We all need to stop the busy pace of life and have some fun. Even as parents with a full and busy schedule, we need to make time for close connection, warm and fuzzy conversation, and plain old fun. It’s easy to forget to have fun when there’s so much to do, but if you make time for fun on a regular basis, you may find that you and your teen are enjoying life more often.
Here are suggestions for having fun with your teen. (This list is adapted from suggestions made in the book Parenting the Hurt Child.)
Play hooky together. You call in sick to work and let your teen stay home from school – just this once. Enjoy the day and have fun.
Give your teen a day off from household chores. Perhaps you need to let the whole family off duty. But your teen will definitely appreciate the extra time off.
Buy something special for your teen – for no reason. Perhaps you get your teen his favorite snack and surprise it in his lunch. Or perhaps you get your creative teen a new set of colored pencils. Just because.
Be creative together. Enjoy an afternoon of painting, writing, sculpting, or however the muse inspires you.
Take a cooking class together. Enjoy trying new recipes and take turns making dinner for the family.
Join your teen out on the town one night. Enjoy the nightlife together while staying sober and having fun.
Role play with your teen. Pretend to be someone you admire and have your teen do the same. You might also talk to your teen as though they were someone else’s child. Speak in kind terms and let them know how special they are.
Have a good laugh with your teen. You might especially laugh about the things that only the two of you think is funny. Repeat a few inside jokes. Watch a favorite funny movie together.
Take a mini-vacation together. Take a day trip to your favorite beach or seaside town. Go camping for the weekend. Or drive to a National Park and enjoy a few good hikes.
Go to a used book store together. Find your favorite books and take some time to read together.
Go to a sporting event together. Cheer for the same team. Enjoy the fun of being competitive.
Enjoy a religious or spiritual ceremony together. Whether it’s through your church or a simple family tradition, enjoy a meaningful ritual together.
Attend a different church. See if the two of you like it. Your teen might enjoy it and you may not. Have your teen pick the next church you try out.
Create a secret handshake for saying good-bye. Anything that makes your teen feel special can boost their self esteem and strengthen your relationship.
These are suggestions for having fun with your teen. Fun can lead to having emotional connection and a closer bond. If your teen needs anything at this age, they need to know that you’re there for them – especially through all the changes they’re going through. When you have fun with your teen, your teen gets the message that the two of you are doing this thing called life…together.