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Family time

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Family time

Another question for you guys - so besides my 16 year old daughter and 13 year old son I also have a 13 year old step daughter .

None of them really want to do family activities - son wants to be in bedroom gaming ; step daughter wants to be in bedroom on devices and daughter wants to be either out with friends or on devices in bedroom.

The bored faces and lack of engagement while we are out at dinner or brunch etc are frustrating

So I do less and less with them , i.e. Give them what they want

But I don't think that's helpful in the long run

I feel like I'm taking the easy way out and leaving them to their own space all the time. But that's what they want ( and need to a degree )

What do you guys do ? How much family time do you have - particularly Those who have reasonably unwilling teens

I guess what I'm saying is I feel guilty I'm becoming complacent .... but I'm avoiding conflict at the same time I think

Thoughts on my rambling ?
Super star contributor

Re: Family time

Hey @Beingme2017, I have the same thing in my home - my daughter would rather be on her own on her devices. 


She doesn't come to visit the family unless for a celebration, and resides mostly in her bedroom. She's sitting out in the loungeroom with me the last couple of days but only because she's sick and it's been so hot - all the fans are out here. 


I gave up fighting the battle years ago, trying to force her to do things with me and get her off the computer or her phone and out of her room - but if she doesn't want to be somewhere she can be unpleasant and makes it clear she wants to go home or have her own space.


Family time we do enjoy is playing board games, playing the wii, or watching particular tv shows together. I've found I need to compromise my own wants and let her choose what we do. It's not often though. 


I've kind of gotten over it for myself, but it does upset me with the family because they get upset that she doesn't want to visit them more often. I find it really stressful being in the middle.


I think it's a teenage thing and although they love us and need us, they're pulling away and finding their own independence. I do think things will change as my daughter gets older and comes out the other end of teenagehood - I hope anyway! 


Forcing them to do things with us usually backfires and neither side ends up enjoying the time together, so I allow my daughter her time. I only wish she had more friends - and friends who really cared for her - so she could hang out more with them. 


I don't think you're taking the easy way out. Battling with teens constantly is too much, and we really have to choose our battles. I'm interested to hear other parents thoughts, but I feel that's a battle not worth the added distress it brings. 





Re: Family time

Yes, we have the same issue with our 14 year old daughter.  She spends a lot of time in her room which in the beginning made us sad, as before reaching puberty she loved hanging out with us.  But then we remembered how much time WE spent in our rooms away from our parents, listening to music etc and it was more understandable.  She needs her space.  The device issue is always a concern, because you are never quite sure what they are looking at but it is not always social media, for example our daughter reads books on it, edits her photographs, and watches funny videos on You Tube.   In our day, we didn't have the convenience of everything on one device, so perhaps we emerged from our rooms more often, for example to watch TV!  Anyway, we encourage family 'bonding' by having a  movie night either Fridays or Saturdays:  this can be either a cinema visit, or something on the TV.  We also play board games, which work very well and can be a real laugh.  A meal out somewhere easy like Hogs Breath works too, with no devices allowed on the table!  Hope that helps.  We have older children too, and they came out of their teenage years intact, having gone through the same thing - so we know there is light at the end of the tunnel, just as there will be for you!


Re: Family time

thanks @taokat and @bristol_1


What if they really resist the idea of even a board game or family movie? between the 3 of them the responses range from


"I don't want to"

"i am in the middle of something "

"i don't want to play a game im not 5"

"you cant make me"


edited to add - and one says nothing but sits their stony faced throughout whole experience.


the others if I do make them act bored and uninterested. So Rude!


These are actually paraphrases but you get the idea. And I just don't have the willpower anymore to try and battle. I feel like the last thing I want to do after I have battled, debated, cajoled and convinced or forced 3 teens to play a game is to play the game!!!

Super frequent scribe

Re: Family time

@Beingme2017 you may just have to be a combination of persistent and patient. I know that when I was living through the teenage years, my family set aside a no excuses family dinner on Sunday, with not just the immediate family, but the extended family. It was expected that on Sunday evening at 6pm you would be present, and all books, TV's and other distractions (I grew up pre-devices) would be left behind in favour of family discussion.


Not even getting a part-time job was considered an excuse for skipping family dinner (that bit may have been a bit extreme, as my colleagues weren't fans of me having every Sunday night off).  The routine of it meant that no matter how much we wanted to be elsewhere, or who we weren't speaking to that week, we rocked up for dinner because excuses would not be heard or accepted by The Nana. 


So maybe as a family you can all decide together a day/meal that will routinely be a family gathering - with no excuses and no devices to be accepted? If they resist a dinner, there's always breakfast/brunch? Also if the gathering comes with treat foods it could make it a special experience they'll look back on fondly later.

Super star contributor

Re: Family time

Welcome to the forum @bristol_1! It's very reassuring to know they will come out the other end and this is just a stage, so thank you for sharing that! I look forward to hearing more of your wisdom Smiley Happy


@Beingme2017 I had to have a bit of a giggle about your one who sits stony faced - my daughter will actually turn around and walk into her room and quietly shut the door even as I am speaking sometimes!! I gather that is a 'no'!!! It's so infuriating I have to laugh. I think I must be invisible sometimes.


If my daughter says no to a board game or the wii, I try to just let it go - not worth the upset, and I think if I get upset or annoyed I'm not setting up a good feeling around the question of doing something together. Plus I'm not giving much incentive to want to spend time with me. And as you say, after the battle you don't feel like family time with them anymore anyway! It's so hard isn't it?!