Tip #113 – Be Predictable – not boring!
We tend to think that teens don’t need the same structure or predictability as they did when they were toddlers needing nap time, meals, bedtimes, etc. I believe that teens need you to have the same level of consistency just with different things. They need to be able to count on you to say “no”, ask them what is wrong in 100 different ways until they give you more than a grunt, be at home by a certain time (most nights), eat meals together, etc. BUT… I do not want this to be mistaken for repeating the same patterns day in and day out and keeping routines so rigid that there is no room for fun or impulsivity. My rule here is that they should know what you will say and set limits about but they should not be able to predict what you will do every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from the time they arrive home until you all go to bed. I like to think of it as keeping you (and them) on your toes. When someone in your family is away, it is important to establish routines but that does mean that you can’t do things differently or surprise your teen with a twist in the schedule.
Some suggestions to keep them guessing:
Pick them up at school instead of them going on the bus
Take them to a restaurant you have never been to
Go to a different mall or store
Try different grocery stores
Leave the dishes in the sink and do them the next day instead
Eat dessert first
Take a day off to have fun together
Try playing one of their sports with them
Get on a gaming system
Let them choose the movies
Walk with them to school
Turn up the music and dance in the living room like no one is watching
Have a day in your pjamas
Have a finger foods dinner only
You may now be thinking… “That is what she considers wild or changing it up? Oh please!” Come up with your own list by thinking about your daily routine with yourself and your family and see what things you can do to change it up a little. It really isn’t about making huge plans or drastic changes it is more about making sure that each day has something unique and different in it. It is also teaching your family about what you think is important and making sure they never find life “ho hum” or boring by doing something about it themselves.