How having active fun with kids can help grow well-adjusted teens

Teenage years can often be fraught with parenting challenges. As hormones reign supreme you can only hope the ground work you put in when they were little helps them make the best decisions they can as they navigate the territory of young adulthood.

Teenage years can often be fraught with parenting challenges. As hormones reign supreme you can only hope the ground work you put in when they were little helps them make the best decisions they can as they navigate the territory of young adulthood.

At a time when tweens and teens desperately want some sort of independence but still need guidance, open and honest communication between you both is important as it can help them understand the world and their place in it. 

Dr Sasha Lynn, child psychologist from the Leftfield, believes modeling the behavior you want your kids to adopt is also very important.

“Although teens start to turn away from Mum and Dad and look toward their peers more, they still pick up a lot from what we do as parents,” Dr Lynn says. “It’s a tough thing to do, but starting to loosen the grip whilst also  trying to spend more time together talking and  working with them to problem solve is important.””

With lots of possible distractions or temptations filtering through, keeping your kids busy may help them to stay focused and hopefully on the straight and narrow. 

Team sports can help keep your kids busy and are also known to teach many important life skills such as teamwork, decision-making, and problem solving. 
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Research carried out on teenagers and published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggest that children involved in intense physical activity and team sports have a higher self-esteem which is thought to help improve a teenager’s resilience so they can better deal with peer pressure.
 
While we know the benefits that physical activity provides for us as individuals, what we should also remember is that participating in activities together as a family also gives great opportunity to nurture relationships and grow connections during what can be a tricky time.
 
“Physical activity can provide so many things for a family. The chance to get outside the day-to-day grind, seeing each other in a different light, working with kids instead of having to try and ‘push’ them to do things, and it’s well known that exercise releases our happy juices in our brains, so it enhances feelings of wellbeing and enjoyment, which can also strengthen bonds. Finding a common interest with our kids is beneficial for both parties,” says Dr Lynn.
 
“Even though sometimes kids may come across as surly, uninterested and embarrassed to have Mum and Dad around, at the end of the day, they still come back to us for love, support and care,” tells Dr Lynn.  
 
“Having active fun with them can reinforce those positive bonds, and ensure that we’re connecting with our kids, which can then branch into other facets of their life.”
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