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Making more of an effort with teenagers.

(16 Posts)
MegandWesley Sun 11-Sep-11 12:33:51

Hi, my two teenage step-daughters spend literally their entire time that they are in the house on the computer/phone or watching TV. They visit every other weekend and we have sort of just accepted that that is what they want to do.

However I have just been watching that Jo Frost Extreme Parental programme and it has just reminded me that spending quality time with your kids is important. So I feel i want to make some changes and make some more effort with the kids - I feel our relationship is deteriorating - and really the excuse that they are teenagers is just lazy - isn't it?

What do you do with your teens to encourage interaction as a family thats not expensive?

Or do you think at this age (13 & 15) we should just leave them to it?


javo Sun 11-Sep-11 13:22:53

My 2 teens are like this at weekends too - we just make sure we have all the food together - breakfasts, lunches and dinner so we can chat about school, news etc. We also try to hire a film or series for Saturday evening that we can all watch (even if its not to our taste quite often) it together.

Do you have dogs? - you can use them to tempt them out for walks. We have tried bowling etc but its expensive and not that great/longlasting. Ask them if they would go with you to a local museum or farm etc - I am often surprised when they will visit local museums or go for a walk with me on the beach.

Good luck

SecretSquirrels Sun 11-Sep-11 13:24:20

I think at this age if you leave them to it they will spend their lives online or on phone and for many parents that makes for an quiet life.
While they are at home though there will be lots of other opportunities to interact with their family (family meals, trips to after school activities, cinema etc), that won't arise so much when they are at your house for only the odd weekend.
So yes, I think you could think of some family stuff to do together. You'd need to know what interests them, are they sporty or outdoorsy?
I have teenage boys so not sure what girls like to do.

BertieBotts Sun 11-Sep-11 13:30:43

I used to like watching a film, mainly chick-flick type things or romcoms with my sister and mum at that age, though internet and friends took up much of my time too! It's nice to do once a week or so. You could also get some pampering stuff perhaps and have a bit of a spa session? You could come up with some activities they might like to do, especially if you only see them every other weekend. Visiting places can be fun, or a pub lunch or meal out, especially if they get to get dressed up a bit smart, and how about something like google to see if there is a climbing wall near you. I've just started doing this occasionally with DP and it's great fun, you can go in just as a beginner as they have instructors at every place (they have to by law, I think). My sister and I love animals so we always liked going to farms and places like that.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 11-Sep-11 13:46:23

I think if you make some sort of effort to do stuff with them you will find they open up to you a bit more. I used to work with teenagers and the conversation usually came when we were also doing something else.

I agree, some girls will enjoy doing hair, make up and nails or face packs and the like.

Others might like to paint or make things - craft doesn't have to stop when they leave primary school. Could you make really nice, grown up Christmas cards together or similar? They would start to chat while they were doing it.

Walks also give them an opportunity to interact. They might make a fuss about going but quite enjoy it once they are out there.

Volunteering together could also be very rewarding eg an animal sanctuary or something related to their interests.

Swimming pools with flumes are a big hit with teenagers.

Dvd nights where you all watch the film together with popcorn and nice drinks.

Bowling, cinema and meals out are also fun but expensive.

They might like to window shop and try on clothes with you - it doesn't mean you have to buy any - or hunt through the charity shops if they would enjoy creating something more unique for an outfit.

Taking up a sport together might be fun too eg cycle rides along cycle paths, jogging, hill walking, horse riding (expensive though), sailing or kayaking, trampolining, that sort of thing. Would they like to go to a dance class with you or aerobics or yoga or pilates or rumba or anything like that.

Try to hook into what they are interested in - meet them half way. You don't need to fill every moment. Teenagers need time just to "be" as well, but a little bit of something together would build stronger family bonds certainly.

We eat dinner together every evening and try and go out for at least a coffee together most weekends.

We try and do DVD nights, although it's hard to find something we all think we will enjoy and dd2 is especially bad for refusing to give something a go. Films that we HAVE all liked include Submarine, Clueless, The Wedding Singer and the Harry Potters.

Pizz Hut have been doing a really cheap meal-deal thing where you get a pizza, salad, garlic bread and a drink for a fiver if you eat at a certain time, so we've done that a couple of times. Okay, it's pretty basic but it does mean that we get to sit with our dds and chat for over half an hour!

I'm desperate to try and get them to go to an art evening class with me but no luck so far!

AMumInScotland Sun 11-Sep-11 14:43:09

Making sure you eat meals together has no cost - and all helping to set the table and clear afterwards is good practice, even if you don't get them cooking. And phones etc totally banned at table of course!

And we normally all watch a film together one night at the weekend, with drinks and snacks. It can be something off the Sky+ box or a DVD. Or you could sign up to Blockbuster or wherever and have a family trip out to pick one in the afternoon. You might end up sitting through stuff you don't much fancy sometimes, but at least it gives you an idea what they are into.

I agree you need to keep working at a relationship with teens - its easy to think they don't "need" so much input now, but if you can keep lines of communication open in the good times it will help them feel ble to talk to you about the tricky stuff to.

PennyFothaguy Sun 11-Sep-11 14:47:22

Yes def take out to Starbucks/Shakeaway etc

We always have meals together (despite my daughter seeming to be on a catering schedule about 3 hours behind the rest of us)

I dont let her shut herself away with the door closed. I make her kep her door open and limit the amount of time she spends virtually communicating

Theas18 Mon 12-Sep-11 11:31:50

Family meals at the table and helping before/after. Famiy movie nights are great, especially with slightly alternative movies- we have got a cheap box set of the old pink panther films etc rather than recent cinema releases.

GnomeDePlume Mon 12-Sep-11 17:57:40

Certainly agree with all the 'eat together' suggestions. We have also started DCs on cooking Sunday dinner. We supervise and one of them does all the work. The other two then have to do all the clearing away afterwards!

Something else which I did with DD1 (15) was to drive her to another town for an activity. The drive took around 45 minutes each way. In that time we chatted about this and that. There was no eye contact so it was also possible to talk about more tricky subjects without the whole thing getting too intense.

I highly recommend car trips!

dontwotzme Tue 13-Sep-11 08:42:13

We sometimes get them to help prepare and cook their favorite meals, which can take twice as long as eating it. Bit of cleaning up afterwards too. Music on on the kitchen, bit of chat ....

dontwotzme Tue 13-Sep-11 08:43:40

I have done some of my best speeches on a car trip too DePlume

upahill Tue 13-Sep-11 18:38:39

I have two lads
one 15 and one 11
we go to the Ice Hockey home games
go mountain biking on trails
go to the pictures on orange wednesdays ( we got an Orange sim just for this purpose)
We eat out but ofter go to the places where you get two meals for qo quid if we want a cheap night out.
We also go to the indoor climbing wall.
Dh and the boys go to the gun club - not sure if you SDD would like that but I like going occasionnly
We are members of an archery club (eldest DS doesn't always come with us though)

upahill Tue 13-Sep-11 18:40:55

Oh and I also spend a lot of time watching youtube clips that I'm not really interested in but have perfected my 'look interested' look!
DS insists on showing me loads of stuff from there.

I am also fed up of watching QI on endless re runs. I'm sure they are going to be aired until the next ice age but again in the name of family harmony I keep watching!

ivykaty44 Tue 13-Sep-11 18:47:32

monoploly after Sunday lunch/tea - this is with my eldest and her b/f who is 27 and 13 year old, good fun and lots of interaction and jokes - never let it get to serious.

bike rides with 13 year old, and swimming with 13 year old and sometimes eldest has been known to come along.

Coffee out in nice coffee shop - but on the way we buy a cake for at home after or before we go we make a cake and let it cool whilst we go for coffee - they never ask for cakes when out then just drinks. As we are out of the house we can talk more and catch up.

Picnics, in winter hot soup in flasks after a short walk soemwhere

pointydog Tue 13-Sep-11 18:56:02

Wouldn't they like to try cooking a meal or at least make brownies for pudding?

I take it they have no friends round about?

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