No, I’m not being facetious! I meant that seriously – when’s the last time you and your teen had any fun together?
If you have Rock Band or Guitar Hero in your house and you’ve never played, you’re missing a wonderful opportunity. Sit down next to your teen and prepare for a humbling experience. You’ll be lucky to get 3 regular stars on Easy while she crows about her 5 gold stars on Expert. But it won’t matter in the least, because she’ll be laughing at your fumbling attempts (I always forget to “strum”) and you’ll both be enjoying the music.
Happy memories are made during good times together. Don’t have (or approve of) video games? Try board games like Apples to Apples or Taboo (don’t worry; it’s a word game). Want something a little more intellectual? Sit down in front of the TV together when Cash Cab or Jeopardy are on.
Or have some spontaneous fun. I went on a 4-hour road trip with a fellow teacher who was an expert at this. He covered up the odometer at random times and said, “Guess how far we’ve gone.” At our lunch stop, he put his hand over the bill and said, “Guess the total, within five dollars.” It was a blast every time!
Just not a game person? Go to a movie together. My husband has seen Avatar twice with our sons – the second time in 3-D, and he can barely focus with his bifocals behind those attractive glasses. Surprise your teen by making an unplanned stop at Starbucks, or by going out and eating ice cream for dinner.
My point is, there are going to be a lot of stressful times with your teen. Balance those by just enjoying one another and laughing together. But be smart about timing! You can’t force fun, and it’s a well-known fact that you especially can’t force fun from a reluctant teenager! I had success with letting everybody know “I’d really like this Friday to be a game night.” We’d play games for a couple of hours, then separate to do our own things. That way, it didn’t take up their whole evening, and we’d quit before we got bored.
Playing Guitar Hero is lots more fun than playing Candyland – take it from me. Go give it your best shot!