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At what age do I stop making my kids spend time with me?

I have 4 children. So, to be sure each one of them gets individual time, I spend time with them 1-on-1 once a week. My 15 year old son doesn't always want to. He's at the age where he'd rather spend time with his friends. Usually, I just make him. But, today I just didn't feel like fighting the battle and let him do something else. When do I stop forcing him to spend time with me? Is he old enough to decide?

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Asked by PA2B at 3:20 AM on Jul. 9, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (11)
  • They all go through that stage in their teens. They feel the need to pull away, and we as parents have to be there to guide them and that's about it. You don't want to just let go of the reins, but maybe forcing him is too harsh. Be there for him, spending time with may just have to be conversing with him over dinner being made. If you still feel compelled to do one-on-one time with him, plan it in advance, or make a routine date with him and let him have input on what you do. He will drift back to you, but I don't think forcing him to be with you is the answer. That may breed resentment.

    Answer by TCliffman at 3:26 AM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • He is obligated to be with you. I am not kidding here. I tell my kids that they will be taking care of me when I am old, might as well make friends with me now.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:52 AM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I have 7yo boys and so afraid that one day they will not want me around. LY, they already started pulling away and don't want hugs as much.. and what do I do??? I had another a 3 month old girl! I'm so happy with her! Boys love her tooo.I don't know what to do when my boys don't want to spend time with the family and don't want to talk during dinner.. those teenage years are frightening.

    Answer by mschanng at 5:59 AM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I would still require that he spend time with me but instead of weekly maybe monthly. It is so hard when they reach that age of independance and friends become so much more important...godd news is they eventually start to turn back around and learn a little more balance, it's never what it used to be but by the time they turn around you are a little more used to it, so your feeling won't get hurt as much.

    Answer by luckysevenwow at 10:48 AM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Just because a teen tells you he doesn't want to spend time with you doesn't mean that he doesn't want to spend time with you. Teens (especially boys) are not always able to express themselves. Keep spending quality time with your kids; I guarantee that they will tell you (many years from now) how much they appreciated it.

    Answer by rkoloms at 11:57 AM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I'm going through the same thing with my 16 yo dd. It is soooo hard. But the more I force or make a big deal about how she is never here or anything else, she just pulls harder away. It never works here. It is really hard for me to let go, but the days I give her the space she wants the better the day is for all of us.
    I am waiting for the day when she turns around and figures out I'm not all bad. I hope I can hold out that long.

    Answer by wallmom1 at 12:43 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • never i still like my girlsd to make time for me and they are in there late 20s

    Answer by mamak57 at 1:21 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • I would want to spend time with them for as long as I possibly could. Maybe you just need to change the kinds of things you do with him or allow him to invite one friend to come with the two of you. You can learn a lot about what he's thinking by listening to his conversations with his friend. And you are showing your willingness to bend a little. He will probably like that.

    Answer by NannyB. at 2:16 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • Fifteen is old enough to decide, if you have to make him, soon neither of you will be getting anything out of it. Instead of making him keep his scheduled time perhaps you could let him propose how often you do something alone together & some ideas of what you will do. Perhaps he will be happy to do something with you twice a month.

    Answer by nysa00 at 2:25 PM on Jul. 9, 2009

  • if you force him, the only thing he will remember is that you forced him. Allow him the freedom to want to be with you at times and he'll remember good things about you.

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:30 PM on Jul. 10, 2009

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