Senin, 02 September 2013

Coaching and Mentoring Teens: Friends and Family Time

As our children grow and mature, we often find ourselves longing after more family time. However, our children push family away in favor of spending more time with friends. As our kids struggle to establish their freedom, it can cause some very challenging times.

How can you create more balance between friend time and family time?

One of the first things to do is to let go of any expectation.

Do not hope for any specific outcome regarding when and how a new "family-friend" balance will happen. Learn to "go with the flow."

What does that really mean? In essence, it means allowing your children to have their freedom and their friend time while making your own wants known. In other words, you need to ask for what you want because you cannot expect your teens to automatically know you want more family time.

You may recognize that your teens want to spend more time after school and on weekends with their friends. Family activities you used to do together are no longer valued by your teens. If this is the case, then it is time to sit down and talk about the situation with your teens.

Let your teens know that you understand they want to spend more time with friends and that it is a perfectly normal desire for kids their age. Then make sure you let them know that you still want to spend time together as a family, too.

Engage them in discussion about how you can work out the situation in a balanced way. Many times your teens will try to work it out in their own way and within their own parameters because we all have differing degrees of social needs.

It does not always go as planned and sometimes it is important to set some ground rules. Keep in mind that all coaching and mentoring should be done in a respectful manner. It is important to respect their needs, wants and fun time. When you allow them to spend enough time with their friends, you are demonstrating that you support their quest for freedom.

You may have to schedule family time for a while. Think about scheduling a dinner meal together every night or on the weekends, or perhaps a game or movie night.

Over time, as they become more secure in their own freedom, it is likely that they will be able to create their own balance between family and friend time and they will even come to value the family activities as they did in the past.

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