Feb 012015

As our kids grow, they become more and more independent. Once they hit the age where they are working their own job and driving a car, it seems like they get farther and farther away from us. It can be a very difficult transition for any parent. We are used to our kids needing us and once they begin to float off on their own, it can be disappointing because we miss them!

When this happens there are a few things you can do to still have some quality time with your teen – the key is to make the time.

Date Night

If you can schedule a date night with your teen, this is one of the best ways to get some of their time. Scheduling it in advance is even better because it can give you both something to look forward to and it is less likely to interfere with other things. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, go to the mall; whatever the activity as long as you both enjoy it then you will enjoy the time together.

Meal Time

If you can even catch 30 minutes to sit down and have a meal together, that time can be priceless. If one of you will be out around dinner time, try to meet somewhere for lunch. Eating a meal together is not just about the food, but about the company and the time you have to chat about your day or upcoming events.


It may sound silly, but take your teen grocery or household shopping! If you are heading to the supermarket, chances are that your teen would love to pick out some treats for them or help with meal planning for the family. Or, if you are planning a trip to buy household supplies at Target, bring your teen along and let them browse for other items. A one-hour shopping trip can actually be fun and gives you just that little bit of time together you both need.

Regular TV Show

If a new series is starting up that you are both interested in, try to plan on watching it together each week. This is another one of those scheduled events that you two can look forward to and share.


Go for a run, take a walk, or head to the gym. Not only is this a healthy activity, but if you and your teen do it together on a regular basis it will be terrific for you both. Whether you bond over weights or just chat while on the treadmill, use this as an opportunity!

Again, the key to time with your teen is making the time. Find something you both enjoy doing and do it together. Chances are your teen will be just as happy as you that you found that time!

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Jul 212013

Whether for business or pleasure, you may find yourself in a situation where you will be gone overnight. You feel that your teen may be ready to stay alone overnight, rather than going to a friend or family member’s home. But, how do you know for sure if they are ready? Is there a certain age that your teen must be in your mind? What do you consider when making the decision to leave them alone?

Let’s take a look at factors that you should consider and questions that you should ask yourself.

  1. Mature.  Is your teen as mature as they should be for their age or are do their actions remind you more of a child? Do their thoughts about situations sound right for their age or do they make you think they have a lot more growing up to do? Your teen should display an appropriate amount of maturity for their age before considering a night alone.
  2. Responsible. Does your teen do the right thing when it comes to safety, choices, and tasks? Can you rely on them to do the right thing in a situation?  Can you rely on your teen to do what is asked and do it correctly? If a situation were to arise where they had to make a decision, you want to feel confident that they will make the right one.
  3. Trustworthy. Trust is a key element to consider. When you leave them alone during the day, do you feel comfortable? Can you trust your teen when they are away from your home – at school, friend’s house, shopping mall, or with the car? How much do you trust your teen to be okay alone for the night? If you think they may throw a party while you are away, then maybe it is not the right time.
  4. History. Does your teen have a history of getting into trouble? Have you had issues leaving them alone during the day? Have you had problems with them that include drugs or alcohol? Have they been in trouble in school or even with the law? Your teen’s history should also come into play and should help you decide whether or not you feel comfortable leaving them alone.

HouseI think as you read this you can agree that age is not as important as the four items listed here. A 15-year old can be more responsible and trustworthy than a 17-year old. A 16-year old can be more mature and have a better history than an 18-year old…and so on. So, take age out of the equation and consider the above traits instead.

When you leave for an overnight trip, you must feel comfortable to leave your teen alone for the night. You need to trust that they will make the right choices, take care of what needs to be taken care of while you are away, and not worry the entire time you are gone that something bad will happen.

If you cannot answer positively to the questions answered above, then it is probably not the right time to leave your teen alone overnight. Wait a while – let them grow and mature, correct their mistakes, prove to you that they can be trusted. If you are unsure, then it is probably too soon.

What are your thoughts? Have you already been through this with your teen and can share some wisdom? Or, are you a parent contemplating this decision right now? Comment below to share your story!

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Jul 132013

As lives get busy and children grow up, it can be hard to find the quality time to spend with our children.  Jobs, school, sports practices, recitals, friends…all take up our time.  One thing that I would suggest, especially as our kids turn to teens, is a “date night”.

It does not have to be every week and could even just be once a month, but setting aside one night, few hours, or whatever works for you is a great idea.  Be sure that you plan that time together so that you choose something that both enjoy.

Abby and Sandy Summer 2013

Abby and Sandy Summer 2013

My daughter and I love Mexican cuisine.  So, for our date night we go out to dinner to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We really take our time and enjoy the dinner.  It has become such a “thing” for us that my daughter does not like anyone else to ever go to that restaurant with us!

Other suggestions for your time together could include a movie, shopping, mini golf, picnic, archade, spa day, or even the beach.

We receive a community paper that lists local classes being offered.  I thought it would be really fun for me and my daughter to take a class together.  Whether it is artistic like pottery or painting or something valuable like self-defense, this is also a great idea.  My daughter has not warmed to this option yet, unfortunately, but I am still trying!

The point is that if you plan a regular date night with your teen then you can both look forward to that special time together, however often it may be.  It is time for just the two of you to reconnect and I know that it really works for my daughter and I.  It is one of those times we use to talk about serious things, girl things, or just laugh with each other.

Do you do something like this with your son or daughter?  Please share your comments and suggestions!

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