Author Topic: Adolescents - Time spent with them  (Read 2141 times)


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Adolescents - Time spent with them
« on: April 13, 2015, 11:33:39 AM »
Would like thoughts on widow/widowers and raising adolescents.  This past week-end I attended a seminar with speakers discussing the latest statistics on adolescent behavior, drug use, arrests, and school problems.  I had erroneously thought since my boys are 12 and 14 and can pretty well take care of themselves, my time would become more of my own. 

Wrong!  According to the latest studies parental leave from full time work is more needed during the adolescent years and early teen years than at the newborn toddler stage.  A good nanny can adequately bathe, feed, interact, and care for children in the early years.  Parental time is important but for the child's well being and emotional growth just being in the house with the child provides security and small amounts of interaction at different intervals during the day and evening are sufficient to provide success in bonding, social and emotional adjustment, and healthy physical growth. 

Adolescents need more conversation and interaction.  The after school hours from 3-6 when the child is not being supervised is the prime time for unhealthy behaviors and drug experimentation.  Parents, and in our situation, the only parent needs some social time with adults but the kids are too old for a sitter and not old enough to always make good choices and are much more influenced by peers and the culture.  What is the solution?

Lots of information has been hitting the press and the internet in the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, it is easy to think your children are more mature and this doesn't apply to me.  Dealing with teenagers, under the best of circumstances, is daunting.  Doing this alone is not easy and the world is rapidly changing with social media and family deterioration.  I'm not suggesting hovering, total control, or micromanaging teenagers.  Just working on the best way to enjoy my kids adolescent years while providing the tools and values they will need to be successful adults. 

My kids are academically doing well.  I know their friends and frequently we have them in our home.  The sports and school activities are their social life.  But, I'm aware of the drug use even in the best communities and homes.  DH and I left the kids with family and would have 2/3 day alone trips a couple of times a year.  He always said, "Enjoy it now, it ends when they reach 13".  We joked about this and were aware that this would not happen when they were older.  Anyone else have adolescents and is it harder?


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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 12:16:37 PM »
I feel it is EXTREMELY important to spend one on one time with your teen. Even if they don't want to, or even if you are "too busy", it needs to be done. I have 6 kids (mostly very young) and I am pregnant, so time isn't too easy. Make it happen. It's the little things also. I will give him options of, what do you want to eat tonight. Or, hey are you craving anything, let's pick some junk up and hang out once the kids are to bed. If he plays a video game, I will lay on top of him and ask him questions about it. (until the other kids come in and dog pile). I tell him lay with me and watch Alfred Hitchcock at night. I let him put on the kind of music he wants in the car. (thank goodness I used to like the same stuff around his age), and we talk about it. We also go through the radio stations and do music trivia. When my husband was alive we would take turns with all the kids, doing "date nights". Unfortunately I am unable to do that now. No matter what I do, he still is a teenager, drives me nuts some times. Have the "guilt" his dad isn't here and I am not able to do the things and the quality time stuff they used to do all the time. I'm trying, that is all we can do. Try and hope for the best.. Just make sure no matter what they know you love them!


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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 12:23:07 PM »
I was a middle school teacher and parents were always expressing surprise that young teens especially were nearly as time intensive as toddlers.

It's a fine line though because they also need to being to test themselves as independent beings.
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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 01:45:55 PM »
I am fast approaching this with my 11 yo daughter. I work to find a balance between time for her with her friends, time for her with her friends and me, and time for just the two of us. On the surface, she always pushes for the first or maybe the second option and looks disappointed when I say it is just her and me. Inevitably, our one on one time is fabulous. She shares so much about what is going on, we have fun and create great memories.

I find that I really have very little time for myself. In part because I have no family nearby to help out and we are in a very rural area where there are few sitters. DD is still to young to be home alone so "me" time is limited. I have no idea how I can try to balance it but I know there needs to be some balance for both of us.

I agree with Annie girl- it is critical to make time with them but also need to support their need to differentiate from us. Teen parenting is not for the faint of heart and flying solo just makes it that much more challenging.
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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 03:14:03 PM »
Yes. The past 6 months I feel like I work harder one on one with my kids....and especially my 12 year old.

He loves yard work, landscaping, going to Lowes. That's become our thing-just me and him. He needs the time more with me. He's also been hanging out with Playboy Neighbor and he has hired him for yard, deck jobs on weekends.

I have a 10 1/2 year old who has also hit puberty...and craves one on one too and hates yardwork and gets jealous. So with's sports...he's the all star athlete and I do watch him one on one more with his sports. And we talk more now too.

And y'all are 7 year old daughter is now the most independent and is still quite happy entertaining herself with her books, dance and artistic endeavors. I know the time will come when drama starts.

I worry about my oldest with drugs. He's very curious and kids talk about it. So we talk now a lot! And he's the high maintenance one that I always keep busy and spend more time talking to.
 I was not this exhausted 2 yrs ago with him. Now it's constant but he's a good kid and I want it to stay that way.

It's just not easy. Find what interests them and become interested and do those things together.
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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 07:46:23 PM »
My daughters are 15, 13, and 7. We spend a lot of time together, but I don't have a lot of individual time with them.

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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 10:27:24 AM »
Yes. It is harder. 3-6 pm, DD goes into her room and closes the door. If I open the door, I ipen Pandora's box. Her mood determines her reaction. Sometimes sweet. Sometimes yelling. Ya never know what you're gonna get...
Friends. The one I trusted was the one who introduced her to a lot of things I didn't like. Drugs, sex, alcohol, sneaking out. Fortunately, that friendship ended.
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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 07:34:29 PM »
When my kids were toddlers people would tell me "little kids-little problems, big kids-BIG problems" and I didn't get it until I had teenagers.  Now I know.  Just when you think you can have some freedom to come and go or work longer hours because they are older you realize that they need to have you around more.  Even if you aren't having a lot of one on one time with them it's important to be home, have them invite all of their friends over, buy lots of pizza and chips, bake cookies, and make your home the hang out.  Get to know their friends because they sleep over and you make them pancakes in the morning.  I learn a lot and bond with them and their friends around the kitchen table at breakfast.  Offer to drive a bunch to sports practice or home from the school dance so you can be part of their conversations or at least listening as you drive.  When the boy/girl parties started, we had one at our house and stayed present. We could see the dynamics, get to know other kids, have some control. Once they start driving you will at first be so happy that you a re not running around like a taxi driver but then you realize you are missing out on those crucial moments.  Other parents always said DH and I were crazy because we always had a house full but we liked it that way.  I still try to do it as much as I can on my own. 

I also don't prescribe to the "be their friend" style of parenting.  I am the adult.  I am known to be more strict than many parents yet they all still like to hang out at my house.  I do all of this and my kids still have made some bad choices.  I'm in denial that my sweet 11 year old is on the cusp of teen years and I have to do it all alone from the beginning this time. 
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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 04:14:00 PM »
My kids are 13 and 15, and I now have a 14-year-old stepson. Keeping them involved with school activities helps that 3-6 slot. I teach at the high school two of them go to and drive them all to school, which is a great time to touch base, in addition to dinner.  Alone time can be as simple as a walk. I vary with whom I walk the dogs so we can chat or treat one to an ice cream. 30 minutes can make a difference.

One thing: don't ask if they want to hang out....just go. Often they'll decline if given an option...electronic addiction. If I just say "let's go" they usually do without much complaint, and it's a positive time from there.

I leave them alone but never for more than a few hours. We regularly visit their rooms so they are less apt to doing something illicit there.


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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2015, 04:48:31 PM »
My kids are 15 and 18. I spend a LOT of time with both and with each, one-on-one. They are quickly figuring out this world, and their place in it. They are, apparently, VERY comfortable discussing virtually anything with me. I frequently see them emulating or trying out things they hear or see me do. They are SPONGES at this age, taking in more of what I impart than they ever have before. It is both daunting and wonderful.

I share in many of their activities (band, arts, and academics being huge), and cross into their realm a bit, so far as music, movies, books, and internet go. However, when the chips are down, they know I am mom and not teen aged buddy wannabe. So far, it's working. The parenting is far from done, though.

Don't expect a cleaner house with teens, BTW. Mine cook just enough to make a mess of the kitchen while leaving dishes all over the house.


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Re: Adolescents - Time spent with them
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 09:06:47 AM »
Thanks to all who responded.  The consensus appears to be time spent with our children.  For me it is just a different form of time.  Toddlers time does not require focusing and well thought out responses to questions.  As adolescents our responses and communication has much more depth.  Actually I find myself looking forward to the next few years.  Don't deceive myself into believing it will all be a smooth ride but so very grateful that at this point my boys have a good rapport with me.  My bf's only comments.were  to make sure to remember my Actions/behaviors speak louder than Words.   

Hugs to all of you with adolescents.  We can do this.