If a 13-year-old decides he/she does no longer want to go out with the rest of the family (to visit uncles or go to church etc) what is the smartest course of action without being a dictator?
Wanting to avoid hanging out with the family is a pretty normal part of adolescence that is often a result of the social. emotional and physical changes that begin to take place as they hit puberty. As children get older they crave that greater independence and see time away from the family as one of the ways to gain that experience.
At 13 however, I think it is still fair for you as parents to expect kids to do things as a family. They still need to respect the family unit and your desire to have them still be present at certain outings. In saying that, perhaps you could come to some compromises with regard to them coming with you. There is no fun going out with a sulky teen that is burying their heads in a device, earphones on and not interacting, so there needs to be a compromise that suggests there are certain things they need to attend in order for them to enjoy the many privileges they have as a result of being part of your family.
Maybe you could suggest that they must go to uncle’s birthday barbecue and then when you get home they could have a friend over or go out somewhere with friends. I would try to communicate it in a way that suggests a need for balance between time with the family and time on their own or with friends.
Martine Oglethorpe, cyber safety consultant, family counsellor, speaker on parenting with technology, www.themodernparent.net
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