The moments you have with your teenager at home are limited. There are only so many evenings when your whole family will be able to sit around and eat together, talk together, and laugh together. I’d like to encourage you to be strategic in how you spend your time—especially when it comes to being available for your teens.
As our five kids grew older, my wife Susan and I quickly realized the importance of intentionally making time to be with them. There were many nights when we would choose to stay home instead of going out with friends. By being home when our kids got there, this opened up many opportunities for us to have conversations we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have. Here are 3 ways you can be available for your teens:
1. Be Selective in Your Socializing. It’s great to maintain lasting relationships with friends and fun to go to functions. But when your kids are in those teen years, it may be a season when you say “no” to more of those times that would take you out of the house. Remember, the moments you have with your teens at home are moments that pass too quickly. They are moments you will never get back.
2. Be Home Often. The life of a teenager can be a whirlwind—Friday night football games, chemistry tests, school dances…the list goes on. But while we can’t always lessen their schedules, we can be sure to be home when they are. Through the kids’ high school years, Susan and I would intentionally stay home in the evenings as our teenagers moved in and out of the house. By sitting in the living room or in the kitchen, the kids were sure to pass by and make time to have a conversation with us either before they left or when they got home.
3. Be Interested, Not Instructive. When your teenager talks to you about what’s going on in their life, listen closely with love. Avoid reacting to their stories and struggles with instructive words like, “You shouldn’t be doing that” or “You shouldn’t be talking that way.” Instead, be genuinely interested by asking them to tell you more about their friend, their class, their new favorite music, or new favorite movie. This will give you an opportunity to become a parent that your teenager will enjoy being around.
What are some of the best moments you’ve shared with your teenagers as they’ve gotten older? Feel free to leave a comment below.