Here’s a thought from Jean-Yves Frappier, the head of the adolescent division at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal and president of the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health, as quoted in Today’s Parent magazine a number of years ago: just when you thought that it was ok/necessary/unavoidable to be considered redundant by your teenagers, he has this to say:
I always compare parents to the white line on the highway. You don’t always look at the line when it’s sunny, but if it’s dark and rainy, you look at that line to make sure you are on the right path. That line is always there, always, always.
Fantastic! What a great way to remind us that while the teen years may be challenging, giving up or assuming our kids don’t want us around is never the answer. So what can you do instead? I encourage parents to keep offering to do things with your teens, whether that’s go out for dinner or shopping or to a concert or special event or playing a game…or whatever. Will they take you up on it? Perhaps not. But keep putting yourself out there, and letting your kids know you’re there for them.
Include all of your kids in decisions like family vacations, how to spend free time such as school holidays, and the running of the house. Ask about their day, and follow up with them when you know there’s something on their minds. Get to know their friends, and make your home a welcoming place for young people to hang out. Cheer them on at their sporting events or recitals. Watch and discuss t.v shows and movies together. Let them know that you love them and love having them in your family.