Jenet Jacob Erickson: Teenagers really want to spend time with their parents


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  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    I know one teenager who wanted nothing to do with his parents because they smothered him--not with love, but with restrictions. He was a rebel, but his parents' restrictive and untrusting nature made him run from them the day he was old enough to sever their leash on his own.

    Teenagers don't care whether their parents show up for games? Are you kidding? They may voice disapproval of parents' attendance. But stop showing up for a few weeks and I promise you the teenager will compare himself to peers whose parents show up regularly, and he'll begin to feel less loved. Sometimes, low-key parents are welcome, while high-profile parents can prove embarrassing. Teenagers are ultra sensitive about outward appearances.

    Respect his preference if he prefers to travel to games in his own wheels or with friends. He may crave the appearance of independence, especially if a girl might show up, and he resents parental teasing or needling about "no girlfriends 'til after your mission." It's like the 30 year-old still living with his mom--few eligible women find that endearing.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    April 24, 2013 6:43 a.m.

    Games and sports are the least desirable support teenagers want from parents. Sports alienates children from parents, its impersonal background visibility. Friend, strangers, peers offer more support for children in sports than parents attendance. Children don't need approval, they need guidance in everyday love, care, and hugs. Parents should teach children who they are and not what they or others want them to be.

    Family dinner at home is more valuable and personal than any 20 sports or games parents think children want. Children need parental bonding as family, not with coaches or teachers or educators or government or parents friends and peers.

    Tell your kid you love him for himself, not the home run or botched catch he missed. Parents go to misguided extremes when a child needs a look, a word of approval for self rewards of his accomplishments of his own. Love them, not what you want them to be. They will make choices in life based on self respect and the character they learn from parents. Teach them to live and love who they are and listen to them and their dreams.

  • bdckpakccd Plano, TX
    April 22, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    Well, Ted's Head, I don't know how you can categorically qualify whether or not something is nature or nurture. There is a LOT we are still learning about how those inter-relate. Check out the book "Connectome" and then learn about what we have learned so far about "nature" or "nurture". They are almost inseparable.

  • Vernal Mom Vernal, UT
    April 20, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    I agree with Jeanie. When we told our Freshman 15 year old awhile back that we may be moving 3 hours away for a different job, he was ready to come with us. We do everything together as a family, and because he is the youngest of four, it usually means we travel to see other family members.

    He plays many sports, and that is our life right now -- watching him play ball. He gets good grades, has friends, and dates. I don't miss a game, and that is one way I show support and love to my teenager.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:57 p.m.

    Even though there are teens that need to push the boundaries and behave as if they don't care, they still crave the attention and love of their parents.

    There are at least 5 teens on this planet that I am aware of who enjoy/ed spending time with me, their mom.

  • Superfluous Anaheim, CA
    April 19, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    Puberty will ALWAYS be a rebellious time in life. It's part of growing up--not stereotype thinking.
    I don't know who conducted this study, but I don't believe it.
    (and you shouldn't include 20-24 year-olds)

    There are NO teenagers on planet Earth that want to spend time with their parents.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    April 19, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    As always when considering the use of studies to support a position it is fruitful to remember that there are exceptions to the rule. Pay attention to the trends but don't get caught up in the numbers. Often there are confounding variables that come into play, chief among them the personality/temperament and traits that resulted from nature and not nurture. We humans are complex being who cannot easily be categorized nor our actions and choices explained.