By: Rebecca Perlman Coniglio, LCSW
Author of Lily’s Little Life Lessons, www.amazon.com
Hello again, this blog entry is for teens and parents to read and think about together.
I want to share something I read with you. I was waiting at the dentist’s office and picked up a copy of Parents Magazine. I actually look forward to sitting in waiting rooms now because I consider it my relaxation time, how scary is that. Anyway, I came across an article about a new book called, No Regret Parenting by Harley Rotbart. A line in the story jumped off the page and became instantly burned into my brain. I am paraphrasing here, but it stated that parents have 940 Saturdays from the time their child is born until he or she goes to college. By the time your child turns five, you have used up over 200 of those Saturdays. As the mother of a five year old, that thought made my eyes well up with tears and my heart begin to ache. The dentist probably took one look at me and thought I was having an anxiety attack about my cleaning, which I was, just kidding.
I was actually thinking about how I spend my Saturdays now and how I spent them growing up. As a child of divorce, Saturdays can take on a whole new meaning. It can be the day when you have to separate from one parent and go off with the other. Some kids handle the transition with unbelievable grace. If you are one of those who can do it with no problem, I commend you and you should feel proud of yourself. I on the other hand was not always a trooper. I found separating from my primary care giver very difficult. Looking back now, a bundle of my 940 Saturdays feels like they must have been sad Saturdays. That was then and this is now. I think it is important to look back, reflect, and then keep going forward. As an adult and a parent now I have the gift, privilege, and responsibility to determine how I will spend my daughter’s remaining Saturdays. I want her to laugh, be happy, and feel love around her.
For teens, weekends are usually spent sleeping, ah yes I remember that. Waking up whenever, that was awesome! Once you wake up, there are sports to play, friends to see, and oh homework to do. It can be difficult to factor in family time, but what I want to remind you about is that your Saturdays are flying by. If your parents are divorced, it can be even more challenging to make time for all the things you want to pack into one day, but family time should be a priority too.
So here are some ideas to make your Saturdays count:
Try to have a routine and structure your time on the weekends so you can get done what you need to and still have time for family and fun too.
Make a list of activities you like to do with each parent. For example, if you will be with your father next weekend, have an idea of something you both enjoy doing together like going to the movies. Yes it is still cool to go to a movie with your dad.
Parents and teens work together to balance time with friends and time with family. Parents, make the effort to get to know your child’s friends.
Be present, put down the electronic devices and talk to each other. Get to know your parents and let them know you.
Use your time wisely, you are making memories, and you are using up one of your Saturdays.
I hope that teens and parents will read this and remember it. I am planning on doing the same. I am so glad I went to the dentist and read that article because I needed the reminder as well. As a matter of fact, I am writing this on a Saturday, so I must go-I have to make it a Super one. Please feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.