Connecting With My Teens

It’s Friday!  Always a great time to catch up with the kids about school and all the things that matter to them, right? Well, sort of. In my mommy mind, my “Leave it to Beaver” thought process… I think how perfect our discussions will be. We’ll sip lemonade and eat the cookies I’ve baked as we share the highlights of the week.

So far from WRONG. This is what happens on a Friday.  

Since I work from home, I’m usually in my “work” jammies or my standard yoga pants, sweatpants, yesterday’s pants, whatever. I like to wrap up work and clean up all things important so that Monday is fresh and nothing is looming over my head from the previous week. Seriously, school is HARDLY long enough. It feels like just a few short hours before I pick up my daughter and my son comes through the screen door.  

Already, I think. Notice, no homemade cookies and all day I keep thinking I’ve got to make that lemonade that I saw on the Food Channel. So, I have leftover Sloppy Joes with a side salad and PLENTY of water! Another side note, my kids just don’t like leftovers!  Who DOES THAT?!?  When I was a kid, leftovers were great…that is if we had any leftovers. When you grow up with brothers, you’re happy to have leftovers.  

I look at the time. Oh MAN! Already!!??! I grab my keys and rush to pick up my daughter; She is happily sitting on the bench outside the school and when she sees me, she waves. With a big smile, she hops in the car. I ask. “How was your day baby?”  as I greet her with a kiss on the forehead. She responds, “It was a pretty good day.”  “Great,” I say. She goes on to tell me that she had a few tests today and feels confident that she aced them.  “Fantastic!” I ask about her friend Julianna and when she’d like to come over. Candyce tells me she’s a part of a blended family and they do family things on the weekend, so the weekday is better.  

Oh boy, I think…now I’ll really have to have things together and not work like a maniac so that I’ll have warm cookies and milk available after school someday soon.

“Okay, well how about Wednesday. We’ll pick you and Julianna up after school and then take her home before it gets too late.”  “Sure mom, that sounds good, except, what will we do?”  

Huh, I think what will you do…Well, play outside…oh wait she’s not in elementary school anymore.  Uhm, watch a movie…uh something…right? Oh boy, do I have to be the entertainment planner too?   My daughter happily chimes in… “Well, Julianna didn’t get to go Go Karting all summer, so maybe we can do that…”

Say what?? Oh no, it’s entertainment 101. We go out because it’s your birthday, celebration, but a weekday outing.  Out of the question!

“Well honey”, I say. “I think that we should just have a quiet evening at home. I don’t think there is time for Go Karting this visit. How about dinner, whatever homework you may both have and a board game or a movie at home?”

“Oh, okay,” she says. “I guess that will work.” 

In my mind…Uhm yes, that WILL work, because I’m the mom and I’ve said it would work. Right?!? Talk about a dictatorship. Yes, indeed this is!  

As soon as we pull into the driveway, my daughter runs in the house, kisses the dog and bolts upstairs to change her clothes and put her book bag down. Later she returns downstairs with her computer.

House rule. When the children are on the computer, it must be utilized in the communal space downstairs. The parents must be able to see your screen at any time. Our way of keeping tabs on the YouTube videos they watch. On a side note. My children no longer watch TV. They look at videos as their entertainment. Primarily gaming videos and my daughter loves all things Minecraft. Wow, have times changed. 

In comes my son. “Hi babe, how was school?” I ask. “It was good” As he runs up the stairs. “Hey, where are you going?” “Mom, you said not to put my book bag on the couch, so I’m bringing it upstairs.” I think, oh yeah, I did say that, huh. Okay, it’s sinking in… good sign. 

He too comes back downstairs with a tablet in tow. It’s the start of their weekend. 

Okay, I think now’s a good time. So, I ask for highs and lows of the week.

My daughter tells me she had no lows this week and that the high was she receive a 96 on her first Algebra quiz. We all scream YEAH and Congratulations! “Great job honey, I’m proud of you. How about we make some cupcakes this weekend. I have a new recipe I’d like to try out.” “Sounds good mom!” Side note, she loves to cook and bake, so anytime we spend in the kitchen together is special.  “So,” I say, “Any other news to share for the week?” “No, that’s about it,” she says, “It really was a good week.” I am very happy to hear that.  

Now, next up is my son. In the meantime, he’s scarfing down his second bowl of cereal. You know, what is it with boys and cereal. I can’t keep enough in the house. He eats it like a thirsty man guzzles water!  

My son tells us that he also has done well on his quizzes for the week, he expects no less than A’s in Math, History, and Science. “Well, ALRIGHT and Congratulations!” I blurt out! I know you and your dad will be doing some things this weekend. “Yea, we are checking out some gaming computers” her grins. “That sounds fun…Any low points for the week?” “Yeah,” he says, “School is a hassle mom.  Can’t it just be over?  I’d like to get to college?” What, huh? “My good son, you have to learn what is necessary before you go to the next level, which is college. If you say schools a hassle now, I can only think that college will be a burden too?” He rubs his chin and says, “No, because we’ll be studying things that pertain to your career. The things that you’ll do to make a living.”  

Hmmm, I think. I go on some tangent about learning the basics and critical thinking that is needed for collegiate studies. I think that worked. He just nodded and said, “I guess that makes sense.”  Whew! I was sweating there for a minute.  

This was my sort of sit down and tell me about your week moment. It was in no way a picture perfect snapshot. I am not like my mother, who did this very well. Growing up we had chats daily and weekly about school and whatever else was on my mind. I want to have that for my children too, even as they are now teens. I think it is critical in the days and times that we live in.  

Communication is key for healthy relationships in and out of the home. It’s also good to locate your kids. What are they thinking? What is important to them.  Even if it’s not perfect. I’ll keep doing it, flaws and all. I did make my lemonade, but that will be for another day. 


Candace Beach has been married to Ralph Beach for 15 years and they have a blended family that consists of 2 boys, Ralph Jr. (34) and Carlisle (14), as well as 2 girls named Barbara-Ann (26) and Candyce (13), YIKES! She sees motherhood as ever changing, like the gift that keeps on giving, Sometimes heartache and other times great joy!

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