It’s the first weekend of summer vacation, literally Day 2. And I get this:
“Mom, I’m bored.”
I could do what my parents did and start down a long list of chores that need to be done. Bored at home? I’ll give you something to do! But I don’t. I do something worse.
I offer suggestions.
And she shoots down every single one of them. Turns on her heels and walks off, sulking.
Lord, help me.
What I Won’t Do to Cure My Teens’ Boredom
So, I’ve decided what I’m not doing for my teens this summer.
- I will not make any suggestions on what they can do, eat, read, watch, or whom they could contact. My name is not Julie McCoy; I’m not their cruise director.
- I will not tell them how to solve their problems.
- I will not register them for any sports practices, camps, baby-sitting classes, drivers ed training, volunteering, etc. If they can record their own violin assignment and send it to their teacher via Google classroom, they can register themselves.
- I will not remind them that they need to do their laundry. If they run out of clean clothes, bring on the stink.
- I will not supervise them while they do their chores. If they want their allowance, they can take the initiative and report to me once they’re completed.
What I Will Do to Help Them Cure Their Boredom
Even though my days of suggesting fun things to do for bored teenagers are over, I am still willing to help out in the following ways.
- I will stop what I’m doing, put down the spatula, close the laptop, turn over my phone, and listen to them—anytime they want to talk. I will look them in the eye, acknowledge their thoughts, validate their feelings, and offer encouragement.
- I will drive them where they need/want to go, within reason, when asked politely, with enough lead time, when my schedule allows.
- I will seek out opportunities to spend one-on-one time with them, and invite them to join me. If they say no, I will understand and not take it personally.
- I will give them a hug whenever they ask. And even if they don’t want it.
- I will pray for them.
- I will be patient and understanding. But I will not give in. This taking responsibility for their own happiness is a new thing for them and for me, and that the first few weeks may be rough on us all.
- I will notice when they do take ownership of their time, interests, and responsibilities. I will lavish them with praise, atta-girls, and love.
- And then, when all of this happens, I will breathe easier and sleep better.