For my friend, the answer became very clear when her 15-year-old daughter gently told her, “Mom, I need you to be home. I feel like there is a lot that I carry — and I need to share it with you.” All of the sudden being home with busy teenagers wasn’t just a formality on a parenting checklist. It was what actually allowed the interactions that are so central to adolescent well-being and development. To enable this to happen better, they determined to sit down together to eat as a family rather than just eat individually at the bar. Like so many things in family life, it is those small things that make all the difference.
Jenet Jacob Erickson teaches in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. Her opinions do not necessarily reflect those of BYU.
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