Summer with Teens: Setting Expectations
Summer with littles was full of sidewalk chalk and bubble magic.
But as kids got older, summer seemed to change its shape.
All of sudden what used to be so fun, was “lame,” and battles I never thought about fighting seemed to happen more often than I wanted them to.
So, after a few years in those teen and tween trenches, I have learned a few lessons and have a couple tips that, I hope, will allow you to enjoy this new stage with your kids.
Before we begin, let me just say that each family is SO different, as is each child. Your kids may need very little structure and motivation or they may still need a lot and that is okay. No matter what your family dynamics are, setting expectations and using these tips will make summer a little smoother and more enjoyable!
Have a Conversation
Set expectations for technology use, work, help at home, curfews, physical activity, free time, friends, family time, driving, money, and learning.
The first and most important thing you can do is have a conversation with your teens to set expectations. Discussing hot button issues before you are in the heat of the moment can really help.
They might be thinking that they will be watching movies, hanging with friends, and staying out late every night and you are thinking they will master a new language, earn money, and find a volunteer opportunity.
See how unclear expectations for a summer with teens are a recipe for disaster?
10 Questions to Ask Your Teen
- What excites you about summer?
- What does your ideal summer day look like?
- What does your realistic, average summer day look like?
- What do you want to learn?
- How do you want to spend your time?
- What are some goals you have?
- What expectations do you think we have of you? Are they fair?
- How much family time do you think is reasonable?
- What conflict do you feel like we might have during the summer (curfew, screen time, chores, family time)?
- Is there any way for us to talk about it now realistically so we can both enjoy more time together?
The Secret to a Great Summer with Teens? Setting Expectations!
Remember there is going to have to be some give, take, and compromise on both sides! This is a huge part of parenting teens effectively.
As you come to conclusions, all give and no take won’t work in the long term. Be aware of who you each are and what your triggers might be. If too much screen time, a dirty house or late nights are hard on you, build some parameters in to avoid too many mom freak outs.
If your teen needs friends, loves to sleep in, and is dying for a little more independence, factor those things in as you come to conclusions together.
Write Things Down
If you need to write things down, do it! Sometimes, halfway through the summer these parameters are easily forgotten. Remember to put your teens special events on the calendar and make them a priority. If your child is doing summer school or participating in sports, make sure to include important days and deadlines.
Get Ready for the Best Summer Yet
That transition from sprinklers and popsicles to friends and late nights is a tough one. Setting expectations allows for a much more pleasant experience for both kids and parents! I’ve found going in with a flexible plan and eyes open always seems to help.
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Have you tried setting expectations with your teen? What worries you most about summer with teens?