Advice from the experts on having a great summer with your teens and tweens

Advice from the experts on having a great summer with your teens and tweens

Summer is coming and some schools are already wrapping up the school year, including my teen's high school. Parents of tweens and teens often feel a mix of relief, excitement and trepidation, all of which is understandable.

Whatever you're feeling, the articles below offer advice from the experts on having a great summer with your teens and tweens.

For helping your kid transition into summer:

The end of the school year might be harder on your kid than you think by KJ Dell'Antonia

"I love summer madly. I think most of us do. But some of us have to make our peace with whatever we’re leaving behind for that new season to start, and that’s not always easy. Our job as parents isn’t even to make it easier. It’s to provide space to allow it to happen, and, with an older child, to acknowledge it (without expecting things to change). We’re helping our children to grow out of something old and towards something new, and to learn to understand themselves better as they weather the constant transitions of life.

I’ve noticed that seems to involve being a punching bag more often than I’d consider ideal. I’ve also noticed that I’m much happier if I remind myself that I know what’s going on, and that I know this too shall pass."

For those who want to help their kids (especially high schoolers) make goals, form a plan, and have that plan actually get done:

Summer Plan: How to Light a Fire Under Your Teen by Erika Oppenheimer on Grown & Flown

The school year has ended and summer is upon us. It’s a wonderful time to relax and recharge before the next school year. But, it’s easy to watch as time slips away in a summer haze. Three months of break become two, two become one, and one becomes a matter of weeks, then days. If your student has summer goals—i.e. books to read, admissions essays to draft, practice tests to take—then the passage of time can become a stress-inducing pressure-cooker.

But, as a parent, it’s a tricky balance: while you don’t want to overstep or nag, you do want to empower your student to strategically use the summer months.

For those who are planning and trying not to cringe at their kids' ideas:

Summer Choices for Teens on Parenthetical

"It’s important to start by discussing goals with your teen when planning for the summer.  Perhaps your number one goal is that he or she completes a required community service project for school, while your teen is more interested in finding a job with a friend.  Completing a goal clarification activity can help you both understand each other’s point of view, and then provide a place to begin a conversation about summer planning.
. . . .
Allow them to make mistakes. Even if you think your teen’s plan to take a summer job scooping ice cream with her best friend will put too much stress on that particular friendship, it’s important for your teen to have the opportunity to make these kinds of decisions.  As long as your teen is not placed in any danger, and also understands the expectation to follow through on commitments, your teen can gain a tremendous amount of wisdom from unexpected consequences."

For helping your kid get valuable information and advice:

What Should Teenagers’ Summer Plans Include? Adult Mentors
by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. in the New York Times

"Young teenagers who connect with empowering adults outside of their families — whether through volunteering, paid work, youth programs or religious communities — go on to be less reckless and enjoy higher levels of well-being. Even when previous levels of risk-taking and psychological health are taken into account, the association between early mentoring and later thriving persists.

Having a supportive relationship with an adult outside the family has also been tied to increased life-satisfaction among teenagers."

For those who are tempted to plan the whole summer down to the minute, you may want to consider this first:

Psychologists Recommend Children be Bored in the Summer by Olivia Goldhill on Quartz

"Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” says Lyn Fry, a child psychologist in London with a focus on education. “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

Fry is not the only one to point out the benefits of boredom. Dr. Teresa Belton, visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia with a focus on the connection between boredom and imagination, told the BBC that boredom is crucial for developing “internal stimulus,” which then allows true creativity."
For parents dreading having their home look like a tornado went through it:

Dealing with Messy Teenagers
from Your Teen for Parents featuring Dr. John Duffy is a Chicago-based clinical psychologist, best-selling author of The Available Parent

"I think the difference between public and private areas of the home is particularly useful here. For private areas like bedrooms and, in some homes, basements or dens, a parent closing a door and ignoring the mess is the most viable solution—and the least likely to drive unnecessary conflict.

I also find that some of the messiest kids reach a tipping point after which they cannot handle their own dishes sitting in their room for even one more day. The caveat here is the degree of gross-ness. Mom and Dad are allowed to draw the line here."

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Here's to a wonderful, fun-filled, educational, messy but not too messy summer for us all!

You May Also Like: Summer reading list for parents of teens and tweens

Prior Post: PSA for parents: Talk to your kids about sharing images of you online

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