Family Time should consist of more than shoe shopping on the weekends or errand running during the week. And, though I value every minute I spend with my kids, helping with homework and studying can hardly be considered “quality time.”
It seems I’m constantly competing with electronics for any conversation at all. And dinner time gives me only 20 minutes (at the most) of their undivided attention.
But getting them interested in spending time with the family, all together at the same time, doing the same activity, (especially the 14-yr-old) is down-right exhausting. And what I’m left with is grumbling kids that are sparing me very little of their cerebral attention.
The worst part is that I know they are merely “appeasing me” until they can get back to their own interests, namely the darn technology.
Has family time really changed that much from when I was a kid, or teen? I mean, I have memories of playing family games together with my brothers and my parents. I realize we didn’t have the electronic distractions we do now. In a sense, if we didn’t find friends to hang out with on a Friday night, we were essentially stuck with the parents, and, as such, we were subjected to there torturous games of “Sorry” and “Scrabble.” But we hung out…together.
The difference today is that my kids don’t have to go outside of the house to find their entertainment. And friends? They can meet up with them on-line. So maybe it just “feels” different. As parents, we’re competing for our kids’ attention on a whole different scale.
I don’t want to force them into Family Time, because then what I’m left with is pouty kids who will go along with whatever said activity is, but you can bet their enthusiasm is less than convincing, if existent at all.
So what’s a parent to do? I know I only have a few years left before they are completely out the door, at least with the older one. The 11-yr-old still has a few more years, but I feel like time is getting away from me.
So I’m asking other parents of teens: what have you done to implement Family Time? Has it been successful? I’d love some ideas.