I have a 12-year-old and 14-year-old who have been on summer vacation for two weeks now, and I have seen them for maybe a total of 10 hours! Not because I am working, but because they don’t want to leave their rooms. I wasn’t sure if this was normal, so I took to social media to survey my fellow moms-of-teens to get some advice. Turns out it’s typical teen behavior.
I’d like to think we have lived in some cool places (kids were born in Arizona and lived there for 5 years, lived in the D.C. area for 8 years, and have been in the Bay Area for 1 year). Exploring our community and all there was to offer has always been a priority. Since moving to California though, it has been like pulling teeth to get them to want to do anything. It’s California for heaven’s sake! Whether they are embarrassed to be out with the family, rather be online, or simply want to sleep (and the reason changes all the time), one thing is the same—their room is where they would rather be.
I do have to admit that I like the thought of knowing where they are and knowing that they feel comfortable being home, but I find myself constantly asking if that is best. Shouldn’t they be outside? With friends? Shopping? Movies? Anything?
We do have some mini-vacations, activities, and visitors during the summer, so they won’t be completely reclusive. But thinking back on this past year—it was academically challenging not to mention they had to make new friends and adjust to a new home and community. So, I’ve chosen to cut them some slack and set some guidelines through all of this:
- If you are in your room, the blinds are open or lights are on unless you are sleeping.
- You must come out for dinner.
- Chores for the day must get done.
- Dad or I can come in at any time and check your browser history, chats, and more.
- One weekend day is a family day where they must go do something with the family (or we split mom and dad time).
I think the thing that throws me off the most is that I was not like this as a teen. Yes, I liked to spend time in my room, but I was involved in so much at school, wanted to be with friends, and jumped at the chance to get out of the house to go to dinner or shopping with my parents.
This is just another example of how parenting is different for everyone, every generation, and of how awesome it is to have other parent friends to talk to.