My daughter has entered the land of, “I want to be in my room.” She wants to be in her room to do homework. She wants to be in her room to read. She wants to be in her room to text her friends and make silly videos.
So the other day I was asking my fellow iMOMs how they handled the “room question.” One said that one of the rules she had was no closed doors while her kids were in their rooms. She also said that because none of her children had their own room, room time was not a huge draw. Another mom told me that room time was okay in her house, but all electronics had to stay downstairs.
So your tween or teen wants to spend a lot of time in his or her room. So much time that you often forget they’re home! First, don’t worry. This is typical adolescent behavior as a child individuates from his parents and starts to carve out his own identity.
But before you let your child sequester himself from the family to the extreme, consider these rules for room time.
1. You are the boss. Ultimately, you get to decide how much time your child gets to spend in his room. Even if your child protests, if you think he needs to interact more with the family, stick to your guns.
2. Monitor electronics. Our recommendation, backed up by some pretty studied experts, is no electronics in a child’s room. It goes back to the TV days when studies showed that kids who had TVs in their rooms were less healthy physically and mentally. Add to those risks the risks that Internet access brings, and you’ll want to make sure your child is not alone with her electronics.
3. Go fishing. When you want your child to leave his room you can be direct, “Connor, get down here now please!” Or you can be more subtle. “Jack, please come down and take out the garbage.”
4. Make family time fun. When your child is hanging out with the family, try to make it fun or at least pleasant. Talk to her and engage her about her favorite topic or plans for a future trip. Don’t make all of your interactions the “do this” variety.
5. Respect their privacy…to a point. Some parents have a “no closed door” policy. If you do, still try to enter your child’s world respectfully by knocking. If they do have their door closed, knock first, then go in.
Related Resource: 4 Ways to Deal With Your Teen’s Independence