How many times do we hear ‘I am bored’ or ‘There is nothing to do’ or even ‘I am fed up and cannot be bothered’ from our teenagers?
‘Quite a lot,’ I would say and usually because we have very little time to give them ourselves. So, how can we help to alter their perspective and interest? Taking into account that family life is busy and that it is easier to rely on the same routine generally means we get the same results but if we do something different then the outcomes and results we receive can be totally different. Simple changes can inject more intrigue into the young enquiring mind and these do not have to cost anything at all, which is a real bonus in this costly day and age. So what are some of these low budget ideas?
• Try a new genre of film, at home or the cinema
• Listen to different music
• Walk an alternative way to/from school
• Investigate new clubs/hobbies
• Meet new people or talk to different people at school
• Consider voluntary work
• Reduce screen/social media time and engage in family chats which could be started over meal times together
• Encouragement around participating in cooking for the family, if they always bake cakes then ask them to try making something savoury or vice versa
• Parents to participate in their favourite activity for example Xbox, Wii or play a game together
• Duke of Edinburgh Awards and develop new skills
• Try new foods
• Read different books
• Make the ordinary jobs a bit more fun, introduce a family challenge!
No doubt there are lots more that could be added to the list but the idea is there. Actively participating in their lives can make a huge difference to how they respond to life in general. It does not matter how awful we are on the Xbox/Wii or playing a game/sport, it is the participation and fact that we are interested, engaged and motivated by doing things with them. Also during these activities it gives young people time to communicate with us and for parents to have exposure into their lives and experiences and to learn more about what makes them tick or even what could be bothering them. Young people do not always cope very well with direct questions and it can be a signal for them to clam up whereas indirect questions during a relaxed and enjoyable activity can reveal the most interesting and important information or even what is worrying them. Be prepared to listen actively to what they have to say and take action where necessary and give positive feedback when they ask for help and support. All these things contribute to building rapport and a happy bond with our children which in effect reduces misunderstandings and tension in home-life. So, go on and do something different, see what it brings you and who knows what enjoyment and learning you will experience along the way whilst opening up opportunities and experiences for your teenager…….