Parents Should Play With Teens? Yep! 3 Reasons Why It's So Important (& a Fun Game Idea) by Dr. Tim Thayne
Let’s look at why play is so important in our relationships with our teens or young adults.
- We remind them we are human, too: Play reminds our kids that we aren’t just an old fuddy duddy, and that we do more than nag, require and follow up. We have a side that remembers what it’s like to be young and have fun as a high priority.
- It relieves stress and tension: Life is stressful enough, but when your son or daughter has struggles with behavior, mental health, school or friends it can overwhelm them. Take part in their stress relief as much as you take part in their academics or home responsibilities. Make it a priority to change things up. If the tension is in your relationship, play can break a negative communication cycle quicker, then you can grin and say, “I dare you to eat that!”
- It introduces creativity and energy: Ruts are easy, but boring. Doing something surprising and out of the ordinary physically, locationally or mentally infuses you both with healthy energy. Positive energy expands possibilities, excites the mind, producing new thoughts and outcomes.
I’ll end with a story from my own life. My kids came home from a friend’s house falling all over themselves in an attempt to tell me about the game their friend’s dad had played with them. It’s called “Pop Up and Catch.” Here’s how it’s done:
Mom or Dad takes a ball (tennis, baseball, beach ball) while the kids (any age) are gathered round. As the parent throws the ball as hard and high into the air as possible, they shout out the prize awarded for that catch. “King-sized Butterfinger!” Whoever catches the ball before it hits the ground wins the candy bar.
If no one catches it, the parent has to come up with something new for the next throw. “A back scratch from Mom tonight!” The successful catcher cheers and makes sure there is follow through on the promised prize. If you are good enough at throwing that it’s a real challenge to make the catch, you can throw in a doozy like, “I’ll do your laundry for a month!” My favorite was, “A baby pig!” The kids squealed and ran like crazy for that ball. Fortunately, the ball hit the grass before I had to follow through.
In a nutshell, play says, “I enjoy you. Let’s hang out.”
To your family’s success and happiness!