow, and there may be dissent at the dinner table, but at least you are all relating together.
- Try and organise a family outing at least once a week - a meal out, a trip to the cinema, a shopping expedition, a sporting activity. It's good to try and enjoy each other's company. Your teenager may resist these plans, but insist - if you're only doing it once a week it's not too much to ask.
- Ask your teenager to help with basic family chores - washing up, laying table, hanging out washing etc. It's good training for when they leave home, and sometimes you can actually have a reasonable conversation over the kitchen sink.
- Don't cut yourself off from your teenager. Parents often complain that teens are secretive and uncommunicative, but they in turn are not talking to their children about their own lives. Talk about your day, share a bit of office gossip with your teen, moan about your boss. Your teenager will enjoy an adult-style conversation (but don't burden them with real worries - health, money etc.)
- Tell your teen when it all gets a bit much and you need help. If you're frazzled after a busy day at work, ask for assistance (chopping the vegetables, cycling down to the fish and chip shop, running to the corner shop). Don't try and maintain an impenetrable 'superwoman' (or superman) façade.