Why does the word teenager evoke so much worry and anxiety in parents? There is a feeling that once you enter that “twilight zone” of the teenage years you will not get out untouched or unscathed. I would like to beg to differ and to add from my own experience as a secondary school teacher that most teenagers are actually looking for a great and loving relationship at home.
It is true that the teenage years are a time when your child begins to move away from you, to begin to establish their own identity and to even challenge your values and beliefs in the discovery of their own. Their peers do become important to them, and as parents we can feel left out of a lot of their life.
There is no magic potion to ensure complete smooth sailing in the teenage years but taking note of a few of the things that are important to teens can help immensely.
What are they looking for?
Sometimes it’s their own space, a private place to play their own music and games, to let off some steam, to design their own projects. A shared bedroom with a younger sibling may just not work any longer.
What will help keep them at home?
A place of their own to invite their friends – to hang out, to play their music loudly, to read magazines and to joke and guffaw about their friends, parents and teachers. You don’t have to be nosey, but you can check on them by coming in with pizza and refreshments.
What will help keep them out of trouble?
The more your teen can stick around at home having fun and feeling comfortable to invite their own friends, the more hopeful you can be for them. At least you know where they are and pretty much what they are doing. You might even get to know and enjoy some of their friends too. Busy teens are also much less likely to get themselves into trouble.
So, instead of using your garage to house all the usual junk or all the boxes you never unpacked when you moved in, involve your teen in a project of their own to help create their own hang-out space.
If the car’s in the garage, put it outside – our car has not seen the inside of a garage for 10 years now – your teen is much more important. Let your teen drive the project; give them an idea of the budget and get them to work on Trade Me or Neighbourly to pick up what they need. Creating a space they can call their own will help pay dividends for their future relationship with you.
Handy hint: Laying garage carpet, insulating the garage door, and sealing the draughts will help create a much more comfortable space and one more likely to be used and enjoyed. Call one of our friendly GaragePro franchisees to find out more.