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Surviving the Teen Years through Quality Family Relationships

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Surviving the Teen Years through Quality Family Relationships

By Quinton Sherlock

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Having a family can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Some of the best times are those moments spent together. During the teen years a healthy relationship with your young person can go a long ways towards their healthy psychological and emotional development. During these years, there is the potential for a teen to seek the approval of peers over the approval of parents. How do we maintain a healthy relationship during this period?

I recently participated in weekend yoga workshops. While I was there I witnessed something quite special. I witnessed families out participating in the workshops together. Some families had children as young as five years old participating while in other families the children were young adults themselves. It was interesting to see how they all were able to get something out of the activities even though their individual levels were different. They were laughing and grimacing together as they coached each other through the various postures. Then I thought to myself, what if they did yoga as a family three times a week or how about if they did it once a week together? This would be a good basis for family quality time, as well the heath benefits of doing yoga.

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One way to foster a positive relationship with your teen is by having a regular activity that you do together.  While there are many options available, here are a few things to consider when deciding on the activity.

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– be meaningful to you and your teen.
– be of interest to you and your teen.
– last for a minimum of 45 minutes.

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Meaningful

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The significance or importance of participating in a regular activity with your teen can simply be stated to him/her. There is no doubt that teens understand the significance of relationships with other people. As parent, you can share with your teen how special it is to be doing something together on a regular base. The activity therefore, has the potential of being more meaningful then what you are actually doing as it becomes a way to spend quality time together, for example:

  • once a week preparing and eating dinner as a family
  • weekly family exercise session (i.e. yoga, walk, riding bikes, etc.)
  • family book club (gathering once a week to discuss a new chapter)
  • family movie night (followed by a discussion about the movie)

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Interest

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Ideally, everyone has a shared level of interest in the activity. The activity may be connected to a career ambition or leisure activity your teen is already interested in. It may be something he/she already does with peers or something new. One way to encourage participation is to make it fun. Everyone generally enjoys having fun, for example:

  • weekly family games night; Monopoly with the aspiring accountant
  • weekly baking with the aspiring chef
  • weekly nature walks with the budding environmentalist
  • weekly outings to take photos with the aspiring photographer

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Minimum of 45 minutes

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There is no ideal time frame. Dedicating a relatively significant amount of time to the activity can help to develop or further strengthen your relationship.

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Some have referred to the teen years as a period of storm and stress. As young people enter their teen years they often begin to create their own network of friends and cool things to do. Faced with this, families sometimes struggle spending any time together. However, spending quality time with your young person can promote healthy relationships through the teen years.

By the way, one does not have to wait until the teen years to begin this process.

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