5 BEST ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH YOUR TEENAGER
What do you think your teenager would prefer to do with you? Go skiing? Go to a football match? To an attractions park? All of these are great things to do but when asked the teenagers say – just talk. The important thing is that by ‘talk with a teenager’ we mostly mean ‘get your teenager to talk and listen to them’. You surely can and must share your word of wisdom if you are asked or if you feel you can put it in gracefully. Otherwise – listen. Listen for their pains, listen for their solutions, listen for their dreams and aspirations. Talking to you is a source of power for your child. It makes them feel that someone cares. That their life is important. That there is someone to share with and to come for help to.
Choosing an activity.
Choose something YOU BOTH enjoy. If it is something new you might try to nudge your child to join for the first two times but if they still do not like it – look for other options.
Have tea and talk.
Doing nothing together is the easiest way to get to know each other better. Remember the romantic times you had with your partner at the start of your relationships? Just doing nothing. This is exactly what you can do with your growing child. Get some tea, snacks and just talk. Tell them about your day, your thoughts and experiences. Ask them how they are doing. A very important thing about this talk – allow some silence and do not nag or criticize. Let your child be comfortable just sharing their feelings and emotions – listening is the greatest gift you can give your teenager. Pure, interested listening. It’s this listening that will allow them to grow, make decisions and take control of their life. And on top of it all – it will make you close.
Watch a movie and talk.
A movie that you watch together can give your conversation another twist. Choose a movie to watch together – you can alternate your preferences. Discuss your emotions and thoughts, avoid criticizing something your child might find dear to their heart. The best way to share is to ASK for their opinion – listen and keep asking further ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. Talking about a movie that is not that closely related to your life is a great chance to boldly describe your point of view without hurting your teen’s feelings.
Do something useful as a team.
Working together makes best friends. Fix something, cook, redecorate, go fishing or camping – do something that involves problem-solving and creativity. Let your child take a lead in some of the aspects of the experience – finding, bringing things, suggesting ways of doing something. An exciting start to joint activities are holidays that you may organize together – family members’ birthdays, Christmas, Easter or another family occasion. Discuss the décor, the food, the activities. Divide the responsibilities for everyone to contribute and feel in charge. Have fun!
Visit the theatre/cinema/sport event,
An older teenager who has already lost some touch with their parents might not want to go out just with you. To break the ice in such cases – give them a chance to take a few friends along. Try to be a trusted adult, create fun opportunities for the group of friends – this will help you to bond with your child as well as encourage your child’s friendships.
Travelling together generally involves all of the above – problem-solving while packing and getting through airport checks, having tea together, visiting places, organizing the fun day plan. Make good use of the time you travel together. Obviously, you will need some alone time or time with your partner but try to have a few hours a day to spend with your teenager.
A frequent issue on a holiday is a difference of interests when your child refuses to enjoy the things you are looking forward to. There are two possible ways to deal with this – inspire or give in. You can inspire your child with your excitement and possible perks of the experience – if it is a museum, it will have a café or a gift shop, if it is a walk around the town – you can seduce your teenager with climbing somewhere or finding a street to window-shop. If unsuccessful – give in.
Join your teenager in something they are doing. For a start it might be a good idea to play his computer game together. After a round of the game they are bound to be more amenable to doing other things with you.
Head Psychologist MC Education & MCS School
Founder MC Education & MCS School