So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy?
As a parent of a young person, you may think your child would answer that question by saying something like money, possessions, or their friends, etc.
But it turns out that the real answer is quite different.
Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to a survey done by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people, including more than 100 questions and 1,280 people ages 13-24.
So now it’s time to ask mom and dad a question. Do you spend enough time with your kids?
As your kids get older, spending time with them can become more and more difficult.
Now they can drive themselves to school. They go to the movies with their friends instead of you. Your son gets invited to Super Bowl parties, and you’re left watching the big game alone. Your daughter would rather shop with her friends than with you, or maybe she has a part-time job, and she just isn’t around as much as she used to be.
With your busy schedule and your teenager’s busy schedule, it’s important that you still spend valuable time with him or her.
One way to do this is by establishing regular family nights.
For instance, Monday could be pizza night. Order pizza, and make sure everyone knows not to plan anything else on this night. Have your son or daughter invite a friend over. Make it fun for everyone.
Or, the third Friday of every month could be family game night. Get out the board games, sit around the kitchen table, and make snacks for everyone to eat.
If you like to go out to eat, then pick one night a week where you all go eat together. Food is a great way to get everyone together.
Maybe you could surprise your son by picking him up from school to take him out for lunch every once in a while.
Take your daughter out for a manicure.
Just do something! Start scheduling family activities. Be sure to check with your teenagers before you plan a family event.
It wouldn’t be very good if they had to miss a friend’s birthday party because of a family night. You want family activities to be something they look forward to–not something they have to do.
Remember what the survey said, the number one thing that makes them happy is spending time with family.
Believe it or not, your teenagers do want to hang out with you–not all the time of course, but they will appreciate you making some time for them.
When you spend time with teenagers, you strengthen your relationship with them, and it makes it easier for them to come to you for advice. It also gives you more opportunities to talk to them about God, His Word, and His plan for their lives.
So get out your calendar and schedule your next family event today.