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Ideas to engage with teenagers in the evenings?!

(41 Posts)
zazas Thu 04-Jun-15 23:53:14

My DH is at a slight loss on how to engage with his teenagers in the evenings. They are from his 1st marriage - with us one night a week and even second weekend but also for longer periods (2 - 3 weeks) quite frequently. When younger it was all games / art etc and playing and then in the recent years it has been watching specific TV shows or films but now DS (15) and DD (14) are increasingly on their devices and often preferring going back in to their rooms. My DH is increasingly feels he is not connecting with them. If he suggests that they watch something with him it is often half hearted on their side and usually with the phone in one hand - although they are asked not to do this. However we also have my two children DD (17) and DS (14) who live with us who also are like this but because he doesn't see his DC quite as often he feels that he needs to engage with them more while they are with us.

Personally I feel that it's all pretty normal teenage behaviour - we do loads with the DC at the weekends, lots of outdoor activities, support them in all their education/sports/clubs etc, always have dinners together and have a pretty harmonious time. They obviously have after school activities and homework and seem to need/enjoy their hour or so of downtime communicating with their friends. But I do feel for my DH who feels he wants to do more with them.

I have suggested games which has a mixed response - maybe because we haven't hit on the one game that engages us all. But other than that haven't come up with a 'solution'. Maybe there isn't one....

So does anyone have any ideas or perhaps projects he could engage the DC with (probably not too taxing as we work in the creative industry and often are mentally exhausted in the evening!). It probably needs to be house bound as well as we already go climbing/biking etc with them most weekends.

WankerDeAsalWipe Fri 05-Jun-15 00:01:27


Ours like a game or Rummy or Trumps.

Board Games - Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Scrabble - all mostly when on holiday now as teens do like to just go to their rooms smile

Breaking bad was a bit of a draw but since we finished that it's a struggle to find a series that we deem suitable that has the same appeal to them. Game of Thrones was suggested but I think they have a few more years to mature before we need to sit as a family and watch fornicating dwarfs.

Would they maybe be interested in designing their own app or something?

WankerDeAsalWipe Fri 05-Jun-15 00:03:16

...or cooking/baking? Bread might be a good one and you could sit about after and enjoy the fruits of your labours and it also gives an hour or so while the bread is proving where they could legitimately disappear off to their rooms to socialise on line with friends?

KatharineClifton Fri 05-Jun-15 00:30:23

Cooking dinner together could work.

BackforGood Fri 05-Jun-15 01:02:56

Like you, I think that's very normal teen behaviour.
If you are eating your meal together, and doing stuff together at the weekend, I really don't think you (he?) should try and force it anymore on a weeknight - it would become very stilted and 'false'.

sunbathe Fri 05-Jun-15 01:17:53

X-box? wink

FireCanal Fri 05-Jun-15 02:14:56

If you are all biking/climbing/going out during the day, and eating dinner together, I really think that's as much as you can expect. It is normal teenage behaviour and at that age they will need some time to themselves to chill and catch up with their friends on their various devices smile Its all part of developing their independence. It sounds like you are all doing really well, DH just needs to realise they need a bit of space for a few hours.

thepurplehen Fri 05-Jun-15 06:22:51

Teenagers do move away from you as they grow up. I think he's getting more quality time with his kids than many resident parents. It's just he feels he doesn't because they're not with him all the time.

insancerre Fri 05-Jun-15 06:29:37

He shpulsnt force them to do anything just because he feels guilty as a parent
They should be allowed to do what they want, which us probably to go to their rooms and play with their devices

CarriesBucketOfBlood Fri 05-Jun-15 06:31:14

Definitely Xbox/ PS4.

mamapants Fri 05-Jun-15 06:48:43

If they are into climbing what about watching climbing dvds, Chris Sharma or Dave Mcleod or something might be enjoyable for everyone .
Also get them to choose a movie or boxset I imagine with the right show they'd still be keen.
Camping holidays are good for family time, card games and board games type things.

GetMeOut Fri 05-Jun-15 09:14:49

Whilst I agree that this is normal behaviour, but, the one activity that my parents used ( and still use on us adult children and now teenage grandchildren ) was teaching us card games that involve money ! ( ie gambling ) We started off with ' Newmarket ) which is essential just luck , no skill, but then moved on to Black Jack which does have some element of skill. I never really got the hang of poker, but they did try and teach me !
My teens love the chance to try and win money off the wrinklier members of the family. We also include grown up snacks and drinks that aren't normally allowed ( coke etc ) to add to the thrill ! grin

SecretSquirrels Fri 05-Jun-15 09:23:44

I agree that he is expecting too much.
we always have dinners together and have a pretty harmonious time
This is what most parents of teens would hope for.
With my teenage DC we do all the stuff mentioned above, including board games, card games, Poker, box sets. We just don't do it every day and seldom on a week night.

SonorousBip Fri 05-Jun-15 09:32:58

Only a partial solution, but DH and teenage DS have been making homebrew together! It is all set up in the garden shed and has been very companionable - they have to disappear down there for various adjustments several times a week. DH justifies it by saying it is like Chemistry-lite and therefore a good learning experience for DS! He is also noderately pleased with the outcome - said that if you were offered it in a country pub on a hot day when you were very thirsty and had travelled a long way you certainly would not turn your nose up at it!

GetMeOut Fri 05-Jun-15 09:34:37

Yes, agreed Ssquirel ! The card sharks only play on a Saturday or other special occasions - there really isn't time in the week or even some weekends

Orange6358 Fri 05-Jun-15 09:37:27

Games that are more interesting

settlers of Catan

Orange6358 Fri 05-Jun-15 09:38:01

Evening walk? Half an hour

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Jun-15 09:38:40

I wouldn't stop them using their phones when watching TV either- my teenagers can manage several screens at once! When we watch something that's live- Bake Off or The Voice or something, they will be watching it with us and with their friends- and we all chuck in comments- it's fun.

bec3105 Fri 05-Jun-15 14:15:34

Has he asked his dc what they would like to do? We regularly sit down as a family to assign chores and plan fun activities together. Some days out mixed in with some home based activities like a film and popcorn, making pizzas, playing a board game etc.
However he might find that they are happy as they are and knowing he is there if they want to chat or do something us enough.

zazas Fri 05-Jun-15 14:54:19

Thank you so much everyone - brilliant suggestions. Yes he is probably expecting a little too much from the maturing DC and he just hasn't adjusted to the changes. We also have an 8 year old together (who of course interacts with us - non stop!) but reminds him of what the DC used to be like around him!

Love the card games for money idea! Also box sets is great, movies are too long on a school night and if we leave it to chance on the TV it often doesn't pan out how we want. Any suggestions - DH and I have been through Breaking Bad / Madmen / House of Cards / Homeland so anything apart from these?! Game of Thrones is 'owned' by the 17 year old and would not accept the younger kids watching it!!!

They already participate in cooking/baking (better at it than DH) but could definitely increase that involvement as they of course eat non-stop! Home brewing is an idea...

Don't have a PS etc - probably won't go down that route - although we do have a Wii and they will sometimes engage their dad with a dance game!

Plus you are right - we could ask them!!!

Lancelottie Fri 05-Jun-15 14:56:59

Not often an option, but youngest teenager here really genuinely likes things like sanding tables and painting walls, preferably with a CD to listen to in the background. Do you have any redecorating that needs doing?

Leeds2 Fri 05-Jun-15 15:57:54

On the cookery front, get them to put together a BBQ for all the family. Buying the ingredients, making the salads, marinading the meat and finally cooking it!

SecretSquirrels Fri 05-Jun-15 19:13:46

Box sets I have watched with DS1 (19) and DS2 (17)

Greys Anatomy - yes really with teenage boys, it's like Friends with operations smile
Walking Dead
The Good Wife

zazas Fri 05-Jun-15 19:26:04

Actually Lancelottie our DD2 loves this sort of thing too and would definitely be keen to get involved - kinda of needs us to get organised but added to the list.

Leeds2 - BBQ involvement would tick all the boxes (boys especially love the fire) but in all honestly it has been so cold this summer (we are in the far north of England) that it seems a slim probability at this stage..we will see!

SecretSquirrels - brilliant suggestions - thank you. Noted and will see what we all agree on!

Will discuss all your wonderful suggestions when I see my husband finally tonight at 9.30pm after Scout run re DS for me and choir run for him re DD - and he wonders why sometimes we all want to just sit like 'zombies' in the evening smile

Mrsjayy Sun 07-Jun-15 09:45:37

I feel for your husband but like everybody said they are teenagers doing teenager things even if they are on their phones constantly least if they are in the living room they are still there iyswim.

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