Author Topic: What do you do with your teens?  (Read 1404 times)

Alf91

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What do you do with your teens?
« on: October 21, 2018, 06:09:24 PM »
I'm finding it difficult to come up with activities to do with my teen. We don't seem to have a lot of similar interests, he gets bored easily, and we don't have a ton of money. What sorts of things do you do with your teens?

hdatontodo

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 06:51:16 PM »
Youth Cyclocross bike team. I ride during the practices, usually my own route.


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joonifloofeefloo

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 06:53:48 PM »
My teen and I, too, have very different interests so do most hobbies independently of each other. Here's what we've found to do together, though:

*Short road trips
*Games (charades, madlibs, etc)
*Conversations
*Housekeeping
*Weight-lifting/gym
*Playing in the river or community pool
*Looking at hilarious things (TV clips, pictures of funny dogs)
*Parties/potlucks
*Community events (harvest fairs, etc)
*Intergenerational camps
*Ice skating

Goldielocks

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 11:28:18 PM »
Boardgames.
Watching youtube together, netflix, Big Mouth
DD will still go to church with me, some volunteer work there, or visit with me the grandparents' home.
DS will stay in the kitchen with me while I make food (typically for him, the hungry mutt).
Skiing
Outdoor high ropes course.
Camping vacations are good.
But!! I find it is harder to get them hiking now.  They suddenly just want their friends.
Learning to drive.

One thing I finally did -- now that they have part time jobs our schedules were all over the map ---
I have set up saturday 10am as "Brunch" time for the family.   Everyone needs to commit to it.

So far, everyone loves it.

Missk

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2018, 01:24:37 AM »
We pick a show that we both have an interest in (I tend to let him pick) and watch it together and discuss.
Once a week I will pick him up from school and we go out for a treat.
Watch fun videos together.

Laura33

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2018, 06:38:15 AM »
I think once they hit the teen years, you don't need to think so much about "do" as just "be."  Most of our kids' lives is scripted around identifiable events, right?  When they're little, you Go To The Park -- as much to get yourself out of the house as to get the kid some exercise.  And then there are lessons and clubs and after-school activities and all that.  But then by the time they are teenagers, they don't need all that scheduling and likely have lost interest in a lot of the lessons and things, and they are capable of functioning independently -- so if you are desperate to get out of the house, you don't need to invent a "fun event" to do with your kid.  But without those scripted, scheduled Things To Do, it does feel different, and it can be easy to sort of drift into your own separate circles.

So, first, recognize that some of this is normal.  Kids that age do tend to pull away from their parents, because they are figuring out who they are independent of you.  So less time doing things together  is totally normal.  The key is to adjust your own expectations:  you no longer need to plan and schedule capital-A-"activities" to spend good time with your kid.  At that age, they can and should be learning life skills, like cooking dinner and cleaning the house and balancing a checkbook and being physically active and reading and finding hobbies and all that.  So ask your kid to cook dinner one night, and putter around the kitchen doing dishes or paying bills while s/he is doing that,* so you can be together without any pressure.  Or do what my DH does and kick your kid off the TV to go shoot some hoops, or turn some pens on the lathe, or go lift weights, or whatever other thing my DH feels like doing -- if you want to go for a walk in the woods, tell your kid to come along.  Or do what I do and force your kid to watch classic (i.e., bad) '80s movies with you -- this weekend, DH was gone, so I made us all watch The Lost Boys to get in the Halloween spirit, and then DD asked me to help on her college essays.  The thing is, it's all low-key and unscripted -- we're just living life.

Parenting at this age is a shift.  Treat them less like toddlers who need to be entertained every minute and more like adults who you like hanging around with.

*This sounds like a super boring childhood, right?  But some of my best memories were puttering in the kitchen with my Granny, feeling like a grown-up helping with the canning and freezing and such.  When DH is traveling, I send DS to get Saturday morning bagels instead, and you can see him puff up with the responsibility.

katscratch

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2018, 08:05:34 AM »
When my son was in high school some of the things that worked for he and I:

Walking the dog to get coffee and pastries on the weekends.

We started doing "Sunday family dinners" where any of his friends were welcome to join, just drop in - I'd make enough for all and have leftover lunches for me if it was just us.

Driving to something he was interested in that was a half hour or more away was always a good way to have space to talk in the early teen years. That whole 'sitting next to' rather than facing each other thing that makes it easier for teen brains to have conversation.

Giving him space so that our traditions felt like tradition and not obligation. He definitely pulled away a bit and gravitated more towards his friends, but I just kept my same routines going. Even if he decided to sleep in instead of walking the dog with me I'd bring him back coffee and pastry.

Basically just being available for the little moments here and there seemed more important to our relationship now than the activities we did together. Even though those little moments sometimes occurred during activities.

One thing I have zeeeero interest in that my son really loves is video games. I ended up making a profile on Skyrim and played with him when he asked. Or maybe Assassin's Creed, I can't even remember! I am absolutely terrible at them and truly don't enjoy playing, but it was really awesome seeing my kid show a ton of patience for my ineptitude, and get really excited to explain different parts of the game. So maybe try to feel out whether any of your son's interests are things he'd want to share. I'll also say my kiddo also totally had things he wanted to do on his own without my involvement, so there might not be a lot of overlap but worth a thought.

mm1970

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 12:41:50 PM »
I think once they hit the teen years, you don't need to think so much about "do" as just "be."  Most of our kids' lives is scripted around identifiable events, right?  When they're little, you Go To The Park -- as much to get yourself out of the house as to get the kid some exercise.  And then there are lessons and clubs and after-school activities and all that.  But then by the time they are teenagers, they don't need all that scheduling and likely have lost interest in a lot of the lessons and things, and they are capable of functioning independently -- so if you are desperate to get out of the house, you don't need to invent a "fun event" to do with your kid.  But without those scripted, scheduled Things To Do, it does feel different, and it can be easy to sort of drift into your own separate circles.

So, first, recognize that some of this is normal.  Kids that age do tend to pull away from their parents, because they are figuring out who they are independent of you.  So less time doing things together  is totally normal.  The key is to adjust your own expectations:  you no longer need to plan and schedule capital-A-"activities" to spend good time with your kid.  At that age, they can and should be learning life skills, like cooking dinner and cleaning the house and balancing a checkbook and being physically active and reading and finding hobbies and all that.  So ask your kid to cook dinner one night, and putter around the kitchen doing dishes or paying bills while s/he is doing that,* so you can be together without any pressure.  Or do what my DH does and kick your kid off the TV to go shoot some hoops, or turn some pens on the lathe, or go lift weights, or whatever other thing my DH feels like doing -- if you want to go for a walk in the woods, tell your kid to come along.  Or do what I do and force your kid to watch classic (i.e., bad) '80s movies with you -- this weekend, DH was gone, so I made us all watch The Lost Boys to get in the Halloween spirit, and then DD asked me to help on her college essays.  The thing is, it's all low-key and unscripted -- we're just living life.

Parenting at this age is a shift.  Treat them less like toddlers who need to be entertained every minute and more like adults who you like hanging around with.

*This sounds like a super boring childhood, right?  But some of my best memories were puttering in the kitchen with my Granny, feeling like a grown-up helping with the canning and freezing and such.  When DH is traveling, I send DS to get Saturday morning bagels instead, and you can see him puff up with the responsibility.

Some of my best memories are canning with my mom, hanging laundry to dry, and helping my neighbor do her laundry - she has those big tubs with the wringer in between.  I loved the wringer!

It's a hard shift to make - my 12 yo is drifting.  I've learned to "be" when he's ready to just talk.  I've learned to "force it" sometimes. "Yes, we are going to the pool as a family. Yes you are going for a bike ride with your dad."  I'm slowly making him do more things - when my hubby travels (a LOT lately) - "Time to take out the trash" (it's now his job, whee!"  "Fold your laundry."  "Here's how to make your own ramen."

AMandM

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2018, 02:33:03 PM »
I agree that mostly it's a matter of living life together--doing the household chores, cooking, running errands, etc. At the same time, especially if your teens are very social, it's easy for them to gradually do less and less of those everyday activities with the rest of the family, and you don't want them to disappear from family life.

So we occasionally schedule a mandatory family togertherness day.  It can be a work day, where we'll all attack a list of chores together. This past weekend we cleared out the medicine cabinets and did some deeper-than-usual tidying. Or it can be a fun day, which we call FOE, short for the joke threat "You'll have fun or else..."  That might be a bike ride, a trip to museum, an outdoor festival, a trip to pick fruit, or just a movie. We take turns choosing.

A few years ago, my husband deliberately set up a Minecraft account so he could play with the kids; he had no interest in Minecraft but was interested in what made the kids like it. They actually had a lot of fun whacking block together.

TrMama

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2018, 04:23:54 PM »
My oldest is only 12 and we're well into this phase already. So far I've only got:

1. Making her bike with me to get groceries.
2. Skiing. The only hill is 2.5 hrs away. So we get lots of time together on the drive and then more time together on the lift after each run.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2018, 04:46:55 PM »
Similar to Laura33's response, as well as mm1970. I also have a 12 year old, and agree we're right on the edge of making these adjustments, vs my 11 year old, who still likes/wants/needs more structured time together.

Unique User

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2018, 12:20:39 PM »
DD is a senior in high school with a full load of classes, plays a sport and has a part time job.  It's tough and each year has been harder to make time to be with her.  Since we only have one and I work from home, we structure weekday dinner around her schedule so that during the week we see her.  We did several road trips to visit universities in the 12 months.  I pick up mystery shops since she loves to go to restaurants and it provides us with one on one time.  Occasionally I can get her to join me walking her dog.  She asks me to help with college/scholarship essays or to proof her papers for AP Lit.  I'll suggest things to do (lots of cheap activities in this year due to three universities within 20-30 minutes) and about 20% of the time she says yes, I consider those wins and go with them. 

YourMother

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2018, 05:51:51 PM »
Our oldest recently turned 18. We go on hikes or walks together. I drive him to places that he needs or wants to go. Sometimes we play computer games together. Sometimes he wants to talk about something and we do that. I'm here when he needs me and if he doesn't, I've got plenty of other things to take care of with homeschooling the younger two children and running a household.

jeninco

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2018, 08:39:36 PM »
Partly inspired by y'all, I've agreed to pick up my 14-year old early from band camp and drive him directly to soccer tryouts. It's 90 min to 2 hours each way, so kinda a haul for me, but it should give us 90 minutes of visiting time without phone service, as we'll be driving mostly through the mountains.

soccerluvof4

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Re: What do you do with your teens?
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2018, 10:42:59 AM »
I have currently 4 teenagers from 13-19 so I hear ya. 2 are in college now. But as at least one other poster said its more about "Be". Teenage years are or can be major adjustment times for them and they go back and forth from needing you to pushing you away to your embarrassing me to I have the coolest parents on the planet. Just be in there space when ever you can and allow opportunity to teach them. There is times there going to want to be left alone but the togetherness times will be there and thats when you find ways to not lecture but teach. And each kids is different so don't expect one thing to work through them all. If you give them the love and are there for them and give them the guidance they need thats the best thing you can do through these years. Good Luck!! Somehow it all works out!