17 Mar Spring Break: An Opportunity for Bonding with your Teen
If you are home on spring break with your teen, you have probably experienced her lack of interest in doing anything over break- asserting that she “just wants to chill.”
If your teen has no plans to go on a trip for break and YOUR idea of spring break isn’t watching him focused on some variation of a screen (video games, social media, texting, tv, taking selfies, etc.) while on the couch eating snacks, then why not make the time off from school an opportunity for your family to chill out together? Just like in the “good ol’ days,” when your teens were eager to spend lots of family time with you. Not to worry: there’s still plenty of potential for fun and bonding. With a few key points in mind, a Spring Break “stay-cation” with your teen can be a wonderful opportunity to build new family memories.
- Involve Your Teen in Planning a Family Event/Outing
Nothing annoys teens more than telling them what to do and when, right? Make this an opportunity for your teen to exercise their planning/executive funcioning skills and envision what a great day trip or outing might look like. Who would attend? How far would you travel? What is intriguing or exciting about this idea, and what needs to happen to take it from an idea to a plan? Let your teen take the lead and offer to help out when and where needed. See if you can get yourself interested in what she’s interested in, especially because she came up with the idea!
2) Offer to Include a Friend
Since peers are such an integral part of their lives, why not invite your teen to invite a friend? He may appreciate that you welcome having his friends around, and that inclusion can make for a better time for all involved. Plus, as parents, you get the opportunity to witness your teen’s style of relating to others outside the family, which may occur less frequently in your presence as kids become more independent. What better way for you to become a fly on the wall where you can experience some of the music, lingo, and behaviors that you normally don’t get opportunities to witness. This may sound like you are going on some sort of anthropological field trip, but the truth is, each generation is different from the next, and it never hurts to have a little bit of insider information as tools to add to your parenting toolbox.
3) Keep it Positive
If the point of Spring Break is to relax and have fun together, then make sure it isn’t an excuse to spend time reminding them of a laundry-list of “to do’s”: homework, chores, the overdue thank-you note to grandma, or questioning their fluctuating moods or silences. Keep the spirit of vacation alive with a commitment to fun! It’s very likely that with the right attitude, you can create new memories that make the stay-at-home vacation with your teens one of the all-time family favorites.
Dori earned her Master of Social Work from The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1997. She also has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dori has worked with children, adolescents, and families since 1994 in several areas of social work including: foster care, schools, hospitals, and private practice. She earned her Type 73 school social work certification in 1997 and has worked with children of all needs in the public schools for 7 years. She knows the importance of collaborating with parents, teachers and school staff (with parental consent) to provide the most beneficial services. Dori has also been interviewed on ABC and NBC news as an expert discussing therapeutic topics and articles she has written. As a wife and mother of three, she understands the challenges and rewards of raising children and is compassionate about helping children and families navigate the difficult times. Dori prides herself on being a valuable coach and “cheerleader” to the families she serves and strives to give families the tools they will need to improve their quality of life long after therapy ends. As a wife, and mother of three, she understands the challenges and joys of raising children and works with you every step of the way.