Kaarin Anderson Ryan, PhD
As kids grow into their teens, they start to show signs of increasing independence in many areas of life. It is tempting at this time to pull back from a parenting role if you see your teens showing a lot of independence and responsibility. But, try not to let yourself become too complacent – teens still need parenting support and guidance. One major barrier to this can be our dependence on screens and devices. To help maintain close relationships during the teen years, try taking time regularly to put all the devices away (yours also!) and do something with your teen. This may include a game, going out for coffee, having dinner together with no phones at the table, watching a movie or a series together, going for walks … there are endless possibilities of ways to spend time together without the interference of phones or tablets. By setting aside this time daily (if possible) or at least weekly, you will help foster opportunities for conversation while demonstrating that we can all get by without a device for a period of time to do other things without distraction.