Do your kids want to spend time with you?

Leave it to the platform formerly known as Twitter to spark a debate among parents. It’s kind of what it’s there for. You throw out your thought or opinion, and hundred to thousands of people weigh in on what you said with their thoughts and opinions. Arguments happen. Things go sideways and before you know it, the argument is not even about the original topic anymore.

So why do I read these threads? I find it a little entertaining to see just how silly it gets. But every now and then there is a thread that shares a lot of solid thoughts.

Take this one for example I read today:

This topic has been on my mind lately as our two boys are becoming of the age where it’s harder and harder to find common ground and even harder to find an activety they want to join me in.

I read the Tweet and I read a good number of the comments.

First of all. I feel it’s lazy to openly blame video games. This has been a blame game for decades. Video games have taken my child from me. They are addicted to video games. They won’t do anything – video games, video games, video games……

I still like and play video games. Video games are very cool. Video games have come a long way. Both our boys play video games. But I don’t feel like that is stopping them from living other parts of life. Parents control video game play – you only have yourself to blame.

Many are quick to say when we were younger, we went outside. Well did you have an iPad or a PS5? No. Did you have a phone tethered to your body? No. My point being is it’s hard to compare. We went outside because there was not a lot of other options that even came close to what kids have now that keep them inside.

Back to the part of the kids not wanting to do anything with their dad.

As hard as it is for me to say, teens in particular don’t want to spend time with their parents no matter how strong the relationship is.

It’s very hard to accept. When they are little all they want to do is play or go on any outing you do.

When I was 14 I certainly did not want to go on outings or adventures with my Dad. It wasn’t personal. I just would want to spend time with my friends or be by myself.

Which is exactly how it is happening now with our two sons.

So how do I still keep the connection? Well thanks to the remote world of 2024, I am home most of the time they are home. So instead of hikes or camping trips a few times a year, it’s hanging out at lunch while I make them a sandwich. Or helping them fix the computer when a game isn’t working. It’s a bunch of smaller moments that are pretty mundane instead of big and grand adventures.

Sure they would probably remember a trip to the CN Tower over that random time I made muffins with them. But I also know they will grow up remembering I was around and enjoyed spending time with them.

My other thought on the above Tweet is, sometimes you just have to take away the option. Instead of asking if you want to do something. Present it in a way that WE ARE doing something. I find if there is an option, the answer is 95% going to be no, and you have to be okay with it.

But kids love structure and sometimes they just want to be told what is happening without having to worry about saying no.

It’s a real game as a parent trying to figure out when to push it and when to let it be.

Lately my wife and I are leaning more and more into letting it be.

Now, do I enforce a walk with Dad sometimes. I sure do. Because I have learned, once they get outside and past the worry of what things will be like, they almost always enjoy themselves.

I think as your kids get older, this balancing act is key. Teens are not going to want to spend time with you. Don’t take it personally. Start to live your lives again. If they see you out having fun, doing what you enjoy, at some point they will want to join in.

Stop blaming video games.

Stop trying to be your kid’s friend. You are their parent.

Accept it is not like it used to be when they were little.

Be as present as you can. Be interested in what they are interested in. Continue doing what you enjoy.