What Makes Your Teenager Happy?0
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
A while back a poll was taken and teenagers were asked what really makes them happy. The answers were surprising because it was not the newest cell phone, big TV or a first car. The teens overwhelming said what makes them happy is spending time with their parents.
Connecting with your teenage child does not come overnight. It has to be done gradually and begin when your child is a toddler, then continue through grade school and high school. With the busy lifestyle most parents lead, it sometimes becomes overwhelming to go to work, care for homes, and then find quality time to spend with family members. The rewards for spending time with your children are immeasurable and can be fun, filled with love, and create a strong lifetime foundation that will never be broken. Naturally, when your children are small, most of the time spent with them is as a caregiver. As they grow older the activities, trips and adventures can be rewarding for both parent and child. Summer and holiday recesses are perfect for spending time together.
When the weekend comes, many families look for activities that are mutually enjoyable for all family members. These trips may include educational themes with visits to museums, aquariums, zoos, or historical sites. They can be tied to the child’s school studies and/or connected to a parent’s interest or hobby. A friend of mine loves all things Early American, particularly those with a colonial twist. She and her young daughter enjoy visiting historic designated homes, especially those connected with tours and special events. Some of the homes have holiday tours or arts-and-crafts sessions that demonstrate how Early American settlers lived and cared for their homes. After these tours were over, mom and daughter tried their hands at these crafts at home. They have made candles, soap, paper, their own brooms, and peeled apples with an old-time apple-peeling device and dried the skins for Christmas tree décor. Check out craft stores to find kits that your children might enjoy working on with you.
As was discovered in the youth happiness poll, most important to teens is spending time with their parents. Complicated crafts or intricate cooking recipes do not have to be the only way to spend time together. Walks in the park, bike riding, bowling, tennis, or a trip to the mall and going out for lunch provide bonding time as well. Playing cards, pulling out a board game, or watching a movie together can be even nicer on a quiet rainy day at home. The important thing for both parent and child is to spend the time together building a bond. This will make it easy to talk to one another and know that whenever there is a problem or question, mom or dad is always there to listen.
Wouldn’t that make you happy, too?